Participate in the Open.Michigan Reading Group

Students, Faculty, and Staff are all invited to participate in the
first meeting of the Open.Michigan Reading Group.  This reading and
discussion group is for anyone with an interest in open
educational resources (OER), open access and open content initiatives,
open source software, open archives and publishing, open data efforts,
and open standards.

Our first session takes place Wednesday, October 14 from 4:30-5:30 pm
in the Ehrlicher Room (room 411) in West Hall.  The selected readings
for this session are:

— John Seely Brown and Richard Adler “Minds on Fire: Open Education,
the Long Tail, and Learning 2.0″

— James Boyle “The Second Enclosure Movement and the Construction of
the Public Domain”

The first reading brings together a number of developments in
teaching, learning, open educational resource development and use, and
social web ideas. The second goes further into the discussion around
copyright, past and present, what this means for scholarly work and
education, and what could be meant by the notion of a public domain or
a commons of the mind.  Both make for interesting reading and provide
us with a rich set of topics for discussion.

In preparation for our first gathering, here are some questions for your contemplation:

  • John Seely Brown, in “Minds of Fire,” describes “demand pull” versus “supply push” approaches to learning.  What does he mean?
  • How does Brown see 21st century learning and work demands affecting what needs to be taught?
  • How do OER efforts figure into this new educational world as Brown envisions it?
  • What is the role of institutions such as the University of Michigan in learning and teaching in a world dominated by Learning 2.0?  Are universities still useful, or not?
  • What is the importance of the commons or the public domain in intellectual activities?
  • What is the “second commons enclosure” movement?
  • Why does Boyle say: the “public domain’s primary function is allowing copyright law to continue to work not-withstanding the unrealistic, individualistic idea of creativity it depends on.”
  • What changes in the way information and communication are done currently make these questions particularly important for us?
  • What are the tensions between conceptions of the commons vs those of the public domain for Boyle?
  • What does Boyle mean by the need to “invent” the notions of the commons and the public domain?
  • Bonus question:  What in the work of the new Nobel Laureate Elinor Ostrom relates to these notions of the commons?

Between our meetings, we encourage you to keep the discussion going on our blog, Twitter stream, or Facebook page: links available at

Please extend this invitation to others who might be interested.  We
look forward to seeing you at our first gathering.

Joseph Hardin, School of Information
Melissa Levine, University Library
Ted Hanss, Medical School
on behalf of the Open.Michigan Initiative

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