It’s the openness, stupid

Openness and Collaboration
Openness and Collaboration licensed CC BY 2.0 by Paul Downey

A couple of days ago I wrote a dreadful piece of drivel that I’ve since removed from this blog (not a step I take lightly but it was just that bad). I was trying to explain my concern at the way that some educational technology commentators appeared to be becoming increasingly critical of MOOC platforms such as Coursera and educational technology entrepreneurs in general. For me, at that point, the rise of private MOOC platforms and edtech startups in general was something that, while not ideal, was at least the lesser of two evils and could be seen as a positive trend in changing higher education for the better.

I didn’t explain myself very well. Fortunately Cole Camplese (@colecamplese)  wrote a very good piece that  articulated my thinking much better than I ever could: “Innovation Confusion – Why do those who used to push forward now push back?”. But then an interesting thing happened; yesterday David Wiley wrote a great response to Cole entitled “Be Awesome Instead”. I spent a lot of time overnight thinking about what an ethical MOOC should look like determined to blog about it this today.  Thankfully Mike Caulfield has already written another good response to Cole (Reply to Cole: Pushing Back vs. Pushing Forward) and like David Wiley his key point is about openness.

“It’s really the openness issue, full stop”

And yes it is the openness. I had convinced myself that a ‘sort of’ open was good enough as long as enough disruption was going on to make the big changes that I think we need. I was wrong. While we may argue about  what form of MOOC is best, the role of instruction versus connection, how assessment could be carried out, if at all we should all be agreed that an ethical MOOC should be open. Very much like the Psychology MOOC that Mike Caulfield co-created.

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