Exploring the topic of openness and sharing in education, the group approached the provided scenario by first reflecting the systems in which they exist as academics. Of immediate note were (a) challenges of openness in research and one’s own work, (b) considerations of intellectual property and copyright within contractual and employment agreements, and (c) observed necessity for student openness to participate in learning and acquire knowledge.

Discussion of openness and the acceptance of unique interpretations of what it means led the group to exploring emulation, collaboration, and contribution from the perspective of the learning and creative process of a musician. Questions arose such as:

Is it possible to duplicate another musicians’ composition?
Will the emulated composition not emerge differently due to the individual’s artistic qualities?
What values and human expression result in a musician who does not share by performing?
What artistic values are lost in a musician who listens only to a subset of instruments, melodies, or rhythm?

These questions provoke inquiry. While an individual cannot hold the copyright of a fact, an individual immediately holds the copyright of their articulation of ideas and interpretations. How do these restrictions of access influence the development of learners?

The musical values shared with the group were that of generosity; of the commons.

“Music is to be shared. Music is for everyone. Music brings joy. We create and perform music to share joyfully, with and for everyone.”


Photo by Jesus “CritiQ” Henriquez from Pexels

“Education is to be shared. Knowledge is for everyone. Learning brings joy. We teach and learn to explore with curiosity, with and for everyone.”

Open educational practices include the open sharing of teaching practices, critical consideration of accessibility to education and knowledge, and experiential learning in which students demonstrate understanding through the act of creation. Outcomes of open practices in teaching and learning often result in materials, experiences, and opportunities for engagement which are shared openly with the purpose of perpetuating shared knowledge and accessibility to educational experiences. Frequently, the result of open educational practices are student-generated as part of the learning process.

Open practitioners embrace collaboration, student agency, and authentic audiences while recognizing the differences in privilege and progress that impact how students balance the benefits of sharing and a right to privacy. 

Open educational practices are an emergent paradigm in education by challenging traditional teaching roles. Purposeful openness can transform the educational experience for both teachers and students, contribute to decolonization of knowledge, and put into action responses to reconciliation, equity, diversity and inclusion. The act of teaching with open educational practices is referred to as open pedagogy; constructivist pedagogy, connected learning, and critical digital pedagogy are all recognizable pedagogical strands that overlap with open pedagogy. Open pedagogy is grounded in the work of educational philosophy scholars such as Paulo Freire and bell hooks.

A rich collection of examples are available here: the Open Pedagogy Notebook.

Symphonies of Emulation.