Text-based Description – Remix in Higher Education (5.2)

Descriptions by Douglas Terry


TITLE – Center of page:



Home, Why Remix, Remix in Higher Education, Creative Commons, The Gray Area, Where’s Remix?


The home page (and site in general) uses autumn colors. A navigation bar which is brown with orange letters is at the top of the page. A second navigation bar with inverted colors is found at the bottom of the page. Both of these navigation bars allow for intuitive, natural navigation of the site, and they exist on every page of the site. On the home page specifically, however, other means of navigation are available. Under the title, a link to every page with a short description and associated picture is given. The Creative Commons tab, for example, has the Creative Commons logo available to click. The Why Remix tab has a question mark as well as red letters that say ‘Begin exploring here’. If a user randomly stumbles across the site (which is common on the internet), the red writing should pull attention to the Why Remix page which is a great place to begin exploring the site. The Remix in Higher Education page is accessible by clicking a graduation hat. The Gray Area page is available by clicking the ‘Gray Area’ box. Lastly, the Where’s Remix page is accessible via a picture of a map which was licensed with Creative Commons. Having a clickable icon associated with each tab, a clickable title next to each icon and the navigation bars allows for easy navigation. Furthermore, a remixed collage is found in the bottom half of the page. It consists of a man wearing Creative Common Sunglasses, a photo of the word ‘Share’ from the international SHARE conference, artistic placement of the saying ‘Everything is a Remix’, a random remixed photo of the Statue of Liberty which was found via Creative Commons, and a Steve Jobs quote. “Creativity is just connecting things.” All of these items are clickable for their source.

Why Remix? PAGE:

The color scheme is retained. Text on the page is brown on a white background. The page has two “columns.” At the top of theleft hand column, a diagram demonstrating ‘Copy, Transform, Combine’ is shown, as well as the words ‘Copy, Transform, Combine.’ The Diagram is from the video series Everything is a Remix by Kirby Ferguson. A link to the series’ site is a found between the diagram and text mentioned above. Furthermore, the entire series is found embedded below the diagram. The first is at the top, the last is at the bottom. Beneath the series is a blue information box which provides more information about the significance of remixing. Specifically, it links to a reference page.

The right hand siade of the page consists of mainly text. Above the ‘Why is remix important’ title is a link to Kirby Ferguson’s Twitter which is @remixeverything. It is written in blue and a twitter icon is next to it. A Kirby Ferguson quote is immediately below the title but before the main text. After two short paragraphs, a YouTube clip titled Wanna Be Startin’ Something is embedded into the page. The video is roughly a third of the way down the page. Beneath the video is text. At the very bottom of the right hand side is a quote from Lawrence Lessig’s Free Culture.

Remix in Higher Education PAGE:

The color scheme is retained. The page Title (How Does Remix Fit into Higher Education) and a short opening paragraph are found at the top of the page. Beneath this is a summary of an EDUCAUSE journal article published by Brian Lamb. The summary is encased in an orange box, and a link the article is hyperlinked in. The page splits in two similar to the Why Remix page after the EDUCAUSE journal article review. On the left, a YouTube embedded clip titled ‘Student interviews on remixing in Higher Education’. On the right, a YouTube embedded clip titled ‘Case Study on remixing in Higher Education.” Both the titles are beneath their respective clips and in orange font. There are two more objects of interest on the page beneath the clips. The first is a paragraph summarizing the results of the interviews in the clips mentioned above. The second, found immediately left of the paragraph just mentioned, is a small box talking about Creative Commons. A link to the Creative Commons portion of the site is found here as well.

Remix in Higher Education (Video 1)

This video is a combination of interviews from multiple undergraduate students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill about their views on remixes in higher education. White text asks the first interview question- ‘Do you think about using uncopyrighted materials? Why or why not?’ The text shrinks and moves to the bottom left corner as the first video of the student response comes on. All of the interviews take place in the same location with the same yellow-walled background; the student is always has the door behind them to the right. A desk is in front of them, and a shelf on their right has various books, a mug, small plastic cars, and a picture leaning against the wall.

Student 1, who is wearing a t-shirt with Ramses (The UNC Chapel Hill Mascot) looks down as he thinks about his response. He mumbles “How much thought do I put into using material that is un-copyrighted…”After thinking his voice picks up in confidence and he says “I feel like most things are copyrighted these days so it seems kinda hard to find something that is both useful and not copyrighted I guess.”

Student 2 is quickly cut in. He is also Chapel Hill attire, but his shirt only has the word ‘Carolina” on it. Much like Student 1, he pauses to think before responding to the question a repeats the question in a mumble. Once he finds his answer he more confidently says “A lot of the times it’s just easier to find the more widely available videos.”

Student 3 is cut in. She is in a black shirt and addresses the camera with interviewer with eye contact from the start saying “I honestly, when I go into it I don’t think about whether it is copyrighted or un-copyrighted…. [I think] that’s a cool image, I think I’ll try to work that in there.”

Student 1 is cut back in and explains his views in more detail. He talks about his view that using copyrighted material in a classroom setting seems to be understandable, but that respecting copyright laws is definitely understandable.

Now, Student 4 is cut in. He is wearing a pink and blue striped shirt and has a fountain drink with him. He briefly agrees with Student 1’s ideas that an educational setting allows for flexibility of copyright laws, and then student 3 is cut back in. She explains how from her experiences, people’s opinions drastically change when they realize her use of copyrighted materials is not for profit, but instead for education.

The last response to this initial question is answered by Student 5. Student 5 is in a pink shirt and she gestures with her hands as she explains her views. Summing up the response of the previous students, she says “I think if something is based in education or for the purpose of a class I know you do have many more rights in that situation”

The second interview question fades onto the screen in white letters, and once again shrinks into the bottom left corner to be seen during the following interview. The question reads “Do you think the ability to remix materials affects your ability to be creative?”

Initially, quick cuts of the students responses are shown agreeing with the statement are shown. Student 4 says, “I think it helps”, and then Student 3 says “Obviously the more materials you can pull from, the more creative you can be.” Student 2, however, does not agree that the ability to remix materials affects the ability to be creative. With crossed arms he argues that “if there is a will there is a way. Even if it’s frustrating sometimes.”

The third interview question now appears. It asks the students how they feel about tightening Copyright Laws. Like the previous questions, it shrinks to the bottom right corner during students responses.

Student 1 is the first response shown. He argues that tightening copyright laws would “limit the kinds of influences you can pull from to make something totally new.” A series of quick cuts show Student 5 and Student 4’s opinions. Student 5 advocates that tightening copyright laws “definitely would inhibit some creativity”. Student 4 thinks stricter copyright laws would even hinder motivation.

Student 3’s response to the question ends the film. With both voice and hand gestures, she passionately suggests that harsher copyright regulations “could even be demoralizing”. She sums up a great point for proponents of looser copyright laws. With tighter laws, “you have to put so much more time into what can I actually use as opposed to taking anything and creating something new out of that. You have a much smaller foundation [to start with].”

Remix in Higher Education (Video 2 Case Study)

The video opens with text asking the question “Do you think about using un-copyrighted materials? Why or why not?” The text shrinks and moves to the bottom right so it can be seen during the interview with the student. The student (name kept anonymous) has long black hair and is wearing a yellow scarf, red over-shirt, and white long sleeved shirt. For the opening shot she is leaning on her elbow thinking. The interview takes place in the same location as the other Remix in Higher Education video. It is a yellow-walled background; the student is always has the door behind them to the right. A desk is in front of them, and a shelf on their right has various books, a mug, small plastic cars, and a picture leaning against the wall.

Once the question has migrated to the bottom right corner, she responds to the first interview question by saying she feels “I just feel no guilt ripping things off the internet, reading books online for free, getting music…” As she says these things, images of websites with free book PDF downloads, music download sites fade onto the screen. These images all cut off of the screen simultaneously, and images from the aesthetically pleasing film Avatar are shown. The images include shots of the sky with multiple moons and a dragon-like creature flying into the distance and shots of an exotic jungle with a futuristic helicopter flying above it. As these shots fade in and out, the student is talking about how she “would assume that credit is not needed because people that are going to watch it are not going to be like ‘Wow you filmed that’.”

She then moves onto the example of covering a song as a form of remix. As she talks about covering songs, a YouTube clip of a cover of Home by Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeroes is shown. The number of views (over twenty five million) is highlighted. The cover is by a father playing the song on the acoustic guitar while his young daughter in pajamas sings next to him. The screen fades black as the song cover plays.

The second interview question appears in text. It reads: Do you think your ability to remix materials affects your ability to be creative.” Once again, it shrinks and relocates to the bottom right as the student begins to answer the question.

As the student answers the questions, she talks about how starting creating a master piece from a blank sheet of paper is more difficult than starting with a flower. Images of a blank word document and a remixed flower photographic shot are shown during this. An example of using previous works as stepping stones is demonstrated with the remixed flower pictures. Next, she talks about Isaac Newton’s quote of standing on the shoulders of giants. As she mentions that quote, the full quote appears in text in the top left. Beneath it, a similar quote (from which Newton probably derived his quote) which predates Newton by 500 years is shown.

Then, she passionately talk about referencing previous works of art allows you to pull in “something so huge” and allows you to pull in all the messages associated with that work of art. “It’s like bringing a whole new level of communication. It’s not coping or taking- its referencing.”

The final interview question now fades onto the screen: How does an educational setting impact your thoughts on creating and using remixes? As the questions heads to the bottom right of the screen, the student begins to explain her views on remixing in an educational setting. She looks up as she thinks of an example of remixing for school purposes, and she eventually comes up with a situation of ripping a scene from Titanic for a class versus ripping a scene from Titanic just to put on YouTube. To her, ripping in both situations is morally equivalent; the difference people see is “just a cultural thing” she says with a shrug.

Creative Commons PAGE:

The Creative Commons page retains the same color scheme. It is divided into sections by horizontal and vertical orange lines. In general, the sections are staggered. The upper most section has a link to the official creative commons website and twitter (@creativecommons). This section is on the right half of the page. The next section (on the left hand side of the page) is titled ‘What is Creative Commons?” It consists of a YouTube clip as well as two paragraphs to the right of the clip. The third section consists of a YouTube clip and paragraph similar to the previous section. However, this clip is larger in dimensions and leaves no room near the section borders. The paragraph is found beneath the video. The fourth section is titled “What is Creative Commons trying to do?” It consists of a YouTube clip from the official Creative Commons website as well as a paragraph the right of the clip. This clip is the same scale as the video in section two.

By this point, the sections are no longer staggered. One section takes up the rest of the left hand page. It is titled “What exactly does a CC License look like?” Beneath the title is a diagram explaining the meanings of the handful of Creative Commons License options. Beneath the diagram is a paragraph explaining the options in a bit more detail. The rest of the right hand of the page is divided into two smaller sections. The first includes a beautiful picture of a sunset and some text explaining the ability of the Creative Commons search tool. A smaller, second section is filled with a blue box and text that links to a YouTube clip of how to give a video uploaded to YouTube a Creative Common License.

Creative Commons (Video 1)

This video opens up with the same picture collage that’s on the home page of the Wix site. It consists of a black and white photo of a man wearing glasses where the lenses are made of the Creative Commons logo and the words Everything is a Remix. Then, a scene from one of Kirby Ferguson’s Everything is a Remix series slides in from the right of the screen. Kirby Ferguson’s quote “We can’t introduce anything new until we are fluent with our domain” is laid over the scene. As it comes onto the screen, an audio sample from the Everything is a Remix series plays saying “Isaac Newton once said, I stand on the shoulders of giants. Which is what he was doing when he adapted that saying from….”. As the music picks up, a collage of Creative Common pictures appear. They show everything from flowers, eyes, friends, and slugs. After the collage, a photo of light bulbs appears. On the individual light bulbs, the words “Creativity is not a spark. It is the result of free flowing ideas and works being combined” appear. As the music fades, text asks the user “Where are ideas free flowing and people’s work at your finger tips?” The rest of the video is an excerpt from an official Creative Commons video. It opens with text asking “Do you want to work together.” Then, a green circle (which represents information) is split equally among multiple people. The green circle is then held up in the air by a teacher, who is sharing information with her students. The circle is then reshaped and redesigned by a computer mouse. The circle is then shakes and becomes a set of quotation marks and placed in a book. Lastly, the circle is filled with various symbols representing types of information. A pen, beaker, music note, director’s action board are examples. The green circle eventually turns into a miniature earth which people a connected by. At the very end of the video, an evil-looking Copyright symbol is shown as the Creative Commons narrator talks about full copyrighting being to restricted. The Creative Commons symbol pops up at the end.

Creative Commons (Video 2)

The song Her Fantasy by Matthew Dear plays in the background of a blank video. A picture of Steve Jobs and a quote which reads “Creativity is just connecting things” fade in. After this fades out, a creative commons logo and the question “How do I get past all the copyright laws and regulations in order to connect ideas together and foster creativity?” fade in. Next, an interview with Matthew Dear about the music industry and internet plays. It is a shoulder up shot of Matthew as he talks about how the internet has affected his music career. He suggests that the more of his music available, free or not, the better. After the brief interview, the back ground song (which he composed) picks up and his music video fades in. His music video shows him playing the guitar while a light flashes on and off. The screen repeatedly goes from black to lit. The light cast a silhouette on the wall behind him. The video ends with this scene, and the music fading.

The Gray Area PAGE:

The previous color scheme is retained on this page. The page is divded into boxes with black edges. Much like previous pages, the page has a right and left side. In the left upper box (titled ‘What exactly is copyright law meant to do?’), a quote from an interview with Lawrence Lessig talks about a balance of appealing to artists and the general public’s interest. Underneath the quote is a scale with money on one side and a light bulb (representing ideas) on the other side. A twitter quote from @CreativeCommons is beneath the scale in blue text. Beneath the already mentioned, a new box titled ‘Where do you draw the line’ is found. The title is split into two lines, and the top of the box divides the top line from the bottom line. This purposefully and playfully draws attention to the topic of where a line should be drawn in fair use. The box only contains text in the form of two paragraphs.

On the right hand side of the page, a large box covers the same distance down the page as the ’Where do you draw the line’ and ‘What exactly is copyright law meant to do?’ combined. This box covers the topics of fair use and public domain. A blue arrow connects the quote from the upper left box to a quote in this box; they’re connected like this to show the flow of the page, and because the quotes are from the same interview. The bottom of this box on the right side of the page is shaded blue at the bottom. A link to Stanford’s detailed explanation of public domain and fair use rules is found in the blue shaded area.

Similar to the Remix in Higher Education page, the bottom half of the page is no longer split into a left and right column. Instead, two more boxed sections take up the entire horizontal space. The upper of these boxes is titled ‘Intellectual Property’. It contains two paragraphs to the right of the enlarged title. The lower box is titled ‘Plagiarism’ in a different font than the other titles/text. A definition of plagiarism is to the right of the title. The definition includes an actual definition, how to annunciate the word, and the source of the definition. The bulk of the box is filled with text which analyzes plagiarism in a modern society. It uses a lot of ideas from Perspectives on Plagiarism and Intellectual Property in a Postmodern World which is cited as needed.

Where’s Remix PAGE:

This page uses the same color scheme as previous pages; it is different in its organization though. This page is very sporadically laid out with each example taking up varying amount of space. Orange lines separate different examples of remix and their respective text. They are roughly organized in layers. The left side of the uppermost layer consists of a Sudden Clarity Clarence meme (which says the socially awkward meme is a penguin…because penguins can’t break the ice) and a Socially Awkward Penguin meme (which say: Laughs at someone’s joke…They haven’t told the punch line yet). Between the two memes is text which curtly describes what memes are. To the right of these memes is a Hitler Downfall YouTube clip accompanied with text as well as a quote by the director of the film.

The left most remix example on the second layer is a remix of John Lennon’s Imagine to images of the Bush Administration. To the right of this is a picture of gum art found in Post Alley Seattle, Washington. It depicts Mario, a coin box, a 1-up mushroom, and a star, but they are all made of pieces of gum! The text for this image is found below the photograph.

The third layer has a collage of old comic book covers showing the heroes which all appear in the recent film The Avengers. The text of this section is in the middle of the images. Going clockwise around the text are the magazine covers featuring the Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, The Avengers (movie poster), Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Captain America. To the right of this collage is the iconic Obama HOPE poster. The text beneath the poster image explains the controversy surrounding it.

At the very bottom of the page is a blue shaded box. The box consists of a paragraph which summarizes the items on the page. The final sentence of the paragraph is in red text. It reads: Remix is everywhere.