In earlier courses in the Online Learning and Teaching Degree program I was introduced to the terms Open Education Resource (OER) and Creative Commons but had not explored either in depth.
The video “Why Open Education Matters” (https://vimeo.com/43401199) presented several points in favour of Open Education Resources. These included reducing financial burdens to those who might not be able to afford enrolment in traditional courses or print textbooks; reaching people in remote areas who would find it difficult to attend face-to-face classes; and the ability to keep materials current.
These are valid arguments. I remember reading an article (I will have to do some sleuthing to find out which one) that cited research that disproved the theory that open education resources and free or inexpensive courses (like MOOCs) would equalize opportunities for less advantaged persons. For whatever reason, the target audience did not respond as enthusiastically as anticipated.. The already educated seemed to be getting more educated and the gap was not closing. It may even have been getting wider.
The video “Laws That Choke Creativity”
by Larry Lessig presented a lot to consider. Are our laws regarding copyright and licensing and property outdated? Do the laws continue to serve their intended purpose? Are copyright and licensing laws stifling rather than promoting and protecting creativity? Mr. Lessig would have us believe so. Maybe he is right. The examples that he showed demonstrated how materials had been remixed in very creative ways.
Would I want to give up all rights to my work? I do believe in sharing and openness but I, too, have reservations. I might worry how my work might be remixed. The videos Lessig chose were irreverent and intended to be humourous. Would the artist whose work had been remixed approve of how his work had become associated with the new product? Or would he find it offensive? As humans our creative works are often highly personal and having them contorted to convey a message contrary to their original intent or completely misinterpreted could be highly distressing.
There really is no original idea. All ideas are sparked off another. No idea can exist in isolation. Like a flame without oxygen it will be snuffed out. We might as well embrace this reality and attempt to contain the flames by offering creators licensing options as in Creative Commons so the fire doesn’t die but neither does it grow into a raging wildfire. Surely, some people will get burned in the process but others will have their imaginations sparked.