Why learn in the open?

"The point of education and research both is about knowledge sharing as the main goal... open allows us to do that in a way that is not so commodified."

Daniel Munro. the AMS Associate VP Academic and University Affairs (2015-16) for UBC-V.

"We are living in a historical moment of transformation and realignment in the creation and sharing of knowledge, in social, political and economic life, and in global connectedness. There is wide agreement that we need new models of education suited to this historic moment, and not simply new models of schooling, but entirely new visions of learning better suited to the increasing complexity, connectivity, and velocity of our new knowledge society." Excerpt from: Connected Learning: Principles

There are many reasons why learners would turn to the open web to learn. These may include: following an interest or passion; connecting with people and expertise; learning how to do something or understand a concept (think Khan Academy or Veritasium).

Learning in the open naturally helps to develop a host of web literacies as we learn to network, collaborate, write, create, build, search, document and publish our work online. The Institute for the Future, Work Skills Summary suggests that these competencies will become more and more critical as we move into the 21st century. Read the report.

Here are more reasons...

The high cost of textbooks and other learning resources (as illustrated in the), may lead you or your peers to:

  • delay the buying of necessary materials or avoid purchasing them all together - which may put you at an academic disadvantage.
  • spend hours copying pages from your friends' textbooks - taking time away from studies.
  • stress out about not having the resources you need to be effective and prepared in your classes.

Open textbooks and learning resources make it possible to access everything you need to learn, free of cost, over the internet. Some examples:

There are many more examples of open learning resources available from universities around the world. Link under adopt and locate.

Have you ever:

  • searched for a video on YouTube to help you learn how to do something?
  • created and uploaded a video that teaches others how to do something?
  • spent time on Reddit - accidentally or on purpose to learn something new?
  • published anything learn-worthy on a blog, Reddit or Facebook?
  • shared or followed a link to learn something from someone you follow on Twitter?
  • contributed to or learned from Wikipedia?

If you have done any of these things, you have participated in the open learning movement in some way. Applying an open license to the work you create is also an important step in contributing to open learning resources. Refer to the How section to learn more...

Learning involves risk taking. When you share your work openly, you are contributing to the building and sharing of knowledge and you are opening up your work for public review. When you are accustomed to learning and creating behind classroom walls and for the eyes of your professor only, working in the open can be both daunting and extremely rewarding. You will want to understand:

  • how your work may be evaluated by others.
  • what your obligations are regarding copyright and appropriate citation of others' work.
  • how you can license your own work (with an open license) to allow others to re-use and build on your work - while attributing you as the original author.

Learning in the open requires us to grapple with issues of trust, privacy and ownership. Some leading thinkers and open learners share their thoughts on these issues in video diary format at Speaking Openly http://speakingopenly.co.uk/ . Check out the resources below for more information on licensing your work and respecting copyright.

Open Data is research data that is freely available on the internet permitting any user to download, copy, analyse, re-process, pass to software or use for any other purpose without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself....In the digital age, data is the raw material on which discoveries are built, and unfettered access to research data, whether in the Life Sciences or the Social Sciences, is crucial to accelerating progress in research. SPARCopen.org

Open Resources

There are many more examples of open learning resources available from universities around the world.

Open Courses

At UBC
  • LFS350 asks students to create wiki pages rather than papers.
  • Physics 101 course adds student-created learning objects into course curriculum.
source: http://wiki.ubc.ca/Documentation:Open_UBC/Learn/Why