Open? Learning? Commons?

What might the words “Open Learning Commons” mean? To a regular outside observer, maybe something along the lines of this: - and indeed, some of the material on this site gets published under the Creative Commons BY-SA license, that’s good.

Meanings are easily confusable as everyone uses/interprets terms differently or might try to redefine them. “Open” is very vague by now and used by many different people to mean many different things. There’s the Free Software Foundation branch where “open” is about freedom and universal digital rights for/of computer users. “Open Source” doesn’t care about the latter and only wants the code to be transparent. “Open Access” too is mostly fine with academic papers getting published publicly (“open” so that anybody can read them without charge, “free” as in gratis/free beer). Even Elsevier tries to call themselves an “Open Access publisher” because they have programs for proprietarily, restrictively publishing some papers which are merely transparent or gratis or something. Microsoft is “open” because they put the less important code of theirs into GitHub repositories under their own license that may be a restrictive one or not, but these parts only make sense if also using all the rest of their proprietary infrastructure. Maybe their documentation is “open” because of crowdsourcing its maintenance. Apple is “open” because they use some POSIX/GNU programs in their OS. “Open” can mean as little as being inclusive, or having opening hours, or an open, approachable feedback/ticket system.

Same for “learning”, who learns what where how and why, for what purpose/goal? What’s the “commons” created and/or stewarded here, by whom, how, why and for what reason? It’s up for the OLC and its participants to decide what’s part of the “movement”/“mission”, where and why it can or should remain vague/blurry, and what expectations/assumptions/associations the name may invoke or not invoke for outside visitors.

Creative Commons Licence Contributions to the Open Learning Commons are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Please honor the spirit of collective open learning by citing the author(s) in the context of a dialogue and/or linking back to the original source.