Picture: Gerd Altmann från Pixabay

Considering openess in higher education is tricky. There is so many different ways to go and aspects to consider. Openness may embrace both taking part of open resources, participating in open networks and sharing as an academic and as a learner. But, it is also about our values and how we consider the role of education, learning and knowledge in our society. As I wrote in my blogpost on topic one, my relationship with openness concerning digital educational resources is unclear, distanced and unsecure. I’ve learnt a lot during this topic, both during PBL-group work, investigating and discussing, but also when taking part of other groups sharing, for example I found the interesting paper by Hylén in the sharing of PBL-group 4. During the investigation phase I also found a blog by a researcher (savasavasava-blog, 2015) that woke my interest and in which I found some interesting references. As I couldn’t confirm the name or the quality of that blog I have instead used some of the references and you will meet them in this blogpost where I will try to make my understanding of openness explicit and sort some things out pointed out in the headline. Let’s start with the question Why?


Different global forces or trends has come to affect higher education in a direction where knowledge and higher education has become a trade on the global market and universities compete about learners (cf. Ball, 2016; Barnett, 2016). Still, more and more universities and academics are going open with their education resources and intellectual property (Hylén, OECD). Hylén points out that sharing OER for univ. could be a way of nurturing your public relations and make the university visible for new students. According to Hylén, there are altruistic arguments such as “sharing knowledge is a good thing to do” (un-numbered pages), a sort of value-ladded reason, closely to Wiley’s (2010) argument that “Openness is the only means of doing education” and also, as Hylén stresses, this is in line with article 26 in the United Nations Human Rights Declaration, that everyone has the right to education and preferably free (at least for fundamental stages). To this type of arguments, we could also add reasons such as the value of sharing in itself, the redefinition of learners role and hierarchy in education as well as equal access (is that possible?) that Raguphati (2020) addresses in the introduction video on this topic. Another argument for sharing OER pointed out by Hylén is the same as for OA (open access), namely to pay back to taxpayers financing publicly funded activities. Increasing quality by collaborating, making use of each-others’ knowledge is yet another reason according to Hylén (OECD). There has also been a movement where scholars go public on social media and blogs sharing not only their intellectual property but their experiences, thoughts and engagement, and by that are taking part in a conversation about educational issues (Stewart, 2015). Stewart discuss this as a way for scholars to increase their reputation and influence, what coincides with what Willinsky (2012) discuss as the “Reputation economy”, where scholars going public by open access as a way of gaining a stronger reputation and higher ranking in the academic world, a sort of extrinsic reason.


So, from the question of why going open to the question of how going open? For the purpose of building a new security when it comes to openness, I started to explore how to find, access, take part of, use and reuse ORs and OERs, and then moved on to issues connected to sharing OER. For both, I needed to get to know the rules and legislations of copyright and creative commons.

Taking part, using and re-using

Concerning taking part of OERs, I found this site on the web of the University of Gothenburg really helpful. I have also learnt about pixabay and found this FAQ helpful.

I used some time trying out different tools/resources such as mindmaster, coogle, padlet, mural, but still need to work on these to be able to use them actively with colleagues and students. I read in Bates’ (2019) chapter about different forms of open educ. and then went in to reading about different MOOCs that interested me at Coursera. I enjoyed watching the short movie by Cormier (2010) one of the founders, explaining a MOOC.

and the tedtalk of one of the founders, Daphne Koller, explaining their view of open education which I also found thanks to PBL group 4.

To be honest, I. was somewhat chocked by the amount of OER that I found, but at the same time I feel less insecure and empowered to actively use some of the resources myself. As this course run, I will also have experience of attending a MOOC, and as Oddone (2016) writes, the course becomes a personal learning environment (PLE), a sort of ecology, in which people, texts, thoughts, websites, OER, applications e t c connect, or using post-humaist concepts, inter- and intra-act and be-comes in ongoing entangled processes. This is thoughts that I like and you recognize it from the blogpost on topic 1 where I wrote about the web as rhizome.


Picture by Gerd Altmann från Pixabay

Our PBL-group, The Silicon Allies, we choosed to focus on the flow of producing OER. To see our maze about sharing click here . I will therefore focus on two other aspects of sharing in this post triggered by the webinar on this topic.

First, Ragupathi (2020) gave some recommendations and practical tips on sharing, of which I want to highlight “balance privacy and openness”. She urges us to consider if I am ready to share, who I would like to share with or not and in which community, who I will share as, i e my digital identity, and finally, what specific resources I like to share. This is an issue illuminated by Cronin (2017) as well. She found that balance was a common concern among educators using open educational pedagogy but in a slightly different manner. Educators in her study experienced that interaction in open oline spaces tended to blur the boundaries between the private and professional roles. Reflecting on my own sharing in relation to this, I know that I share resources and intellectual property with colleagues and students enrolled to courses, within communities but not open to everyone. I do it in my role as a senior lecturer and educational leader in order to enhance learning, inspire and hopefully gain access to resources myself. I also reflected a lot about my roles when starting this blog and therefore posed some questions to my university about their view on staff going open in different ways. I have not yet received fully answers to these questions but these will probably help me decide to what degree I will, and can, participate in open online spaces in my role as educator and researcher. I am planning to edit a book and due to this course, I am now aware of the possibility to publish openly (see for example (BC Open Ed) and I will consider that option as well. The thoughts that I meet from others when bringing this up, are often connected to pre-assumptions that open is free and that free is not as good or as high quality as the expensive ones or the books published by “difficult-to-get-approved-by- publishers”.  

Secondly, in the same webinar, Creeman (2020) poses the question whether teachers’ work is to produce content and protect it, OR to provide a context for different content, i e teaching in and for a context. I think that is a relevant question as the teacher role transforms when OER becomes a natural part of learners’ way of constructing knowledge. Creeman points out that this means that students turn to a university for learning support, getting involved in processes with others, not primarly for getting access to content. This open for questions of how we can improve our ways of building communities in higher ed. support and enhance students building relationships and fellowship as well as engagement in digital education in successful ways. But also on what ground we build our pedagogy when designing courses. This, my dear reader, is something that I will eloborate further on in my next blogpost. Thoughts to be continued…


Ball, S.J. (2016). Neoliberal education? Confronting the slouching beast. Policy Futures in Education., 14(8), 1046–1059. doi:10.1177/1478210316664259

Barnett, R. (2016). Constructing the university: Towards a social philosophy of higher education. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 49(1), 78–88. doi:10.1080/00131857.2016.1183472

Bates, T. (2019). Teaching in a Digital Age: Guidelines for Teaching and Learning. (2nd edition).

Cormier, D (2010 December 8). What is a MOOC? YouTube.

Creeman, A (2020). What is open education? Video in ONL-curse.

Cronin, C. (2017). Openness and praxis: Exploring the use of open educational practices in higher education. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning: IRRODL, 18(5), 15-34.

Koller, D. (2012 August 1) What we’re learning from online education. YouTube.

Oddone, K. (2016). PLE or PLN or LMS or OLN? Blog post about the ONL course.

Ragupathi, K. (2020). What is open education? Video in ONL-curse.

savasavasava-blog (2015 June 27) The Falacy of ”Open”

Stewart, B. (2015). Open to influence: What counts as academic influence in scholarly networked Twitter participation. Learning, Media, and Technology, 40(3), 1-23. doi: 10.1080/17439884.2015.1015547

Wiley, D. (2010 March 6). Open education and the future. TEDxNYED. YouTube

Willinsky, J. (2012). Open access and academic reputation. In H. Masum & M. Tovey, The reputation society: How online opinions are reshaping the offline world. p.129-138.

To take part, participate and/or share: reasons and modes of openess in higher ed.