Reflections on Openess – Week 10

CCK08 – I have a serendipitous relationship with the world. Case in point, when I decided that the job I am currently doing is not good enough (for me) – three other positions that suit me pop up. When I have to write about openess, and my thoughts about the week, I find this blog post about UVU goes open. Well, the article was posted last week – but much like my life, I’m about a week behind.

What’s interesting about that is that UVU is seen as a vocational University. I’ve always associated openess with regards to philosophy and sociology and history, not necessarily vocations. Of course, why not? I suppose my own perception of vocational skill training as specifically hands-on – but what’s to stop people from working on their own?

I’ve often thought that open courseware was always appropriate for computer skills (with it’s history of open source software, peer to peer sharing and the undercurrent of piracy of software), and I can certainly see that things like automotive repair would and could lend itself to sharing over the web. In fact, the last few times I’ve been interested in learning something new, I invariably end up at YouTube, watching a video how to do it. Installing taps? Attempted to do it (actually couldn’t get the bolts off) without any sort of help – except for the videos online. Configuring software? Went online to find a tutorial. All because someone thought someone else would need it.

In this age of information gluttony, it’s easy to just google it. It’s hard to find experts, though. I think open courseware attempts to address this sort of thing. You don’t have to have a degree in Philosophy to understand Wittgensten (although it probably will help…), see what others say about him. You don’t have to have a plumber’s certificate to do some basic plumbing.

Of course, this is a major adjustment from where we are – socially things are going to change a lot. Sure, you’ll still have dinner parties, events to go to – but some of the culturally diverse things where you meet different kinds of people may start slipping away. The plumber that comes to your house to fix your taps may tell some sort of story that sparks an inspiration or has an effect on your viewpoint of an issue. Or maybe they tells an off-color joke that reflects poorly on them. Strangers are becoming stranger; more estranged if you will. As we become more open in one area are we becoming more closed in others?