Tuesday, December 4, 2018

David and the Commons

David Wiley’s attempt to slay the giant OER Commons is to call it a metaphor and to suggest that the metaphor is not appropriate for the work of Open Educational Resources.. David rather begrudgingly suggests that there may, in fact, be a Commons of which the work of OER is a part - “If we really are part of an emerging commons, perhaps we need to invest our effort in catalyzing and sustaining true commoning behaviors.” But, David thinks doing the behaviors necessary to sustain an OER commons are unnatural.

In his post on the subject where he harkens to religiosity by suggesting that there is something called an OER Orthodoxy, David defines The Commons rather narrowly. He does so, I think, to better enable his argument that The Commons is a mere metaphor used to describe the work of sustaining OER. Except that The Commons can mean something more than David says it can. This list of uses of the word the commons includes a wide variety that go beyond those offered by David in his post: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/commons. And likewise, this Wikipedia article includes links to many more variations of the commons.

David says that “perhaps we are part of a commons – just a very young one which has yet to develop either the community or the community governance that is necessary for us to be a “real” commons. Maybe the best argument one could make is that we are part of an “emerging commons.”

We are, indeed, part of an merging commons and some kind of community governance will emerge. I hope we don’t develop an orthodoxy, but being part of the commons offers more possibilities than trying to not be a part of the commons. We just need to be OPEN to the possibilities of this particular Commons.

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