During the last two weeks I have come to realize that openness and sharing are great pedagogical assets. As Alastair Creelman argued in his introductory lecture, creating content for lectures is like repeatedly inventing the wheel, and sharing resources between universities means that we could stop doing that and instead devote more time to more important pedagogic tasks. Discussions with other course participants have also made me realize that openness is a great means for enhancing quality. After all, if peer review is good for research, then openness should be good for teaching.
However, I find it somewhat annoying that the course material doesn’t problematize openness and sharing. David Wiley, for example argues that being opposed to openness is the same thing as being a “baby.” But few things are 100% good or bad, and if we don’t acknowledge the problems then we can’t work with openness and sharing in a responsible way.
In Sweden, teachers own the copyright to the teaching material they produce. This makes sharing and openness easier, since it is the teacher, and not the university, who decides if and what to share. However, owning the copyright also means that sharing is the same thing as giving up something. One example of this is that sharing may mean giving up control over how your material is used. It is not sure that it won’t be used when it has become outdated, for example.
Another problem with sharing could be that if we rely on others’ material we may end up in a situation were relatively few people produce such material, and where diversity hence decreases. (On the other hand, sharing may be the only way for courses given in minor languages to survive.)
Openness can also be problematic. One example is that privacy may be valuable to students, or to guest teachers from authoritarian countries like Turkey or Iran. Since failing is often a part of the learning process it is also important to make sure that openness doesn’t mean exposing students.
However, after studying this topic for two weeks I am sure that in the furture I will share more of my learning material, make my courses more open, and use more soper learning resources.