LIDA103 Why open matters for learning in a digital age

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Join the discussion on why open matters for you un the context of learning in a digital age. This is an introductory forum for us to get to know each other a little better by sharing thoughts on what we think about the concept of “open” in education.

Think about your own context with reference to the current state of learning in a digital age.

  • Does open matter for you personally? Share your reasons why open does or doesn’t matter for you.
  • What can we learn from the current state of affairs regarding access to scholarly knowledge? What advice do you have for the future of learning in a digital age?


As an educator (by choice) and advocate of free and open source software, open matters for me personally. I believe that education is a fundamental human right and that no learner should be denied access to learning because they can’t afford it.

Sadly, many institutions and so-called “open” courses require learners to purchase proprietary software licenses or to sacrifice their data and software freedoms by creating accounts on so-called “free” (gratis) websites in order to engage in learning online. For me open means being able to access learning materials without the need to register a password and the ability to participate in all online activities without any requirement to use proprietary software.

Keen to hear what others think.


As @mackiwg, I am also an educator by choice.
My first teacher position was extremely stressful. I was an undergraduate Psychology student with a lot of initiative but zero teaching experience. This is when and how I discovered Educational Technology. It helped be bridge some of the gap between me and the more-experienced teachers; but more importantly, it allowed me to envision a model where students had more agency over how, when and what they learned.
As I dug deeper, however, I stumbled with the other side of Educational Technology: the high-cost barriers, the proprietary issues on student-generated data, and the overall sensation of control (against freedom) that emerged from many of these technologies. For me, open(ness) represents an essential answer to this prerogative. So yes, open also matters personally to me. As a teacher, and as a lifelong learner.

Open means that a resource or a technology (or even, potentially, a praxis) is available for free (gratis), but it also grants freedom to be used, shared, remixed. This is important because, as stated in this lesson, knowledge increases when it is shared, and resources and technologies are enhanced when they are re-thought and re-designed through other eyes. My experience in teaching has taught me that. No content is ever delivered equally, it is constantly redefined and redrawn through the interaction of teachers and students. Open education promises to bring this dynamic to a bigger scale, by connecting learners throughout the world.


Good point - Open models facilitates greater student agency and that’s good for learning in my opinion.

Let’s work together in connecting learners on a global scale through open education!


I’ve been fascinated by the Open Schoolhouse Model which focuses at the secondary school level… Here’s an introduction: Charlie Reisinger, the educator behind it, has also written a book chronicling his experience.


The learners “became active participants in their own education” is an important takeaway from this video. While active learning is possible without open resources, I think that working in an environment, and with a philosophy, of openness will encourage teachers to empower students in fundamentally different ways from when teaching and learning is bounded i.e in a closed environment. Thanks for sharing this @lightweight


Access to existing knowledge is vital for the creation of new knowledge and understanding. That we should allow knowledge to be deliberately locked away is a travesty. Besides building on existing knowledge, openness allows validation of research findings ensuring that the knowledge that we build on is sound. The Centre for Open Science states that its mission “is to increase openness, integrity, and reproducibility of research …[and]… envision a future scholarly community in which the process, content, and outcomes of research are openly accessible by default.” Being transparent about how research is conducted, the data gathered and the analysis undertaken supports new research and researchers; enables the reproducibility of the research to be checked; and ensures new research is not built on a false prospectus. The current paradigm of being closed, of paywalls, of secrecy is slowly changing. The challenge for #lida participants is to build openness into everything we do, however small that may seem at times. A mountain takes many steps to climb and we will never achieve the summit if we never take those steps.


@Easegill - A worthy challenge and together we can achieve more than working alone.


Yes, as an educator, open access matters to me very much. Many times in pursuit of interesting articles, I basically hit brick walls (paywalls as described in the video) with disappointments. Even with Research Gate, though articles are shared freely at times requires authors consent which takes time. In one such case, I got the consent 9months later from my initial request and by then I had already moved on to some other more interesting research.

Please share more free access journal domains if possible so that I can share with my colleagues.


Indeed - it is frustrating to wait so long for permissions - especially if the original research was conducted by a researcher working at a publicly funded university.