Re-writing for Proseminar

It’s time to share another round of student writing! I asked students in the Proseminar course at USU (in which all faculty take three week turns introducing students to their research interests) to put together a paper about issues related to open education. The twist (there always is one) is that they were to write as little of the paper as possible. You see, wholesale plagiarism is discouraged, but weaving together a coherent piece from ten or fifteen different extant sources is tough and an excellent chance to get some first hand experience with reuse. =) Here are links and some summaries to these re-writing exercises, in which students assembled papers from pre-existing pieces:

Rob leads off with “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to sue, what is its legal standing?” In this piece Rob uses the words of others to briefly discuss some of the existing case law around open content, conceptual problems with who is getting sued in the Virgin Mobile case, and the (in)compatibility of licenses. (Rob also engages in a little self-plagiarism from his writings for my intro to open ed course – bonus points!)

Kristy follows with “Why don’t State Governments Encourage and Adopt Open-Source Textbooks for their School?” In this piece Kristy ventriloquizes a number of people to explore what is and isn’t happening with open source textbooks, including one fascinating proposal I hadn’t seen before.

Joel asks “Who Cares About Education, Anyway?” and explores the question of who is responsible for providing the necessary resources and functions related to the “right to education.” If I have a right to it, that must mean someone is responsible for providing it, right? He also briefly discusses the role of OERs in provisioning.

YuChun reflects on the role of open education in life-long learning, exploring ideas of self-directed learning, the new role of teachers, and the way the OER movement focuses on independent learners rather than on learners who are dependent on teachers. And I thought all the writing was going to have a question for a title…

Finally, Jon (who doesn’t provide a title at all!) channels Lessig and others to discuss how the overly complicated state of copyright law stifles creativity and even interferes with religious practices. He uses others’ words to describe the (perhaps hard to see?) impact of copyright on privacy, provides monopolies with an obligatory thrashing, and provides some Eldred v Ashcroft coverage.

Each of the pieces was fun to read. This kind of re-writing seems to be the academic equivalent of a mix tape… pulling together the greatest hits / greatest quotes from a certain genre or area to produce the desired effect. As I’ve said before, DJs are a metaphor for life…