— S e b l o g g i n g

Open 2009 Symposium in Helsinki… and the role of cheating

Yesterday I followed the last panel discussion of the Open 2009 Symposium at the Media Lab of the University of Art and Design Helsinki. They had set up a very decent video stream for the event and a Qaiku based back-channel. The panel focused on “openness” in the healthcare sector. I wasn’t quite sure what to make out of the discussion. While I was listening they never touched the role of insurance companies and the almighty pharma industry in the health sector… and how they most likely oppose any movement towards open data, owndership of records, and so forth. From my perspective, many of these discussions on “openness” and “transparency” often remain strangely detached from questions of power. Altogether, I still regret a bit that I had no time to follow more of this overall event.

Too bad, for example, that I missed the keynote by Yrjö Engeström titled “The Educational Value of Learning by Cheating” on Thursday morning. I think I have only recently read a paper of Engeström where he discussed the (cognitive) advantages of having prepared “cheating” material for oneself. Actually, the “Schulmuseum” in Nürnberg currently runs an exhibition titled “Bloß nicht erwischen lassen! Spickzettel – die verborgene Seite der Schule” that displays over 1000 artefacts prepared for “cheating” in school around the world. I think the psychological role of creating these instruments is highly underestimated.

[Website of Schulmuseum Nürnberg]

In the meantime, down in Bari at the ECEL 2009 conference there were some folks hopping around trying to sell their anti-“plagirasim” software and services. For many reasons, I find the way this “topic” is mostly treated in higher education as incredibly boring, one-sided, and somewhat pathetic…

Whose problem is it really if an adult learner chooses to copy and paste only… ?

[Sebastian Fiedler]