The Content Paradox

Originally posted at

But one must not think ill of the paradox, for the paradox is the passion of thought, and the thinker without the paradox is like the lover without passion: a mediocre fellow. But the ultimate potentiation of every passion is always to will its own downfall, and so it is also the ultimate passion of the understanding to will the collision, although in one way or another the collision must become its downfall. This, then, is the ultimate paradox of thought: to want to discover something that thought itself cannot think.

Søren Kierkegaard, Philosophical Fragments (1844, translated 1985) p. 37

By definition, a paradox is not a negative engagement, which is at the heart of my trouble with the escape offered by David Wiley as an addendum to his reusability paradox.  The reusability paradox states that the context of an OER content (at the time known as learning objects) positively correlates to its educational efficacy (the more/better the context the more/better the efficacy), but at the same time has an inverse correlation to scalability (the more/better the context the less/worse the reuse).  This makes the paradox an example of a circular definition or an endless loop, because trying to be All Things results in a mediocre middle where the artifact is neither educationally beneficial nor scalable, essentially producing something sterile.


About Rolin
Assistant Professor & Director of EdTech & Media at Seattle Pacific University. Consultant w/ RAM TEC. Work with faculty, teach students, explore non-formal learning spaces (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums)

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