Welcome to OER13 and this session. You have three speakers here but we would like to briefly lay the scene for you to contribute your thoughts and responses to this topic. The arguments in the title are not intended to be only our own arguments. ;-) We welcome questions throughout. Note that you are being audio recorded for this session (we can pause the recording if you really don’t want what you say to appear on this session). Just let us know before you start speaking please.
Let’s just agree here that making things open is not sufficient. Its nice and it is useful but we need to think about why we are making things open and the answer is often that we want to share these outputs. There is lots of openness around – you may have noticed? – but the point of this is that it can be shared, and used or reused by others, or simply admired and drawn on. Its open so that this may happen. Openness in itself does not make this happen but its much more likely to happen if things are open. The fact that there are many elements in education which are now more open and we are operating in a more open environment allows people to use these and draw on these in unexpected combinations. In fact the unexpectedness of the outcomes of open is key to what open is about. It is hard, perhaps even futile, to predict what will happen when things are opened up. It is optimistic. It is hopeful. It is what we are here for, exploring a newly open educational landscape together! But maybe even those who are strong advocates of openness are not as open as they might be?
The richness of what we share with people in the open landscape is perhaps watered down and more selective than what we choose to share with others with whom we have some prior relationship. This may be partly because of convenience. It can also be partly because of trust and established communication channels. For example sharing experiences and resources with those who you work closely with (e.g. within a module or programme team) may be relatively unselective. This diagram is based on tracking six cases in reusable resource sharing in UK Higher Education so in other contexts these zones may have different labels, but the individual or creator of the knowledge of the resource has access to all that they create and know. The effect can reasonable be expected to get watered down as the proximity between user and creator grows. There may also be special factors like the language of the creation or publication which create limits in selection and sharing. This is balanced by the high number of resources available in the open, the many different sources and the potential to version or remix. Although perhaps what people choose to share or not share follows a similar pattern so there may be some significant blind spots, types of sharing that does not occur beyond the local or individual.
We are selective in not only who we share with but also what we share. This is perhaps particularly true when we don’t have a trust relationship with the person we are sharing with, e.g. through open practice/publication. So we might skew towards sharing what is good or exceptional quality. Things which we know demand exists for, we may receive requests about these, or we may know that they are needed. Practices that reflect positively on the institution, practitioner or project are also easier to share. As are those that are already in a convenient form perhaps because they have already been published. Funding allows us to overcome quality and preparation problems by covering costs or offering some reward for extra time spent. Sometimes we might want to share work which we wish the community to respond to. Considering these criteria for selecting the type of things we may wish to share openly these are the things that we are used to mattering in research too.
There are many resources or experiences that we don’t commonly share, or only share selectively. There may be value in these resources. There may be investment in these which others could utilise if shared in an open manner.
We could adopt the terminology of knowledge management to consider whether what we need is a form of open knowledge exchange. Sharing of the tacit (hidden or informal) as well as the explicit (formal) knowledge and resources. We could claim that there is already a great deal which is shared through informal routes through open communities. But, the push into open publication of publicly funded knowledge may not address dissemination biases that already exist. For example there has been criticism of the selectiveness for publication of drug trials. Those which are incomplete, but still offer important knowledge may not be published and that knowledge/resource is lost.
We are now looking at you. Would you/Could you share at 100%, or nearer to 100% than you currently do? Would you consider publishing openly resources, or share practice openly where you were aware that this was not the best that you could do, was not original and new, but could nonetheless have some positive merit, especially through a remix? If such knowledge were available would you find it useful yourself?
There are some definite problems with sharing resources less selectively. Seven of these are listed above. Can you suggest any strategies to minimise these. Or anything that we have missed?
Sharing @ 100%? – arguments for aless selective approach to reporting OER activity Chris Pegler, The Open University Gema Santos-Hermosa, Open University of Catalonia Anna Comas-Quinn, The Open University Conference 26-27th March 2013 University of Nottingham, UK
Sharing and the ‘open landscape’ Made using Wordle – open licensed (thanks to Jonathan Feinberg who made it so)
Who are we ‘open’ with? Zones of proximity Pegler, 2011We might share 100% of what we generate with ourselves(even the unpublished stuff) but how about with others?How selective do we become as proximity reduces?
Things we might select to share?• Looks good or exceptional (showcase quality)• Rare/unusual/topical topic/treatment (high demand)• Makes you/yours look good (what works well here)• What you have ready to share (quick and easy)• Requirement or reward linked to sharing (funding)• We want/need a wider response to it (community) These factors appear to apply whether sharing is of resources for education or research.
Resources we don’t select to share?• Not usual/desired finish or quality (looks bad)• Lots of similar items already available (derivative)• It didn’t work as expected/planned (dirty linen)• Not finished, still work-in-progress (stalled)• No support or system to do this (costly)• We’d prefer no-one else finds out about it (amnesia) Could there be good reasons in terms of education or research if openness is target?
Open knowledge exchangeConsider dissemination bias if we over-select:In medicine it is increasingly recognised that outcomesand data which projects choose not to formally publishmay have benefit. Song, et al., 2010 suggested theremay be dissemination bias in terms of what ispublished and shared.So only some medical trials were shared. Not thosewith undesirable results or ones which were set aside.Song F, Parekh S, Hooper L, Loke YK, Ryder J, Sutton AJ, Hing C, Kwok CS, Pang C, Harvey I, (2010).Dissemination and publication of research findings: an updated review of related biases. In HealthTechnology Assessment Feb;14(8):iii, ix-xi, 1-193.
Would you share openly resources which were:1. Not the usual/desired finish or quality (look bad)2. Similar to items already available (derivative)3. Didn’t work as expected/planned (dirty linen)4. Unfinished, still work-in-progress (stalled)5. Without established support/system to do this (extra time or resource)6. Evidence of mistakes or dead ends/wrong turns (revive bad memories)
1. Adding yet more material to the mix (overload)2. May be not rigorously tested (unreliable)3. May be dead ends for good reason (waste time)4. May be insufficient to be of use (incomplete)5. Could damage image of provider (reputation)6. Not enough time/resources to do this (reward)7. How to curate this? How to search it? (systems)8. ???