MA Contemporary Art Theory

MA Contemporary Art Theory

Re-imagining the Art School Since 2001

In the Open: Creating an OER from a Closed Source


In the Open

Teaching ‘in the open’ is spectrum of practices for making your teaching publicly available.

Here’s how the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada (Open UBC) define teaching ‘in the open’, please read this page: (link)

Note that Open UBC state that:

openness isn’t a single expression and exists on a spectrum

As a means of starting to find your way through this spectrum of possibilities, today, you will complete this short workshop.

It’s important that you understand what an OER is since you are all going to produce an open learning project then invite the members of other Bashos to take part in it.

Beyond your peers, your open learning project should be open to the public. So, to start with, you need to know what an OER is!

At this point, you need to move beyond the three Wikipedia defintions we used for In the Open: Creating an OER from a Closed Source. You can find out more about the fuller spectrum of ‘open’ possibilities with the help of your Basho.

Collectively trying to find out what an OER can be a collaborative inquiry (link) for your Basho.

Using the the jigsaw classroom (link) technique, we will start by allocating your members of your Basho to examine different definitions of OERs from


Each Basho will be broken into groups of 3 using the first three letters of the Alphabet:




Each colour can make it their personal task to find out what they can about one of the definitions of OERs from

Each Basho will create a cyclical P2P feedback model to support each other’s learning.

As follows:

(A) investigates:

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation “At Hewlett, we use the term “open education” to encompass the myriad of learning resources, teaching practices and education policies that use the flexibility of OER to provide learners with high quality educational experiences. Creative Commons defines OER as teaching, learning, and research materials that are either (a) in the public domain or (b) licensed in a manner that provides everyone with free and perpetual permission to engage in the 5R activities– retaining, remixing, revising, reusing and redistributing the resources.” [1]

(B) investigates:

OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) “digitised materials offered freely and openly for educators, students, and self-learners to use and reuse for teaching, learning, and research. OER includes learning content, software tools to develop, use, and distribute content, and implementation resources such as open licences.”

(C) investigates:

UNESCO “teaching, learning and research materials in any medium, digital or otherwise, that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions.”

Diagnostic interview

Once you’ve spent a little time investigating the defintions, you can now conduct a diagnostic interview by following a simple process:


(A) and (B) interview > (C) on what they now know about OERs

(A) and (C) interview > (B) on what they now know about OERs

(B) and (C) interview > (A) on what they now know about OERs


For this to work well, it’s important that the interviewer only asks questions and that the inverviewee only gives answers.

You need to take on the position of both interviewer and interviewee.


Red Basho
A CHEN Shireen
C GU Peiying
Here’s an illustration of how this will work for this particular group:
A CHEN Shireen and B MOLNAR Dave interview > C GU Peiying on what Peiying now knows about OERs
A CHEN Shireen and C GU Peiying interview > Dave on what Dave now knows about OERs
B MOLNAR Dave and C GU Peiying interview > A CHEN Shireen on what Shireen now knows about OERs

Interview groups

Red Basho
A CHEN Shireen
C GU Peiying

Red Basho

A SUN Kejing
C LEE Dami Lee

Blue Basho

A ZOU Jialing
B CHEN Shuwen

Blue Basho
B WEI Weixiao
Since there are only two of you in this group, you just interview each other. Join the rest of the Blue Basho when you are finished and simply listen to their third interview.
Once you have all been both interviewer and interviewee you can move onto the next step:

Using a (Miro) Whiteboard, do the following:


Working on your own again: identify forms of artistic learning that you consider to be “closed”
    1. Work your way through the methods you’ve learned so far.
    2. List what might make art education “closed”
    3. Find examples that you’ve either experienced or have learned about second-hand


Stuck for some examples? You can search for UoE courses using PATH

See: (link)

Take this 20 Credit Level 8 School of Art Course as an example: Drawn from the City ARTX08058 (link)

– If you were not enrolled as a student of UoE, what information about Drawn from the City ARTX08058 could you openly access?

– If you were not enrolled as a student of UoE, how much of Drawn from the City ARTX08058 could you follow on your own / in a group?

– Can you identify which components of Drawn from the City ARTX08058 are closed?

– Having done so, can you figure how you might make Drawn from the City ARTX08058‘s closed components open?


Working in your Red/Blue Basho, identify forms of artistic learning that you consider to be “closed”
      1. Brainstorm to collect a series of examples from within your group. Take turns to present your lists of examples. You should all try to take notes using your Basho’s Miro Board so that you build up a collective picture of what you’ve all found out.
      2. Appoint a Scribe to collect them
      3. Sort the ideas into groups of examples
      4. Select the most promising example to work with as a group


Working in your Red/Blue Basho, devise a plan to make it “open”
        1. List the different ways in which the example you’ve chosen is “closed”
        2. Work on each of the ways that the example is “closed” to make it “open”; consider
          • How would you need to re-model the example to make it openly accessible?
          • Who would benefit from this? Would any new ‘publics that result from the circulation of these objects’. (Boshears 2013: 617)
          • What sort of resources would be required? (e.g. do you only need to change the example or, also, the institutions that support it?)
          • What kind of curriculum design process would you need to pursue?
          • How could you codify this example work in such a way that it could be CC licenced and distributed as free culture?
          • Can this example be modded? If not, can you make it modifiable?
Present your Basho’s plan in a format that will enable others to follow it.
    1. The plan should enable your peers to follow it without you intervening
    2. Use text, diagrams, images, whatever works to open up what you are presenting to make it intelligible.
    3. Make sure that you clearly list all the resources that are required (no matter how big or small!!!)
What next?

As a Basho, you should now have a set of notes defining what an OER might be and a range of ‘in the open’ examples.

Your Basho might want to try to create a ‘coventant’ to determine what definition of OER is going to be operative for your Basho (at least). Equally, you may decide collectively that you want to consider ‘openness’ more as set of probing questions to ask about what you will each devise for the Open Learning Fair.

Open Learning Course Handbook

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International Neil Mulholland 2021



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