Open Philosophy and Open Community

Tony Coughlan draws our attention to the forthcoming 10th anniversary of the Cape Town Open Education Declaration which asserted that “Open education is not limited to just open educational resources.”

He points to Anderson’s (2003) theorem,

Deep and meaningful formal learning is supported as long as one of the three forms of interaction (student–teacher; student-student; student-content) is at a high level. The other two may be offered at minimal levels, or even eliminated, without degrading the educational experience.”

Yesterday evening, and again this morning, I have had numerous conversations along the lines of: to progress the mainstreaming of open education we may have to shift attention and our own inclinations away from ideas of ‘provided content’ and work more on developing the discourse around the values of an open educational philosophy. It may be that the historical development of OER has got too caught up in the technical learning object, its control and rights. This may feel like a concrete basis to construct a discourse with our academic colleagues and institutions, but the argument for open will only be really appreciated when it is broached philosophically.

Content and the idea of resource is a distraction to progressing the acculturation of openness; one that can result in models open academic practice, which after all have a natural affinity with scholarship.

Content has a role in the learner-generated context. It is an an agent of co-production leading to deeper investigation of ideas amongst students with their teachers.

I think the focus on Culture at OER16 is the perfect opportunity find a new equilibrium for our engagement in a user-centred view of Open Education, but it may take us to shift our focus away from transactional and surface-level engagement with content and rights over it.


About amiddlet50

Educational developer working in academic innovation in higher education in the UK
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