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Why remix an Open Educational Resource?

One of the ideas in the world of Open Educational Resources (OERs) that can be a bit strange to grasp at first is the idea of “remixing”. When I first joined the OLnet project and was telling people about it, a mention of remixing would often prompt people to ask “why would I want to do that?”, a perfectly reasonable question as many will have just experienced education as courses they learn from, but wouldn't actually change. Often OERs are just thought of as free courses, but remixing creates a much bigger opportunity. So I thought I would draw on the collective wisdom of the OLnet team and compile a list of twenty reasons to remix an OER.

The list is in no particular order, and by its very nature isn't an extensive exploration of the reasons to remix an OER, so if you think of any more it would be great to hear about them in the comments.

  1. Save yourself time and work by mixing in OERs with your own material to make something richer
  2. Adapt the material to make it more accessible for people with different disabilities
  3. Insert some cultural specific references to make a concept easier to understand
  4. Translate it into another language
  5. Correct any errors or inaccuracies
  6. Keep the OER up to date by adding the latest discoveries or theories
  7. Insert more media or links to other resources
  8. Chop the OER up into smaller chunks that might be easier to learn from, or could be reused elsewhere
  9. Adapt it for a different audience
  10. Use the OER as the basis for a face to face lesson
  11. Change the target educational level
  12. Add input and participation from the people who are going to be using your remixed OER
  13. Use the OER for a wider purpose by adding in other information
  14. Changing the format of the OER to make it work in different computer based learning environments
  15. To improve understanding of what an OER is by thinking about reasons to remix it
  16. Insert a different point of view to that originally given in the material
  17. Adapt it for different teaching situations
  18. A way to experiment with new skills you have gained (could be technical skills, media skills etc.)
  19. To improve it
  20. Because you can!

As an IT person not an academic I'm more familiar with open source than open educational resources, but the concepts do have a lot in common. With both you can just use the resources, you don't have to remix or contribute, and there is nothing wrong with that. If you do want to contribute though or you might feel an existing resource is near to what you want, you are free to build on it to meet new challenges.



IMHO the 'how' is as important as the 'why'. Originally openlearn (if i remember correctly) required people to rewrite XML which made it very difficult. Not only do you have to be a subject expert, you also have to be a coder! Not many of those. The inline editing is a much better way (altho I always dreamed of something like clipmarks as a way of remixing) but i guess it makes version control more difficult.

Having an easy way to do inline/incontext editing or , as we use to call it, to annotate web pages or multimedia web resources in many different ways is not a dream for long. Within the OLnet project we aim at developing a Collective Intelligence infrastructure/tool that will enable researcher and practitioner in the OER world to contribute to OER research advancement and to use,reuse and remix OERs in a very easy way (clipmarks, googlesidewiki, and Cohere like way)
Stay connected and you'll see ;)

Yes both the 'why' and the 'how' are important as are tracing the 'why' and 'how'  OERs are used. I came across Issue Lab's OER research repository. It offers a useful evolving database containing a body of research on OERs. It can be viewed by topic, contributor, and issue area. Olnet can become syndicates and co-contributors. We can also re-use and and expand this body of work.