On the (im)Possibility of OER Research

David Wiley, iterating toward openness, Jul 08, 2009
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Asked and answered. David Wiley offers us this poser: "Dr. Wiley takes a textbook from his shelf. He rips the (c) statement page out of the book, and inserts a new page with a Creative Commons license. Now riddle me this: is the textbook more or less effective instructionally than before?" But, of course, the effectiveness (just like the learning, and the meaning) is not in the object. It's in the use. That's why I define 'learning object' (in a definition universally ignored) as a resource that is used for learning. Wiley, more or less explicitly, recognizes this. "What is it that makes OER special or different from other digital educational media? The answer must include their '4R' potential for reuse, redistribution, revision, and remixing." In other words, the answer lies in an examination of how the license affects their use.
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