The Evolving Economics of Educational Materials and Open Educational Resources: Toward Closer Alignment with the Core Values of Education

David Wiley, iterating toward openness, Jan 14, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Overall this is a pretty good article from David Wiley on some of the basic concepts behind the use of open educational resources (OERs). I have a couple of quibbles (which should not be taken as detracting from the overall value of the article). First, Wiley defines "education" in economic terms. "Ideas, knowledge, skills, and attitudes are public goods," he says. "This means they are nonrivalrous and nonexcludable." I don't see the world that way, which makes me impatient about the whole concept of licensing in education to begin with. Secondly, he writes that copyright law concerts digital resources into "club goods". Why doesn't he say they just become "private goods", which is what they were when they were physical resources? He explains, "Club goods are resources that are nonrivalrous but excludable, like cable or satellite TV." I think this is a distinction without a difference.

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