These statements were shared during Meeting #1, May 21, 2019.
My top priority for the future of open is all about opening up research.
The MIT Libraries’ vision is for a world where enduring, abundant, equitable, and meaningful access to information serves to empower and inspire humanity.
So my top priority is to get research outputs out from behind paywalls and off of proprietary infrastructure.
I hope the connection to learning is obvious, but will state my sense of that anyway – I want teachers and learners to always have access to credible, relevant, current research; without economic, social, or geographical barriers.
Nearly 20 years on, open has passed beyond the threshold of experimentation and pilots and has proven its value in education, but despite massive investment and broad adoption of open tools across disciplines, open education has yet to enter the mainstream. Further, as other (mostly market players) iterate or even improve on some of open’s “core features” — ease of collaboration, seamless access, simple remix and republishing, permissive structures — the models of open education have become more complex, and our communities continue to argue with themselves. Is that project open enough? Did they use the right license? How will we work with others? How will we fund it and make it sustainable?
The most rigid views of “what is open” are increasingly exclusionary and promote horizontal hostility between those who seek to contribute and who in fact share values. For marginalized communities, for the global south, for indigenous communities, questions about openness are too often met with hostility. Failing to address issues of sustainability, traditional knowledge, and needs of learners and educators, are preventing us from reaching the mainstream and ideally making open the default everywhere.
We should begin by working backwards from what our intended beneficiaries need, to meet them where they are, and where they already go to seek knowledge and learning opportunities. We need a collaborative user-driven approach to openness -- one that focuses on the widespread adoption of open values and practices, and builds from the strengths and unique value of each organization in the ecosystem. For example, Wikipedia is the 5th most popular website in the world, and the only non-profit with open infrastructure in the top 50. We should build on that strength. Collective action is open’s unique feature, but we too rarely act collectively as a movement — as The Big Open.
By focusing so much attention on the “free” part of open — such as how it is reducing textbook and other education costs and the like — we have overlooked the key affordance of open from a teaching and learning perspective... the fact that because these materials are openly licensed they can be revised.
When coupled with the analytics needed to help us understand how these resources do, or do not, work for learners, I believe we can engage faculty in evidenced-based pedagogy at a whole new level... as well as customization and continuous improvement of content to better suit various learners and contexts.
This has never been possible in the past.
Our window of opportunity here is short, however... if we continue to focus only on no-cost/low-cost then, once publishers of non-open content get their costs down below what it’s costing us to maintain and sustain these materials, faculty will likely revert back to those sources and we will have lost the opportunity to capitalize on the REAL value of “openness.”
From content focus to quality improvement > The last couple of years we see there is more focus on the usage of OER. In the US mostly driven by cost savings for students. The one promise of Open hasn’t been delivered to its full potential and that is quality improvement. They idea that others can take your resource, enrich it and share it back hasn’t been adopted widely. The opentextbook movement has been a front-runner in this, with pressbook and openstax. We should push to make this much easier based on open standards.
From traditional publishing to community collaboration > We are educating learners to work in the 21st century: multi-disciplinary projects to develop new services and products. Why is most course content developed by an individual teacher? In the Netherlands the Ministry of Education has a grant for open education, mandatory is that you have a community of educators working together to develop and re-usage open content.
This is not widely spread in academy. Mostly because our recognisation models are still based on individual performance (only articles where you are the first publisher count towards your promotion).
The community should consist not only of professors, but also students should have a great role in this.
From open education to open science > Traditionally universities are closed bastions of smart people. Their output is research papers and graduates. Open Education is part of a broader movement of opening up the black box that universities are for the public: open access, open publishing, open data, open software, open education. The common nominator is openness in what we do and what we make. We should work together with all these groups and join forces to change universities.
This includes open licensing, training for openness, open recognizing.
My university is a front-runner in this in the Netherlands and in Europe. Last year 63% of peer-reviewed articles were published open access, all our MOOC content is openly licensed, we have a 4TU Centre for Research Data to promote open data and data stewards to support researchers making their data open.
Design with the learner in mind and focus on the learner’s goals. Get students involved in outreach, workflow, creation. Just as student governments today hold events to raise awareness of mental health or voter registration, so too should Open be a part of their messaging. Further, students from non-elite institutions should join our conversations. (I can bring the student OER advocates I work with in California.)
Mainstream Open education into other reform movements in education. Sure, we talk about bringing together open data and open science and open access publishing. But that’s not where the action is in public higher education. The action is in reducing equity gaps and developing guided pathways in order to increase completion with credentials. At every conversation about diversity and equity and inclusion, in every HR office, and every training on diversity and equity and inclusion, Open should be an example of how we can enact this.
Additionally, the guided pathways reform movement in community colleges, which create more focused student experiences to increase completion with credentials. An essential part of this should be zero textbook cost or z-degrees, built around OER, so that students never need to touch commercial products.
An overarching goal is to make Open disappear - fulfill the promise of education for everyone everywhere, just like secondary education in the US. We don’t debate whether or not students should pay for athletic equipment, wifi, libraries, etc. These are seen as fundamental elements of education, and so too should access to openly licensed artifacts of knowledge and OERs.
The vision might include 1) OA is no longer marginal or hard to explain or seen as oppositional; more funders support OA 2) that public institutions cease to spend so much on “closed” materials 3) that reputations are based more on contributions to the open world; that that journal boards opt for open 4) that universities put more effort towards building and supporting open tools and data, not just texts 5) that the public interest is represented in Washington as vigorously as that of the copyright industries 6) that new mechanisms for supporting creators and creative institutions evolve to a level of maturity and use sufficient to support creation outside traditional publishing 7) the offices of general counsels in libraries and elsewhere cease to fear unlikely lawsuits 8) new mechanisms to enhance information quality (eg reputation systems, pre- and post-publication review, debate and comment systems, provenance, opt-in filtering at the endpoints rather than via central points of control etc) receive more attention and evolve more quickly.
I think open is in a crisis. I say this as someone who has spent the last (almost) two decades promoting open practices, content, software, and education. And as someone who agrees that every crisis is a great opportunity . Some themes for discussion ... which may suggest possible new directions for what open might look like in the future.
From publication to participation - The open world is still very tied to traditional models of publishing. At the sametime we are losing out to new platforms that feature user-generated content. How can we get more people (students, non-formal learners, anyone) involved in making open learning a two-waystreet. Open has to be more than access to stay relevant.
From text to mobile + video - Today's users are mobile 1st (and oftenmobile only) and video is the dominant medium not just to access content, but to communicate with others. Yet most of the open education world is still fullybrowser based. And video often meansa recording a lecture from the back of the room. We're falling behind on content design as well as technology.
From the old to the new reality - YouTube is the largest education platform in the world, even though by most of the classic definitions it is not "open". What does that mean for open? Copyright reform has been slow and largely unsuccessful. Do we need a new approach to frameworks like licenses and legal rights? Or is holding on to them even more crucial at this point?
From access to equity - I think this one is self-explanatory.
One of my top priorities for the future of open is to reform copyright to enable equality of access and usage rights across jurisdictions. People should not need to be lawyers to understand what they can and cannot do. They should be able to always rely on the exception that grants them minimum rights to use content to do research, teaching, or learning. Those minimum rights should never be replaced by licenses or overridden by contracts.
The world's hunger for knowledge is boundless, so I want that knowledge from a wide range of sources and voices to be easily discoverable and freely available, wherever people are, on the channels they use and in the forms they need: from a bite-sized short introduction for self-paced learning, to latest research articulated for a broader audience (a la The Conversation), to a complete multi-week or multi-step course, to guided sequences with optional credential.
I have a dream
I have a dream that one day every human talent
Regardless of the zip code of their birth
Has the opportunity to learn
To learn across their105 yearlife
To learn across the 6-8 phases of that long life
To learn how to learn, then
To learn to apply their learning, then
To learn how to give their learnings to others
To have all their learning credentials accumulate under their control
To have the cost of learning vary only by the level of human support they need
To have all the materials that supported their learning forever available in the cloud at no cost
I have a dream that the shared pursuit of learning globally will allow every person to contribute to a more peaceful future regardless of the zip code of their birth
My priority for the future of open is that content creators - particularly major institutions - better understand the value proposition of open (vs. applying a license), and these institutions help establish open as the default setting for when making available educational content.
My vision is that we all should explore – now – whether knowledge institutions have some kind of responsibility to pour the knowledge they own, control, and support into the Commons – and, working together, establish a stronger force, a Rebel Alliance, to stop the wholesale erosion of truth worldwide.
My priorities for open learning:
Make equity explicit and central. It is not just about who has access to knowledge, but also who is able to create and share knowledge. Including diverse voices and perspectives in the creation of knowledge gets us closer totruthor possible truths.
Focus on the needs of learners and educators, who are the intended “beneficiaries” of open learning.
Examine interdisciplinary connections among fields of open. Addressing the intersections among open access, open education, open data, open science will be necessary to meet the needs of learners and educators.
Embrace the dynamic and context-dependent nature of open learning.
To support the enduring ideal and principles of open education by creating and developing sustainable models and practices.
My vision is a world in which everyone has universal access to effective open education resources and meaningful learning opportunities.
(one) Path to achieve this vision:
Build and support a global open education field to enable robust and vibrant creation, adoption and sharing of open educational resources, practices and policies.
Universal access to high quality, effective OER (courses, textbooks, degrees) in all subjects, all grade levels, in 30+ languages.
Ensure all publicly (and foundation) funded education resources are openly licensed.
Grow the number of open education and open policy leaders globally.
Shift to a culture of sharing among educators, education institutions and governments; shift to a culture where open is the default.
Shift to open educational practices where students and educators create, share and use OER to solve UN sustainable development goals.
We are far from harnessing the web’s potential to accelerate discovery and learning. Core to this problem is that universities have abdicated control over our knowledge ecosystems. I believe greater university and public investment in the infrastructure for sharing knowledge is sorely needed, especially now that large commercial publishers are shifting their business models from content to technologies, data, and analytics, raising the stakes for universities and increasing their own stronghold over not only scholarly and educational content, but also how knowledge is shared and research and learning are assessed.
My vision is that OER will enable a world where anyone can rise academically from anywhere and as part of that process transform education globally from a system that weeds people out to a system that lifts people up.
I worry that this vision will go unrealized in part because too many leaders and funders of our open education and related movements are busy fighting the last war, namely focusing primarily on the quest to make content open, rather than thinking strategically about what is required to sustain and expand the movement thru the next decade and beyond. We must now be as bold and thoughtful as the founders of our movement were 15 years ago, when open licenses and OER were first envisioned not by repeating those same plays indefinitely but instead by building on the foundation already created to develop and normalize the use of open assessments that are accepted for transcript credit and by emphasizing the promotion of smart and effective carefully drawn institutional and public policies that establish a durable role for open educational practices and resources at the core of educational and job-training enterprises, particularly those supported with public resources.
Most of my work has been about the gap between the markets and institutions that mediate 'legal' access to knowledge and the informal, sometimes illegal forms of copying and distribution through which several billion people (and most students) get what they need. I say this because OA and OER compete not only with the formal systems but also, in practice, with enormously successful forms of grey/illegal access, from photocopying to large-scale archives like Sci-Hub. This is a descriptive, not prescriptive statement. For the foreseeable future, we'll have all three.
I've also become concerned that while 'open' models have an answer for content and–to an extent–software infrastructures, they don't have a good handle on the kinds of large-scale data collection and aggregation that will drive the next generation of research and learning tools. My experience with this problem passes partly through efforts to build a 'syllabus commons,' but I think open advocates more generally are behind in thinking about the kinds of data collected and generated through student and researcher activity through LMSs, publishing platforms, and other tools. Universities are bad at the kinds of collective action needed to work effectively at this level.
Nearly two decades after the Hewlett Foundation’s groundbreaking investments in Open Education, we continue to see a tension between access and effectiveness – the role that OER can play in expanding access and reducing cost and the unique potential of open resources and practice for fundamentally improving instruction and advancing our scientific understanding of human learning. This tension is exacerbated -- by divisions within the Open Community, by unsustainable development practices and struggles to obtain funding, by suspicion (and sometimes rejection) of the technologies and approaches that can drive new improvements, and by a lack of tools & support for enabling practitioners to authentically participate in a larger cycle of scientific discovery and application. Yet despite these tensions, open education – both in licensing of materials and in transparency of practice – has unique capabilities for improving materials, for promoting, identifying and advancing more effective approaches in supporting and educating learners and for fundamentally advancing a context-aware learning science. My vision is of an open education, coupled with open science, open data and open tools, promoting better learning, better instruction and better knowledge. It's a vision that requires commitments...
Commitment to harness Open Education’s potential for driving ongoing advances in our understanding of how humans learn.
Commitment to integrating research with practice. By integrating learning research into their instructional practice, open educators can drive a virtuous cycle that simultaneously improves the effectiveness of individual OER while advancing our understanding of human learning.
Commitment to open tools, algorithms, data and analytics. An enormous part of Open’s potential to improve outcomes for learners is wrapped up the capabilities for leveraging data. Yet too often the community is adopting closed tools and systems or is rejecting the use of any data-driven tools out of concerns around abuse and bias. Open tools and algorithms, owned, improved and audited by the broadest possible community, is our best opportunity for harnessing the power of these approaches while mitigating their risks.
Commitment to sharing the results of our findings, in ways that can maximize impact – the improved OER, but also the data surrounding their use and context, the outcomes they’ve supported, the tools and methods that have been central to their use and understanding.
Commitment to intellectual honest and humility. To follow where the evidences leads us in support of our learners.
As a major comprehensive university system, open cuts across many of our initiatives currently underway. We have a large scale, OER initiative and we are in the process of standing up open access policies at all our colleges and universities, based on a resolution passed by our Board of Trustees. We identify open as a critical future for teaching, learning, and research. OER allows our faculty to provide more intellectual capacity to the development of curriculum materials they otherwise would not be afforded through traditional course materials. Open in the research space, allows us to share our research output with the entire world.
Open is about equity, access, and academic freedom.
I have a vision that:
- Web pages- books - academic papers cited in: - Wikipedia articles (all 300 wikipedia sites)- Web pages - books (old and new) - academic papers are a click or hover away. The Internet Archive his helping to make that vision a reality by digitizing/archiving: - billions of Web pages- 10s of millions of academic papers - millions of books And linked together, focusing now on books and papers cited in Wikipedia articles. Notes: In the case of modern books at least a 2-page “Preview” or “Reference Check” should be available.In the case of books we recently purchased the online book store “Better World Books”, to accelerate our acquisition of millions of books
Moving forward I am most interested in the growth of Open to ensure that all grade levels (Pre-K through 16+) have access to high quality open instructional materials. No only is access available but there are incentives for faculty to adopt and modify these materials so that they best serve the learners they work with. Educators need to be empowered to be the content expert in their fields. I also believe there needs to be a shift in focus away from content development and toward modifying content that already exists. Too often resources are wasted to create content tat is already openly available. The OER movement can be very siloed and there needs to be a focus on breaking down those silos to ensure content is easily findable and able to be used throughout the world. I also strongly believe that any taxpayer funded research should be freely available for all to access and review.