A password is a bushel

Being at Brigham Young University now, I have many more opportunities to think about the relationships between my personal beliefs and my professional interests. This year’s Annual University Conference theme has focused on light, and during his address this morning, McKay School of Education Dean Richard Young quoted Matthew 5:14-16:

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

It occurred to me again that the password is a modern bushel. In other words, we develop these fabulous online materials, which could be highly useful to people throughout the world, but we then immediately put these materials behind password “protection,” which keeps people from accessing and using them. Why? Why do we put the candle of education under the password bushel? Why not set it on the candlestick of open licensing, so that it’s influence can radiate throughout the world?

I wonder if the meme “a password is a bushel / an open license is a candlestick” can catch on…

2 thoughts on “A password is a bushel”

  1. The cynic in me says it’s because a candle under a bushel keeps everybody in the dark. And then you can make money selling candles, and charging people to light them at your fire. If you put the light on the hill, everyone will be able to see and nobody will want to buy your goods and services.

    You can make more money when you keep a resource scarce. And unfortunately, it’s all about the money.

  2. People are just scared to change, I think. In a class I’m taking in another department that just started this week, we have weekly readings with one or two page responses that we’re supposed to send to everyone in the class before we meet. I recommended posting our responses on our blogs like we did in the OpenEd course last year, since it’s a class that talks about technology. Everyone else voted to post our discussions in Blackboard, where they are closed off and where we’ll probably lose access to them later. I’m not sure why. I didn’t ask, but should have, “Have you all used Blackboard?”

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