There has been compelling evidence presented on the benefits of being an open learner and the number of examples provided for each of the eight attributes was impressive. For twelve weeks learning was built, created and constructed in a personal domain, networking and discussing with classmates and tutors. In doing this, knowledge was gained in the three main blocks of the module but also digital skills were improved and community of practice augmented.
However, does any of this evidence rely on openness? I would argue that to fulfil the learning outcomes the same experience could have taken place within an institutional space shared only with the class and tutors. This space would have been more controlled, with much fewer disparate spaces to have to occupy. Without any direct engagement with a wider audience, except on Twitter, were key opportunities for additional learning lost?
Further, the need to be in multiple places, reading, reflecting as well as engaging and commenting on seventeen other class blogs was a constant battle. Time lost grappling with technology was time lost critically reading and reflecting.
Coming to a verdict is therefore difficult and in some respect, I have had to encompass the possibilities of future benefits as well as the twelve-week snapshot presented. Whilst I haven’t seen sufficient evidence to determine that being open was more beneficial to being closed for the module mark, the potential benefits of changed professional practice and increased community networks cannot be ignored.
The following points raised by jury members have been taken into consideration in reaching a verdict (time stamp from video in brackets) including the need for a commonality of language/terminology:
Robin deRosa: “Open is not an end game, it’s a tool, the end game is public.” (~7)
Mike Caulfield: “Invitation to participation… You have a piece of content and rather than saying ‘well this is my content and I own this experience and I determine how you will receive the experience’ … what I think you do with open content is you’re inviting … people to participate in that document in ways that you might not otherwise.” (~32:30)
David Wiley: “If we also aren’t sure what we mean by the modifier open that puts us in quite a pickle to try to advocate for it or research about it or talk about whether it’s a good idea or not.” (~29.30)
Sheila McNeill: “We need to think about the learner and the learners are not really going to think about pedagogy so much but I know that I have experienced some really positive open learning … and really negative ones as well and that’s really influenced my practice and influenced my thinking about pedagogy in general” (~44.20)
I deliver a ‘supported’ verdict, open learning is beneficial.