Thursday, April 19, 2012

Intro to Openness in Education - OpenEd Overview Badge.

With my posting of a summary of my learning about the Open Policy topic, I have jumped all but one hurdle to earn the OpenEd Overview Badge in the Intro to Openness in Education 2012 course. The last hurdle is this blog in which I try to link 12 individual posts and announce my intent to have completed the badge.

Occupy Education

What resonates in my mind after looking at so many different topics around openness is the enormous struggle there appears to be between the the way we used to do things and the suggested movement towards open access to education. Cory Doctorow even calls it a war, in the Open Source section. The Open Licensing section (of the course, not necessary my summary) provided several critical insights in how big business is trying to hold on to their copyrights, by continuously changing the law to keep prolonging rights that were intended to promote creativity, not block it. And in Open Policy Dr. Cable Green gives several examples of where existing business models (read the publishing industry) are lobbying for laws that prevent individuals and institutions to develop competing open resources. Some faculty are fighting back by boycotting existing business models, in favour of Open Access.

Some weeks in the course, and inspired by the many spinoffs of Occupy Wall Street, I though of coining the phrase 'Occupy Education' to signify that we should start taking back something that was actually ours in the first place; public education! And a google search showed the term was already in use, in particular in relation to a strike by high school students in Chile for almost a year already.
Did anyone hear about this? I certainly did not. 
Now I do find sites that are more in line with my initial thought, that public education is not for sale.

Projects in Openness

Over the past ten years all kinds of small projects popped up that experimented with opening of Content, Courseware, and Educational Resources. Perhaps initiatives in these areas happened under the radar of the establishment, or were seen as funny little experiments, doomed to fail. But ten years in, the existing business models are starting to notice these annoying little bugs, and start brining out the insecticide, in particular the one they know best: lawyers. See for example David Wiley's blog about the Boundless case

Somehow I feel that initiatives involving Open Science and Open Data are tolerated more by the existing business models, as they accelerate opportunities to earn more money. 

I am wondering how long it takes before some BIG contributor to institutions where professors such as David Wiley practice Open Teaching methods including Open Assessment (I know, weak link, but hey I am trying to get all 12 topics in ;-)) start telling the governing bodies of such institutions to stop employing such harmful methods. 


Dr. Green states "cooperate and share - we all win." 

But what about existing business models? What about the poor employees of the publishing industry who will loose their jobs because of this evil movement? 

It is high time that existing business models start looking at how they can contribute to Open Business Models, or else start preparing to disappear. I have the feeling that the openness in education movement will turn into an avenge that cannot be stopped. 

By the way

And hereby I announce my intent to have completed the OpenEd Overview Badge

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