Openness via Martin Weller

I really like Martin Weller’s thinking, and have referenced him during presentations in the past. I enjoy his ‘The Ed Techie’ blog, and his comments often get me thinking.

Today I had the pleasure of reading his Reflections on openness post. Whilst reading it and watching his presentation via Elluminate I typed the following.

Surely if you where going to start a university now, you wouldn’t do it.

Universities would seem to be institutions designed to perpetuate elitism. With open education are we really still tied into the promotional rewards of these institutions. Should the emphasis in reward come from the community and its valuing of the resources you provide to them, the time you invest, the quality of the discussions you initiate/perpetuate? I believe one has to question from a society perspective the value of closed environments for education now; when digital resources are enabling free access by anyone to some of the greatest thinkers in the world, and providing a platform for anyone with a well-reasoned opinion to be heard and entered into dialogue with. We no longer have to be told who the experts are, we can make a more valued judgement ourselves. I’m not foolish enough to believe that the openness presented to us by this digital world will lead to a free, utopian education for all, and the demise and dismantling of universities, but there are people willing to provide their time and effort to assist by freely sharing their time and resources without necessarily requiring re-numeration for their work. Creative Commons is showing us that.

Whilst accessing Martin’s post, I also had the pleasure of following Mark Smither’s link to his blog. Here is someone else whose writing are going to influence some of my thinking from now on.

I love this social web thingy, and the path of inquiry it can lead you on; a winding path for sure, but one with many places of interest.

I’ve been following Martin on Twitter for a while, and I’m now also following Mark.

A couple of other things occurred to me whilst reading the post and response:

Has the idea of a journal gone to the wall, when open information can have reviewed directly by the community – i.e. peer review?

The Cloudworks concept seems to be looking at unifying resources, a concept that I considered a couple of years ago and then abandoned. It seemed to me more appropriate to retain information on the open web and search for it there, rather than ‘close’ it down again; cloudworks  potentially is an elitist approach attempting to corral and vet information and therefore a philosophy I don’t necessarily hold with. Not even sure it will work. Howard Rheingold created something similar, and I found I didn’t have the time to engage with that. I’m personally moving further away from several Ning based communities for similar reasons or time and access.


3 thoughts on “Openness via Martin Weller

  1. Hi Mark,
    thanks for responding – couple of responses to what you’ve posted here:
    I think universities still have a place – there are reasons why you want to have experts together for research and education. A good educator still provides structure, guidance, support etc. And having your understanding validated in some way is still important for society. But I’d agree that they need to be more open and less elitist – I just don’t feel that universities are _necessarily elitist (the OU isn’t for example, it has been about the democratisation of education since its inception).
    Journals going to the wall – for me they have, I don’t really publish in them. Certainly the existing academic publishing model will be dead in a few years. But there will still be a place for quality research articles that have been peer reviewed. So I think the sort of open access journals we are now seeing will be the norm.
    Re. cloudworks – this is exactly what cloudworks is trying not to do. It doesn’t seek to lock down content but rather promotes having content in many different spaces. Cloudworks wants to be (whether it succeeds is a different question) a means of helping people pull this stuff together in ways that are meaningful to their community. This type of activity will become increasingly important I feel as more info and discussions are distributed – in order to make sense of them we need to weave them together.

  2. Pingback: Open research – Professional Amateurs – Science in Action « Squire Morley

  3. Pingback: David Wiley #change11 mooc week 5 – post 3 | Squire Morley

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