Closing the door on open education..

..for a while anyway.

Even before I returned to JISC for a year I had become extremely interested in the whole open education movement. At JISC I was lucky enough to work on the OER programme a little which meant meeting a whole army of incredibly intelligent and committed people working in the area. I think I learned something new with every conversation I had and while I wasn’t always sure I agreed with the direction of developments I could at least see the reasoning and felt that on occasion I contributed a little to the mix.

I went to Barcelona for the Drumbeat festival mainly to see a different take on the concepts of open education and while I very much enjoyed my time there and found it an enriching experience it became clear that something had changed.

The thing is though I never at any point associated any of this activity with any kind of political movement. Maybe that was naive of me but it is true.

Increasingly though it is impossible to follow this community without being subjected to various pretty serious political thinking. I’m sure it is all perfectly well researched and argued and I have alot of time on a personal level for many of the those leading these conversations but the fact is it leaves me cold and a little uncomfortable.

This is obviously nobodies issue but my own but given my change of job and a whole new set of work issues to deal with and a community around digital government etc to re-engage with I have decided to essentially implement a Tweetdeck filter into my life starting as soon as I resolve my involvement with Bettr (either by running it or canceling it..)

So anyway all this really means is that there won’t be any posts on this site around open education or learning 2.0 or whatever the hell else I have tagged things in the immediate future. While Bettr is still on the table I’ll blog about that at but this blog will return to an earlier focus on working with digital in a cash strapped public sector and also more on events technology.


  1. Hey – fair point Matt and I respect what you did for OER whilst you were around (your blogs from Drumbeat were awesome just to give one public example).

    I’ll happily accept a small portion of the blame for the politicisation of OER-related tweets, but in true political style I’d like to blame something else!

    Sadly, the ideas of open education and open knowledge that both of us bought into have found themselves in direct opposition to the way those in charge see Higher Education going. I don’t think anyone asked for this, I (like you) was more than happy just to keep using the gaps and vagaries of universities to do cool stuff for the benefit of the world. I think everyone was.

    But it’s not like OER has decided to get political, OER has had politics thrust upon it and found itself in disagreement with most of it (and from a number of different view points). When you’ve got people from a spectrum that includes Joss Winn, Anya Kamanetz, Steven Downes and David Wiley (to give four readable, engaging but diverse examples) all getting stuck in to what exactly the hell it is we are getting on with here, then ideology is going to fly and stuff is going to get politicised. But it’s not just for the sake of it, it’s because we really have to make a case to keep this stuff going.

    It can be painful to watch. I read David Wiley’s blog and I’m like … hang on? doesn’t he like OER any more? doesn’t he want to help us do this cool stuff? … and then I get sucked into it myself with all the resultant mess that creates (hold your hand up, Universality!).

    These are difficult painful times, and some of us feel that we have no choice but to engage in the pain.

    Your contributions to Open Education are always very welcome, no matter what your standpoint is on all of the underlying issues. At the end, OER stands or falls on getting the stuff out there and helping people find it. And it’s people like you John Robertston, Jenny Grey and Pat Lockley who make that happen.

    And without that, we really are fucked.

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