Topic 2 Reflection: To share or not to share is the question!

Overall reflection:
Globally, we can see a consumption culture which holds true for knowledge as well – reading is the most established cultural activity. Lawrence Lessig, the founder of Creative Commons, has been advocating to create Read-Write culture all across the world. At the same time, he is fighting for openness in sharing of knowledge so the remixing can be decriminalized, rather encouraged (Stephey, 2008).The issue at core globally is how to responsibly share and at the same time, encourage openness in sharing and remixing. While copyrights and the business side of it might harm the process of knowledge production but openness towards giving other permission and clear guidelines on how to attribute is a way forward to curtail privacy and also encourage more creation of knowledge, especially with regards to audio-visual content.

Specific questions:
1. Openness for my practice
Since childhood we are taught to work alone, whereas in work environments it is always the opposite. You always have to work with people. In exam settings, you are ask not to share answers, especially objective ones, as it would lead to cheating but in life, you rely on other people’s advice and there is nothing black and white. Therefore, it is a very difficult cultural or mindset change to seep in.

Openness is all about learning. Being able to share openly and allowing other to remix is vital because knowledge cannot be static – it needs to creative and personalized in order to be internalized. However, openness is also reciprocity, therefore attribution is an act of transparency as well.

In Pakistan, most of the resources prepared by the professors and academic staff is under copyright of the university as well. Therefore, it is very difficult to provide a public domain or creative commons license to the work. On the other hand, the only rule which is followed for sharing work of others is putting a source. Most of the schools create more physical resources than digital so there is not much concern. However, they use other digital resources and might not even source them because of lack of knowledge. Such a situation also brings a question whether people would be comfortable to provide their work as OER because of lack of responsible sharing. I guess, openness is required on part of the contributors to realize that in order to develop the culture, we would need to sacrifice some of our individual rights and interests for a collective movement and good. Awareness is a key as highlighted by Yousufzai (2015) in order to win confidence of the creators and distributors.

2. Searching Openly-licensed resources
I use archive.org, Google Images>Search Tools>Usage Rights, flaticon.com, pixabay.com, slideshare.com

I sometimes even contact owners of videos and other content to ask the permission to use the materials.

3. Advantages and disadvantages of open and closed technologies
Open technologies are free and accessible, however in my experience, some of them have quality issues. Lack of support available and sustainability/continuity of the software/application is also a challenge.
Closed technologies are more reliable with better quality and support but the cost and in some cases, lack of flexibility for changes can be a concern.

4. Implications of different open course and MOOC formats in relation to your learning experience on this course

For an open or MOOC course where collaboration by different institutions is the agenda, it is very important to choose a platform which easily accessible and replicable in varied contexts. Also structure is very important to guide learners to take this learning journey in parallel to multiple other engagements and flexible ways of participation to have a more strategic participation.

I think that core dimensions of open education explained in the framework by Inamorato dos Santos, Punie & Castaño-Muñoz (2016) also have implications on the effectiveness of open education. If the technology is accessible and content is relevant to the adult learning principles, there is more participation and less drop-out. When both content and pedagogy is based on collaboration where not all the content is created by instructors but participants also create content (through PBL products, discussions and blogs), it creates a learning community and sense of responsibility and value for contribution among team-members. Research and recognition is also important when the discussions are two-way and we keep on evaluating our assumptions and perspectives, assimilate the new ideas and sometimes even change them.

References:

Inamorato dos Santos, A., Punie, Y., Castaño-Muñoz, J. (2016) Opening up Education: A Support Framework for Higher Education Institutions. JRC Science for Policy Report, EUR 27938 EN

Stephey, M. J. (2008). Lawrence Lessig: Decriminalizing the Remix. TIME.

Yousufzai, A. (2015). Pakistan needs to protect IP rights for academic and economic growth. Pro Pakistani.

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9 thoughts on “Topic 2 Reflection: To share or not to share is the question!

    1. Yes, the case of virtual university is unique. Being a public university, it provides access to the populations which might not be able to get into formal process of full-time studies. It’s quality is not at par with other universities and they earn mostly through examination fees etc.

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  1. Hi Raheel,
    I agree with Alistair that you have written a very clear summary of some of the major issues we are all wrestling with in open learning. As we now have more potential than ever before to share our learning with others, we have new possibilities for creating knowledge and ensuring that it is available for everyone. How many wonderful researchers, inventors, philosophers etc have lived and died without ever having the opportunity to meet their potential because their access to education and learning was limited? Maybe one day we can all move beyond the cultural conceptions of ownership most of us have and can share for the greater good…I hope so! Thanks for a thought provoking post!

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  2. Hi Raheel, really found your thoughts on open education stimulating and challenging our thinking on the need to consider the many benefits of sharing resources. I certainly believe that the “cage has been rattled” for many institutions to re-evaluate their policies on open education, and consider increasing access to resources. Thank you for your in-depth analysis on this very current issue.

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  3. Thank you Raheel! I’m really wondering what the reasoning behind transferring the copyright from teachers to universities is – what do you think? Are universities acting like corporations? What do they gain from keeping it and not opening up their resources to others? Like I wrote on the Middle East page on our webpage, I really think universities need to lead the way towards a more open society where knowledge is accessible to all.
    I discuss this a bit more in my blog post that I finally published, feel free to have a look and let me know your thoughts!

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    1. Lina, I agree… they act like corporations. The idea is that if you are already being paid to create this stuff then you will have to share the rights. I read your blog and it makes a very important argument. I have shared my thoughts at your blog 🙂

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  4. Interesting reading how it works i Pakistan. I’m curious regarding the copyright of students’ papers or essays: are the students owner of their own material; or is it the institution/university who has the copyright?

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  5. I find the contradiction between what we are taught to do and what we are expected to do very interesting. It truly is fascinating how we are ‘expected’ to work in groups and collaborate, while this just feels wrong… I think that a lot of the resistance that we experience are ingrained in us, and that we are a kind of ‘transitioning’ generation. It is my opinion the the next generation won’t have the same setbacks as us.

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