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Altc - openness - when ideals meet reality

Altc - openness - when ideals meet reality



Part of a session at ALT-C 2012 on Openness: Learning from our history http://altc2012.alt.ac.uk/talks/28123 , by Amber Thomas, JISC.

Part of a session at ALT-C 2012 on Openness: Learning from our history http://altc2012.alt.ac.uk/talks/28123 , by Amber Thomas, JISC.



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  • The first thing to say is that we are all different in our encounters with new approaches Whether they are new technologies like badges or new delivery models like MOOCs. We are each on our own learning curves and changed curves, and we meet new ideas and solutions at different points in the hype cycle. That is a lot of variation. So when we meet new ideas, we can respond very differently. My first message is that every response is a real response because responses are individual and they are about perceptions.
  • It’s to easy to characterise people as pro- or anti- something It’s too easy to present things as a debate for or against But polarisation often masks the real questions, because we don’t hear them properly http://www.bloomsburyacademic.com/view/DigitalScholar_9781849666275/chapter-ba-9781849666275-chapter-013.xml
  • There is usually a dialectic around open and free free as in freedom, free as in beer http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/14.09/posts.html?pg=6 Open as in door or open as in heart Some courses are open as in door. You can walk in, you can listen for free. Others are open as in heart. You become part of a community, you are accepted and nurtured. http://followersoftheapocalyp.se/open-as-in-door-or-open-as-in-heart-mooc/ I always add: open as in markets? Some would characterise the Finch Report on open access as being pulled towards the more conservative forces Conservative forces aren’t necessarily “right wing” – they might be to protect the NHS rather than marketise the health system. Closer to home they might be to protect the public education system against competitive private provision How do you feel about Pearson entering the HE market? How do you feel about Free Schools?
  • To follow on from free as in beer ... A great example of branching is the trajectory of the open source movement Big debates over gratis vs libre Introduction of the Free AND Libre Open Source Software term – FLOSS By enabling the practices of open source to branch off, to allow the community to branch off Towards profit-making business models in some areas, free culture models in others. This is sometimes called a diffusion of innovation Interesting how github supports the whole spectrum This has also been the approach of the UK OER Programme. We have been quite pluralistic about OER, to let people find their own ways. We have certainly had tensions between the marketing/recruitment aspect and the open practice perspective. What’s important to note is that often it’s not just one model that comes to dominate.
  • We don’t always understand what brings about mainstreaming. We very rarely control it. Consider a story from open standards: the rise and fall of RSS aggregation. Is it netvibes or pageflakes that made the difference? Or google-reader? At what point did twitter and facebook start to dominate the aggregation game and overtake RSS? OER programme gave freedom for each project to choose their platform. They didn’t chose a standard they chose a platform. It’s often when open standards are baked in to platforms that we see take-up without conscious decision making. I’m not sure we always notice: sometimes when mainstreaming happens we don’t recognise it When did e-learning become part of the fabric of education?
  • Finally, change can take a lot longer than we hope The 10 years since the Berlin Declaration on Open Access can feel like geological time. Perhaps we need some time-lapse photography approach to recognising the impact of changes we started back then. So many more people understand OA now. So many more people care. Wikipedia started in 2001. Is that fast or slow? Were there points when they thought about giving up? change takes longer than you think