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chapter 2:History of Open

Almost everything in a preschool classroom boils down to sharing. Not just stories, but knowledge, tools, time, and everything that goes into building a caring place for learning. As teachers we engineer envrionments with a postive learning community by having clear expecations, redirecting behaviors, and encouraging reflection on our actions. Yet we need our students to share our committment of building a commons for learning. In many ways so does open pedagogy.

About ten years ago cognitive scientist John Seely Brown posited that a perfect storm had emerged to reshape higher education. He built on the work of folks such as Yochai Benkler who argued we work together to support a “commons” owned by all rather than a rights holder or the government and applied a learning lens to a pre-existing “open” philosophy.

Brown felt the emergence of open educational resources, which have gained steam since the first days of the web, combined with the learning practices of open source communities would result in the creation of “open participatory learning systems.” He felt we could create a new distributed university that relied on social learning using content licensed for remix and reuse.

Yet we still have no clear evidence on how to teach with technology, and much of the status quo that John Seely Brown railed against have become entrenched. Even worse institutions of higher education actively engage in open washing (Belshaw, 2016) where universities replace scholarships and state aid with a promise of a free text book. State governments raise your tuition in with one hand while saying, “but look at this shiny OER textbook in the other hand. See how we save you money.”

It is time for a new social compact. One that can bring John Seely Brown’s vision of an “open participatory learning systems.” We need to recognize that OER requires so much more than free textbooks. We need a model of open pedagogy.

Before we explore the many unfolding meanings of open pedagogy it’s important to understand the etymology of the word “open” itself before it permeated the world of education. It is a story one can not tell chronologically or categorically.

The players who influenced our definition of open pedagogy cut across many disciplines yet often interacted on personal and business levels. The money that fueled much of the movement came from a few committed sources. The majority of the work was done by people, not for profit or fame, but through a commitment to supporting the “Commons”

Rise of Open Source

The story of open pedagogy begins with software and the open source community. When the computer was born in the 1950s and 1960s source code always came with software. The user had to debug the system. Yet with the rise of personal computer in the 1980s software became commoditized and Bill Gates famously complained about hobbyists sharing Microsoft’s Basic programming language.

At the same time software enthusiasts begin to lay the foundation of the open source community. In 1983 Richard Stallman created the GNU project and would pen a manifesto years later and create a licensing system for free software that would launch in 1989. Stallman, in 1986 gave us the “free software definition”

The word "free" in our name does not refer to price; it refers to freedom. First, the freedom to copy a program and redistribute it to your neighbors, so that they can use it as well as you. Second, the freedom to change a program, so that you can control it instead of it controlling you; for this, the source code must be made available to you.

Being able to remix and redistribute became central tenants of the open source community that continue to this day. These values grew in the wild with the release of the Linux Kernel by Linas Torvolds in 1991. This marked the first complete open source operating system.

These two projects would help give rise to the open source movement. In fact in 1997 Eric Raymond published the Cathedral and the Bazaar where he contrasted proprietary and free software by describing Linux. Simultaneously the web was being born and this influential paper would help see the release of Netspace Navigator’s source code. A few months later at a technology conference a vote would be taken and the phrase “open source” voted on.

Myth of Meritocracy: Misogyny and Racism in Open Source

Rise of Open Education Resources

While the software community was giving birth to the open source movement the educational world would take these values and apply them to learning materials. These groups emerged from early efforts in distance and then online learning. The term was coined in 2002 at a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization conference as:

While the software community was giving birth to the open source movement the educational world would take these values and apply them to learning materials. These groups emerged from early efforts in distance and then online learning. The term was coined in 2002 at a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization conference as:

In 1998, four years before the adoption of a formal definition Dave Wiley noticed similarities between the growing open source movement and what was then referred to as open distance learning. Wiley posited four characteristics of OER:

  1. Reuse—the right to reuse content in its unaltered, verbatim form;
  2. Revise—the right to adapt, adjust, modify or alter the content itself;
  3. Remix—the right to combine the original or revised content with other content to create something new; and
  4. Redistribute—the right to make and share copies of the original content, revisions, or remixes with others (Wiley, 2010).

Wiley would go on to frame the earliest definitions of open pedagogy using these four traits. Wiley then founded the Open Content organization as a warehouse for educational material.s

Birth of the Commons

While the software community created the practices around open source the legal community also contributed to our story by creating systems to allow us to share licensed materials. In 1998 Yocahi Benkler caled for a creation of the “commons which “refers to institutional devices that entail government abstention from designating anyone as having primary decision-making power over use of a resource.” Benkler wanted a pathway of ownership that was free of both the government and the market. He suggested we needed rights for “commons based peer productions.” These are values built into open pedagogy today.

Then Lawrence Lessig took up Benkler’s call to protect the commons. In 20021 Lessig with a few other law professors and with support for the Center of Public Domain developed Creative Commons. This allowed artists and creative types that flourish in the new economy to retain licenses to their work but also allowing for redistribution and remix. This had a large influence on the OER movement and Wiley’s Open Content group would eventually merge with Creative Commons.

Open Pedagogy and Open Source Community

As the open source community evolved they turned their attention to education. Mozilla, the people behind the browser Firefox, have made large contributions to our understandings of open pedagogy. As a community they took the original Netscape navigator source code and created an open browser. The Mozilla Foundation, through its series of learning programs Hackasaurus, Webmaker, and now Mozilla Learning have created many of the tools used throughout classes and courses based on open pedagogy.

The Mozilla Corporation, who handle the more technical stuff of building the Firefox browser, have been experimenting with ways to engage and educate contributors since the birth of the web. Many more organizations, in fact too many to mention in one book, now exist that take advantage of and support communities engaged in open pedagogy.

The Open Source Initiative, which was established in 1998, has also taken a strong interest in developing open pedagogy. They promote open standards, OER, and works closely with Open Education Consortium and international organization.

In 2009 Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU) was founded. A University for the web the goal was to deliver free education using openly licensed materials and open pedagogy. The program was originally supported by the Hewlett Foundation. The same organization that funded John Seely Brown’s theoretical work in this area. While P2PU has pivoted somewhat from its original mission its chartering members brought together many in the non profit open source community.

Academics Take Interest

Simultaneous to the open source community taking interest in pedagogy academics began to study and incorporate the practices emerging from the silicon valley. In 2002 Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory (HASTAC) was founded and began to explore open pedagogy. The Digital Media Research Hub, which advocated for a model of connected learning began in earnest in 2009.

These organizations connected many academics who would come to populate the spaces of open pedagogy with the wider open source community of the web. In fact many of the directors of these research labs serve on the boards of non-profit open source communities, and the relationship is reciprocal. Much of the leadership in these open source organizations have a board seat on the research labs as well.

Common Funding Source

The money paying for many of these initiatives usually flowed from very small number of philanthropic organizations. The Hewlett Foundation that backed John Seely Brown theoretical work helped to back much of the work in Open Educational Resources and later Creative Commons. The MacArthur Foundation foot the bill for much of the work of the Mozilla Foundation, HASTAC and the Digital Media Hub.

As the philanthropists were making large scale investments into open pedagogy faculty across the globe were bootstrapping their own identity on to the web through similar philosophies.

Domain Of One’s Own is Born

While the cross over from the OER community and the non-profit sector continued a project called A Domain’s Of One’s Own was born at the University of Mary Washington. Martha Burtis, Jim Groom, and Tim Owens began to play with the idea of giving every faculty member and student their own place on the web (Stommel and Reingold, 2016).

Jim Groom would go on to found DS106 an open online course about digital storytelling that would be one of the original platforms of open pedagogy. The course, which began to run in 201, built on the principles of a personal domain. The classes had students share content on their blogs and syndicated to a class website using RSS. This model is prevalent in open pedagogy today.

Theoretical Models Emerge

John Dewey, in the 19th century, wrote some of the best pieces on how to teach with the internet. Dewey believed education should be active and play a role in supporting democracy. Montessori’s research focused on the development of the child through a focus on choice, creation and collaboration. (AMI, 1970). Technology, and the web specifically, have created an environment where we can bring the principles of Dewey and Montessori forward.

Dave Wiley developed one of the more prominent models of open pedagogy from his OER model. Wiley began with the qualities of open educational resources and then applied these principles to teaching and learning. He suggested that in order to be open pedagogy a course must meet the “four R’s”: free to reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute.Yet this definition puts the onus on the content and not the people of pedagogy.

Explorations in open pedagogy began in earnest when George Seimens and Stephen Downes created an open classroom to prove their theory of connectivism (Davidson 2013). As previously discussed this experience was later coined a massively open online course by Dave Cormier. Interest in open pedagogy grew and theorists began to create definitions and models.

Cormier then went on to facilitate an annual learning event as a MOOC on Rhizomatic Learning. These courses ran using the #rhizo14 and #rhizo15 hashtags. Much of the research on open pedagogy emerged from the participants and this class spanned many afterwards who borrowed the blogging model.

At the same time progressive educators were sharing emerging strategies around open pedagogy and digital tools. Dave Courous developed a series of principles of open pedagogy and then lead a discussion in 2008 at a progressive education conference EDUCon. He focused on the role of advocacy, facilitation, and modeling built on an architecture of remixable content.

In this model we see a turn away from simply equating open pedagogy and OER. Words such as scaffolding, advocacy, and doing begin to show up. In fact Cuorou’s work reminds us open pedagogy does not require technology. Our networked society simply allows us to scale learning theories much older than the internet.

Today as 21st century skills turned ten years old we begin to see the influence of these communities on our theoretical understanding of open pedagogy. After 2010 the theoretical underpinnings take shape. Conole, for example, in 2013 suggested five required elements to be necessary for OEP, comprising open tools and processes that promote: (1) collaboration and sharing of information; (2) connected communication about learning and teaching; (3) collectivity to grow knowledge and resources; (4) critique for the promotion of scholarship; and (5) serendipitous innovation.

Technology in these later models of open pedagogy have become downplayed in favor of the process of learning. Theoretically at least we began to make “Investment in the people and the architecture not the content and the infrastructure” (Jim Groom, 2016).

Recently the participants of the many open courses that evolved from the original connectivist MOOCs have theorized definitions of open pedagogy. Robin Derosa (2016), for example, suggested four principles: improves access to education, but this is access broadly writ, treats education as a learner-driven process, stresses community and collaboration over content, and connects the academy to the wider public. Collectively we have shifted away from definitions of open pedagogy that emphasize the content and the technology.

Rather than spill pixels trying to develop a binary definition we embrace the ambiguity around open pedagogy and instead put forth a series of inter mingled principles. Some may be amplified or missing in your journey but that does not make your experience any more or less open. Basically if you are more open than before you are usually engaged in open pedagogy.

OER, Open Source, Creative Commons, MOOCs, where does open pedagogy fit among all these terms? In reality open pedagogy is a constellation of movements between the spaces and practices of learning in a networked and distributed world. In fact we have come to embrace the ambiguity of meaning (Belshaw, 2016) and decided to break a cardinal rule of good writing, “Always define key terms.”

Therefore instead of a definition we suggest a bricolage of interwoven principles have emerged . We tried to design a set of core beliefs centered on the “people and the architecture rather than the content and the infrastructure.” Teachers know people matter first in design. We have always built our classrooms that way. As we move into open pedagogy we must keep this focus on the who but also place an emphasis on the much larger, "why"

history_of_open_pedagogy.txt · Last modified: 2020/11/29 13:36 (external edit)