Open content,  web 2.0

I wrote that!

Someone has taken some old content I wrote for a course called T171 – You, your computer and the Net, which is available through the openlearn site and put it in Scribd. The course was written in 1998, and at the time hugely successful with 12,000 students. So it was funny to see the old content again. It made me reflect on what it’s like to have content take on a life of its own. My old, ownership reaction kicked in initially and I asked myself if I should mind. But that passed immediately, of course I don’t mind, as long as readers are aware that it’s old stuff and you’re not responsible for updating it. Still, I wonder if it will influence the way you write material when you know it may leave home and set up on its own one day.

Not entirely sure I get the point of Scribd I must say – it takes a doc and converts it to a form of PDF that can be embedded in a page. I get the point of doing that with a Powerpoint presentation (as with Slideshare), or with video (as with YouTube), but not really with text. But maybe I’m misssing something, so happy to be enlightened.


  • Martin

    Alan, you old cynic! a) not really – docs aren’t that big are they? b) now, maybe you’re on to something here. Does their hosting absolve me of any plagiarism responsibility? If so, bring it on!

  • Ann

    I remember that! I was one of your early students.
    Wasn’t it at about this point in the course when we also learnt how to take notes using html? All that linking, so useful. Fantastic!
    Such a different way of doing things, a whole new world really!

  • stuart brown

    I’m part of the openlearn team and I put T171 it on Scribd!
    I’ve been doing bits and bobs with Tony Hirst who provided the RSS feed of the unit. I used Xfruits to turn the feed into PDF and then I uploaded it to Scribd.

  • Martin

    Hi Stuart
    I thought it was you, but couldn’t find a profile in Scribd. More power to you, this is exactly the sort of thing we should be doing with openlearn.
    Ann – yes you’re right this was just before the HTML note-taking exercises. I think I was a bit Stalinist at the time – ‘you must use HTML!’. I don’t feel we (the OU and academics in general) really pushed the HTML journal as a study technique enough actually. A lot of the same issues have come round again with blogs as study journals.

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