[Open-education] Open Culture and Bridging “Open Silos”

Marieke Guy marieke.guy at okfn.org
Tue Jul 14 07:24:29 UTC 2015

Hi Alexandre,

Thanks for starting a much needed discussion! The list has been very 
quiet recently and it would be great to get more people talking.

One of the aims of the Open Education Working Group has been "/t/
/o initiate global cross-sector and cross-domain activity that 
encompasses the various facets of open education. - See more at: 
/o initiate global cross-sector and cross-domain activity that 
encompasses the various facets of open education./" However I've always 
seen this as going beyond Open Education and have looked for 
opportunities to bring in other open movements whenever possible. So for 
example, connections with the Open Data movement are many - what about 
getting education sets in the Open Data Index 
or using open data as OER 
One event that is coming up in November is OpenCon 
<http://opencon2015.org/> which looks at Open Education, Open Access and 
Open Data. Should be interesting to see where the connections are found.

I agree though that there is a tendency for these 'movements' to work in 
some degree of isolation. There is the added pressure that these areas 
are sometimes competing for funding - so in this post on OER15 
under the heading of '
Open Access is Stealing Open Education’s Thunder
Open Access is Stealing Open Education’s Thunder" I talk about
increasing dissonance
increased dissonance. There is also the matter of why people are 
interested in Open Education - so for example there is a difference if 
I'm only doing it because I happen to be working on a project, or if I'm 
doing it because I believe in the value of openness. [I love Pat 
Lockley's analogy of the difference between 'being paid to dance' and 
'dancing because you love it'.]

I'd argue that it is *people* who build the bridge in the open movement 
- those who are interested in one area of openness tend to be interested 
in others too. I currently work on an Open Access project and continue 
to follow and be active in the Open GLAM area (galleries, libraries, 
archives and museums). I see myself as an open practitioner and although 
I know more about some areas of open than others I can see the value of 
most work in the open movement. The link is the network that has emerged.

Yesterday, at an internal discussion session Rufus Pollock (founder of 
Open Knowledge) introduced the idea of a trinity in which open 
knowledge" = open information, open (digital) infrastructure and open 
minds (- he plans to write more on this in the future). I really like 
this idea. We are an open movement and there are many connections but to 
some extent the particular topic area is irrelevant - it is about the 
value of openness. (Though I take your point that not every aspect of 
the open movement is about the core value of openness - so take the 
example of digital literacy, championing it is not about openness but it 
is about equality - one of the goals of openness.).

If you are interested in the open movement more generally then I suggest 
you take a look at https://discuss.okfn.org. This is an attempt to pull 
together the working groups. I'd like to see the Open Education Working 
Group move to this platform and would be interested to hear what people 

Be great to hear other people's views!


On 13/07/2015 22:11, Alexandre Enkerli wrote:
> Hello all!
> Haven’t really been active on the list, so far. Thought it might be 
> interesting to open up a discussion about the relationships between 
> Open Education and other movements.
> Part of it is motivated by (listmember) Lorna Campbell’s recent post 
> on “Open Silos” 
> <https://lornamcampbell.wordpress.com/2015/06/08/open-silos-open-data-and-oer/>. 
> In that post, Lorna claimed:
> “Although open access, open education and open data have all made 
> significant progress in recent years, there has been a tendency 
> for these domains to progress in parallel with little sign of 
> convergence.”
> Those “Open Silos” described by Lorna may share little apart from a 
> few key values. Those values might end up contributing to something of 
> an “Open Culture”. Yet, as any social scientist would likely argue, 
> values are insufficient to sustain cultural dynamics. The fact that 
> this “Open Culture” is embedded in a wide diversity of local contexts 
> makes things even trickier.
> So, my question is: Can we build bridges between spheres of agency 
> related to “Openness”? In other words, can we link Open Education, 
> Open Knowledge, Open Access, Open Research, Open Data, Open 
> Governance, and Open Source?
> Case in point: the pedagogical side of Open Data. We can construct 
> Open Data as OER and there are useful datasets on educational themes. 
> But what are the connections between our concerns in Open Education 
> and the movement to open up (governmental) data?
> Back in April, Yacine Khelladi asked about the International Open Data 
> Conference, which was held in Ottawa, Canada, on May 28–29.
> (By the way, did anyone end up attending? Went to the Canadian Open 
> Data Summit, which preceded IODC. Didn’t participate in the conference 
> itself.)
> Looks like there was in fact a panel on education, focusing on Open 
> Data initiatives from four countries (Kenya, Nigeria, Colombia, and 
> the United States).
> http://opendatacon.org/webcast/recording-data-education/
> Those initiatives mostly had to do with these countries’ education 
> systems.
> http://opendatacon.org/how-data-is-being-used-to-build-better-education-systems-around-the-world/
> AFAICT, not much about OERs or changes to education, in that panel. In 
> fact, since Canadian provinces have separate education systems, 
> participants from the conference’s host country might have had a hard 
> time relating to those initiatives
> Didn’t hear any discussion of Open Education during the Canadian Open 
> Data Summit. There also appears to be little overlap between Open Data 
> and Open Source, even among public servants who try to promote Open 
> Source software in government. As one of those public servants said, 
> Open Data and Open Source are orthogonal to one another.
> Some of the booths at the summit were for commercial vendors of 
> software solutions meant to process Open Data. So it’s not like 
> datasets require the openness to carry over to software used with them.
> A similar case happens in education as developers of Learning 
> Management Systems happily integrate OERs, even if their own software 
> development model is proprietary, closed, and restrictive.
> It’d probably be fruitless to assign blame to anyone involved. Surely, 
> everyone is doing their part to reach out of those silos. But Open 
> Education could benefit so much from the work done in all of these 
> other contexts.
> Not sure what my own solution would be. Perhaps spelling out which 
> desired effects from Open Education go particularly well with other 
> forms of openness. But that might be difficult to do.
> As Lorna noted, efforts and resources needed to meet Open Access 
> requirements may distract educational institutions from the importance 
> of sharing educational material and resources in an open way. Chances 
> are that Open Governance could make it more difficult to push Open 
> Education in a given context. And while OKFN offers strong support for 
> Open Education, it may not be obvious to everyone what open 
> educational practices bring to, say, Open Research.
> Some of what these silos have in common has little to do with values. 
> For instance, digital technology is involved at some level in each of 
> them, though technology may not matter to the same level everywhere. 
> Standards also have an impact on everyone involved, but not for the 
> same reasons. Some form of experimentation is part of all of these 
> while being more of a “mode of action” than a core value. Obstacles 
> also tend to be shared, as established institutions rarely welcome the 
> changes needed to make these movements have their full impact.
> Surely, some of you have found ways to spread Open Education through 
> some other “Open Silos”. If so, how have you done it?
> Finally, there might be an assumption, here, as to the importance of 
> all of these forms of openness. Do we all agree that the Open Data 
> movement can help Open Education? Can we fulfill the dreams of Open 
> Education with everything else being closed down? Is it sufficient to 
> make sure that our educational resources carry the appropriate 
> licenses, regardless of the software hosting them?
> Sorry to open… Pandora’s Box.
> Cheers!
> --
> Alex Enkerli, Learning Technology Advisor
> Vitrine technologie-éducation
> Montreal, Qc Canada
> http://www.vteducation.org/en
> +1-514-332-3000 #6023
> _______________________________________________
> open-education mailing list
> open-education at lists.okfn.org
> https://lists.okfn.org/mailman/listinfo/open-education


Marieke Guy
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