Upgrade to Pro — share decks privately, control downloads, hide ads and more …

Pedagogical Purpose of Open Sharing

Lorena A. Barba
December 24, 2016

Pedagogical Purpose of Open Sharing

Please cite as:
Barba, Lorena A. (2016): Pedagogical Purpose of Open Sharing. figshare.

At the opening keynote of the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS), Prof. Barba discussed the pedagogical purpose of open sharing—how openness enriches our capacity to create knowledge together.

The reflections for this keynote stemmed from years of experience as an open educator: sharing open educational resources (OER), spearheading a new genre of OER using Jupyter notebooks, and creating an indie MOOC on numerical methods for engineering.


At the 2014 SciPy (scientific Python) conference in Austin, TX, Barba gave a keynote where she declared IPython Notebooks (later re-branded as Jupyter) a “killer app” for STEM education.
Soon after, she coined the term "computable content," defined as educational content made powerfully interactive via compute engines in the learning platform. The concept is at the center of her self-produced MOOC, "Practical Numerical Methods with Python." She has inspired others around the world to create similar OERs using Jupyter notebooks.

*Why “open” in education?*

In an October-2015 interview by mathematics professor and blogger Robert Talbert, Barba answers this question: “Why do you advocate so strongly for open-source technology in research and education?” She first clarified what we mean by “open” in education.

Barba takes inspiration from the open-source software movement:

"Free and open-source software (FOSS) is a human invention of tremendous impact. It poses an alternative to intellectual-property instruments that are limiting and want to control how a creative work is used. Open-source licenses allow people to coordinate their work freely, within the confines of copyright law, while making access and wide distribution a priority. I’ve always thought that this is fundamentally aligned with the method of science, where we value academic freedom and wide dissemination of scientific findings. In education, “open” also carries the meaning that the copyrighted work is free to use, distribute and modify. Lately, this meaning has been eroded to include only free access, and I take issue with this. In many MOOCs, we see “all rights reserved” all over the content: this is not open.

Openness in education serves a pedagogical purpose, no less. The view of connectivist knowledge sees it created by interacting individuals in a personal learning network. Learning by forming connections (between concepts, people, actions, objects, etc.) is made richer by open sharing, especially with learners creating derivative works, and sharing these too. The open-source software communities have really shown us how the coordinated labor of many, sharing their products freely, produces great advances in technology, and so it can happen in education."

Lorena A. Barba

December 24, 2016

More Decks by Lorena A. Barba

Other Decks in Education


  1. Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences Annual Meeting

    Pedagogical Purpose of Open Sharing Prof. Lorena A. Barba Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering The George Washington University December 2016
  2. Sharing OER via — iTunes U — YouTube — TED-Ed

    — GitHub — self-hosted Open edX site Disseminating via — Twitter & self-hosted blog http://lorenabarba.com
  3. IPython Notebooks A new “genre” of OER, using collections of

    IPython Notebooks (a.k.a., Jupyter)—rich documents mixing text and computable content. (Shared under CC-BY on GitHub.)
  4. One example … Each lesson contains text, figures, equations and

    executable Python code, providing an interactive learning experience. Students can change code and see the effects in the output. in
  5. Free & Open-source Software (FOSS) An invention of great impact:

    ‣an alternative to intellectual-property instruments ‣OS licenses allow people to 
 coordinate their work freely
  6. The Open Definition “Open data and content can be freely

    used, modified, and shared by anyone for any purpose.” http://opendefinition.org
  7. The first MOOC “Connectivism and Connective Knowledge” by George Siemens

    & Stephen Downes (2008) ‣ “MOOCs as they were originally conceived…were the locus of learning activities and interaction, but as deployed by commercial providers they resemble television shows or digital textbooks with, at best, an online quiz component.” - Stephen Downes, in The Times Higher Education (Oct. 17, 2013)
  8. The first MOOC “Connectivism and Connective Knowledge” by George Siemens

    & Stephen Downes (2008) ‣ “Our goal was to encourage the development of learners through open and transparent learning, where the process of knowledge generation was iterative …” - George Siemens, in The Times Higher Education (Oct. 17, 2013)
  9. Connectivism Thesis that knowledge is distributed across a network of

    connections and therefore that learning consists of the ability to construct and traverse those networks.
  10. Community: … clustering of similar areas of interest that allows

    for interaction, sharing, dialoguing, and thinking together — George Siemens, 2004
  11. Why Open Education? Pedagogy of openness—open teaching & learning practices

    actively promote rich networks, lively communities, and fertile connections.
  12. Open-source licenses: People can coordinate their work freely, within the

    confines of copyright law, while making access and wide distribution a priority.
  13. Open-source licenses: People can coordinate their work freely, within the

    confines of copyright law, while making access and wide distribution a priority.
  14. Conversation for Action: an example Can you give the opening

    keynote for BITSS2016? I accept.
 i.e., I commit to be there & speak Request Commitment
  15. Communications of the ACM Special Issue Two decades of the

    Language- Action Perspective The editorial calls the book by Winograd & Flores a “groundbreaking textbook on system design.”
  16. Structure of a Conversation for Action 1. A makes a

    request or offer 2. B makes a promise or accepts 3. B declares to have delivered 4. A declares to be satisfied
  17. Full analysis has more outcomes After A makes the request,

    there are 5 possible outcomes: 1. B accepts the conditions, promises to satisfy them 2. B rejects them 3. B asks to negotiate a change in the conditions 4. A can withdraw the request before a response 5. A can modify the conditions
  18. Open-Source collaboration In a Pull Request: ‣ contributor A wants

    project owner B to perform some action: pull new changes into their repo (review & merge) ‣ B can decline —END ‣ B can accept, and B will merge the PR —> the agreement is implicit ‣ often, before B accepts, B must review the contribution: this work happens outside the conversation ‣ B can counter, and a pull request discussion starts; A agrees to change the PR and B merges (END) or A disagrees and B closes the PR (END)
  19. Commitment-based culture of collaboration I’m reviewing this PR. Project contribution

    policy: “Log an issue for any question or problem.”
  20. A commitment to coordinate action to address the issue—for the

    sake of the project’s shared mission. “Team.” —F. Flores, “Conversations for Action”, p. 77
  21. … tool-of-the trade in the open-source world that supports the

    workflow, and promotes a culture of collaboration
  22. Open-Source Software projects build institutions that have very strong ethical

    commitments… (1) freedom of access (2) transparency (3) governance
  23. Openness …serves a pedagogical purpose: learning is richer by open

    sharing. Coordination …in the model of open-source culture, to create value together, fostering innovation & leadership.