STEPHEN DOWNES: George Siemans and David Wiley, congratulations. You're covering an important subject when you're covering open content and openness in general in your new MOOC. And I'm glad that your MOOC is open, except for certification. But, yeah, we'll leave that aside.
It's an important subject because open is an important subject. And open is an important subject because without that, we literally have no way of communicating with each other. Open is what allows us to share our ideas, our discoveries, our hopes, our dreams with each other. Without a language, without the possibility of a medium of communication, we can't find the way to express ourselves.
And this involves much more than just the communication of ideas and culture and arts. It involves our growth, our development, our hopes and dreams, our families, our parents, our children. Indeed, all aspects that make up life, because what makes up life is our interactions with ourselves and our world around us. And what makes up these interactions is communication. And communication is impossible with openness.
Now I know you're talking specifically about openness in education. And you're going to cover things like open content. or, I'm sure David will. Open courses, right, George? Maybe even open pedagogy and open teaching and open practices. Looking forward to some discussion there.
I think that education benefits in all manner of ways from openness. There's this old fashioned belief that education is somehow closed and proprietary, that knowledge is power, that hoarding of knowledge is how you accumulate power and influence. But I don't think that's the case.
My own experience has been that through the sharing of resources, through the sharing of knowledge and capacities and insights, my own influence, and that of those that I work with those around me increases. I just knocked a cup to the floor because, ah, you know, it's an informal video, and I started gesturing. Gestures are openness. Gestures are ways of indicating openness.
So and I've talked a lot over the years about how learning is a network phenomenon. George has no end of that. And I've talked about how success in learning is based on success in networks. And we've discussed what makes these networks successful over time. And I've included autonomy as one of the major virtues, and diversity, of course, is one of the major virtues of networks. We can have some discussions about that.
But openness, as well, is one of the major virtues of networks. If you think about it, in order for knowledge to be developed in a network, in a person, in a classroom, in a society, that network needs to be able to grow and shape and form new connections to strengthen connections and weaken other connections. That is not possible without input. It is not possible without feedback. It's not possible, in other words, without openness. Without openness, the individual members of the network have no way of communicating with each other, have no mechanism for developing new thought, new ideas.
So that's where I begin with openness. And I guess I want to add one more comment as I near the end of my five minutes here. For me, openness isn't about rights. And I might disagree with David on this. But to me, openness has always been about access. Openness is about the possibilities of communicating with other people, being communicated to from other people, and being able to be part of that social network.
It's not about stuff. It's not about what you do with stuff. It's about what you did with each other. Thanks a lot. Have a good course, George and Dave.