This topic got me engaged as I had to study newer concepts in depth on
licenses resources.  I have never
reflected on what openness would mean to me in my teaching and in social
engagement. Having gone through topic two, openness can mean the materials
being taught and sharing with colleagues. Openness is also about sharing
knowledge and in this process, one also gains in knowledge. Openness can also
mean the resources used in teaching and in education.  Openness and sharing in education is
essential to education; that has always been the case even in traditional
settings where the teacher shares what they know with students.  Due to the nature of knowledge, the more
given out, shared more, the more one gains. 
Openness has now broadened to include tools to use in education.  The ability to give without giving away expertise
and the expressions of expertise has made sharing attain unprecedented levels
(open education and the future, TED -talk, David Wiley).   

The traditional models of learning which is
teacher centered, does not favor open learning because many professors may not
know how to integrate open learning practices in their courses. If we want to
call our courses truly Open we need to remove all barriers to learning. This is
not always possible given that most universities are still traditional to their
approach to open learning. Open learning must be scalable but also flexible.   Almost every course curriculum in most
Universities have a pre-requisite and 
this means if you are not a degree student it is more or less impossible
to participate in the course. Therefore, following this criteria,  opening up 
courses would  need a redoing of
the  whole curriculum. 

This idea of having the education space opened up is still new in my
setting but is gaining ground.  The
University bureaucratic systems and ownership of curricula and other education
issues gives a challenge to anybody wanting to open up; this would include
issues like minimum required grade which is out of the competency of the

Open learning can be facilitated
by using open educational resources (OER), like online lectures,  (Bates 2016, chapter 10). Most often, this
type of material is designed with potential students in mind, such as for an
online course such as this. Other times however, OER can be designed and even
co-produced together with people, communities or groups outside of academia.

There are four key areas that
have been central to the developments within open education: open access,
MOOCs, open education resources and open scholarship, Weller, M. (2014). Battle for Open: How openness won and why it doesn’t feel
like victory.
London: Ubiquity Press.
are direct benefits for the University in the 21st Century.  There are also many benefits to be gained by
open learning such as international visibility; new collaborations
with other academics and non-academics. 
MOOCs for example have expanded rapidly in the last few years because of
the need, flexibility, scalability and accessibility.  There are also risks in open learning which
can be hidden.  These may include course
materials developed by non-tenured staff and useful for career
progression.  If opened, they may lose
the opportunity for upward mobility.

Getting digital content legally using Creative Commons (Creative Commons.
Org) in its variants has opened learning without having to go through the
rigours of copyright issues.   The video
session on this topic was clear and accessible.

What about closed and open technologies, their advantages and
disadvantages?  A closed technology like
a Learning Management System guarantees flow of information between students
and staff, handling of assignments, statistical analysis of the learning
process but on the other hand, these systems come with some financial
obligations that may not be affordable in our part of the world.  These always also have a licence attached and
an enabling technology support on the ground.

The open web allows for collaborative learning and innovation ( such as
the ONL); engaging with students in an environment which they feel comfortable
is also easy as most of them are digital residence. Naturally issues of
assessment, records, grades can be a problem. 
What is proposed is a more blended system of both which gives a more
structured environment and seamless interface.

I have done several MOOCs which were engaging but running at my own
comfort. I have had to be more disciplined with this course due to the
synchronous learning.  Most of the MOOCs
are structured in a way that you do the course at your own flexible hours but
meeting the course deadline.  ONL has
both synchronous and asynchronous learning and this can be challenging
sometimes although the opportunity is given to listen the recording of the
lesson; its never quite the same. However, the community in the ONL course
spurs one to engage and to learn from each other.  One would say, it is blended between the
closed and open systems in a way.


Topic 2; Open Learning, Sharing and Openness