Online Learning Update

August 13, 2010

Openness as Catalyst for an Educational Reformation

Filed under: Online Learning News — Ray Schroeder @ 12:10 am

by David Wiley, EDUCAUSE Review, vol. 45, no. 4 (July/August 2010): 14–20

For the authors of content, resources, courseware, or textbooks, being open is about overcoming the inner two-year-old who constantly screams: “Mine! You can’t have it! It’s MINE!” Unfortunately, modern law and college/university policy tend to enable this bad behavior, allowing us to shout “Mine!” ever more loudly, to stomp our feet with ever less self-control, and to hit each other with ever harder and sharper toys. Throughout our tantrums, society soothingly whispers that unbridled selfishness is a natural and therefore appropriate feeling. Regrettably, some educators and administrators have allowed themselves to be swayed by the siren song: “It’s OK. Be stingy with your lecture notes. Don’t share your slides. They’re yours. Sue those students who posted their class notes online. It’s legal. Go ahead.” By contrast, the idea of openness reminds us of what we knew intuitively before society gave us permission to act monstrously toward one another. I’m frequently asked: “What is the appropriate role of openness in education?” I find the question to be deeply troubling and insidious. The question implies that openness might play any of several roles in the educational enterprise—a core or a peripheral role, a large or a small role. The question subtly distracts people from seeing that openness is the sole means by which education is effected. If a teacher is not sharing what he or she knows, there is no education happening.

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