I’m really looking forward to the Porous University Symposium being held at UHI, Inverness next week. The event is fundamentally an opportunity to create some space to create/extend conversations around open-ness. There are no formal presentations or papers instead:
the symposium will be structured around a number of short provocations that address specific questions or issues, followed by break-out discussion and opportunities to further explore and synthesise the thinking that emerges.
In the spirit of open-ness here is my provocation. It’s much more about stimulating and continuing an already rich dialogue. Please feel free to add any of your thoughts in the comments and will incorporate them into the discussion, or tweet using #porousuni.
What does open mean beyond releasing content?
This blog post from Alan Levine gives a helpful definition of the differences between porosity and permeability.
when you say porosity it really means just the volumetric measure of open space. If you want a metaphor, maybe this is measure of “openness” in terms of 5Rs.
But when you say permeability you are talking about the ease of moving something through that space, and while the amount of space is a factor, others influence whether that can happen. Specifically that could mean if the spaces are well interconnected, like pathways, like networks? Maybe that is practice or pedagogy?
So in terms of the porous university maybe we need to be focusing on the permeability of people (staff, students, the wider community) and the ways we navigate through university spaces, both physical and digital.
So what does open porosity actually look like in practice? Is it about formal (licensed) open content and infrastructures or is it human processes, practice and connections?
During April there has been quite a wide-ranging debate on the definition of open pedagogy facilitated through the Year of Open. Should it be defined and aligned only to the 5Rs of retain, reuse, revise, remix, redistribute? Does using the term pedagogy actual create more exclusion? Is open practice far more permeable, inclusive and powerful?
In these challenging times open has to mean more than content it has to be building and sustaining open networks and connections. However, is an obsession with licensed content, our academic discourse(s), our research outputs actually narrowing the opportunities for open education outwith the academy?