“Don’t fence me in”: an academic perspective on the impact and future of open access in research Pamela Ryan School for Graduate Studies College of Human Sciences UNISA
Cole Porter • Give me land lots of land Under starry skies above Don’t fence me in.
A new philosophy for new times • We are witnessing a revolution unfolding • New academic ideas about disciplines and the boundaries between them • Teaching without borders • A new global philosophy
From information to interaction • The fourth wave in digital technology • Many users – one large mainframe • Single user – single pc • Single user – many devices • Many users – many devices • Convergence between users and device and other users = interaction
Social context is changing • Free and open use of technology • Skype • All of MP3 • Facebook • Google messenger • Wiki • blogs
Implications for teaching and learning • Free use is becoming the norm for academic institutions • Monash • Strathclyde • Stanford (largest number of open courses) • Open university’s Learning space • Google books and the library project
Free web platforms with multiple uses • Sakai • Moodle
Implications for academics • Free access and up to date knowledge from e-journals or journals on line • Transfer this knowledge to students via uploads on web • Not a one way street: Web 2.0 and Scholarship 2.0 • Democratic participation in knowledge creation
The role of the library in the new age • Still be custodians of precious documents and archives • Still purchase books but more NB purchase subscriptions to journals and web of science • Be facilitators and guides (to follow the metaphor) through wilderness of information
Psychology of institutions shadows psychology of academics • Timid and fenced in? • Open and wide-ranging? • Confident and generous? • Ability to share?
But • Bewildering array of information not necessarily equal to knowledge • Students and staff need guides • Student may resent intrusion into their space • Students may prefer structured systems
Future students: the millenials • Will be accustomed to free and open access to materials of choice • Will demand high quality and speed from flat earth concept • Will more than ever need structure from home university • Will expect to learn where they are (wirelessly)
Thus • A fenced in university will be left behind • Scholarly communities unbounded by time and space (asynchronous learning) • Internet used as a space for social interaction rather than as a resource for information (youtube, facebook, myspace and second life) • Wikis, blogs and podcasts
The future • Digital libraries • E-portfolios • Shared resources • Increasingly sophisticated students • Benchmark libraries against Google
Provoking ideas • Community source model projects are held together by “enlightened self-interest”, John Norman, University of Cambridge. • James Surowiecki, The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies, and Nations • (New York: Doubleday, 2004).
A warning? • The trends toward digital expressions of scholarship and more interdisciplinary and collaborative work continue to move away from the standards of traditional peer-reviewed paper publication. New forms of peer review are emerging, but existing academic practices of specialization and long-honored notions of academic status are persistent barriers to the adoption of new approaches. Given the pace of change, the academy will grow more out of step with how scholarship is actually conducted until constraints imposed by traditional tenure and promotion processes are eased. (p. 4)
And another… • The central filtering agent is no longer the teacher or institution. It’s the learner. Think about what that means to our education system as we know it today. It changes everything . . . . [A]s educators, we are not grasping (or prepared for) the depth of the change that is occurring under our feet. If it's happened (breaking apart the center) in every other industry - movies, music, software, business - what makes us think that our educational structures are immune? And what does it mean to us? What should we be doing now to prepare our institutions? Ourselves? Our learners? • George Siemons
Connections over content • I don't use textbooks in my courses. I use a combination of my own writings, augmented with websites, and supported through dialogue and learner to learner interaction. My intent is to provide learners a diverse set of voices. A textbook is most often a one-sided view of the knowledge of a particular space (and, in certain fields, they can be dated by the time they are published). I don't view content as something that learners need to consume in order to learn. As I've stated before...learning is like opening a door, not filling a container. Content is something that is created in the process of learning, not only in advance of learning.
Learners piece together (connect) various content and conversation elements to create an integrated (though at time contradictory) network of issues and concerns. Our learning and information acquisition is a mashup. We take pieces, add pieces, dialogue, reframe, rethink, connect, and ultimately, we end up with some type of pattern (meme?) that symbolizes what's happening "out there" and what it means to us. And it changes daily. Instead of a CD with the songs of only one artist, we have iPods with a full range of music, video, audio files/books, images, etc. Our classrooms, instead of the pre-packaged views of an instructor or designers should include similar diverse elements.http://connectivism.ca/blog/2006/03/it_doesnt_come_prepackaged_any.html
The Horizon Report • The core of the report describes six areas of emerging technology that will have an impact on higher education over the next one to five years.
Technologies to Watch • User-Created Content • Social Networking • Mobile Phones • Virtual Worlds • The New Scholarship and Emerging Forms of Publication • Massively Multiplayer Educational Gaming.
Donor funding for open sources • Mellon foundation (because such openware projects have the potential to solve problems facing our constituencies and a collaborative approach has the highest probability of benefitting the most people (do more with less) • Ira H Fuchs, Vice President for research in IT at Mellon Foundation.
No more time… • To talk about camels and lams, vle and vre • Another time perhaps?