I always find myself intrigued by those big broad questions and the guys have not let me down by asking in week one “why does open matter”.
I’ve watched the videos, done some readings, read some of the participant blogs and tweets. Along with some personal reflection here goes my take on things.
The question is a hard one for me because I’m not sure that there are simple definitions for either “open” or “education” and I’m not happy with my own definition for either. Both of these words give me pause and raise more questions than answers for me. However, I will try to not get too “in the weeds” with definitions in this post.
If I have to answer this question simply, this question of why open matters, I would say it matters because we are human. Because it is in the nature of most humans to connect… in some way. It is what we do. (Often to each other, but not always). And openness facilitates connectedness.
It’s a big messy web. And it is bigger than technology. It is bigger than the internet – which is just the latest tool for making connections in the open.
Because it is in our nature to connect, somewhere along the way a premium was put on the ways that we connect – which was mostly through means of expression. An expression of knowledge, let’s say a book, is placed out of reach for most and only given to a few who can afford it. This proves lucrative in terms of growing capital and in terms of growing a certain kind of knowledge but alas not in terms of growing that kind of knowledge that serves the human spirit and it only feeds that human need to connect for a very few.
Simply, open matters because we are human; humans need to connect and openness facilitates connectedness.
Humans grow and thrive through connections but not all connections are equal.
Even if that book is put at a premium – one may not connect with it but they will connect (to something – someone), nonetheless.
Earlier today Siemens asked an intriguing question:
What are the negatives of openness in education? Is it all good? #openedmooc
— George Siemens (@gsiemens) October 4, 2017
I do think that we will have gone wrong somewhere if we start thinking that open equals good.
Most of the platforms used to facilitate open connections and open education these days require a person to sign off on a terms of service that most never read and few could really understand. Often these platforms harvest the data that we generate through satisfying our need for connecting to feed our preferences and leanings back to us at a premium. I don’t find this “good”, yet I have a need to connect and so here I am.
While I think that open matters because humans have a need to connect fulfilling a need is not always good. We have a need to eat but if we eat junk food all the time that would not be “good” in terms of our health and wellbeing.
Some may say that junk food is not real food and others may say that junk food may be good in the moment as it might taste good. So perhaps getting in the weeds with definitions is not so bad afterall but if I would have tackled “what is open” or “what is education” this post would have been much different.
I’m looking forward to the next few weeks of the MOOC. I’ve just started a new job in De Pere WI as an Instructional Designer at St. Norbert College and I’ll be seeing if any of my new colleagues may be interested in these questions and others that I’m sure will be coming up in #OpenEdMOOC.