Is Open Education a Movement?

Michael Feldstein, Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, Dec 04, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Text and slides from Michael Feldstein's recent keynote in which he addresses the question of whether the open education movement is a movement. He draws a parallel with the climate change movement, which has a very clear end goal and a variety of intermediate steps to reaching that goal. But in open education, he asks, "What’s at the top of the ladder? If free textbooks are not the ultimate goal, than what is? I have yet to hear one clearly articulated. What is open education? How will we know when it has been achieved?" I dare say my own vision statement is clearly articulated. But of course not everyone shares this goal. Is this necessary? I think Feldstein thinks it does. To be a movement, Open education "must be organized around a nested set of increasingly ambitious goals and strategies that are clearly defined and achievable in scope." I don't agree. The world of shared values, shared principles, and shared goals is an old one, based in an ethos of sameness, and inappropriate for a global society. It's a political goal, in a world where we need non-political infrastructures.

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