In this blog post I would like to go into a key part of open source design, which is the definition of “open.” Stephen Kovats, in The Future of Open System Solutions, Now covers the definition in 11 different conditions. Some of the components I would like to highlight and discuss that are related to education and the control of knowledge are: absence of technological restriction, no discrimination against persons or groups, and no discrimination against fields of endeavor.
The first aspect of absence of technological restriction is vital because it means that anyone will have the means to access the work. If this is violated, issues arise where individuals cannot afford access to certain information and creates a knowledge gap across rich and poor societies and cultures.
The next two are similar in that the knowledge cannot be kept from any groups of people or kept because of what they might do with the knowledge. This creates great flexibility in the availability of knowledge and allows the knowledge to be used in new creative ways. Restricting discrimination is key in furthering education as it allows all groups to have a more equal opportunity to learn.
Granted, one issue could be that the quality of education might be hindered if instructors do not have as much of an incentive to produce valuable resources (ie. textbooks) because they cannot profit off of them. However, students will have access to unlimited amounts of information and be able to choose what to learn and how to learn.
I feel that all in all, open source policy cannot possibly have negative effects on education. There is so much room for improvement in the field of education; making information open will give all groups the opportunity to do whatever they want and if the information is properly documented, there is no limit to what can be accomplished.