This has been a fascinating topic. In our PBL group discussions, we have considered open learning as a concept or aspiration or even fear from multiple perspectives–institutional, teacher, learner and more. We also emphasized the directions in conversations on open learning that split into more pedagogical focus and more social justice oriented focus.

While my group decided to present on the pedagogical focuses of open learning (open learning as a tool), I personally have been very inspired to hear the social justice debates about open learning from the course materials and webinar. This feels like a much bigger take on open learning than the pedagogical direction, and so I am still working through my perspectives on social justice and open learning. For now, it seems like open learning is posed not only as an alternative to our traditional structures of learning, but also to undo some of those structures–particularly those that perpetuate power asymmetries. The ideas in this track align with some of my exposure to the idea of decolonizing education. I found it interesting to consider decolonization and open learning together. And, I will likely continue to follow up on those thoughts as we continue in the course.

In another direction…

I have been both delighted by new concepts packaged in acronyms, and overwhelmed by the avalanche of acronyms we are handling this week. I am currently at the conclusion that open learning means lots of acronyms! Maybe this is an indication of the diversity of directions open learning is branching. So, in an attempt, to embrace the acronyms, and make them more manageable, my reflection this week will be oriented around them.


Learning Management System. These have actually been around since the early 2000s. I was first introduced to using LMSs when I transferred to UC San Diego as a n undergrad in 2008. We were stil in transition then, and I remember some professors did not yet upload articles to the LMS but rather they had all articles assembled into a photocopy book we had to purchase at the copy center! Those days seem long gone.


Personal Learning Networks. These can be formally organized such as our PBL (problem based learning) groups, or more informally collected. For teaching, I find it useful to name this as a specific learning tool, and not just something that we do, even naturally, as learners.


Open network learning. I still struggle to grasp this concept. For now, I think of this as deconstructing our ideas of the university as the sole or primary source of learning, and to re-envision learning as more of a networked–openly networked–experience that exists both within and outside the university boundaries.


Open educational resources. Prior to the course, I only thought of open textbooks as OER. However, there are many possibilities for what OER can be–such as collaborative PDF annotation software.

ONL221 Topic 2: Open Learning – Sharing and Openness