Should everything be Open?

      2 Comments on Should everything be Open?

I am lucky to be involved with the steering committee for ETUG – it’s a fantastic team of 15 diverse, dedicated, fun ed tech professionals who volunteer loads of time to do great work to advance, share and celebrate ed tech in BC and the people who do it.  We all work at different post-sec institutions across the province (i.e., that’s a key/intentional feature of the group, and it means we’re not on a common institutional system of any kind). So, we organize our stuff (lots of projects and plans and meetings and dates and stuff to keep track of) in a wiki.

Right now, we are deciding if our steering committee wiki should be open or closed.

Shouldnt some things stay closed?

Shouldn’t some things stay closed?

  • If open, we are practicing what many of us preach enthusiastically (open = good), and maybe (?) someone in the broader community of ed tech folks  in BC (e.g., the people who attend our events, read our news, etc) would be interested in seeing all the stuff that goes on behind the scenes to plan and deliver the stuff we do. Maybe seeing how we work would make them want to get involved with ETUG. Or maybe just seeing how we use a wiki would be of interest or use to someone.
  • If closed,  we protect our privacy in ways that seem to matter (e.g., we write notes to each other like, “hey guys I am staying at X hotel during the upcoming conference, my cel number is ######, call me when you get into town and we can meet up at Y location at Z time to plan the bla bla”). Yes we could do this by email, but the point is to avoid that and do it all in the wiki: one stop shop. Another thing a colleague raised was the “reveal factor” – if it’s all open and we’ve planned this neato activity or experience for people at an event, we may diminish that by having it all out there (kind of like posting the punchline to a joke you’re going to tell later).

I guess if we go open, some questions are, do we leave it open but employ “security by obscurity”? Or do we PROMOTE it? and how/in what way? and will this change how we do things in a negative way? (there is a big part of me that can’t believe anyone cares to paw through our stuff, frankly)

I am all for open philosophically, but I guess I’m unsure there is value for it in this case. If it doesn’t matter, maybe keeping it closed makes more sense for the privacy reasons/to allow free sharing among our 15. But I feel like I’m betraying my commitment to openness somehow. And maybe missing an opportunity to explore this more, to experience unexpected benefits, and to walk the talk (lots of people thought MIT was mad, if you recall)

I find this question interesting because it’s not obvious to me that it’s good, and it hasn’t come up before. It’s not like the usual suspects of sharing completed things that someone might want to use (courses, code, texts, training materials, presentations, research, lesson plans, etc). It’s being open about planning and process.  Messy stuff.  I don’t have anything to hide (except my cel number), I just don’t know if there’s more value in sharing in this case than not.

We’ll see what the group decides.

What’s Up?

  • Check out the new Draft ETUG News page – a great new way to make it easy to contribute tidbits (thanks whoever(s) did such an awesome job setting this up!).
  • Our next SCETUG online/elluminate meeting is….Dec. 16th (3rd wed in Dec)
  • Hey Groups! If you’re meeting amongst yourselves…
    • please feel free (but not obligated) to invite Leva/Tracy – we’ll come if we can
    • remember you have access to the SCETUG elluminate room

2 thoughts on “Should everything be Open?

  1. Sylvia Currie

    I think for me it’s more about transparency than openness.

    I like the analogy you had during our conversations the other day — that you have admin access to your Moodle site but does that mean you’ll be sorting through everybody’s messes to make sense of what they’re up to? Yeah, as if! Although that statement is about access more than openness, it hits on the absurdity of our fears.

    I think of this decision in more of a community context, and it’s an important one for ETUG overall. Moving toward more transparency means always having the full membership in mind when planning, communicating, and sharing. The tools we use can really influence transparency, but much of it is also about SCETUG’s practices (and habits). We tend to plan FOR and communicate TO. We’re often missing the WITH part. Having our work open can make it easier to include all members — not necessarily all the time, and not necessarily by making absolutely everything we do open. But we should share nuggets, point member to, and get feedback on, work in progress, etc.

    So in my view openness for SCETUG is only one step towards transparency.

  2. Leva Lee

    Hi Tracy & Sylvia,
    I’ve reflected a lot about this topic on openness since our last few meetings and what is at the heart of it all is changing our practice and the orientation in how we’ve viewed and done things. I agree that in the past the approach of our committee work has been more of a planning FOR and communicating TO our members on events and things of interest and less of the planning WITH part. There has been a need for all of us to really shift our way of thinking…and adjust our practice accordingly.

    Sometimes processes evolve that aren’t necessarily the most effective but are the most expedient and win out. (I would be the first to admit sometimes you get so busy doing the thing that you can’t stop to reflect on why and if you are doing it in the best way. In this context, I’m thinking of how to involve more members in our planning etc.) So it is exciting that we’ve recently reviewed some of our committee practices and how we can make improvements in this direction. And as you both know in the new year we will certainly be looking at more ways we can communicate better and provide more opportunities for ETUG member involvement. Of course we’ll need to look to members themselves and ask how they might want to or not and with the richness of web 2,0 tools available it is also all entirely doable.

    And you see…I’ve made an effort to SHARE my thoughts with you here in this post 😉
    Cheers L


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