A Brown Paper Bag for Branding

Here at the college we are moving from Blackboard to Canvas at a rather quick pace. Thank goodness the Canvas Guides are pretty awesome and organized. The Canvas Vimeo site has some great tutorials and they too are organized mostly well. Of course, lots of other colleges that their own versions of “Quick Start Guides” and “How to” PDFs. All normal stuff these days. And boy howdy, we have been sharing that stuff with our faculty.

Some of the best user guides I have found are made by other colleges and are appropriately branded. Footers have college information and the headers are all college logos. Save the introductory portions, the bulk of the text is not particularly laced with references to the colleges. It is generic and applicable to anyone using Canvas. Most of them are publicly available and in PDF form.

I understand the branding of stuff. From a consumer perspective, I understand brand recognition and the information that provides the buyer. In a capitalist society, branding is everything. All this plays into copyright too of course. But with all that said, there seems to be an overwhelming “Mineness” to these things.

While it is not confirmed, it looks like our little department will be making Canvas “How To” PDFs. And word is, we will, “brand our stuff.” We will remake/invent the wheel for “our” college faculty.

I object. Not to the notion that we have stuff for our faculty to learn from. Not that I can’t make quality material for our faculty. But I object to branding ours as others have done for decades before. I want quality, not a brand logo. I want ease of access, not slick fonts and proprietary logoized content. I want ours, not Mine, Mine, Mine.

This time around I would like to make some learning material that is of high quality and where it is generic in nature, make it so that others can use it and even brand it with their logo if needed. Creative Commons applies to many things and while the logo is not really part of the conversation, why try to own it with a logo or address. Why not make content that is useful, of high quality, and leave it at that. Allow others to do the branding if they want?

I guess I just would like to see some great work out there that is not labeled, branded, or copyrighted in such a way that renders it useless to the others that might be told to “brand” their tutorials with fancy logos and street addresses.

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