Daily Archives: October 9, 2011

Educause: Openness Discussion Session

I will be participating in the Openness Discussion at Educause along with Patrick Masson, Ken Udas, and Luke Fernandez. Here are the details of the session:

Wednesday Oct 19th, 2011
3:30 PM – 4:20 PM
Meeting Room 102A/B

This discussion will focus on the emergence and adoption of principles and methods that can help develop and enable open communities of practice. Topics will include the characteristics, attributes, principles, and behaviors that promote open access; open-source software; open content; open educational resources; open courseware; open research; open standards; management practices like open governance; and more.

Patrick sent the following note to the CIO List about the session:

We are planning our Openness CG for the Educause conference and I was hoping to get a bit of input for the meeting. I have asked Luke Fernandez to “interview” Chuck Severance about his new book, “Sakai: Free as in Freedom.”

Luke has posted a very nice review of the book (http://itintheuniversity.blogspot.com/2011/08/review-of-sakai-free-as-in-freedom.html), as have others (Jim Farmer: http://mfeldstein.com/charles-severance%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%9Csakai-free-as-in-freedom%E2%80%9D-a-review/ Free Software magazine, http://www.freesoftwaremagazine.com/columns/book_review_sakai_free_freedom_written_charles_severance#).

Chuck offers several thoughts about how Sakai, as both an open source project and a foundation succeeded, and where he felt it might have missed stepped. Many of these observations are specific to openness, and as Luke highlights from the text, “My opinion was that the purpose of the Foundation was to have a light touch and focus on nurturing the individual and organizational members of the community. The opposing view held by the majority of the board members was that the Foundation and Foundation staff were a form of command and control with the top of the authority hierarchy as the Sakai Foundation Board of Directors. The…stakeholders were concerned that letting individuals….make their own priority decisions….would be too risky for the adopting schools…..Central control and guidance was needed to insure that the product would move forward according to a well-defined and well-understood roadmap and do so on an agreed-to schedule.”

I think this touches on some of the key aspects of not only openness as a value proposition and operational paradigm, but also how organizations can be challenged to adopt, and thus take advantage of openness. In the past the Openness CG’s have been poorly attended. I think this event could provide quite a draw, and I was wondering if those on the list here might be able to help promote our meeting?

I would appreciate it if folks could respond with suggestions, and volunteer to see those suggestions through for promoting the event. Also if you have any topics of interest for Luke to cover with Chuck, it might help us with ensuring we touch on all of the areas of interest in the openness cg. hopefully we can spark a lively and informative discussion.