Finn Hackshaw on

OPEN LEARNING – sharing and openness (Topic 2)

During these last weeks I have been overwhelmed by the mass of shared feelings, ideas, tools and experiences on the ONL192 blogs. I have only just begun reading and taking part and is finding it totally wonderful (and a bit stressful).

Besides from discussing different definitions of open education/open pedagogy/open resources we have been focusing on the limitations and benefits of openness in PBL group 9. I personally like the definition of open education that is formulated in Teaching in a digital age, mainly because it helps me focus on the use of open resources:

/…/ one of the main characteristics is that it removes the barriers to learning. (Bates, 2019)

This definition helps me think of the context of the resources that I am creating – for whom and why? Resources does not exist in a vaccum, for resources to be relevant and effective in the learning process they need to be well designed and embedded within a rich learning environment.

Open educational resources do have an important role to play in online education, but they need to be properly designed, and developed within a broader learning context that includes the critical activities needed to support learning, such as opportunities for student-instructor and peer interaction, and within a culture of sharing, such as consortia of equal partners and other frameworks that provide a context that encourages and supports sharing. (Bates, 2019)

So besides from creating open resources that are valuable for our users (present and future ones) we need to think about the environment that they will exist in. Are they contributing to the learning environment in the best way? What are the pros and cons of open vs for example existing Learning Management Systems (LMS)?

LMS or web?

This past year I have been working with different aspects of changing the library teaching to become more flipped and based on student active learning. Among other things the library now offer modules on Academic information literacy in the university LMS (Canvas). Initially my plan was to develop an open web course that would be freely available for everyone to use, but in the end we decided to place the content in the existing LMS. (If you want to read more on why and the content of the modules you can read an article I wrote with one of my collegues, only in swedish unfortunately). The pros and cons of web vs LMS is also what one of the recommended recources during this topic was about. In the film Learning management system or the open web Karin Watson talks about these two different learning environments and pinpoints several of the things that we discussed when we decided to use the LMS instead of web :


  • guaranteed flow of information to and from students
  • handling of assignments is easy
  • authentication (safe for me as a teacher)
  • providing a safe environment
  • students feel that they can post work and be identified
  • more holistic learning experience (also from teachers view as they can assess, get statistics etc)
  • But: You have to learn the system, a new system you may not be comfortable with
  • and its perceived as a bit artificial

Open web:

  • the ability to collaboration and innovation is stronger
  • the students are already familiar with the web and its logic
  • smooth transition, a more lively experience
  • a possibility to engage with the students in a interface that they already are using
  • But: several issues when you need to assess
  • Free? What are we paying? Safety? Privacy? Data?

So, to sum it up: blend LMS and open resources! Dont rely solely on the LMS but use open resources in the right time and place and dont forget to tweak the LMS to be as open as possible when suitable.

PS. I have always been a big fan of mindmaps, but have never really used the technique without a pencil, so it was fun playing with Coggle, a mindmap tool that we decided to use in our group presentation for this weeks topic. See our colorful and spiderly organic result here.


Bates, T. (2019). Teaching in a Digital Age: Guidelines for Teaching and Learning. (2nd edition). Vancouver: BC Open Textbooks.

Watson, K. (2014) Learning management system or the open web?, Learning to teach online UNSW.

Weller, M., & Anderson, T. (2013). Digital resilience in higher education. European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning, 16(1), 53.


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5 thoughts on “OPEN LEARNING – sharing and openness (Topic 2)

  1. Offering a closed space is unfortunately necessary. Many students are afraid to be open, sometime with good grounds. There are a lot of hate in the open channels.

  2. Hi, I like your defenition of open that it removes barriers for learning. Open educational makes following education possible for almost everyone. Although their are a lot of obstacles. I ageer to the idealogical idea that education should be accessible to all.

  3. Very interesting reflection, Marie-Louise!
    I love the idea to think outside the box and beyond the ’either or’, towards the use of all appropriate resources.

    1. Thanx Christiane! I had totally missed your comment, sorry for not responding until now. It may have to do with the fact that I havnt payed the right amount of attention to the blog – must get on track on write post 4 & 5 now… Hope that you are all set and ready to enter the next level: teaching life after onl19! 😉

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