Mike Caulfield posts an interesting observation about 2 different types of openness. There’s openness with re usability as a primary design principle, and then there’s openess with transparency as another design principle. Mike suggests that re-usability can create drag on transparency, and I have to agree.

At Otago Polytechnic we have been trying to achieve both at the same time, and some may have noticed that I use the term “open educational resources and practices” to encompass that intensive approach. There is a sense urgency in our need to update skills, awareness and policies to a point where we able to offer quality services in open (flexible) education arenas. But as Mike suggests, there is observable drag in doing both.

Take for example our use of MediaWiki on the Wikieducator service. Certainly not the easiest wiki to use, but one that does offer considerable amounts of re-usability in terms of MediaWikis. So.. do we support and endlessly motivate staff to use MediaWiki.. or do we start with something easier and focus on transparency alone? Most say start with something easier.. and true, that would get more of us going sooner, but the later workload in redevelopment for re-usability would be pretty sizable.

In saying that though, perspectives change over time, and what may be considered best practice for re usability today, may change tomorrow – which is only another point that at first glance supports the notion that its a bad idea to go for both forms of openness at the same time.

My only hope is that by working towards both at the same time, we are in fact addressing all aspects of openness at once and achieving a deeper level of understanding. By doing both at the same time, some of us will reach that tipping point sooner, a point where we are in fact skilled and aware of what it takes, and not merely cosmetically transparent.

But underneath it all in this approach is a worrisome level of low uptake and motivation caused by that big basket we call “too hard”. If more people toss to that basket, we may in fact never reach that typing point and always be at odds with mainstream operations that are not satisfactory…

I’m just thinking out load here… Thanks for teh food for thought Mike

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