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.
- Training college students to contribute to the Linux kernel
Posted 18 Nov 2013 by Luis Ibanez
- Prepare students for a rapidly changing world by teaching with open source
Posted 19 Nov 2013 by Gregg Ferrie
- University course trades textbook for Raspberry Pi
Posted 23 Oct 2013 by Luis Ibanez
- Free and open source education materials for children and teens
Posted 7 Nov 2013 by Carolyn Fox