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Educause Openness Constituent Group Annual Meeting Notes

Provided by Ken Udas

Denver Convention Center
Wednesday, Nov 7th, 2012
2:30 PM - 3:20 PM
Meeting Room 407
Openness CG Conference Program Site: 
Openness Constituent Group site: 

Openness Index Project SIte: 

The meeting was conducted in an open format with general discussion about the topic of openness. Although a role or formal count was not taken, there were approximately 50 folks in attendance.  To this point, the meetings never attracted more than 12 participants and normally half were vendors. This year a vast majority of those in attendance were college and university practitioners with a good mix for vendors, consultants, and non-profit members of the community. We believe that this indicates a growing and broader interest in openness in general, and open education more specifically.
A variety of topics were raised and discussed including:

  • Membership in the Openness Constituant group was raised and promoted (all are welcome).
  • A recent report of the Babson Research Group on OER with finding about knowledge and attitudes of chief academic officers.  Some of the findings were discussed, particularly the lack of reference to any principles of openness and recognition of licensing among chief academic offers surveyed.
  • Openness as parts of Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) projects.
  • Internal transition to cultures of openness (small and incremental steps).
  • The need in some institutions to compromise principles of openness to achieve enough acceptance to spark transitional change.
  • Questions about how MOOCs and openness impact students and learning outcomes. It was pointed out there there is an Educause MOOC CG in which, MMOC specific questions on a variety of topics are being discussed.  We referred participants with MOOC specific questions to the MOOC CG.
  • The differences between the use of “open” among traditional open education providers (Open Polytechnic, Open University UK, etc.) and how open is now being used.

During the last part of the meeting Pat Masson introduced the Openness Index, which is a jasig 2-3-98 project. The Openness Index applies a maturity approach to assessing the organizational capacity for openness based on practice and outcomes. It is intended to be a tool to support continuous improvement and capacity development for organizations striving to assess their openness capacity and become more open by practicing the values and principles of openness.

  • The web site was opened and the Openness Index was introduced.  We only had time to touch on the formal model due to discussion that was sparked.
  • The idea of an openness “stamp of approval” was introduced as a discussion starter.
  • Concerns were expressed that a “stamp” may not fully recognize the spectrum of openness in an organization and frankly may be off-putting to many in the organization - most notably faculty. Pat noted that the name of the project was changed from "The Openness Maturity Modle" to the "Openness Index" provide a more welcoming (come as you are) feeling with fewer implications for value judgments.  After all, nobody wants to be told that their organization is immature.
  • Constructive questions were raised and suggestions made about better defining the problem that the Openness Index was addressing.
  • Constructive questions were also raised about the audience to which the Openness Index should be addressed. It was pointed out that it might not be terribly meaningful on the surface for many faculty.
  • As we were running out of time, we asked the group if they felt the Openness Index project was meaningful and valuable and if they would be interested in pursuing it.  The general consensus was that if appropriately framed, the Openness Index could be a useful tool to support organizational change.

Additional notes from Ben Harwood can be found on Evernote.

  • If you are interested in checking out or contributing to the Openness Index project, please feel visit the project support site in the Jasig 2-3-98 project.
  • The Openness Index support site can be found at
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