When I hear folks in my stream sharing stuff for Open Education Week, my inner cynic wonders what they do the rest of the year. Or speculate a world where we do not have to draw attention in this way to Openness.
I get it. The whole idea is to raise awareness, and most of the people I hang put with are truly Year Round Open Education people- the week is for a broader swath of people. I am not criticizing the week. Ok?
And as open gets washed and wrapped around commercial products, we do and should do, develop our own definition, rather than abiding by someone elses. It takes time and experience.
So I think of it as that light being always on, all night long, heck all day long.
I am not saying that everything open needs to go on for ever, but in a lot of Certain Open Courses That Usually Start with an X, once the last item on the syllabus / schedule passes on the calendar, the tent goes down and the lights are turned off. Do people really hang around their past Coursera/Udacity/EdX MOOCs? Why would they?
The Open Stuff that I am interested in, is not just that anyone can walk through the door, as there are often ONLY IFs. They can walk through the door ONLY IF they create an account and login. They can walk through the door ONLY IF they are in certain parts of the world (geographic limits on media). Openness is not just a door.
And even if the door is open, what good is it if you walk in the door, and no one is there? That’s the Field of Dreams approach of Putting it On the Web and Calling it Done.
Okay, so I am not taking this post in the direction I thought I was in the beginning. That happens.
Rather than trying to say what open is / isn’t, I’m talking about the kinds I personally think are important.
The kinds of things that carry it’s own momentum above, beyond, outside the “course” or even the people who launched it. The ones where people participate in that maybe you do not even know about. That do so sometimes without you even knowing about it.
Of course, in my case I am taking about DS106. I am a proud Cult Member.
If folks are spontaneously creating posters, songs, GIFs, videos to celebrate your Open Thing, and it’s not any kind of assignment, you’ve done well.
But this allegiance/affinity thing is not at all limited to ds106. I’ve had a personal theory that you are most rooted/connected to the first cMOOC you experienced a mind-blowing, connecting-around-the-world experience. Others had it with CLMOOC. ETMOOC. MOOCMOOC. The various rhizo14,15,16 gardens.
It’s almost a tribal thing, and sometimes we playfully tease each other
— Jim Groom (@jimgroom) February 24, 2016
— Sarah Honeychurch (@NomadWarMachine) February 24, 2016
Really we are much more together, in an affinity of “not being like all that other crap.”
And a question becomes, in what ways do you design your open experiences to allow for the kind of serendipity you do not anticipate? Do you leave room/space for that? Because serendipity, the unintended things that happen are, to me, the sources of Great Potential Energy of Goodness – this does not usually happen when you have a strict structural objective compliant design where people are there to collect a certificate or a badge.
It happens a lot on DS106… because, despite what you may think, there is no single DS106 entity. It’s an overlapping un-diagrammable space of multiple iterations of different courses, it’s where people can make use of just portions of it- the Open Assignment Bank, the Daily Create, DS106 Radio, or just floating in and out of a #ds106 hashtag or the Google+ Group that someone else created.
There is a lovely undertow of people playfully riffing on ideas and creations; but that is not limited to DS106. I’ve seen it in CLMOOC, rhizoXX (see recent example from Simon Ensor)– this is stuff you cannot plan for, all you can do is spread some fertilizer, sunshine, water, and a few seeds (to use the metaphor).
There is no boundary to it.
I thought of this recently in watching activity in the #ds106 hashtag in twitter. The lovely thing in this space is, that quite often, you do not always know who is there with what class, or on their own. The boundaries of a “course” or “class” are completely blurred and smeared.
So I asked… and when you ask, often you get an answer.
Thanks, Myeasha, who I am guessing is a student. Think about that, a student speaks up to represent her class.
Chadron State College? I had never heard of it, but easy enough to find out it’s part of the public University of Nebraska system. From my years in studying geology, I know Chadron for the name of the fossil rich Geological formation seen prominently in the Badlands of South Dakota but it is named for it’s location to near Chadron, Nebraska.
Now I know more. There is a class there in Digital Literacy using part of ds106, and we have no idea why, how. They did not need to ask permission to use the Daily Create.
This is a porch light being on, the door being open, and people freelt coming and going from inside and outside.
This is open.
Have nice week.
Top / Featured Image: The metaphor I sought for this post (I don’t write until I have one and an image) was the Motel 6 ad line “We’ll leave the light on for you” (for some reason I thought it included “porch”, so my metaphor is “wrong”?). But I was hoping for an image of an outdoor porch light on at night.
A Google Images / Licensed for Reuse search for “porch light” was dismal. There are musical references, and about 3 rows down all you get are porches. Compfight too was slim. Then I thought, “I have a porch light and I bet I have taken photos of it” — the obvious of search your own photos. And BOOM! a perfect image I did not even envision, this from a box of switch plate covers at a thrift store near me, with the “Porch Leave on Label”. I did not even see this one in my mind; that’s what I love about digging for metaphor images.
The image is my own flickr photo https://flickr.com/photos/cogdog/12098712106 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license