Affiliated with the University of California's systemwide
Humanities Research Institute
The MacArthur Foundation
I have spent the last month being unpopular. I have been in conversation with many ‘Open Everything’ activists and practitioners. At each instance, we got stuck because I insisted that we begin by defining what ‘Open’ means in the easy abuse that it is subject to. It has been a difficult, if slightly tedious exercise, because not only was there a lack of consensus around what constitutes openness, but also a collective confusion about what we mean when we attribute openness to an object, a process or to people. It was easy to define openness as opposed to a closed system – attributes of transparency, ownership, collaboration and a multidirectional panopticon were invoked in trying to understand the form, function and role of openness. However, it was quickly clear that even with people who are on the same side of the battle-lines around openness, there is a disjunction in their imagination of what an Open Society can mean. Hence, the ‘Open’ in ‘Open Government’ for instance, had very little cross-over with the ‘Open’ in ‘Open Education’. Apart from the larger infrastructure industry that supports the various implementations of Open systems ranging from participatory governments to Digital Humanities, there seems to be silos of openness that co-exist but do not converse.
One of the ways of doing away with the cultures of ambiguity that seem to have developed around Openness, where it is the object of inquiry, the process through which inquiries are made, the lens of critique and the aspiration of movements, perhaps need to be unpacked. And one of the ways of doing this would be to shift the focus from Open as an adjective to Open as a verb – to focus not on what it is, but what it works towards. This shift in thinking of Open as a verb, allows to produce a political critique of the Open paradigm, which is otherwise often missed out in the self-avowed goodness of Open movements.
This is probably a good space for me to declare that I am not an Openness dis-evangelist. I appreciate, endorse and celebrate the values of collaboration, engagement, participation, access and empowerment that Open movements work with and indeed belong to quite a handful of them.
- Diana Sz
UBC Library Communications
I’ll tell you what’s wrong with the education system.
In elementary school, it’s the teachers. And I’m not talking about all the teachers, nah. We all know that there are “good teachers” out there, and if your son gets assigned to their classroom by lot, well Hallelujah, your work here is done. But isn’t it a shame that these “good teachers” stand out so much, they who inspire their students, they who can make a classroom rise or sit as one, they who show off the beau... show all text
This week, the results from the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) were released. The PISA is a triennial survey that tests the skills and knowledge of 15 year old students in 65 countries. This iteration focused on math, and the comparative results of the 510,000 students who participated helps evaluate the current state of the … Continue reading »
Last January, Richard Rothstein and Martin Carnoy released a report on international test scores, arguing that American students perform better than is generally believes. Since many people are deeply invested in the conventional claim that American students lag the world on international tests, their report led to a flurry of controversy. This post by Rothstein and Carnoy responds to Tucker’s criticism of their report.
On the other hand, Marc Tucker wrote an excellent article on his blog in wh... show all text