I’m a Hypocrite!

I think this will be my last post to this blog. For a while I have been pushing the point of view that the world needs more joiners in the “open movement,” i.e. open access, open content, open education, open educational resources, open source software, etc. and fewer starters.

At the same time I’ve been trying to point out many of the discussions around online learning are narrow and uniformed as most do not appreciate the history of teaching and learning that has been happening online for years, or recognize the existing resources already out there helping self-motivated learners discover, create and grow. Many of these educationally valuable resources are quite creative, innovative and compelling. Unfortunately, as many evolved over time, through the continued work of individuals and groups who cared more about the product than the prize, they may have not benefited from the branding and marketing of more recent “disruptive” efforts that have “burst upon the scene.

Don’t think me naive, I understand that many blogs are promotional, but those–neither their content or creators–are not of interest to me. I’m looking for authentic engagement with folks who wonder why, not tell me how.

Nonetheless many informal communities and the resources they create, provide real value for those looking to learn about some topic: Programming, Art History, Higher Education, etc. The people involved–the authors, readers, commenters, linkers–provide several important services: access to/curation of current thought and resources; guidance in interpretation and understanding, support, feedback/assessment about your and others’ work and ideas; community building and introduction to peers, etc. I’ve pointed to online communities like discussion forums in the past but blogs are clearly another example where folks are meeting to discuss and learn with one another and find experts on topics of personal and/or professional interest.

So eating my own dog food, what would be better, starting up a blog (and keep it limping along with a few hits/comments/pingbacks coming in) or join a blog that is much more mature and active? It’s just like an open source project: create a new blog (or project?) to discuss issues of interest; develop a community for the exchange of ideas; and promote awareness and adoption to grow participation/contribution, versus joining an existing blog (again, project?) to contribute to foster further development and community: someone said, it’s reuse, not recreate.

So here is my plan (as if you care–but at least, now with this reflection, I can look at myself). I am going to find several blogs on topics of interest, higher education; technology, edtech; openness; open source software, etc. and only comment in those. This will not be too hard as I am already following several. And while the comments section of other’s blogs can serve just as nicely as running my own blog as a platform/forum for my thoughts and ideas, the important (and hopefully valuable) concept is that I will be contributing to a broader discussion and possibly, greater understanding (mine and others) as well as direction on the subject (or maybe they will block me!).

Just like an open source project, open textbook, open course, open educational resource, etc. the greater the participation, the better the outcomes/output: many eyeballs…!

On this page, I’ll simply chronicle my comments as an index for reference. Let’s see how this goes.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

OER Summit 2013

I recently presented at the OER Summit, sponsored by the Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium, UMassOnline, University of Massachusetts and Mass Colleges Online. Hosted by Dr. Cable Green, Director of Global Learning, Creative Commons, the panel included: Marilyn Billings, Scholarly Communication & Special Initiatives Librarian, UMass Amherst; Paul Dobbs, Library Director, Mass College of Art; Karin Moyano Camihort, Dean of Online Learning & Academic Initiatives, Holyoke Community College, and; Jonathon Sweetin, NCLOR System Administrator, Learning Technology Systems, NCCCS System Office.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

More Starters…

Last week I posted a few comments pointing to a frustrating phenomena I’ve seen with the acceptance (dare I say popularity?) of open source software: we’ve got too many new projects (over a million) in categories already inundated with viable options. Rather than joining an existing project, folks are creating their own. I used 230+ open source learning management systems (and apparently at least one open source “authoring tool“) to make my point.

However, the phenomena is not limited to learning management systems (or authoring tools) or, for that matter, even software, as the problem appears to have crossed over into other sectors capitalizing on “openness” (fauxpenness?) as a development and distribution (promotion?) method. The Open Educational Resources (OER) movement suffers as well from the “starters over joiners phenomena.” Thankfully, there is tremendous interest in both the use of OER broadly and, just as importantly, open source’s foundational practices that enable it–OER is all good and I am way for it. Massive Open Online Courses (OK, I’m not too “for it” with MOOCs–but that’s another post), Creative Commons licensed learning objects, open access journals, open courseware, etc., all harness the collaborative and community processes of co-creation first ascribed to open source software.

Continue reading

Posted in IT Governence & Planning, Open Source | Leave a comment

Joiners, Not Starters

In an ongoing theme with this blog (I can’t help myself) I’ve lamented, while the acceptance of open methods for development and distribution has grown across a variety of sectors, the result has been an influx of new projects (i.e. starters), by well meaning converts/proponents, rather than the creation of broader communities of collaborators/contributors (i.e. joiners).

Well another open source LMS announcement was made today by The Adapt Learning Community…

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Linux on the Desktop

After my previous post, I received a few comments about the “real costs” of open source, a-la, “open source isn’t free,” and “open source actually costs more due to a loss in productivity.”

Basically folks said to run Linux on the desktop, required a high skill set, and that “the average user” could not maintain a Linux-based operation system. These “maintenance cost,” i.e. hours wondering through discussion forums chasing down answers for complex Linux issues, leads to decreased productivity, thus costing folks more in lost time (when they could be earning money), than other “out of the box” options. In addition, folks argued, because open source applications are feature poor compared to commercial options, there are things you just can’t do with open source tools, again reducing productivity.

Continue reading

Posted in Open Source | Leave a comment

It’s “Revise, Remix & Redistribute” not, “Repeat, Redo & Replicate.”

I just updated my desktop from Ubuntu Lucid Lynx (10.04 LTS) to Precise Pangolin (12.04 LTS) and like always after any new version or functionality from Ubuntu (Linux), excited by the new features, I can’t help but leap up on my soap box (well, to be honest, my “high horse“) to bemoan the lack of awareness and adoption of Linux on the desktop–OK really to chastise and ridicule many in IT (especially decision-makers), but especially those working in and with open communities of practice who don’t eat their own dog food.

Continue reading

Posted in IT Governence & Planning, Open Source | 4 Comments

Innovation or Replication?

Why those excited by the Stanford & edX open source platform collaboration (and many other “open” initiatives) don’t get it. It’s “reuse, revise, remix, redistribute,” not “reinvent, redo, redundant, replace.” The below article appeared just this week, in 2004 [May, 2014].

Sakai Project [EdX] launches groundbreaking open source collaboration

By Nancy Connell of News Service [Patrick Masson]

The Sakai Project [EdX], a landmark venture to create open-source course management tools and related software for the higher education community, has been launched by a consortium of four [three]universities, with U-M [Stanford] in a leading role.

The project—a collaboration of U-M with Indiana [Harvard University], the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford—will release its first software next summer. It has received a $2.4 [$60] million grant from the Mellon Foundation and $300,000 from the Hewlett foundation in funding, and it has attracted the interest of at least 13 additional colleges and universities since its launch in December [May of 2012], says Joseph Hardin [Anant Agarwal], director of the Sakai [edX] project.

Continue reading

Posted in 2-3-98, Online Learning, Open Source | 1 Comment