Reflection #3

Open learning – Sharing and openness

What does open truly mean? What does it mean to share? These questions and their varied answers have guided me for a longer time. I recently argued that “[compared to closeness] openness is a much more fruitful way–it is simply more likely to create better ideas by bringing different viewpoints together”. The idea is the same as with a wall and a ball. If we throw the ball to the wall it comes back in different angles and speed, depending on how we throw it. Similar happens nicely with ideas: we can throw ideas to other people, and the ideas come back in surprising angles.

Openness means in the project I am a project manager for to openly, and in fast cycles share what we are engaged with: events, pilots, and related news. We wish with this that these resonate with the outer world, both within the university and elsewhere, and we will hear back interesting new ideas, more or less built on what we have shared.

It has been fascinating to evidence that in open networked learning openness happens also in a multitude of ways. The ranges are indeed amazing: from assignments to these blog posts, from webinars to shared online work spaces, and from online presentation to video sharing tools.

However, and interestingly, it is in fact not always good to have *everything* shared openly. I am convinced that it is useful to have a closed workspace for the small problem-driven group of learners, and when they feel the result is ready to be shared to a wider public, then go for total openness. This supports the feeling of trust within the small group to let even very early ideas flow.

Even for this blog I now write I do not publish a half-baked version, but the version I have read a few times and improved when needed. In open networked learning we have this kind of a setting of combined openness (for wider sharing) and closeness (for work spaces). Tweet chat can bear more draft-like thoughts – in the end educated drafts will anyway be quite good contents compared to the amazing spectrum of tweets that we nowadays can evidence.

Licences are interesting: if some content does not have any license attached to it, it is really not a good idea to make use of that content. In contrary if Creative Commons (or other like the MIT License) are in use, then the rules for building one’s own work on licensed contents are more clear.  CC Search is a good example for finding contents that meet the criteria I have set for different uses.

Though I have to say that as a visual media / information visualisation / photography / media tech- expert I almost always prefer to make use of photos or visuals I have myself made or made together with my teams. However, I obviously realise that more we communicate visually (and audio-visually), more tempting it is to check if someone has already taken that photo (let us say a lady with mobile phone walking at a beach) that you would like to make use of in your presentation.

Thanks for reading! Happy to hear your comments 🙂

ps. word-cloud-open

Tomi Kauppinen reflects and analyses open networked learning. You can follow him on Twitter: @LinkedScience or TomiKauppinen.

5 thoughts on “Reflection #3

  1. Alastair Creelman

    Indeed, openness has many layers, depending on the context. There are many contexts where only a limited degree of openness is appropriate and other times when full openness is best. We need to learn the shades of openness and use them with sensitivity. Going fully open with first year students from the start would probably do more harm than good. They need to learn in stages.

    1. Ryan Norden

      I actually had an interesting discussion with a psychologist friend of mine regarding the openness first year students actually experience. Outside of the assumption of several technical skills (time management, study habits, and so forth) which universities do not actively promote enough (in my limited experience and opinion) and schools not at all, universities should be more open regarding the career opportunities of a lot of their courses. While it could go unheeded, having an accessible database, or even a discussion on what career this course, or even a subject list prepares one for, could do lots for ensuring one is not left high and dry in an increasingly scary (and depressing) job market.

  2. Anna Nilsson

    Tom, thanks. I do agree that openness should be handled with care. When I set out for this Topic I thought why not share everything (!?).
    Hmm. After having encountered the topic and had a second thought and now I do think I understand researchers or academics a bit more, not wanting to share or use social media having second thoughts on being open. Beeing afraid that post that were written some year ago will affect my carrer today (if facts which were facts by then now is seen on as misstakes) a truly sad and limiting culture.
    Anyway the topic and your post have made me think of licensing and sharing and how important it is to know about theese days.

  3. Pingback: Reflection #5 | Online Learning

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