These two weeks I’ve been scrutinising different pros and cons concerning openness and education. On one hand copyright and regulation gives the teacher the possibility to earn the credit for the time they’ve spent on setting up all the work. They might also be afraid that their work could be misused or placed in an unfavourable light.
On the other hand, if misused, how to pursue the violators? Probably takes a huge budget. The material of interest also has an up-to-date interest. If the application for license is too complex or takes too long, the data loses its relevancy. Kay O discusses several interesting points of view in the webinar for topic 2,
Sometimes we write an article and the delay is so long. A lot of things have changed. The new findings might make it irrelevant when it’s finally published.
When it comes to education, my first thought was, as a loyal employee, that the natural thing would be to have some extent of regulation, toward the university/educational organizer. Not totally open, because the employer has the right to receive the credit for the work they’ve done, the time, the material and so on. But not totally copyright either: is it ethical to keep important knowledge, which could benefit a lot of people, in order to profit from it? The ethical points could be discussed for a long time, from both sides.
What led me to an epiphany was David Wiley’s short TED talk.
He talked about teaching material that is freely shared. If there is no sharing, there is no education.
Who do you consider to be a successful educator? It’s the people who share most thoroughly with the most students. Instantly, two very skilled lecturers in my university came to my mind. Both of them with huge experience and great knowledge. One of them open, always ready to share his experience and knowledge, to teach students, generous in giving away his material. The other one, also with great skills, excellent lecturer but with no interest in sharing any of his material. He claimed all the time he’s spent of putting his vast and exceptional material together, revising it, must be worth something, preferably that he should have the credit for it in some way. Not willing to share. Guess which one is the most anticipated.

Also I’ve had the opportunity to consider different challenges today regarding sharing online courses and the pedagogy formation. The effect of new media and technology gives us incredible opportunities for openness, education and sharing. Like for instance the MOOC courses. Kahan writes about different types of participant behaviours,
Less than 0.5% of the participants were found to be engaged in the course, but did not achieve a certificate.
There’s a vastly increased capacity to share education. The more open we are, the better the education will be.


  1. Interesting post, I like the question that you’ve raised: “is it ethical to keep important knowledge, which could benefit a lot of people”. I am asking this question myself from time to time. At one point, the author of the course invest a lot of efforts and time to prepare and revise everything, but from the other point as David Wiley said “How many of the ideas and material that you use for your course are truly yours”. Most of the thoughts that we use preparing a course is already written by somebody else.



    1. Yes, that is a good question to think of when we hesitate sharing: How much of my teaching/presentation/ideas are originally my own ideas or research findings.



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