I am a person who aways believes that when acting together, we are stronger and richer. I went through an educational system which iss somehow very classic and traditional. In primary, middle, and high schools, teachers used to teach us using the textbooks designed and written by the ministry of education. Teachers had to follow specific curriculum. That could be fair in some sense, as this will ensure that all pupils whatever the region they live in, their cultural and financial background, they will be treated in the same way and get the same amount of information. But then at the university, things became different, lecturers at the school of engineers where I studied  were teaching using their own materials which they could take from textbooks or online. I noticed that there was a sort of collaboration between lecturers who were teaching the same subject, but unsure if they were sharing their materials with other colleagues from other schools of engineers. At that level, I was not aware of many things such as copyright. When I went for graduate programs (Master and PhD), I had to learn these basics, and this was when I felt the importance of openness. In fact, when I was doing my PhD, I struggled with many parts of my PhD topic. I remember when I used to find materials available online, it was extremely happy as this could help me to overcome many difficulties. In my PhD I was using a software called OpenFoam which was freely available under the Creative Commons license. This software allowed me to do simulations, hence saving the university to pay for the license fees. Additionally, I could install it on my Pc  giving me a lot of flexibility. Also, I used to take online classes that were made available online under the MIT  opencourseware.

However, I would say that openness and sharing has its negative side mainly when it comes to quality assurance. We cannot adopt any materials available online or allow students to rely on any online resources in learning. That’s why, I believe that although a space of freedom is always good to give to students to enlarge their scope of knowledge, this must be supervised by their lecturers who must guide them on the credible sources of materials. I personally always go   with trusted journals and reputable universities. From the teacher point of view, I encourage sharing the lecture materials with other lecturers whether protected by copyright or not. I came to know during our PBL discussions, that this might be restricted by the university guidelines.

Personally, I support sharing as we live in an interconnected world, so it is beneficial to use technology in favour of people in our context to spread knowledge, but of course we always must credit other’s work.  

Reflections on open learning and sharing, and openness