Student Reflection – Remix in Higher Education (5.2)

by Douglas Terry

Ultimately, I want the site to serve as a resource that is engaging to students of higher education. I tried to keep the site easy to digest while still providing links to more in depth resources such as interviews, books, published papers, regularly updated feeds, and more. I feel the site has a place for teachers as well as students; it is an easily accessible source that professors can utilize to convey the legal boundaries in remixing and composition to their students and explain why it is relevant in the first place! It also provides some information about Creative Commons which students can take advantage of with their projects and works. The internet, Web 2.0 in particular, has created more opportunities for remixing and digital composition. Should educators encourage this type of composition? Where does remixing materials fall in the legal realm? Why do I care? All of these questions and more are explored here.

The website is the result of a slow and steady process. It started out as a group project about movie mash-ups, but evolved into something much more dynamic. At first, it changed from movie mash-ups into multi source remixes. Then, the work of Kirby Ferguson ignited my interests in the subject of remix as a whole, and drastically changed the outcome of the site. After I dove into the literature behind remix, and undoubtedly came across the work of Brian Lamb, Lawrence Lessig, and others, I pin pointed how I wanted to aim my project for my First Year Seminar class with Dr. Anderson. The art of remixing is a significant part of education for students. I doubt anyone, even without obtaining a secondary education, has not had to remix materials and sources. If most students are like me, they initially have very little understanding of their rights and responsibilities when creating works inside and outside of education. I wanted to create a place that combined the knowledge necessary to understand and utilize this borderline buzz word – remix. With this goal in mind, I created videos using Camtasia software trying to capture the ‘whats’ and ‘whys’ of remix. Quickly, I realized that having only video clips cold not even begin to cover everything I wanted; and so my project took off. About half of the videos in the website are completely self-created using materials which I have the full right to thanks to the original owners using an attribution Creative Commons license. I, more easily than I thought, found a variety of pictures, music, and videos I could pull from and mix together without fear of copyright infringement as long as I gave credit to the original authors. While Creative Commons is great, it is not flawless. While creating a teaser advocating remix’s role in creativity, I used a sound track that wrongfully had a Creative Commons license. This is still a major flaw in the system, and it is not just applicable to Creative Commons. It is easy in the digital age to obtain, use, and even claim ownership of works. In my case, I learned the necessity of double checking sources and to not blindly trust a Creative Commons license.

As a student, it appears to me that the main reason students plagiarize is accidental due to a poor understanding of what they can and cannot do with a work. If plagiarism is to be combatted, students need a better understanding of terms such as intellectual property, public domain, fair use, etc. The legality behind remixing materials, from the students’ view, is a complex mesh of rules; from the professor’s point of view, the students come off as inconsiderate and lazy. My hope is this site helps put the student and professor on the same page. Then ideas, attribution, and creativity will flourish.