What to Tell a Graduate Education Class about Open Education

I was invited just now by Dr. Katia Hildebrandt to visit (virtually) tonight with her class EC&I 831 Social Media and Open Education at the University of Regina. Katia’s request was to talk about the “idea” of open education with the students, mostly practicing K-12 educators.

Surely, someone from an organization like Open Education Global knows everything (apply sarcasm tags). I often reach for visual metaphors (openly licensed, of course!)-- can I stand and orate like Aimee Hutchinson?

Miss Hutchinson (LOC) flickr photo by The Library of Congress shared with no copyright restriction (Flickr Commons) Well worth reading the comments for a small example of open pedagogy in action.

As someone who prefers conversational style and abhors slidedecks and definitions, my ho to approach is to openly for suggestions. Can you help me OEG Connect?

What are the most important concepts, practices, resources that teachers, especially K-12, ought to know? What is most important now in our world that has just experienced a global pandemic and is witnessing, in many places, the effects of climate change, social upheaval, and now looming technology impacts of artificial intelligence and virtual reality?

What should new open educators have “opened” for them?

Ofcourse, Katia has expertise at the University of Regina in Alec Couros and I will tag in our colleague from just a bit north of us, Heather Ross @hmross at the University of Saskatchewan.

What are the big ideas in open education these teachers ought to be thinking about?

Your ideas are greatly appreciated, and more, can demonstrate this simple power of asking for help openly.

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Hi, Alan

I have some experience with Open Things, especially related to education. I wrote a post about it here Developing Professional Staff: Open Education is a Problem for OER in K-12 . There are links in there to more.


I didn’t know anything about Aimee Hutchinson. I found this article interesting as a snapshot of her times:

I think a key concept is the pedagogy of abundance, if I am using the term properly, and the learning skills it entails. Those will be different for K-12 than HE, but it comes down to putting information literacy to practice as much as possible.

I’ll go with allowing more space for students to have a voice in the course. You don’t have to recreate Summerhill every semester, but simply giving students a say in what happens, helps.

Then, I suppose helping them find that they can help others. They can create work that benefits other students, other teachers, other people. Exploring the ways they can create meaningful and helpful expressions of learning and understanding.

And, as the teacher, documenting some of these adventures helps others in the teaching profession.

Thise are good small steps. I think.

Wonderful, thanks Dan… and your current MoodleBox project is an excellent example of open practice.

Thanks Paul-- that’s what I love about the Flickr Commons, the stumbling into curious/interesting photos, finding some information in the caption, but often with mode info added by visitors,like this case, where the comment thread helped the LOC adjust their data.

Alan, why couldn’t you just call it a good example of using OER? Or, if you wanted to be more specific - OER on an open source learning management system accompanied by openly licensed professional development? Why water it down with ‘open practice’?

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I apologize, Dan, my intent was merely to mention/refer to your project, not classify it. I really want to coordinate a way here to give it more attention.

Some comments in via Mastodon:

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Permite apertura de conocimiento, información y experiencia, que pueda servir como fuente para nuevas aplicaciones en su campo de saber. Respecto a IA generativa para la enseñanza, permite una enseñanza personalizada y variada simplificando el tiempo, selección de mejores medios y recursos, con reforzamiento oportuno.

No apology needed, Alan. I was asking a real question related to the question you posed to the group. The important thing that teachers need to know, especially K-12 teachers, is the difference between a concrete thing and an abstract construct created by people in Higher Ed who profess about things. ‘Open Practice’ is not something defined by an articulated agreement of representatives of 200 countries around the globe; OER is. K-12 teachers need to know and understand the difference. Their students and ministries of education would benefit by understanding the difference, too.
K-12 teachers might be able to use OER without ever getting around to tackling the notion of Open Practice. Maybe they’ll want to use OER in their project based learning models, or their Montessori schools, or their Reggio Amilia approach, or their particular type of magnet school. Open practice might be a barrier to using OER.

Mucho aprecio, Ageleo!

I don’t have any experience as a K-12 educator, but one thing that resonated with me when I took the Creative Commons course, was the realization that Creative Commons licenses work within existing copyright law, not outside of it. I like to think of them as forming a bridge between the original licenses, public domain, and copyright all rights reserved, with CC BY over by Public Domain, and CC BY-NC-ND next to copyright all rights reserved. Unfortunately, I’ve never gotten around to actually creating a graphic to go with this idea.

And for a Miss Hutchinson moment, someone told me just yesterday that their Open Education journey started when they were at a conference and Cable Green picked up their notes and said, “These are copyrighted!” Instructors are already creating copyrighted works whether they realize it or not. If they create them based on openly-licensed materials rather than copyright all rights reserved materials, and relying on fair use then they can publish and share those materials back out.

Thanks Liz-- I’d love to see that graphic metaphor, along with flowering OER along side the pathway.

That’s a brilliant Cable moment, too, for making it clear everything starts as copyrighted. But who owns it? There was the situation described by the participants in the webinar that the rules in their schools were that anything created on work time and on work computers belonged to the school. It was not alway (I infer) for just the claiming of ownership but in some cases a way for schools to try to make the sharing of said materials required.

I don’t think it’s a real objection to the concept of sharing, but there are blocks individuals have- our discussions was around both the issue of the time invested in the creation, but also the timer and effort needed to reuse (that’s not really a roadblock). I have also seen over the years, a hidden block- it’s that many creators of content have their own self doubt about the value (“it’s not very good, what if someone sees it and criticizes my work”), but typically that many think their stuff is just ordinary.

The old Derek Sievers video fits for those concerns:

My own reply to my topic is a bit overdue, and drawing solely from my memory of this conversations with some 20+ students in the EC&I 831 Social Media and Open Education at the University of Regina.

As promised I had no slides, but did have some browser tabs open for possible talking points (not used, but shared below). I likely came off a bit like Miss Hutchinson. We had a busy chat dialogue (guess who forgot to save)…

I cut off the intro as this session was not about me, but did mention my role at OEGlobal. I asked first for the students to share their awareness or understanding of Open Education. A good chunk was, “none that’s what I am here to learn” a few well stated general descriptions – bottom line, it’s not really part of the regular conversations and work for these teachers.

So, in no real order, I rambled about:

  • Openness a broadly, as a way of being, of access to education being a common “good” (referencing the Saskatchewan provincial mandate to provide every student an education)
  • Open Education Resources - I did try to describe as with irony that one of the top searches for the 5Rs was not the original authors, but one on Course Hero. The irony was not there. Also, mentioned the UNESCO OER Reccommendation
  • Roots in Opensource movement, the impact of MIT’s Open Courseware opening in 2001, broader area of Open Access publishing (noting that research funded by public money should not be paywalled), Open Science, Open Data, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the field of open licenses.
  • Tried to make a case of the Wikimedia Foundation (more than just the 'pedia) as the worlds largest and most successful open education.
  • The drive to provide access to education and content in parts of the world where it is scarce, describing some of the efforts to provide open content in places lacking good or any internet
  • A long discussion of the culture and motivations (or lack) in their own schools- its encouraged, but there are questions of ownership, and then much on the issues of Teachers Paying Teachers.
  • Back to licenses, and also (mine) that licenses should be seen to provide access, not necessarily protect content
  • A bit of a last swing to gauge interest/concern about AI
  • Much more I cannot remember.

The students are blogging (yay) as part of their course, I am not sure if they are syndicated anywhere like the old days, but you will find posts in Twitter tagged #eci831 . Oh, I did ask if they had concerns about the future of Twitter, not much response there.


Mike noticed OEGlobal and shared the Open Education Week resources


I noticed a few of us posting links from OE Global. Here are their resources from OE Week 2023 Open Education Week #eci831

Happy to see students tweet sharing resources like

Okay, finally, these were links open in my browser tab that were standing by, a few I shared in chat