Thoughts on Open Teaching - Educon 2.1

Session by Dr. Alec Couros

Open Thinking - Working Definition: Open teaching is described as the facilitation of learning experiences that are open, transparent, collaborative, and social. Open teachers are advocates of a free and open knowledge society, and support their students in the critical consumption, production, connection, and synthesis of knowledge through the shared development of learning networks. Typical activities of open teachers may include some or all of the following:
  • Advocacy and use of free and/or open source tools and software wherever possible and beneficial to student learning;
  • Integration of free and open content and media in teaching and learning;
  • Promotion of copyleft content licenses for student content production and publication;
  • Facilitation of student understanding regarding copyright law (e.g., fair use/fair dealing, copyleft/copyright);
  • Facilitation and scaffolding of student personal learning networks for collaborative and sustained learning;
  • Development of learning environments that are reflective, responsive, student-centred, and that incorporate a diverse array of instructional and learning strategies;
  • Modeling of openness, transparency, connectedness, and responsible copyright/copyleft use and licensing; and,
  • Advocacy for the participation and development of collaborative gift cultures in education and society.

Questions for Discussion:
  • What are your understandings of openness as it applies to teaching, learning, and within the lives of individuals (yourself, students, teachers, etc.).
  • Are there pragmatic/philosophical/personal limits to open education/teaching or more generally, openness?
  • If openness is desirable, how do we nurture openness in our educational communities?
  • Are open models of teaching sustainable and/or scalable?
  • How do we balance openness with tendencies toward ownership models of knowledge (patents, copyright, copyleft, mashups, etc.)?