The Implications of Openness

For this post I wanted to flesh out some of the topics that caught my attention while reading and, that I would like to explore further in relation to some of my thoughts as well as ideas brought up in this weeks meeting. The topics for this week were, Open Scholarship, Open Data, Open online courses and Open research. Wow that’s a lot of Openness. One thing that I have come to realize over the past few weeks is that contrary to my initial thoughts, the  term Open has a vast number of meanings and, comes with a vast number of questions, concerns, debates and intricacies. Far from being a black and white concept, there are many shades of grey.

The first article,  Open Data as Open Educational Resources: Towards Transversal Skills and Global Citizenship   ( Atenas, J., Havemann, L., & Priego, E., 2015) defined Open Data as ” the name given to datasets which have been generated by international organizations, governments, NGOs and academic researchers, and made freely available online and openly-licensed”(377). The authors bring up some points connected to open data; the ones that I gravitated towards were the connections made to democracy and the reinforcement of our role as educators in this knowledge age. This article piqued my interest in that I was easily able to make connections to the ideas presented and began to examine my practice to see if in some manner these ideas were being executed within my teaching, or if this was indeed, something I should begin to foster and develop as part of my practice. While many of the ideas for implementation show connections to science, math and some socials, the examination of data and then ensuing discussions and explorations is applicable across all subjects and may be an effective way to create cross disciplinary inquiry projects….Now I’m getting excited !

I found this resource online: Common Online Data Analysis Platform.  This platform looks intriguing and is designed for Grade 5 and up.
Has anyone used this resource? Does anyone out there have other resources they have used to explore Open Data with their students?

One of the other articles we looked at was Academic Publishing at a Crossroads.  ( Couture, M., 2017)

As stated by Couture, “The open access movement’s vision for the free use of academic papers is to see researchers regain control of key aspects of the publishing process”. While this sounds lovely, there are many questions and debates that can arise as part of this concept. This also came up in class and the concern about eliminating the publishers is the fear that we may not know how reliable or trustworthy an article is. While this may be in part attributed to a fear of the unknown and resistance to change, these are valid points. What will be used to fairly asses articles and research? How will I, the researcher, know how to find reliable articles? How will they be sorted? How will an individual be able to able to filter through articles quickly to find reliable article connected to topics of interest?. If anyone can publish and peer review is eliminated or changed to an open peer review, what might be the potential implications?

Another article we explored this week was, Scholars in an increasingly open and digital world: imagined audiences and their impact on scholars’ online participation  (Veletsianos, G & Shaw, A,. 2017). This “study examined how scholars conceptualize their audiences when participating on social media and how that conceptualization shapes the ways in which they participate and express themselves online”.  One quote that captured my interest was,  “By monitoring responses, reactions, and feedback from their audience, individuals emphasize or de-emphasize certain aspects of their selves to create a desired impression”.  Based on what I have seen posted online, this could have drastic impacts on what is being shared with a given audience. This quote also lends itself to a discussion around online identify. If this is truly the case, can anyone truly have an authentic online identity? What are the implications of this? Does it matter? When discussing this topic in class this week, we also discussed the teaching of digital literacies as well as the education of teacher to teach digital literacies. The common consensus was that these are often not being taught to students and that teacher education programs are not teaching students how to teach these skills. It’s easy to argue for the teaching of these skills as they are important in the world we live in.

The last article was connected to open courses (MOOC’s). MOOC’s and the Claim of Education for All: A Disillusion by Empirical Data. (Rohs, M & Ganz, M., 2015). This article, in particular, really impacted me in the manner that it clearly showed that MOOC’s, while (I believe) useful and important, are not doing what they purportedly set out/claimed to do. Rather than deceasing the education gap, they are only widening it as the majority of people using MOOC’s are those who already have an education. The article also highlighted the disparity that exists within education and really established the many barriers those who live in third world countries face when it comes to education. It left me feeling hopeless, so many insurmountable barriers, many that may begin with governments, and with some wonderings about the education that we as Westerners want to be consumed by the world.  I could probably write an extensive post connected solely to this article, but due to having created an already lengthy post, I will save that for another time.



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