Pragmatism vs. Idealism and the Identity Crisis of OER Advocacy

Rajiv Sunil Jhangiani, Open Praxis, Jun 30, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This article describes pretty accurately the identity crisis in open education (OE) "as it is pulled towards both pragmatism (marked by an emphasis on cost savings, resources, and incremental change) and idealism (marked by an emphasis on permissions, practices, and radical change)." I think the divisions have always existed. This paper maps them across three dimensions: "free vs. freedom; evolution vs. revolution; and resources vs. practice." Despite the use of some ill-considered metaphors (OE is not an adolescent) the author nonetheless points the way toward sustainability: "a move away from philanthropic, government, and other unsustainable funding models in favour of a grassroots-based, community-driven, self-sustaining approach."

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