My Experience Adopting an Open Lifestyle

Happy Open Education Week!

Let me start by introducing myself: I’m Trisha Paul, an editorial assistant at Open.Michigan. I’m a junior here at UM concentrating in English and aspiring to attend medical school. After speaking about my experiences with open education at the MLibrary Lightning Talks yesterday, I was inspired to write about them. In this blog post, I’ll be exploring what interests me about open education and how I’ve integrated open educational practices into my life.

A year ago at this time, I didn’t know what open education was. Copyright laws were entirely foreign to me, and I had never encountered Creative Commons licenses before.

Open.Michigan has opened my eyes to the world of open, and I’ve enjoyed learning and understanding the process of creating open educational resources.

What fascinates me the most about open education is its potency. Open education creates a space of collaboration, enabling an incredible sharing of knowledge. By encouraging this community centered around accessible education, openness supports creators who develop materials, instructors who implement them, and, perhaps most importantly, individuals with a desire to learn.

Learning about open education has allowed me to integrate openness into my life. In addition to openly licensing my own blog, I’ve particularly enjoyed sharing openness with STEM Society, a UM student organization that creates and implements lessons in science and math to teach high school students. Through STEM Society, I have been able to inform other UM students about openness, and we have been able to openly license our lessons as open educational materials.

STEM Society members have been incredibly receptive and enthusiastic about open education, which I think says something about the potential of open education. I think the greatest challenge that stands for open education today is awareness: once exposed to the world of open, it’s hard not to appreciate its benefits. If more faculty and students just knew about open education, I think that there would be an overwhelming amount of support.

In honor of Open Education Week, I think it’s important for us to both reflect on just how far open education has come as well as to look ahead to the future of open education. Openness has truly transformed education into an opportunity that can be accessible to everyone, and as more people become involved, I look forward to seeing what lies ahead.

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