Openness- Is it an ideology or reality?

Is commercialization in conflict with the 4Rs(reuse, revise, redistribute, and remix)?  Most commercialized courses (MOOCs inclusive) require certain restrictions to access (may be for a free taster course that would be followed by the “main course” offered with a fee for service).

So, what may be defined as open and free is limited under those programs, and that could contradict with the 4Rs, especially with the free to re-use, redistribute or to remix, as these are forbidden.

Openness is at the heart of MOOCs, only that it may be semi-open, as a participant could enter the open door (register for free) with a MOOC, and use it personally, without any alteration of the course content.  In those MOOCs, there is no remix, re-sending out of part or all of the resources allowed.

David Wiley in his post says:

MOOCs are not openly licensed, and consequently will struggle with issues of quality and will never become part of the educational infrastructure that enables truly breakthrough advances. MOOCs get us one step closer to the goal, but we need to continue advocating for true openness in order to create the space in which those advances can happen.

I was puzzled when someone who re-posted the whole course of MITx as mentioned here by Audrey.  Was it “legal” for the learner(s) to “copy” and create the MOOCs based on the MOOCs created by the Higher Education Institutions?  Wasn’t it covered in the terms and conditions of re-use of that course offered by MITx?

Copying MOOCs content in whole or in part could be a grave concern for the MOOCs providers and the Higher Education Institutions offering the MOOCs, especially when other education providers or competitors exploit the opportunity to have them commercialized or privatized for their own purposes.

From an entrepreneur and venture capitalists point of view, that is against their original intention or purpose, as “profit” could be lost if such content or OERs are being distributed in other sites for free.  This could be analogous to the piracy allegations when commercial copyrighted DVD and videos are being copied by others, for re-selling or re-distribution for free.  Currently, there are lots of videos which may be copyrighted but they are “freely” posted on the Youtube or other sites.

Openness is also a state of mind (Mackness, 2012), for both professors who are practising open scholarship, and those participants in openly sharing their thoughts and learning in open spaces.  Would that be challenging if professors and learners are confining their discourse within closed learning platforms?  Learners are not supposed to openly post any of those learning resources or artifacts outside the platforms of MOOCs, due to the “copy-right” restrictions in uploading and downloading those artifacts, and that remix or redistribution of artifacts are also restricted, due to the terms and conditions of the openness criteria.

Would openness in Higher Education (through MOOCs) be at odds with the ideology of truly open especially when commercialization, monetization and commoditization of Higher Education is increasingly omnipresent?

I would explore more on this challenge on openness as the MOOCs evolve.

What is the most important lesson in MOOCs?

I think we are learning one of the most important lessons in the history of mankind: Openness in education, learning and research.

What do I mean by openness?

I would refer to:

  • Openness in education.
  • Open in free education.
  • Open in sharing and learning on vision, mission, ideas, values, ideals etc. with each others, each other institutions, communities, nations.
  • Openness in terms of re-aggregate, re-curate, re-use, re-mix, re-purpose, re-cycle, re-create, re-understand, re-educate, and re-learn everything that are once closed behind four walls, or closed doors.

To learn more about openness, see this paper (p40 – 52) on Open Research and Open Learning by Roy Williams and Jenny Mackness.  Thanks to Roy and Jenny for sharing their researches.  I think openness is one of the most important lessons that we could learn from MOOCs (both x and c MOOCs).

My share on openness in a previous post:

Openness in dialogue and conversation is the heart of “open education” where I conceived:

Finally, education and learning is not merely giving out the content, testing the students to see if they have got the right answers in assignments or examinations, though they may be important for course validation and institution accreditation.  It is about engaging people (both professors, educators, learners) to interact with each others, in the form of conversation, discourse, and to dialogue about the content, information, and learn about the implications and applications in study, at work, or in life.

Technology could be a powerful tool in the course of education and learning, in particular in MOOC, especially in the mediation of communication, or the facilitation of cooperation and collaboration, through wiki, Google Doc, or social media.

The current affordance of media and tools that are tailored to the learners need to be more effectively applied in the x MOOC, together with the “teaching, cognitive and social presence” for a transformation of education and learning.  Tools and media alone won’t change the world.  It’s the people, the leaders, the learners who work and learn, and converse together, that would change the world.

Openness, teaching and learning in MOOC

I have been thinking about the whole notion of openness, education – with open education and teaching, and its relationship with media, and DIY education with the Edupunk camp.

Jenny says in her post:

Open access and free courses in which all learners and teachers freely share their expertise is thought by followers of many MOOCs, particularly the original cMOOCs, as the means to democratize education (See Fred Garnett’s blog post for further thoughts about Building Democratic Learning).

To what extent is openness practised in MOOCs?

Sanjaya points out that some of these MOOCs are freely available, but they are not really open (see point 22).  Most do not promote use of Open Educational Resources, rather they believe in the copyright and patent regime.  Education is more about conversation and sharing.  It is an experience that one goes through exploration, interaction and collaboration.

In this The concept of openness behind c and x MOOCs 42-151-4-PB (1)

The concept of openness in which each of the formats stands has also a different meaning. In c-MOOCs the learner´s autonomy, peer-to-peer learning and social networking are emphasized.  x-MOOCs are based on a tutor-centric model that establishes a one-to-many relationship to reach massive numbers, as has been affirmed by Siemens (2012a):
The Coursera/EdX MOOCs adopt a traditional view of knowledge and learning. Instead of distributed knowledge networks, their MOOCs are based on a hub and spoke model: the faculty/knowledge at the centre and the learners are replicators or duplicators of knowledge.

There are merits and limitations when sharing openly in open space and social media.

Openness is both an attitude and practice embraced by individuals and scholars, and this relates to our virtual and online identity and scholarship.  Could one be exercising with professional judgment without compromising one’s integrity when openness is practiced in social networking?

There are issues relating to copyright and intellectual property.  As an amateur blogger, it is important to understand the principles of defamation, intellectual property infringement and privacy (see this on Blogging and other Social Media).  ”In theory, two authors could create identical works and each separately own copyright in the works they create provided they work wholely independently and do not copy each others’ work.”

In summary, there are merits, demerits and risks when sharing in social media, networks and in an open space, through blogging, twitter, Facebook, and Google + etc..  It is imperative to observe and beware of the protocols and limits in our posting of ideas or thoughts openly, especially when there are legal implications when our posts may be crossing the line, in breaching of copyrights, intellectual property, or defamation.

One could be accountable for what one has written, spoken or shared in social media, forums and blogs.  We could be subject to scrutiny by law in the same way as that in real life situation.

Openness in dialogue and conversation is the heart of “open education” where I conceived:

Finally, education and learning is not merely giving out the content, testing the students to see if they have got the right answers in assignments or examinations, though they may be important for course validation and institution accreditation.  It is about engaging people (both professors, educators, learners) to interact with each others, in the form of conversation, discourse, and to dialogue about the content, information, and learn about the implications and applications in study, at work, or in life.

Technology could be a powerful tool in the course of education and learning, in particular in MOOC, especially in the mediation of communication, or the facilitation of cooperation and collaboration, through wiki, Google Doc, or social media.

The current affordance of media and tools that are tailored to the learners need to be more effectively applied in the x MOOC, together with the “teaching, cognitive and social presence” for a transformation of education and learning.  Tools and media alone won’t change the world.  It’s the people, the leaders, the learners who work and learn, and converse together, that would change the world.

The response post  on moocs-and-elite-edupunk-way by Darren, where he says:

To me, there is very little difference between the “We can do things on our own, who needs institutions?!?” attitude of an Edupunk, and the “We can do things on our own, who needs everyone else?!?” attitude of most private schools. Both attitudes are elitist, and ultimately in both sibling camps, some people win while other people lose.

A truly open MOOCs would embrace people having their different ways of learning, the elitists, the edupunk, the c and x MOOCers and perhaps both the literate and illiterate people to learn together.

Is it a dog-eat-dog world, as the fight for an educated populace continues to be trounced from nearly every possible angle? (Darren, 2013)

It is true that we are witnessing a whole new “world” of MOOCs with MOOCs competing with other MOOCs.  Higher Education Institutions are adopting a strategy of inviting learners around the world to “try before you buy” with MOOCs in order to be ahead of the competition.

Every one is creating their own MOOCs, and with a new MOOC NOVOED http://novoed.com/ for free. What does it mean when every professor is competing for learners?

I have composed a Lord of the Ring post, whereas those who get the most learners would “survive” & thrive, it seems in these MOOCs. But who have been the pioneers in these MOOCs? Who are leading whom? I don’t know.

I think we are now involved in the gamification in education.  How about the concept of the LORD OF THE RING – or LORD OF THE MOOCs where alliance and partnership in the ring of MOOC keep evolving and emerging.  They who take reign rule and win it all!