If we think of open education as a geographical space, then we can see that creative commons licensed content is safe and friendly for reuse, whereas other areas are distinctly “here be dragons”. Visualise the Pax Romana as a space in which certain actions and business could trade and the borders as spaces in which educators keen to use OER can safely travel. We create a safe zone via licences so educators can practice as they wish.
Sadly, we aren’t one empire, and the Pax Eductiona isn’t quite as simple. The licences might be roughly the same, but sometimes a Lilliputian egg cutting disagreement could make travel slightly more problematic to the embolden educator. Driving on the left, driving on the right, warning triangles.
As we come to remix and reuse content though, we move past a mere border as licence – what of borders in content. As part of Great Writers we are keen to bring in OER from other organisations which compliment the materials we are producing. We’ve gone to a lot of effort to make the presentation of our content as rich as possible – so, to avoid denigrating OER as some academic aside and “different” from our prime content (OER as an immigration?) we should aim to present the OER with the same quality as we do our own materials.
We’d like to do this, but should we? Why not?
Well, as an example, we have lots of audio files we could reuse. Our site is set up to play audio files from our academics, however if the address of the audio file isn’t available (say embedded like a youtube video and not accessible directly) then we can’t offer the same playback. We’ve put audio OER in the same lists as our own content – so to the site user they aren’t different, but we’ll end up with a slightly different user experience and a slightly different interface for some OERs. So a site user is explicitly going to notice different kinds of content – some content, will sadly, be different.
Now if we can get at the URL, we can display it as we did our content, but what of usage stats and evidence? Does snaffling the URL rob the OER project of evidence of reuse? Probably.
So what if we use an “iframe”, and display their content within “our” site? Do we appear to be claiming ownership of it? Does the interface architecture of the iframe show us as controlling this resource like some protectorate? We’ve now problem giving traffic to another site, but does a link suffice? Does it make the content seem a little drab and disincentivise the reason for clicking on the link in the first place? Is an iframe the better of two evils – you get the traffic, but not quite in the way you expected, but at least you get the traffic?
The CC licence assures that the BY means attribution. So we will always display the CC licence for the content, but is their an OER netiquette as to whether an iframe is better than a link?