not to be re-sold

I read a guru post on Web2.0 Culture, where the author argued that teachers should give away their resources and content. I have to disagree, in fact I believe they should be doing exactly the opposite. I also note the vast majority of the commentators academic publications are behind academic journal pay walls.

Teachers should not give away anything. Firstly what is created by teachers for the job is generally owned by the employer, it’s in the contract. Next, no one is paying teachers to work after school, yet schools assume they will (marking, sport, planning, meetings) etc., a moral imperative of the job that is a culture.

Secondly, what is created has many values, it is a part of a threaded conversation, it is not a giant swap meet, a platform for people to make demands on others to pursue their agenda etc., as there is no web2.0 culture any more than there would be OHP culture. It’s dangerous to assume what is online and open now is ‘the best’ or even useful and gives people the false impression that we are somehow looking at the elite vanguard online, and not some fumbling primitives.

I hear what they authors saying and I think it’s another part of the dangerous moral nexus of the fictional personal learning network – which one might argue is a convenient monoculture for those in which those with the greatest opportunity to benefit from those with the least. I reject the idea ‘we’ must have a culture co-operation and sharing as it’s frankly hubris and bollocks.

Some people are making a very nice life, and building their own reputation out of this argument, as they sit on Twitter looking for new ideas and co-opting them to their agenda. That isn’t open culture, it’s predatory.

We then get to hear yet another repeat of what ‘everyone’ has said in some conference presentation with a topping of ‘my research’. Again, bollocks, this is everyone elses work co-opted into an agenda and is frankly dishonest. I don’t want to buy the book, I don’t want to pay to hear you tell me what a hundred people have told me before. If you predominantly try to sell me things – books, conference tickets, papers or ignore responses on Twitter by ‘ordinary’ people – you are a derp with a badge. Nothing more or less – no matter what suffix you add to your name.

I share with anyone who needs it. Just ask. I don’t need to feed the ego of ‘experts’ who tell me I have to do or think. That’s not ‘web2.0 culture’ – that’s yesterday’s academic culture – and to be brutal, decent academics don’t carry on like that these days, so I find it amusing when a self-proclaimed expert in this stuff does.


4 thoughts on “not to be re-sold

  1. Not sure if I agree or disagree… yet – but you certainly got me thinking. The whole “employer owns your work” thing would appear to be a silent killer of innovation. Still, IMO the best work seems to be coming from people who simply don’t pay attention to that little clause.

    So here’s my quandary based on your post, where does collaborative work across social networks sit within the ‘don’t share your work’ philosophy? Or is it more about the use of it later – the presentations by ‘experts’ delivering the efforts of everyone else. This concerns me as I’ve already had my work presented to me twice – and poorly too (the ultimate insult!)

    I’m interested in your response as I’m working on a task that may be larger than my resources – large enough to spread onto social networks where ‘ownership’ blurs. I believe Bianca sent you an email regarding the concept’s rather naive conception. Apologies that it has taken this long to make a connection!

    • I think the problem is one of academic honesty. On one hand, I think everything’s a mash-up, and copying is a good way to learn, it happens in all forms of nature – though the idea is to add something to the original, not just change the name of the author. Bianca did, and there’s IP in there that is, under Australian law the immediate copyright applied to it. Just because some internet exciteds have decided sharing is now the moral way to be, is a bit of a prisoners dilemma. If someone wants to give it away, that’s fine to me. Anything made during ‘work’ is generally the property of the organisation – solo or group. It’s the things we do outside of work, the choice some people make to work on IP related matters. We don’t do it to enable some 9-5er to watch TV, play sport and then jump online to get free-stuff, and it’s unacceptable to me to have innovation (which is what you have) – leeched by others.

      If I go to gaming, and Bartle’s player types, there is always the opportunist. Pinning my stuff to your wall. No. Quoting me and not giving the full reference. No. At the outset, there has to be some common understanding between people about what is ‘given’ and what should not be ‘taken’. I don’t give away plenty for that reason, but I do give it people if they ask. On the other side, I get irritated when people talk up the give-away, when they themselves lock it up in a consulting deal or behind a paywall.

      • Thanks for replying to this comment as it made some of your assertions in your post a bit easier to understand. I think I am just a bit thick-headed at times because where you are at is far above my level of thinking. Sometimes it is one of those things where if you don’t know all the details or background/context of what you’re talking about, then it doesn’t always make sense. And I totally agree – people who spend time crafting great stuff should have control of their stuff, let the 9-5er work harder!

  2. I agree that teachers should be free to charge. I’m trying to help make it easier for teachers, professors – anyone, really – to make a living writing high-quality online textbooks for flipped skills courses. Books that implement learning science principles.

    Imagine that a Detroit teacher wrote an algebra I book, just for Detroit. Using Detroit landmarks, like Ford Field, and the RenCen. Includes interviews with Detroiters. Applications in the neighborhoods. Scores from last night’s Pistons game, fed right into the book.

    What would be the educational impact? If this happened in Mumbai, Paris, Rio, Cape Town…?

    Imagine a new cottage industry, where people make a living creating and maintaining textbooks. Individual authors, small teams, small companies. Keeping quality high, and prices low.

    To charge low prices (e.g., $9 per student in Detroit), authors need to get most of the gross. Maybe 70%, rather than the 15% they might get now.

    I don’t know if this will work, but it’s worth a try.


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