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OER as online edutainment resources: A critical look at open content, branded content, and how both affect the OER movement
Moe, Rolin

PublishedJuly 2015
JournalLearning, Media and Technology
Volume 40, Issue 3, Pages 350 - 364

Despite a rise in awareness and production of open education resources (OER) over the past decade, mainstream media outlets continue to define open in economic terms of consumer cost and not in theoretical terms of remix or appropriation. This period in the open access debate has coincided with a proliferation of free-of-charge video content available on the internet, branded with institutional affiliation and labeled as educational or edutainment resources. Videos from organizations such as TED, and Upworthy have gained scholastic use and are being labeled as OER, despite a missive from their organizations to limit consumer use of the videos to viewing and sharing. Viewed instrumentally, the lack of remix utility for this edutainment creates only a slight distinction between their product and OER-as-defined. However, when viewed from a critical theory lens, the content-as-brand video edutainment phenomenon is strikingly different from the OER movement, and the lack of mainstream clarity on the delineation has created confusion in the OER movement, potentially a serious problem for the future of the OER movement as a social value rather than only a free tool. This paper utilizes a critical theory framework to identify the sociocultural, economic and political differences between traditional OER and institutionally derived video content. Building upon Jean-Francois Lyotard's criticism of grand narratives in the schema of knowledge, the paper begins with an historical literature review of edutainment in the guise of OER, and how the development and consumption of branded content strengthens a sociopolitical rendering of knowledge as a commodity rather than a ubiquitous public good. The paper then compares contemporary media coverage and cultural cache of OER content with that of branded edutainment content. Efforts to consolidate OER practitioners around a critical definition of OER, as well as opportunities to differentiate between OER and free-of-charge edutainment in the mainstream media, are important issues for further study.

Keywords commodification · critical theory · edutainment · knowledge · Lyotard · OER · online education

RightsCopyright © 2016 Informa UK Limited
Other informationLearning, Media and Technology
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