“We are in the midst of a cultural revolution”

Open Education Week - 5-9 March 2018

“And we don’t know where it will take us”. With these words, Rob Mudde, newly appointed Vice Rector Magnificus / Vice President Education, addressed attendees at the Open Education Seminar on 5 March, drawing an analogy between the changes that the creation of the printing press brought to the world and the Open Education movement. At the time of the first printed book, nobody could have foreseen that one day the number of books would have come to surpass, by far, the number of people living on earth (nor that public libraries would be similarly widespread). Similarly, with open education we are moving in new, unpredictable directions. Rob urged everyone not to miss the Open boat; it is great to be part of things to come, to actively shape the future and to have fun while doing it.

At the Seminar participants had ample opportunity to explore the many facets of Open Education and to use the workshops to discuss together how to translate into practice the elements of open education contained in the TU Delft Strategic Framework 2018-2024.

A few key themes emerged from such conversations, for example the importance of a community-based, social system in open practices for collective creation, responsibility and quality control. There is definitely value to be had from open content that combines high-quality resources, community sharing and a social mission. Many participants remarked on how collaboration should not only be limited to colleagues and departments at TU Delft but involve different external stakeholders, institutions and communities to achieve success.

Topics such as Open Pedagogy raised interest. Open Pedagogy covers teaching and learning practices where both teachers and students act as active participants, connecting the external world to the educational process through open communities of people and free access and reuse (including revision, remix, and redistribution) of open educational resources). Compelling was also the idea of students and alumni being co-opted as co-creators of materials or working on assignments directly related to open content.

There was discussion on the volume of open content available and on how to best assess and harness the quality within it. For example, what should be the judging criteria (e.g. are people using the material? Is there a community invested in using an amending it?) what could be the role of peer review and a community of curators? How could you keep track of the use and reuse of resources you shared with others, by others? One could wonder if and how open education could learn from developments in research and open source software in this regard. Other questions in this context centred on digital literacy to assess resources, on using peer review in open textbooks as a standard and on the role of incentives to support open practices.

Designer Sadaf Nadimi captured many of the learnings and aspirations from the day in a graphic canvas that captures our collective ideas and focus going forward, and worked out in more detal with Mark van Huystee.

The full and final version of this sketch, and detailed outtakes will be posted on https://opensketching.weblog.tudelft.nl

Paul Stacey, Executive Director of the Open Education Consortium, shared the latest trends at a global level and reflected on the fact that the movement is now encompassing not only higher education but all levels of education, including kindergarten. He also gave examples on how the Global South is embracing open practices, often in innovative ways. Looking to the future we could imagine that the discriminating factor between (online) university degrees shall no longer be the (common, shared) content, but its delivery: it will depend on the unique expression of the learning experience, on the way that the university’s unique character is embedded and represented online. Paul Stacey’s presentation can be downloaded here

On the following day, the ‘Open Textbook in a Day’ workshop gave participants a hands-on opportunity to actualise open practices in their work. Read more about it.

What next?

The action now rests with all of us to make Open a stronger reality in TU Delft by taking steps (even if small) to carry forward this cultural revolution in our own work and sphere of action, spreading the word, connecting with others, and having fun being that culture change.

If you need support in taking action or want to find out more about Open practices and initiatives at TU Delft, contact Martijn Ouwehand.


Here is a list of the presentations and resources shared at the Seminar

Openness in the Strategic Framework (Timo Kos)

Learning from global developments (Paul Stacey)

Learning from national experience (Rob Fastenau)

What support do you need? (Willem van Valkenburg)

Design an open learning experience (Wiebe Dijkstra & Martijn Ouwehand)

What should openness be? (Martijn Stellingwerff)

Copyright or Copy Wrong (Cora Bijsterveld)