Posted by: MandyS | March 27, 2014

Flavours of Openness

So…a couple of readings/viewings to acquaint oneself with the  ‘views on different aspects of what openness means in higher education’:

CNN-1333 Open Course (2012), The extended argument for openness in education identifies 3 principal influences in education:

1. Open Educational Resources – educational materials are provided free of charge to the public; based on the ethos that education is all about ‘sharing’ (knowledge/information), by using the internet as a medium for distribution, education becomes ‘affordable and accessible’. More importantly, the use of open licensing circumvents copyright restrictions and means materials can be revised, remixed, reused and redistributed (4R’s) so that materials can be aligned to meet specific requirements.

2. Open Access – enabling researchers, as opposed to publishers, to control reproduction and distribution of their work.

3. Open Teaching – which essentially provides education to those who are not able to attend campus courses.

Wiley (2010), Open education and the future (video) again describes openness as ‘freely sharing artefacts’ which can be ‘revised, remixed, reused and redistributed’ without the constraints of copyright; sharing being the ‘ethos of education’ and the ‘best teachers share the most completely with the most students’. What he does highlight, however, is the importance of technology in supporting openness, which he demonstrates using the dissemination of ‘expertise’. One can share expertise without losing it; it is ‘non-rivalrous’, but if one expresses expertise in a book there is ‘competition for access to it’; one runs the risk of ‘losing it’ simply because the book can be taken and not returned. However, where expertise is expressed ‘digitally’, it maintains its ‘non-rivalrous’ state as numerous people can access it ‘all at the same time’, competition for access is averted and expressions of expertise are not lost. But, technology has to be used appropriately if it is to support openness effectively. The internet allows for immediate and free sharing but CMS turns openness ‘against itself’ by restricting access via passwords and deleting information on the conclusion of a module. Likewise, the need to protect ‘intellectual property’ is ‘outdated in education’.

From this, one has to discern the ‘key concepts of openness in education’, ideally in a ‘visual representation’. This I will add at a later stage but for now this is what I take from the two views:

Openness in education is: Shared, free, accessible, affordable, personalised, technologically reliant, dependent on open policies being adopted, not constrained by copyright.

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