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Another two weeks of the Open Network Learning course have passed and I have had the opportunity to reflect on sharing and openness in learning/teaching. Openness has been described as an umbrella term and philosophical cornerstone in open courses (Weller, 2014) which is a belief in harmony with my own notions.

I have worked at three universities with various educational models and academic cultures. I have been new and a novice at work and met by great generosity by colleagues who willingly and enthusiastically share their experiences and own teaching materials for me to reuse and adopt. I have tried to pay that generosity forward and emphasize sharing in teaching materials with colleagues. In the National Network for Specialist Nursing Programmes in Psychiatric Care, we have discussed this aspect and talked about building an open “library” where we share our recorded lectures, reflection materials etc. between each other. We are all experts in some area and should use our knowledge to improve quality for all specialist nurse students in psychiatric care in Sweden. With the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, I have been very pleasantly surprised by the willingness to support and share experiences and resources between colleagues in different disciplines all over Sweden. Openness and sharing at its best!

I teach specialist nurse students in psychiatric and mental health care on advanced level. Generally and traditionally undergraduate nursing programmes in Sweden often comprises more traditional educational models with the majority of teaching based on campus and teacher led. This probably relate to the amount of clinical training and practice incorporated in nursing education. On advanced level, however, many specialist nursing programmes use online teaching models. At the Specialist nursing programme in psychiatric care at Linnaeus university the majority of the programme is based on online teaching and interactions. The openness is, however, quite restricted. For some reasons this might be considered logical and necessary. We have, for example, certain official requirements that needs to be fulfilled in order for a person to be able to study the programme and get a degree in specialist psychiatric nursing. We also have learning activities involving experiences and voices from patients and their family members that needs to be protected from the public domain. Ragupathi and Creelman (2020) suggest that openness might be a hinder to learning, that some students need to be in a protected area. I believe the specialist nursing programme in psychiatric care might be such a programme where certain protection is needed. Yet, I believe there is a lot we could do in order to make the programme a little bit more open and create different “layers of openness” (Ragupathi & Creelman, 2020) over the different courses in the programme.

As a start I (and potentially my colleagues at the programme) could be better at sharing our own teaching materials openly. We have, for example, many recorded lectures that could be opened up for use, reuse and adoption for anyone with interest. I believe that knowledge is a common good and that it should be accessible as openly as possible and this is one way to start in my own practice. Another step could be to search, review and hopefully identify Open Educational Resources (OER) that could be suitable for use at the specialist nursing programme in psychiatric care at advanced level in Sweden. OER are open-licensed and freely available educational materials (Ragupathi & Creelman, 2020). A resource or material is considered open if it is possible to reuse, revise, remix and redistribute the material (Weller, 2014). In the IMPOER-project (Implementation of open educational resources) in an undergraduate nursing programme at Dalarna University in Sweden the students were positive but overwhelmed by the amount of resources available and concerned about its quality. The authors also found few OER available that suited the Swedish conditions and had to create their own open material for the course (Elf, Ossiannilsson, Neljesjö, & Jansson, 2015). These challenges with OER are worth considering when planning to use OER at the Specialist nursing programme in psychiatric care.

A third area that could be improved in my own teaching involves the idea of openness as placing emphasis on the network and the learners connections within the network, by for example, using peer-to-peer pedagogies over self-study (Weller, 2014). This is an idea we already work with in the programme, but it can be further improved.


Elf, M., Ossiannilsson, E., Neljesjö, M., & Jansson, M. (2015). Implementation of open educational resources in a nursing programme: experiences and reflections. Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning, 30:3, 252-266. DOI:

Ragupathi, K., & Creelman, A. (2020). ONL201 Topic 2 introduction. Open education. Retrieved from:

Weller, M. (2014). The battle for open. How openness won and why it doesn’t feel like victory. London: Ubiquity Press. DOI:

Topic 2: Open learning – Sharing and openness