REMIX, MASH-UP, SHARE: AUTHENTIC ASSESSMENT, COPYRIGHT AND ASSESSMENT POLICY IN INTERACTIVE MEDIA, GAMES AND DIGITAL DESIGN
The proliferation of Web 2.0 applications and services – characterized by dynamic interactivity, social software and the growth of user-generated content (UGC) – is having a significant impact on university learning environments. However, to date, much of the teaching and learning literature and research projects in this area have concentrated on the social networking potential of Web 2.0 (i.e. the integration of blogs, wikis and social networking services such as Facebook and Twitter into pedagogical practice). This paper presents the findings and outcomes of an Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) project that focuses on an equally important yet under-researched aspect of Web 2.0, pedagogy, and digital content production: that is, remixing and produsage. These terms describe the emergence of a type of content production that is collaborative, shared, and more significantly, often comprises the re-use of existing media content, or the ‘mashing-up’ and aggregation of existing services and applications, practices that effectively conflate the activities of ‘user’ and ‘producer’.
The project, entitled Remix, Mash-Up, Share: Authentic Web 2.0 Assessment Scenarios and Criteria for Interactive Media, Games and Digital Design (ALTC, 2010-2011) explores the implications of remix and produsage for the development of effective and real-world teaching and learning tools and practices. Although remixed, collaborative and ‘derivative’ digital content production is becoming increasingly common in professional new media contexts, it has not been successfully integrated into undergraduate assessment components and criteria, resulting in ‘inauthentic’ assessment tasks. As a number of theorists have noted, this is because it presents a fundamental paradigm shift away from the traditional notion of student-authored, original, ‘discrete’ and summative assessments, and goes against the grain of both conventional copyright regulations, and current assessment and plagiarism policies in universities both Australia-wide and overseas.
Seeking to tackle these issues, the Remix, Mash-Up, Share project has developed and implemented a series of authentic Web 2.0 assessment components across two semesters, six courses and three Australian universities, with a view to (i) determining specific assessment criteria for work that involves re-use, remixing, ‘bricolage’ and aggregation, as a way to prepare interactive media, games and digital design students for professional practice and increase their literacy of the ‘platform ontology’ of Web 2.0, and (ii) developing guidelines to present to university Assessment Committees for the trialling of revised assessment policies and plagiarism regulations to accommodate Web 2.0 assessment components and criteria.
This paper will discuss the findings of the project, and more specifically focus on (i) the conundrum of copyright and authorship in relation to remixed and/or shared digital content, from the perspective of both learner and teacher, and (ii) the need for more informed, critical and flexible approaches to both copyright and assessment policy in university learning.