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Reflections on the #openeducationwk Blog Posts

Posted by Brian Kelly on 18 March 2014

Summary of Open Education Week Blog Posts

Last week as part of the third Open Education Week event a series of blog posts were published daily: guest posts on the UK Web Focus blog and posts by Cetis staff which were available from the Cetis blog aggregator.

In total ten posts were published. These were, on the UK Web Focus blog:

and via the Cetis blog aggregator:

It is interesting to look at the different descriptions of open educational activities which have been described in these posts.

A number of the posts provide a generic overview on aspects of openness: Scott Wilson in “5 lessons for OER from Open Source and Free Software” looks on how those involved in OER work should reflect on the similarities with the development of the open source software movement; Doug Belshaw in “What Does Working Openly on the Web Mean in Practice?“reflects on the open practices which are embraced by those working for Mozilla and Simon Grant in “The growing need for open frameworks of learning outcomes” covers openness in the context of frameworks for learning outcomes.

Gillian Fielding provides an institutional focus in her post on “Open Education and Staff Development at the University of Salford“.

A national perspective in provided by Lorna Campbell in her post on “The Scottish Open Education Declaration“.

International perspectives are provided in Marieke Guy’s post on “Open Education Data” and Irina Radchenko and Anna Sakoyan’s post on “Data Expeditions and Data Journalism project as OER in Russian“.

Two Personal Perspectives

However it is the personal perspectives provided by Li Yuan and Sheila MacNeill which I found to be particularly interesting. In Li’s post on “A personal reflection on Open Education”  she shares “some thoughts and reflections on Open Education through my personal learning journey and some of the work that I have been involved in with OERs, Open Online Learning and MOOCs“; a journey which began back in 1985 when, as a school teacher in China, she signed up for a Self Study Higher Education Programme; continued after joining Cetis in 2008 and was involved in supporting the UK OER programme and her early involvement in MOOC work including development of an Open Online Course for Masters students studying educational technology in China and delivered it in partnership with a Chinese university. Li is currently involved in preparing a bid to address some of challenges in open education and help institutions develop new models for sustainable open online courses.

Sheila MacNeill: Topsy commentsSheila MacNeill’s post, in which she gave her reasons “Why the Opposite of Open isn’t Necessarily Broken“, generated the most interest on Twitter as can be seen in the accompanying image of the Topsy archive of the comments on Twitter about the post. In addition more detailed feedback has been provided in comments on the post.

Sheila reflected on her previous role at Cetis and her work in open education:

A large part of my work with Cetis was increasingly predicated by engagement in open, online communities. My visibility in a number of networks was a key part in me getting my current position. Openness, from open software to OER to open educational practice was and continues to be a core value not only for Cetis but for my own professional practice and values. 

However Sheila is very aware of the dangers that the “echo chamber” may lead one to believe that open practices are being widely adopted:

Over the past few years, I’ve heard in various places (both online and offline) that the “battle for open” has been won, or that open education is now “ mainstream”. I’ve always been slightly skeptical about such grand claims. Whilst the open education movement has made considerably inroads in the past decade, OERs and open educational practice are still not universally known about and used. Now, I’ve not started to work at some backwater on the edge of civilisation but believe me there are people here who aren’t even aware there has been a battle let alone have any idea of who/what has won, and what the legacy of the war is. Perhaps the greatest Trojan horse for open education has been MOOCs, as nearly everyone has heard about them.

Sheila concluded by critiquing the sound bite “the opposite of open is not ‘closed’, the opposite of open is ‘broken’”:

Last year at the Open Scotland summit, Cable Green gave a great line “the opposite of open is not ‘closed’, the opposite of open is ‘broken’.” However good a line that is, in reality things are more nuanced. In trying to support others to be open I may for a time, appear closed, and may even feel a bit broken and bruised. I’m not working with broken people or systems, just ones that need time and support to be comfortable with being open in ways that work for them. It is my open practice and the support from my open networks that continues to give me the support I need to continue to be open and contribute to our collective development and understanding of what being open actually means.

I would agree. As I would put it: “Embrace open practices which you are comfortable with; share your open practices with others and be willing to learn from the open practices used by other. But don’t be dismissive of those who don’t share your beliefs and practices.


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3 Responses to “Reflections on the #openeducationwk Blog Posts”

  1. Thanks Brian for this summary. It was such a great idea to have the guests posts last week and I really enjoyed having the opportunity to share some of my reflections on open practice with your readers. It was great to get such thoughtful feedback in the comments too.

  2. […] Summary of Open Education Week Blog Posts Last week as part of the third Open Education Week event a series of blog posts were published daily: guest posts on the UK Web Focus blog and posts by Cet…  […]

  3. […] Reflections on the #openeducationwk Blog Posts […]

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