The quality of our code and our product depend on the amount of feedback we get and on the amount of people who use them. If we’re developing behind closed doors, we are putting artificial limits to both.
We have done our best work in the open, let’s continue working this way.Default to Open · Issue #1 · Automattic/wp-calypso · GitHub
An “open organization”—which I define as an organization that engages participative communities both inside and out—responds to opportunities more quickly, has access to resources and talent outside the organization, and inspires, motivates, and empowers people at all levels to act with accountability.The Open Organization: Igniting Passion and Performance
Open by Default, as widely used in the contexts of Open Government and Open Data, is the principle in which government makes its data accessible to the public by default, unless there is a sufficient justification to explain that greater public interest may be at stake, as a result of disclosure. Since the principle empowers the public’s right to know and capacity to oversee government activities, it is closely associated with government transparency, civic engagement, and e-governance in organizing public life. In many cases, the principle is accompanied with the technological commitment to create “metadata standardization for all datasets, publication of a machine-readable data catalogue or inventory of both released and to-be released datasets … (and) use of open licenses.”Open by default – Wikipedia
Open education, open government, open data, open web, and open source. These are the foundations of the commons. They should be public, well-supported, and open by default.
Software and the internet are at their best when making human systems more inclusive, accessible, and transparent. The web and the open source stack that powers it were built so that public infrastructure, particularly education, could default to open.
We are responsible for humanizing flow in the systems we inhabit. We do that best when we default to open.
Default to Open for Serendipity
Our writing on stimpunks.org connects humane tech, tech ethics, tech regrets, indie ed-tech, open source, open web, open data, distributed work, backchannels, indieweb, neurodiversity, #ActuallyAutistic, the social model of disability, design for real life, behaviorism, structural ideology, mindset marketing, psychological safety, and public education. That jumble of tags is full of connections and overlap. It’s full of lessons on building for humans and the commons. We try to bring these communities together with our public writing and sharing, because in connection there is serendipity, and we urgently need a lot of that going on between tech, education, and neurodiversity and disability communities.
We feel good and reenergized when educators, tech workers, and autistic and disabled people interact in discussions we start. These moments are necessary and make a difference. Cheers for being in the space. Cheers for helping make the commons.
Default to Open for Interdependence
Beyond eliminating formal hierarchical structures the NeurodiVenture model also removes all incentives for the emergence of informal “power-over” structures via transparency of all individual competency networks for the benefit of everyone within the company. This is perhaps the most radical idea within the NeurodiVenture model.
Transparency of individual competency networks enables meta knowledge (who has which knowledge and who entrusts whom with questions or needs in relation to specific domains of knowledge) to flow freely within an organisation.
The conceptualisation of meta knowledge flows via individual competency networks assists the coordination of activities via the advice process outlined above and via regular Open Space workshops, and it acts as an effective dampener on the informal hierarchies that can easily come to plague hierarchical and “non-hierarchical” organisations.Organising for neurodivergent collaboration | Autistic Collaboration
Default to Open for Indie Ed-Tech
For education to fulfill the promise of “free, life-changing, and available to everyone”, we need indie ed-tech and the social model. “We need to design learning where there is no option for oppression.”
Indie Ed-tech is infrastructure that supports scholarly agency and autonomy.A Journey to discover what is Indie Ed-tech | Heart | Soul | Machine
For his part, in that Stanford talk, Jim Groom pointed to 80s indie punk as a source of inspiration for indie ed-tech. “Why 1980s indie punk?” Groom explains,
First and foremost because I dig it. But secondly it provides an interesting parallel for what we might consider Indie Edtech. Indie punk represents a staunchly independent, iconoclastic, and DIY approach to music which encompasses many of the principles we aspired to when creating open, accessible networks for teaching and learning at [the University of Mary Washington]. Make it open source, cheap, and true alternatives [sic] to the pre-packaged learning management systems that had hijacked innovation.
The LMS is our major record label. Prepackaged software. A prepackaged sound.
Pre-packaged sound. Pre-packaged courses. Pre-packaged students.
If we don’t like ‘the system’ of ed-tech, we should create one of our own.
“Indie ed-tech” offers a model whereby students, faculty, staff, and independent scholars alike can use the “real-world” tools of the Web – not simply those built for and sanctioned by and then siloed off by schools or departments – through initiatives like Davidson Domains, enabling them to be part of online communities of scholars, artists, scientists, citizens.‘I Love My Label’: Resisting the Pre-Packaged Sound in Ed-Tech
Note: LMS = Learning Management System
We roil at the limitations and oppressive qualities of the LMS. But the problem here is not the LMS-it is that, despite our best efforts at creating other platforms, we still think through our own internal LMS. The problem is that whether we are using Blackboard or teaching in Canvas or building a Domains project, we are most likely not doing thinking that is liberative enough.
The point is not just about platform. The point is about praxis.
the LMS is an outlook, a standpoint, a conviction. Like it or not, it is in our blood as a product of our privilege and our educations. It is not a cage we put students in as much as it is an artificial playground over which we can be masters. It is, in fact, a learning space, but not for the content we put there; rather it is a space of enculturation into an oppressive educative model which each of us has born the weight of, and into which we each believe, to varying degrees, students should be baptized. The same is true of the classroom, the academy, the professional conference. These are spaces we understand, where we are not marginal, but where we can invite the marginal to participate, to become not-marginal. And this invitation to the middle is an act we say is elevating, is doing good.
There are multitudes of voices that we won’t hear because we do not feel safe in their spaces, on the margins. And safe, for educators, usually means expert, superior, capable, competent. When we enter the margins from our roosts in academe, we suffer the surrender of our confidence. In the face of what might be being created in the spaces we don’t occupy, our knees wobble.
By offering a room, we make ourselves the lessors. By making space, we claim space. “These are your walls,” we say. “These are your walls that I’ve given you. These are your walls to hang upon them what you would like. I have made them of plaster and drywall. I have painted them. I have put in the studs and I have raised high the roofbeams. But truly, this is yours. I have made you a space where you can be who you want to be.”
We need to design learning where there is no option for oppression.
But in many cases, and especially with the LMS, adoption comes regardless of consent. In only a minority of situations are faculty and students part of the discussion around the purchase of an LMS for an institution. In those situations, we must abide by the use of the LMS; however, that doesn’t mean we must acquiesce to its politics or its pedagogy. In order to intervene, then, we must step back and rather than learn the tool, analyze the tool.
When we do that with the LMS, we find that its primary operation is the acquisition of data, and the conflation of that data with student performance, engagement, and teaching success.
Let’s build a tech and ed-tech that confront injustice instead of amplifying it.
Default to Open for Community
One of the legacies of the counterculture, particularly on the left, is the idea that expression is action. This idea has haunted those of us on the left for a long time.
But one of the reasons that the Tea Party came to power was that they organized—they built institutions. So the challenge for those of us who want a different world is not to simply trust that the expressive variety that the internet permits is the key to freedom. Rather, we need to seek a kind of freedom that involves people not like us, that builds institutions that support people not like us—not just ones that help gratify our desires to find new partners or build better micro-worlds.Don’t Be Evil