Last week I let loose a rant against Turnitin and a poster they sent me which painted the acts of remixing, mashups, aggregation and retweeting as plagiaristic.
Tonight I receive a pingback notification from a blog being used in an open online high school Philosophy 12 course being offered by Bryan Jackson. Bryan has included my blog post as a suggested reading for his unit this week on Ethics in his open online class for students interested in discussing the ethics of intellectual property.
I don’t know where Bryan saw this post. He might be subscribed to my blog, a colleague might have passed it to him, or he might have caught it on Twitter as we are connected there (and I have a pretty good idea where he did see it). But he would have never seen it at all if I had confined my rant to my office colleagues and not decided to put fingers to blog and post something in the open space of the web – something that another educator could find and link back to.
Which goes to underscore a point that Scott Leslie has been making for years about sharing and serendipity:
Much of the sharing that happens in my learning network happens through serendipity. People publish a blog post, bookmark a delicious link, etc, as a normal part of their own workflow,and whether through syndication or the “All seeing eye of Google,” it comes my way, as John Krutsch would say, “Right On Time.”
A normal part of my workflow is writing blog posts and publishing on the open web, then disseminating that via Twitter, Facebook, & (increasingly) G+. All that backroom posting to those networks happens behind the scenes. I’ve spent some time setting up this blog to post to those networks, where it was picked up by another educator, who then decided to use it as a resource in one of his classes.
Without doing anything extra, I managed to create an educational resource for another educator.
Okay, maybe it isn’t entirely true that I have done nothing. I did have to do a few things to make that happen. I had to create the ecosystem to make sharing possible. But that work was done years ago when I made the concious decision to publish on the open web with a Creative Commons license that allowed for reuse (which didn’t even need to be in place for Bryan’s case as he has just simply linked back to the blog post and not actually copied or reused it). But that’s it. That’s all I had to do. The simple choice of deciding to post on the open web with a license that allows for reuse means that something I create (whether I think it is useful or valuable or not) can be used by another educator.
With those 2 conditions in place – open and licensed for reuse – everything I create and publish here becomes an open educational resource, free for any other educator to link to, copy, use and modify as they see fit.