Dr. Mashup; or, Why Educators Should Learn to Stop Worrying and Love the Remix


The voracious demands of my rampaging ego compel me to point towards an article just published in the latest issue of EDUCAUSE Review on mashups in higher education (HTML and PDF).

This wasn’t an easy article to write, in part because I decided to consider mashups in the sense of both content creation and online applications. As I got deeper into the writing of it, it also became near-impossible to separate the topic of content reuse in higher education from the basic principles of open education (the influence of David Wiley’s recent talk in Vancouver is evident in this regard).

There’s also an audio companion to this piece, though if I was honest I might admit I wrote the article as a companion to the audio mashup. (Download 13.8 MB MP3, 15:00) Sources for the audio file are here. I’m especially fond of the last four minutes or so of the track, a remix of audio recorded at the inaugural EduGlu Symposium last February during Northern Voice — thanks to Draggin for snagging and sharing it.

There are bunch of people I should thank, actually, but I’ll narrow it down. First, a huge shout-out to ER Publisher/Editor Teddy Diggs for agreeing to run the article in the first place, and then demonstrating astonishing patience and an awe-inspiring openness to weirdness. I hope she doesn’t come to regret it. From a writer’s perspective, Teddy is everything you could want in an editor, every change she made to the text was perfect, her editorial touch always very light and subtle. And she’s an absolute blast to work with, always fun even when prodding on deadlines…

Keira tolerated me thinking out loud and brooding for weeks on end, was an excellent sounding board, and also took on a lot of extra household stuff to give me the time to write. This was a slower writing process than normal for me, and every extra bit of time I got was needed.

I proposed this article not because I was an expert on mashups, but because I was interested and wanted a reason to learn and think more about them. As a result I talked through a lot of things with a lot of peers, and thanks to all of them. A special shout-out to Scott Leslie, who spent a couple hours walking me through the implications of mashups on institutional IT strategy when frankly I had no idea what they might be. He also sent me a lot of resources along the way, making sure I was following Raymond Yee’s excellent work on the subject.

My goal of learning more and having some fun met with roaring success. Onward to the next freakout.

About Brian

I am a Strategist and Discoordinator with UBC's Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. My main blogging space is Abject Learning, and I sporadically update a short bio with publications and presentations over there as well...
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