Peer Learning and the Intellectual Commons
Edited By Markus Deimann and Michael A. Peters
Chapter One: Constellations of Openness
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Constellations OF Openness
THE AMBIGUITY OF PROGRESS
There have always been tensions and philosophical questions provoked by the idea of open education. Peter and Deimann (2013) have demonstrated that the history of openness can be understood to stretch back before the institutionalization of education, even if the language of open was not always used. In their reconstruction of the process of widening access to education they trace the gradual expansion of educational opportunity through the cathedral schools of the Middle Ages and Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press. With industrialization came the rise of popular literacy and the establishment of public libraries and opportunities for distance education. The 20th century has continued to see an extension of the belief that education was a right that could be extended to all. Yet it is mistaken to think that this represents a linear historical progression. Instead we discern complex patterns of economic and social change in a dialectical relationship with an evolving understanding of openness. The authors make the observation that “historical forms of openness caution us against assuming that particular configurations will prevail, or that social aspects should be assumed as desired by default” (Peter & Deimann, 2013, p. 12).
Increasingly, it is the social and cultural implications of openness that draw the attention of scholars. The American philosopher of education John Dewey ← 11 | 12 → was among the first of the...
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