How do you share your resources?

He who receives ideas from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine receives light without darkening me.

Thomas Jefferson

Education is all about enlightenment – enlightening each other through sharing, collaboration and feedback. Openness is central in education. Today, we have Internet, it gives us a great opportunity to be much more generous in sharing our educational contents be it courseware, textbooks or source codes. So how do we share our resources so that people can not only legally access but also reuse, redistribute, revise or remix the resources. Creative common license can help us here. 

Creative common (CC) license is a set of copyright licenses that provide us a standardized legal way to give other permission to share and use our work on conditions of our choices. These licenses are completely free of charge. Using CC licenses, millions of people around the world have made their creative work of photos, videos, music publicly available for use. So, for instance if anyone wants to use any of my open access course content, they can use the content before asking me because permissions are already given using the CC license. The license is legally robust and easy to understand- it says anybody can use the content as long as the owner is acknowledged. I could add more features to the license. CC is made up of different licensing features – BY, SA, NC, ND. The features are expressed using different symbols. 

BY means attribution, it means everyone must acknowledge me when they publish my work. NC means noncommercial; anybody can use my content and redistribute freely but only I can make money out of it (if I plan so). ND means non derivative; nobody can modify my content without asking me first. The last element, SA means share alike; everybody must share the modified content like the original (if they do). Using these features, there are six different CC license: CC BY, CC BY-SA, CC BY-NC, CC BY-ND, CC BY-NC-SA, CC BY-NC-ND. Each of these license gives permission to share and include the attribution role. So, everybody is automatically allowed to share my content but they need to acknowledge me if they share. So other three features are optional. 

Beside CC BY, other CC licenses differ on the added features. CC BY license is the most open, gives anyone the maximum freedom. CC BY-NC-ND gives the least freedom. All three licenses CC BY-NC, CC BY-NC-SA and CC BY-NC-ND restrict commercial uses. CC BY-ND and CC BY-NC-ND do not give permission for adopting and remixing. BY NC-SA and BY SA require new modified content be licensed under the same terms as the original one.   The figure shows a good overview of each different license. 

Dr. Visitor and Mr. Resident

The title might confuse you but not for long if I say I am going to write about the Digital Visitor & Resident (VR) model introduced in a webinar by David White. In contrast to Marc Pensky’s model that is based on generational distinction or digital technology skill distinction, this model captures users motivation in online engagements. So, basically this model doesn’t permanently label one as a digital native or a digital immigrant, instead it qualifies ones digital engagement.

VR model presents a continuum between two modes of online engagement. Sliding between the modes the model can capture an individual’s motivation to use the web in different contexts. One side of the continuum is ‘visitor’ mode, here the web is assumed as a toolbox. One looks for a tool to perform a task and once the task is done the box is closed, no social traces are left. In visitor mode one might be doing googling, reading wikipedia or  doing online shopping. These engagements are not visible to other users.

Other side of the continuum is ‘resident’ mode, here the web is assumed as a place where people can coexist (with digital identity). In this mode, the main motivation to go online is to engage with others. Being active in social media, joining online discussions, commenting on youtube videos, these are all example scenarios depicting individuals in the resident mode. These types of online behaviors leave social traces. The figure below shows one example of VR model that captures an individual’s online behavior. In the extreme end of the resident mode, visibility is quite high – individual’s online engagement could appear in google searches. The vertical axis adds two common contexts where people engage online – personal and institutional. So, the same person engages online in a mixture of visitor and resident modes depending on what he or she is trying to achieve – our Dr. Visitor and Mr. Resident as the central character in Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide.

The digital dilemma – visitor vs. resident

While addressing the challenge of educating millennial children Marc Prensky (2001) emphasized on the technological environment that they are brought up in.  Prensky coined Digital natives and digital immigrants to label today’s digital users  but failed to notice much larger problems such as digital divide. Instead of labelling users, the Digital Visitor and Resident (V&R) model provides us a framework to map one’s online usage. This is a simple model to capture a wide range (continuum) of online engagement. Visitor and resident mode are two ends of the horizontal axis. When one uses an online resource to perform a certain task and leaves it once the task is completed depicts a visitor mode of engagement, one example could be using google translate. When the translation is done, the user is no longer needed to be online or moved to another tasks. One the other hand, in residence mode one enters online with a digital persona and looks for other digital residents to connect to. Our prime example is all kinds of social media such as Facebook and Instagram. When one is logged in Facebook (it’s possible to log in without any login or persona but this is not so common otherwise we wouldn’t have billions of users), the engagement comes from either posting an update to the community or liking, commenting on other updates. In resident mode, the duration of engagement is indefinite because of many reasons for instance  no particular task is there to complete to begin with.  Lately a Netflix show called ‘The social dilemma’ caught my eye. It talked at length on how we have moved from a  tool based technology environment to an addiction and manipulation based technology environment.  The reason why I am talking about this show now is that I see a connection, the visitor mode is all about tool based technology, tool is innate here we use the tool to do our job. But in current reality certain tools are equipped with all AI based manipulative and additive ammunition that are designed to do only one thing that is to increase users retention in their platform – resident mode.  So, I am quite intrigued to learn about the V&R model, I see it can be used to do a longitudinal study on a group of people to capture the shift in their online engagement.