When student works are openly licensed, granting 5R permissions in their use of artifacts, each work becomes the beginning of an ongoing conversation in which other learners participate as they contextualize and extend the work in support of their learning.

David Wiley & John Hilton

I have been digging into co-creation of open educational resources with students lately and it has become obvious to me the importance of community. 

When thinking about creating resources I have often thought of them having a beginning, middle and end.  They are finite artifacts that are created, shared, and used. 

What sets OER apart from just free content is the idea of the resource becoming part of a community.  In this community mindset, the resource becomes less of a finished product.  As is often the case, resources can become static; having a beginning and an end and become trapped within the context of which they were created.  

Ron Burgandy trapped in a phone booth

By putting the resource into the open and having it available to the community it becomes more dynamic; an ever-evolving resource that is no longer bound to time, context, or format.  

The resource becomes not only an artifact but becomes part of the ongoing conversation that surrounds the subject area.

No longer is the artifact just a benefit to the course, instructor or student; it can have a much farther reach.  As Wild (2012) states, “There has been a major shift in a teacher’s perception of who should benefit, from the initial focus on self-benefit and the benefit of one’s students to benefits to the entire community”.

As someone who likes to create, experiment, play with things and constantly tweak the product this gives me joy.  It also helps me to see that these resources that I am building, reusing, remixing, and revising are bigger than myself.

Maybe I’m in a nostalgic and philosophical mood as I write this, but is there a possibility that once I release them to the community they no longer are mine? Isn’t that possibly the most exciting part?


Wild, J. (2012) OER Engagement Study: Promoting OER reuse among academics. Research report from the SCORE funded project.

Wiley, D., & Hiton, J. (2018, September). Defining OER enabled pedagogy. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning Volume 19, Number 4. p.139.