Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

Some Open Questions for #OpenLearning17

| 4 Comments

Reading Time: 2 minutes

They say when one door closes, another opens (or a window, maybe). But we don’t usually talk about how sometimes opening a particular door might actually close another. For the same people, or different ones.


Open/Shut flickr photo by sarae shared under a Creative Commons ( BY-ND ) license

I’m really looking forward to #openlearning17, with a bunch of really awesome people discussing different dimensions of open learning…

I’m particularly interested in asking questions about open for whom, by whom, for what purpose? Can we think about issues like access, and recognize how just being “open” does not mean we are necessarily making something accessible for others? Just by being “free” (as in gratis, zero cost to the user) does not mean everyone has equal access to it? I want to ask about the privilege of open, and what our responsibilities are when we have the privilege of open… how can we think critically about the different approaches of open learning, from OERs to open scholarship to open pedagogical practices…and these aren’t issues no one has talked about before, and I’m particularly influenced by the work of sava singh, Robin DeRosa and Catherine Cronin and others on this…

Could a social justice orientation to openness occasionally mean being closed to a privileged group in order to create openness for marginal groups? Why do we, and why should “we” care about advocating for openness for marginal groups? What are the most respectful ways to do that as allies, and what’s the role of the semi-privileged open educator who lies at the borders/intersections?

Looking forward to some deep discussions. inshallah

On a more practical note, check out Creative Commons new “one-click attribution” tool in beta

Also, do you know about cogdog’s Flickr CC attribution helper bookmarklet? That’s how easy it is to do attribution for CC Flickr images on your blog, as I’ve done above… it’s possibly my favorite tool EVER. Now if only I could get my students to use it 🙂

4 Comments

  1. Re Opening/Closing – you might find Ben Light’s work useful http://benlight.me/disconnecting-with-social-networking-sites/ I certainly have.

  2. You’ve prompted me to think about audience and purpose for Open Learning ’17–which is a most important question. I have my own hopes, and I think they converge with yours. I hope the project connects and empowers educators, understood inclusively, across traditional barriers and boundaries, for the benefit of educators themselves and consequently, ultimately, their students. Then there is a corollary question: can educators find common or shared language about the quality of the education they aim to offer? These questions are so large that it’s hard to grasp them. They do invite reflection on access, privilege, and social justice, just as you suggest.

    • Hi Susan – looks forward to learning with you…and reading that article. I’m thinking of somehow collaboratively creating a taxonomy of open that highlights how being open in different ways reflects our intention and worldview, and by doing so, can highlight also areas where we can do better

  3. I’m so excited you are making time to join us, Maha! And thank you for raising these very important questions right from the start. No easy answers here, of course, but I think that’s part of the point, right? We see “open” as an ideal, or as a desirable modality in most cases, but I think we must always keep in mind that one person’s or one community’s “open” could close things off or create hurdles for other individuals and groups. The social justice issues are important and we can’t let their intractability push them to the side. I’m going to think about our first reading (“Fifty Shades of Open”) with this in mind. Thank you again for raising this at the outset.

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