I love the idea of open education. The idea that quality education could be open and available to all? Who doesn’t love that idea? It all sounds idyllic but, for me, it has so many more questions attached to it.
As I was preparing to write this post I did some reading on Open Ed. This is one quote that seemed to best describe my sentiments as I was preparing:
“Does “open” mean openly licensed content or code? And, again, which license is really “open”? Does “open” mean “made public”? Does “open” mean shared? Does “open” mean “accessible”? Accessible how? To whom? Does “open” mean editable? Negotiable? Does “open” mean “free”? Does “open” mean “open- ended”? Does “open” mean transparent? Does “open” mean “open- minded”? “Open” to new ideas and to intellectual exchange? Open to interpretation? Does “open” mean open to participation — by everyone equally?”(Farrow, 2017)
Thinking about open education makes me think of Paulo Friere. He wrote: “Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world” (Freire, 1970).
I believe that traditional education, such as a university education, that is only accessible to a certain percentage of the population can bring conformity to the dominant discourses of power as it does not emancipate or bring freedom to marginalized groups. Farrow (2017) argues that through the creation, adaptation and localization of open educational resources we can facilitate new ways of perceiving, categorizing, mapping, and connecting the relationship between theory and practice of education. Farrow states: “By democratizing the processes through which educational materials and processes are designed and delivered, open education allows a greater plurality of voices to be heard and to contribute, and the experiences of groups who are often marginalized may be better heard”
Larry Lessig and the other content we reviewed, emphasize that the law restricts us from creating and generating accessible resources as large amount of content is borrowed/adapted from other material. As Larry Lessig states: we need to be able to live life without breaking the law! Farrow (2017) argues: “Openness has a close association with freedom – giving permissions to join a course, to remix resources, to read a journal, and so on – and arguing that commercial providers must adopt certain licences or practices is anathema to this core element of openness.”
Considering the way that we use technology today, there is potential for education expand to marginalized groups that may never had access in the past. Furthermore, it offers a the opportunity to hear more voices and perspectives. However, in order for this to happen, there must be pressure from the people to challenge the dominant discourses of power to allow for common sense in the law, as Larry Lessig argues.
Do you think copyright laws are going to be less restrictive in the future?
How have copyright laws affected you in your classroom? Do you find them to be very restrictive?
Have you every taken advantage of an open educational opportunity such as a MOOC? Do you believe this is the future of education? Will a university degree be obsolete in the future?
Like I said, so many questions! 🙂