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6.4.3 Links and embeds

As with RSS, the significance of hyperlinking was that it allowed easy connections to be made between content. The theory of connectivism is in many ways premised on the simple method of making links between one web document and another, using HTML.

This seems fairly obvious but almost as significant was the embed code, which allowed people to easily embed content from one site in another. For example, rather than linking to a YouTube video you could embed it into your own blog post by copying the embed code provided for every YouTube video.

The embed code was an essential element in the rise of what became known as ‘web 2.0’. This saw people creating content easily and also having a simple means by which to share and spread that content. There was thus a virtuous circle between the rise of blogs (and later social networks) where many people were now writing online regularly, and their search for content to link to and write about. Being able to embed content in your own site was invaluable in maintaining a blog, or later a MySpace or Facebook page, because it meant you didn’t have to send the reader to another site to view the content; they could view it in situ.

For open education this was significant as it allowed the easy creation of learning content that drew on different resources; for example, a Slideshare presentation, a document in Scribd and a YouTube video. It also created a motivation to create and share content, since it could spread in a viral fashion. This encouraged academics to adopt many of the web 2.0 tools as a means of dissemination.

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