The good folks over at the Open University in the UK wrote a post this morning about the hesitancy of people remixing their materials. From the post:
“In the last year we’ve seen around 900,000 people using OpenLearn materials in teaching and learning around the world. What we’ve seen much less of is people reworking our materials – as they are free to do under the Creative Commons license – and replacing the reworked materials back in the public domain for others to benefit from…
“There is a nervousness about reworking other people’s finely tuned academic content and publishing what may be unfinished and untested materials. There are barriers to reworking – some technical. However, even when we’ve reduced the technical barriers, lack of time and uncertainty about the value of the remixed resources can get in the way.”
We have found the same thing at USU OCW. Almost a thousand unique visitors a day, and yet there are not many people taking, reworking, and publishing our material. At least not that we know of.
I can’t help but agree that part of the problem could be that there seems to be a barrier when the existing content is the work of one person. Maybe it’s because when we change a person’s content we are in a sense telling them that their materials are not good enough. That they need to be improved. People seem to be more than willing to edit a community project, such as wikipedia.
I have found my own attempts at collaborative composition to not exactly work. People drop by my wiki, but few edit my work. Compare that to the million penguins project. People were very willing to add and edit that content, because it started out as a group effort.
I hope that as the Open OCW takes off, we’ll see more reuse of existing content.