The Second Power of Open

Robin DeRosa has written an absolutely wonderful post about two of her experiences with open pedagogy. I am so grateful to her for doing so! Reading these stories filled my heart with glee and my soul with joy. And if that sounds hyperbolic, I assure you that I’m understating the effect her post had on me.

I frequently tell the stories of Project Management for Instructional Designers and The Open Education Reader in talks I give, but I’ve never taken the time to write something as thorough as Robin’s account of her experiences. I kept finding myself silently shouting “Yes!!” as I read her post. “That’s exactly how I feel!” It’s amazing how moving it is to find you have a shared experience with someone, especially when that experience has affected you so powerfully.

Now that Robin has written this piece about open pedagogy viz textbooks, maybe I’ll write a piece about a different open pedagogy experience, like the “kung fu assignment” I love so much (e.g., Blogs vs WikisDistrict Policies Regarding Blogs and Wikis, or Rick Noblenski: Blasting Caps Expert and Wiki Advocate). The field needs many more first-hand accounts of the power of open pedagogy, including both the impact it has on students and the impact it has on faculty. Reading them is truly inspiring.

Many conversations about open education begin with cost savings because open is such a powerful lever for making immediate and dramatic progress on issues related to affordability. And because many more people understand cost than understand pedagogy, I don’t expect this will ever change. That’s fine – radically improving affordability is a completely worthy and honorable goal.

Perhaps we should start talking about open pedagogy as the “second power of open.” Perhaps that language, which has a clear and specific referent, would help a broader group of people understand that there’s even more to open than they realized. (Also, in a mathy sort of way , it sounds exponentially bigger than the first power of open would be, which I believe it is.)