sue watling

OER was highlighted in the conference keynotes but there is clearly resistance to the principle of open access as well as support. Here, the digital divide widens; on the one side are the pioneers of Web 2.0 technologies advocating the openness of educational opportunities; free access to papers, journals and resources, while on the other side traditional scholars value their freedom of academic choice to remain cloistered in ivory towers.

Terry Anderson (Keynote 2) quoted his experience at Abuthasca where academics have successfully resisted the call for compulsory depositing their work in the institutional repository.  Instead the university has had to compromise, making it a recommendation rather than a rule.

Projects like CamFed the computer training charity ( see ‘where the water meets the sky’ blog post here) demonstrate the value of free access to the Google family in changing lives but the divisions caused by the affordability of education in Africa are every bit as great as those in the west. Here the traditional perception of higher education as an esoteric knowledge requiring [financial] initiation into its mysteries is well embedded. It will take more than the emergence of the possibility offered by Web 2.0 tools if the institution of academia is to be challenged. History shows us that the most successful downfalls come from within; the Trojan horse in this case is probably still under construction but will most likely originate from student demand. Challenging the gatekeepers of knowledge – and their licence locking mechanisms – will need lateral thinking; not releasing the knowledge already imprisoned but rethinking the way that new knowledge is constructed and distributed in the first place.



3 Comments so far

  1.    Alison Smith on November 5, 2009 12:46 pm      

    Hi Sue,
    I’m writing to make contact and would be nice to chat further about the work you do.

    I’ve set up pesky people as campaign group for digital access to the internet and it’s doing good making some good waves (and kicking up a stink at the same time).

    I’m keen to make links and partnerships and wonder if it is possible to talk more? I’ve been working in disability arts for last 15 odd years and keen to make sure we are missed out.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

    with best wishes,
    Alison

  2.    Sue Watling on November 7, 2009 12:09 pm      

    Hi Alison
    Am always happy to discuss access to digital data; my concern is raising awareness as so often barriers are put in place inadvertently. For me, the issue is persuading individual change in practice, something we all struggle with when it comes to our own habits!!
    Best wishes
    Sue

  3.    Tom Poe on November 9, 2009 2:42 am      

    The Library of Alexandria offers the best demonstration for those who want the world to know their position on how their works should be treated. An account is as easy as visiting http://www.archive.org, and establishing an account. All text, video, graphics, data can be uploaded with a click of the mouse, and mirrored through the Library of Alexandria. I have one. Do you?

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