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Preview: iterating toward openness

iterating toward openness



pragmatism over zeal - aut inveniam viam aut faciam



Updated: 2017-11-17T21:46:57Z

 



The Cost Trap, Concluding Thoughts

2017-11-17T21:46:57Z

Though I deeply enjoy my infrequent, often protracted conversations with Stephen – and find them deeply useful for clarifying and advancing my own thinking – I believe this one has just about run its course. Stephen has posted Four Conclusions on OERs he has drawn from our conversation. This will be my final post as […]Though I deeply enjoy my infrequent, often protracted conversations with Stephen – and find them deeply useful for clarifying and advancing my own thinking – I believe this one has just about run its course. Stephen has posted Four Conclusions on OERs he has drawn from our conversation. This will be my final post as well, and I’ll make only a few concluding points. One of the things I’ve learned through this discussion is that some might benefit from the inclusion of a brief disclaimer somewhere on my writing. Something like this, perhaps: Disclaimer My long term goals in advocating for OER are to (1) radically improve the quality of education as judged by learners and (2) radically improve access to education worldwide. However, the short-term goals I am currently pursuing as a step toward these longer term goals are to increase the effectiveness, affordability, and access to post-secondary education in the United States, particularly in the context of institutions that serve at-risk students. Please be aware that if your current goals with regard to OER differ from mine, one or more of the following statements may be either nonsensical or untrue in the context of your goals. Please also be aware that this does not make them nonsensical or untrue in the context of my goals.   Actually, I just added it to the bottom of the information in the right-hand column,  just below the licensing statement. Stephen writes, Wiley concludes, most of the disagreement (and occasional confusion) between Stephen and me is my desire to work within the context of existing formal educational institutions and his desire to work outside / around them. Yes. But also that really important bit about the goal of the OER movement and the other bit about endorsing a specific pedagogy. Let me start with “the goal” of the OER movement. The assumption that all the people participating in the global OER movement have a single goal strikes me as wrong. This is why, a few posts ago, I stated that “the question we must each ask ourselves is – what is the real goal of our OER advocacy?” Our advocacy. Not ‘what do you believe the “real goal” of the global OER movement should be?’ I then tried to reinforce the idea that, for each of us, the specific goal of our advocacy will be something individual to each us (“Personally, my goal is…”). Every time Stephen says “the goal” instead of “a goal” or “one of the goals” I find myself unable to agree. If, for example, instead of saying: the objective of providing access for all… [is] demonstrably the goal of the vast majority, if not all, people working in OER he would say: the objective of providing access for all… [is] demonstrably a goal of the vast majority, if not all, people working in OER then I could agree wholeheartedly and without reservation. Yes, increasing access is one of the goals the majority of people in the movement share. And yes, it is likely true that more people share this goal than any other. But that doesn’t make it “the goal” of the OER movement (unless you define membership in the movement as identifying “access to all” as “the goal” of the movement). People in the OER movement have many additional goals, and they aren’t always subordinate to the goal of access for all. I know many people to whom the goal of transforming teaching and learning is equally important with the goal of increasing access. Are they “outside” the movement because they don’t believe that access for all is “the goal” of the movement. I would say no. I think the[...]



The Cost Trap, Part 3

2017-11-16T23:01:46Z

In my recent post I asked us each to consider what “what is the real goal of our OER advocacy?” Stephen answers that his goal is access for all, and takes me to task for wanting more. In my post I wrote, My ultimate goal is this: I want to (1) radically improve the quality […]In my recent post I asked us each to consider what “what is the real goal of our OER advocacy?” Stephen answers that his goal is access for all, and takes me to task for wanting more. In my post I wrote, My ultimate goal is this: I want to (1) radically improve the quality of education as judged by learners, and (2) radically improve access to education. And I want to do it worldwide… Personally, my goal is not to provide less expensive access to the same teaching and learning experience to more people – access and affordability have never been my end game. My goal is to facilitate radical improvements in education for everyone in the world. Stephen’s goal is access for all. To me, access for all is a waypoint and not the end point. I don’t want to provide access to all to education as we currently do it. I want to facilitate radical improvements in education for everyone in the world. I want everyone in the world to have access to something qualitatively better. Ismael tweeted: My own take: these are two complementary approaches to #OER that should enrich each other, not exclude (or even blame) each other.As someone concerned with equality, I like #OER as a way to make teaching cheaper.As an educator, I like #OER as a tool for transforming learning. — Ismael Peña-López (@ictlogist) November 16, 2017 This was my feeling also while reading Stephen’s post. It appears – and I invite Stephen to correct me if I’m misreading him – that Stephen feels like formal educational institutions are a hindrance to the work of extending access to all because their affordability problems extend far beyond the price of textbooks: But even more to the point, these policies represent no cost savings at all to a person who cannot afford to pay university tuition in the first place. When OER advocates talk about “access for all” they are rarely, if ever, taking only about tuition-paying students. Access for all means access for all. And that, again, is why the ‘faculty persuasion’ argument is a red herring. For those people who cannot afford access to faculty – which by my count is somewhere around 97 percent of the population (225 million out of 7 billion) the decision of a faculty member one way or another is for the most part irrelevant. That’s totally true. And it seems like there are at least two paths you can take once you reach this realization. The first, which I believe is Stephen’s path, is to reject the idea of formal institutions and begin building new models of learning that eschew colleges and universities in favor of informal networks. The second, which is my path, is to make common cause with others who are working on solving the problem of the cost of attending a post-secondary institution, like Martha Kanter, Morely Winograd, and others making slow but steady progress eliminating tuition as a barrier to students. Another difference in our approach seems to be the size of the steps we want to take to get from here to there. Although I don’t know that I’ve ever read an explicit statement from him on the topic, I have the sense that starting anywhere smaller than the whole world feels inappropriate to Stephen. (As I’m doing a bit of mind-reading here I invite Stephen to correct me if I’m getting that wrong.) On the other hand, I’m fundamentally a “small steps” person, which has led me to try to limit the scope of my current work to the US post-secondary education system (and more specifically US community colleges). In addition to feeling like existence proofs are extremely powerful (“see, it can be done on a smaller scale – we should try to do it on a[...]



More on the Cost Trap and Inclusive Access

2017-11-13T17:29:14Z

My recent post about the cost trap and inclusive access prompted responses by Jim Groom and Stephen Downes. I’ll respond to Jim’s post first, as it provides an opportunity for some necessary clarification on my part. [Back in 2012 – 2013] I was impressed (like many others I’m sure) with how Wiley was able to […]My recent post about the cost trap and inclusive access prompted responses by Jim Groom and Stephen Downes. I’ll respond to Jim’s post first, as it provides an opportunity for some necessary clarification on my part. [Back in 2012 – 2013] I was impressed (like many others I’m sure) with how Wiley was able to frame the cost-savings argument around open textbooks to build broader interest for OERs. If you’re a longtime reader of Iterating Toward Openness, you’ve read my discussions of means and ends in this context a number of times. For example, in 2015 I wrote that “My ultimate goal is this: I want to (1) radically improve the quality of education as judged by learners, and (2) radically improve access to education. And I want to do it worldwide.” For reasons I have outlined countless times (relating to the pedagogical innovation only possible in the context of permission to engage in the 5R activities), I believe OER adoption is a critically important means to achieving this end. As Jim notes above, for some period of time talking about the cost savings associated with OER was an effective way to advocate for OER adoption, helping us get a step closer to the end goal. However, in the new context of inclusive access models, arguments about “reducing the cost of college” and providing students with “day one access” are increasingly ineffective at persuading faculty to adopt OER because publishers have completely co-opted these messages. Ask a publisher why inclusive access is good for students and the list of reasons they will provide sounds like it came straight off a 2013 OER advocacy slide. But what does bother me a bit is the suggestion that OERs have not been primarily (and very intentionally) marketed as a cost saving strategy for years now. And the idea of pivoting away from that at the exact moment Pearson, Cengage, and McGraw-Hill are adopting that approach seems a bit too convenient. I fear it is OER wanting it both ways. What do you offer when cheaper is no longer enough? Well, you can return to the authenticity of the pedagogical experience of open and reassert the primacy of the open license. But when you do this, the Creative Commons license (as well as the 5 Rs) seem to be just as much a brand as anything those corporate publishers are doing to corner the market. It’s not an accident or “convenient” that I’ve been clamoring about this for months. My increasingly intense pleas are a direct response to both publisher behavior and publisher messaging. The question we must each ask ourselves is – what is the real goal of our OER advocacy? If your real goal is promoting OER adoption (because you believe in its transformative potential or for any other reason), then it is time to talk about permissions first and cost second – and to clearly address cost as part of the problem caused by a lack of permissions (as I will explain in further detail below). However, if your end goal was never OER adoption, but was increasing access and affordability (and that’s a worthy goal!), there’s nothing you need to change in the way you talk about cost. In fact, if improving access and affordability are your end goal, you may be starting to feel like your work is just about finished – inclusive access models are delivering day one access and drastically lowered costs to students. Personally, my goal is not to provide less expensive access to the same teaching and learning experience to more people – access and affordability have never been my end game. My goal is to facilitate radical improvements in education for ev[...]



If We Talked About the Internet Like We Talk About OER: The Cost Trap and Inclusive Access

2017-11-08T17:45:16Z

Imagine that – somehow – you’ve never used the internet before. A good friend and long-time internet user finds this out and begins trying to describe to you how awesome the internet is. However, for some inexplicable reason, all of his arguments for why you should be on the internet focus on cost. While it […]Imagine that – somehow – you’ve never used the internet before. A good friend and long-time internet user finds this out and begins trying to describe to you how awesome the internet is. However, for some inexplicable reason, all of his arguments for why you should be on the internet focus on cost. While it is absolutely true that each of these services is cheaper than its pre-internet counterpart, cost is far and away the least interesting thing about any of them. Would these arguments actually inspire someone to want to use the internet? If you’re already familiar with the internet, the whole line of argument seems to miss the point. It omits the heart and soul of what makes the internet amazing. Who thinks about the internet this way?   Yesterday IHE published an article about the “inclusive access” programs offered by most major textbook publishers. These are purchasing programs in which “institutions are signing up whole classes of students to automatically receive digital course materials at a discounted rate, rather than purchasing individually.” What problem does the inclusive access model purport to solve? The inappropriately high cost of textbooks. Here’s a VP from Pearson: Tim Peyton, vice president of strategic partnerships at Pearson, said it was no secret that publishers like Pearson had made textbooks too expensive and had seen sales drop as a result. “The print model is really a broken business model for us,” he said, adding, “we’re thinking about how to move away from print, and move towards digital” …. Publishers can offer discounts of up to around 70 percent with inclusive access because their customer share is increasing, explained Peyton. While everyone wants educational materials to be less expensive, lower costs are the least interesting thing about digital, networked learning. The inclusive access model’s goal of reducing the cost of textbooks apparently reminded the article’s author of OER, because she includes some discussion of OER toward the end of the article. However, like many others outside the immediate OER community, this author seems unaware that there is anything more to OER than “free textbooks” that – just like the inclusive access model – make education more affordable. When interviewees Nicole Allen and Rajiv Jhangiani try to discuss some of the problems that are unsolved by the inclusive access model, it feels like the author struggles to understand them because they don’t relate to cost. And obviously, both inclusive access and OER are about solving the cost problem. By focusing on cost, the article takes a page directly from the publishers’ playbook. Keeping the conversation laser-focused on cost is the core of their defensive strategy with regard to OER. Because when you think the problem to be solved is the high cost of textbooks, the way you solve that problem is by lowering the cost of textbooks. When you think the problem to be solved is the high cost of textbooks, inclusive access programs and OER adoption are just two competing approaches to solving the problem. Can you see it? When we focus on cost, we put inclusive access and OER on equal footing. When our presentations and our writing and our speaking and our advocacy focus primarily on ways that OER alleviate the cost problem, we’re actually doing exactly what publishers want. In June I wrote, the free versus affordable [i.e., cost-focused] debate is … a decoy. A distraction. A first class, super skillful, street corner magician “look over he[...]



Improving the OpenEd Conference, Report Back 1

2017-11-06T18:47:07Z

Two and half weeks ago I extended an invitation to attendees of the annual OpenEd Conference to “please help make the OpenEd Conference better.” This invitation was extended (successfully delivered by email) to the 2,240 people who (1) have attended the OpenEd conference at some point in the past and (2) are still subscribed to […]

Two and half weeks ago I extended an invitation to attendees of the annual OpenEd Conference to “please help make the OpenEd Conference better.” This invitation was extended (successfully delivered by email) to the 2,240 people who (1) have attended the OpenEd conference at some point in the past and (2) are still subscribed to the OpenEd Conference information mailing list. 924 people opened the email (41.3%). The email invited them to either (1) anonymously answer a series of questions about the conference and how it can be improved or (2) indicate their willingness to participate in a 30 minute conversation about the conference and how it can be improved. 214 (9.6%) people clicked on one of the links in the email (taking them to one of the Google Forms collecting this information).

To date, 130 people have answered the questions about the conference posed in this Google Form and 110 of those 130 have licensed their anonymous responses CC0 so that they can be shared with the broader OpenEd Conference community. I have skimmed a dozen or so of these responses but have not begun reading and analyzing them in any detail.

32 people have indicated that they are willing to participate in a 30 minute phone / Skype conversation about the conference (via this Google Form). We started scheduling these calls earlier today (eleven are scheduled so far).

Like everyone else who has ever asked for feedback, I’m worried by how low the participation rate is (~7%). Specifically, the low participation rate causes me to worry about how representative the responses will be of the thoughts and feelings of the broader community of OpenEd attendees. My goal is to get the participation rate up around 15%.

I’m going to send out a second request to the mailing list later this week and see how many additional responses that will garner. Then, if necessary, I’ll begin looking for other ways to increase participation.




Open, Value-Added Services, Interaction, and Learning

2017-10-30T17:50:30Z

There was a lot of discussion at OpenEd17 about the relationship between OER and value-added services like platforms. The discussion was energized by an announcement made by Cengage immediately ahead of the conference, but this is a conversation that has been percolating for a while now. Examples of Value-Added Services in the Context of Open […]There was a lot of discussion at OpenEd17 about the relationship between OER and value-added services like platforms. The discussion was energized by an announcement made by Cengage immediately ahead of the conference, but this is a conversation that has been percolating for a while now. Examples of Value-Added Services in the Context of Open Both the wider internet and the narrower education space are filled with companies and organizations that provide value-added services around openly licensed software and content. A few examples include: Automattic provides a broad range of for-fee, value-added services around the open source WordPress software, including WordPress.com (hosting), WordPress.com VIP (hosting), Akismet (anti-spam), Jetpack (security), and many others. Pressbooks (Book Oven Inc. according to the receipt I received when I bought services from them for Project Management for Instructional Designers) provides a wide range of for-fee, value-added services based on the open source Pressbooks plugin for WordPress, including hosting, custom branding, support, and a premium PDF rendering engine. Reclaim Hosting offers for-fee, value-added services around open source web hosting and publishing software like Cpanel, Installatron, Apache, WordPress, Known, and Omeka. Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative provides for-fee, value-added hosting and customer support services around openly licensed content. OpenStax provides a for-fee, value-added service called OpenStax Tutor around openly licensed content. Lumen provides for-fee, value-added hosting, integration, assessment, messaging, and other services around openly licensed content. Open Up Resources provides teacher training, professional development, and related for-fee, value-added services around openly licensed K-12 content. And of course, Instructure (Canvas), Moodle Pty Ltd (Moodle), Longsight (Sakai), and other companies provide for-fee, value-added services around Learning Management Systems hosting and support. These and many other value-added services provided around open source software and open content (my apologies if I omitted your service from my list) are critically important in the education context for at least two reasons. Faculty Capacity and Support The first has to do with capacity. Most faculty don’t have the technical expertise, the time, or the institutional support to manage their own WordPress installation or do anything more with OER than adopt a free PDF in place of their textbook. In fact, for many faculty, simply using a hosted WordPress site or uploading a free PDF into their LMS is beyond their technical capability, available time, and institutional support. Do you find that hard to believe? According to the American Association of University Professors, in Fall 2011 41.5% of all instructional staff in US higher education were part-time (adjuncts) and another 19.3% were graduate students. They made up more than 60% of US instructors in higher education. Generally speaking, these instructors are overworked, poorly paid, and poorly supported. When you add in the 15.7% of instructional staff who are full-time, non-tenure-track faculty, the total number of contingent instructional staff in the US reaches 76.4%. These contingent faculty likely teach four or five courses a term – or teach a different class at three different institutions each semester. They do not have the technical expertise, the time, or the institutional support to engage meaningfully with OER. On a related note, my experience in talking with thousands of facul[...]



Open, Values, and Thinking Beyond the 5Rs

2017-10-19T15:42:29Z

There were lots of amazing takeaways from #OpenEd17 for me. One set of takeaways has to do with opportunities to make the conference a more effective vehicle for advancing the work of open education. I wrote about that yesterday. Over the coming days and weeks I’ll post more thoughts prompted by conversations at the conference, […]

There were lots of amazing takeaways from #OpenEd17 for me. One set of takeaways has to do with opportunities to make the conference a more effective vehicle for advancing the work of open education. I wrote about that yesterday. Over the coming days and weeks I’ll post more thoughts prompted by conversations at the conference, starting below.

Ryan Merkley’s opening keynote was awesome. Among the many important things he said, one that struck a chord with me was a comment about how we talk about “open”. Ryan made the assertion that “open has to be about more than the 5Rs – open also has to be about our values.” I couldn’t agree more, and I think this point is worth elaborating and exploring.

There is only one context in which “open means the 5Rs” – the context in which “open” is used as an adjective to modify a noun which is copyrightable. You see, the 5Rs are a set of activities that you are normally prohibited from engaging in by copyright. So when open is used to modify a copyrightable noun – something like an educational resource (as in “open educational resources”), or the source code to a computer program (as in “open source software”) – then “open means the 5Rs”.

But despite aggressively overreaching copyright expansion, the overwhelming majority of things in the universe are still not subject to copyright protection. Consequently, when we talk about any of these other things, “open” has to mean something else. When we talk about open minds, open hearts, or open attitudes, or when we talk about open pedagogy, open educational practices, or open education, “open” must mean something other than the 5Rs.

I only began writing about openness as a value, or if you prefer, “open” outside the realm of the copyrightable, last year. This is relatively new territory for me. As I’ve explored my personal journey into the work of open education and my motivations for continuing the work, I find that the values that animate my work in open education are sharing, gratitude, and hope. 

Ryan’s admonition to talk more about our values as part of the conversation about “open” in education is a critically important invitation. I’m committing to do more writing and thinking in this area over the coming year. I invite you to, as well. Here are a few questions to ponder to get you started:

What are the values that animate your work in open education? 

What are the values that you associate most closely with “open” in the educational context?




Improving the Open Education Conference

2017-10-18T16:25:32Z

This morning I sent the following email to the 2,253 subscribers to the Open Education Conference mailing list. I extend the same invitation to you. My apologies in advance for the length of this email, but I hope you’ll agree the subject warrants it. The work of the open education community is so important that […]This morning I sent the following email to the 2,253 subscribers to the Open Education Conference mailing list. I extend the same invitation to you. My apologies in advance for the length of this email, but I hope you’ll agree the subject warrants it. The work of the open education community is so important that we must leverage every resource available to better support student learning and success. The Open Education Conference is one of those resources. And it can be better. It needs to be better. How we can use the conference to its fullest potential in order to catalyze and facilitate more, better, and deeper learning for all students – particularly for those students who are the least likely to succeed without the work we are doing? There are an infinite number of ways to approach this question. But I am confident that each of them envisions a conference which is more diverse, equitable, inclusive, and participatory – an event that is more open – than OpenEd has been in the past. There is simply no way the conference can reach its full potential without engaging the passion, energy, ideas, and commitment of the full community. Every person. Every viewpoint. Every voice. And let’s be honest – the conference hasn’t done this very effectively in the past. There were amazing keynotes and conversations at the conference this year addressing this question and related issues. I was particularly inspired by Cathy Casserly’s idea of a “listening tour” in which she proactively sought out ideas, criticisms, and suggestions about the broader open education community as well as the OpenEd Conference, including thoughts about how it has missed the mark and how it can be improved. As I listened during the conference, I heard the full range of comments from “this has been the best conference of my professional career” to “we must make significant changes to better reflect the values of our community and include those we mean to serve.” I believe it’s possible for both of those statements to be true and that what’s essential right now is to listen, and then engage. The idea of a listening tour where I might attempt to listen to every person, every viewpoint, and every voice in the open education community is truly daunting. And yet there is no acceptable rationale for sampling in the context of a desire to strengthen the conference’s commitment to every person, every viewpoint, and every voice. But where to begin? There are 2,253 people who have attended one of the fourteen OpenEd conferences and have chosen to remain subscribed to the conference email list. (You receive the opportunity to unsubscribe with each year’s informational email about the upcoming conference. You have that option again at the bottom of this message.) If you’ve received this email, you’re one of those 2,253 people. Would you please – please – be willing to take a few minutes to share your thoughts about how future Open Education Conferences can be more diverse, equitable, inclusive, participatory, and open in order to better support us all in the critically important work of helping our students be more successful? There are two ways you can help: 1. The first way you can help is to answer a few questions about the conference. Your answers can be as short or as long as you like. Your answers are completely anonymous. I hope you will be as brutally honest as you feel comfortable being in questions asking you to critique the conference. [...]



Contribute a Short Video for #OpenEdMOOC

2017-09-08T15:57:45Z

As you may have heard, my fellow rabble-rouser George Siemens and I are doing a MOOC on open education that launches later this month on edX. Before you ask, let me preemptively answer a few questions. Yes, this MOOC actually is open – all the content will be viewable outside the edX platform and downloadable […]

As you may have heard, my fellow rabble-rouser George Siemens and I are doing a MOOC on open education that launches later this month on edX. Before you ask, let me preemptively answer a few questions.

  • Yes, this MOOC actually is open – all the content will be viewable outside the edX platform and downloadable under open licenses so as to be fully 5R-able,
  • yes, you can fully participate in the course for free, and
  • no, I don’t make any money should you choose to try for a Verified Certificate.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, George and I have a request. Would you be willing to make a 3 – 5 minute video sharing your perspectives and experiences regarding one or more of our weekly topics? We would love for our fellow course participants to hear a wide diversity of voices (rather than just suffering through ours all the time). The weekly topics are:

  • Week 1: Why Open Matters
  • Week 2: Copyright, the Public Domain, and the Commons
  • Week 3: The 5R’s, Creative Commons, and Open Licensing
  • Week 4: Creating, Finding and Using OERs
  • Week 5: Research on OER Impact and Effectiveness
  • Week 6: The Next Battle for Openness: Data, Algorithms, and Competency Mapping

If you’re willing to create a video or two (only one weekly topic per video, please!), here’s what to do. Post it somewhere public under an open license (e.g., post it on YouTube licensed CC BY). The send us a tweet using the course hashtag #openedmooc with a link to your video or drop the link in the comments below. If you do all this by the end of the day Sept 14, we’ll review your video, send it off for transcription, and get it integrated into the official course materials. The video will, of course, be attributed to you as required by the CC license – bringing you fame and glory beyond your wildest dreams. Or, at least, a few thousand views.

Thanks in advance for your consideration.




“Open” Through the Lens of Negative and Positive Liberty

2017-09-05T21:36:55Z

Reading through and pondering the reactions to what was apparently a wonderful ALTC keynote by Bonnie Stewart (UPDATE: here are her slides), I find myself reflecting on the ways my thinking about “open” is influenced by the ideas of negative liberty and positive liberty. This is certainly not the only lens through which I see […]Reading through and pondering the reactions to what was apparently a wonderful ALTC keynote by Bonnie Stewart (UPDATE: here are her slides), I find myself reflecting on the ways my thinking about “open” is influenced by the ideas of negative liberty and positive liberty. This is certainly not the only lens through which I see open, but I do feel like it is a useful one. As I understand it, negative liberty refers to the absence of external obstacles, barriers, roadblocks, hinderances, or constraints that interfere with my ability to accomplish my desires. My negative liberty is maximized when there is nothing in the law, in society, or elsewhere outside of me that prevents me from exercising my agency in order to accomplish my desires. Say, for example, that I want all my students to have access to the learning materials for my course, forever. In order to accomplish this goal, I decide to make photocopies of the required textbook and distribute these to students for free. Under normal circumstances, copyright law restricts me from making or distributing these copies. This external constraint decreases my negative liberty and prohibits me from accomplishing my desires. Positive liberty, as I understand it, refers to a person’s own knowledge, skills, and attitudes – their internal capacity to fulfill their own desires (once those external obstacles that decrease negative liberty have been removed). Say, for example, that I have adopted OER instead of a commercial textbook for my class. I want all my students to have access to the learning materials for the course, forever. In order to accomplish this goal, I decide to place a copy of the course materials on a public-facing website outside the LMS, where students will have ongoing access to them. However, I have no idea how to do this and so am unable to accomplish my desire. In this instance I had sufficient negative liberty (OER gave me the permissions necessary) but insufficient positive liberty (I was incapable of using the opportunity effectively). Someone who is more familiar with these terms may jump in and tell me I’m using them wrong. If I am, please do so! For now, I’ll press forward… We can define both negative and positive liberty as either absence or possession. Negative liberty is the absence of external obstacles like laws or policies. Positive liberty is the absence of internal obstacles like apathy or incompetence. Negative liberty is the possession of permission and opportunity. Positive liberty is the possession of capacity and capability. I very much think of open as operating in the realm of negative liberty. On reflection, this seems obvious since I think about open explicitly in terms of free permission to engage in the 5R activities. I think of open specifically as removing the barriers associated with copyright. Note that there are two obstacles associated with copyright. Permissions and cost (“free permission to engage in the 5R activities”). Strictly speaking, permission to engage in the 5R activities is available for every commercial textbook. And for that matter, these permissions are available for every motion picture, novel, and song. If you can afford the license. (Even Lucas will license the rights to Star Wars for the right price.) Thus, open overcomes both the obstacles of the (1) cost of permissions, and the consequent (2) lack of permissions, by providing free permission to engage in the 5R activitie[...]