Toward Open and Liberal Learning?

Reading “Fifty Shades of Open” by Jeffrey Pomerantz and Robin Peek in First Monday http://firstmonday.org/article/view/6360/5460 one considers the parallel between the growth of fan fiction and the growth of *open* across the array of meanings the word carries.  It is a tempting if baffling parallel.  Wondering how to grasp a meaning of *open,* I thought of questions for Open Learning ’17.  What do the principles and practices of open learning share with liberal education and undergraduate general education—teaching, learning, and assessment in practice right now?  What utility in bringing together liberal education practitioners with open learning practitioners?  The Faculty Collaboratives project at AAC&U http://www.aacu.org/faculty has been supporting and nurturing communities of practice among educators for liberal and general education.  Why?  We want to offer the best possible college education to all students, no matter their program or type of institution they attend.  There is a focused and principled goal for the project.  We’re building networks and infrastructure for educators across states and state systems so that they can in turn do their best work in meeting and reaching all students.  We want to emphasize the learning and success of the large numbers of undergraduate students who have the most to benefit from higher education.  Students who have not been served well by public education are first in my mind and in the minds of many colleagues. Equity in student success is a great goal. That is the story I offered Gardner Campbell in the interview at http://www.gardnercampbell.net/blog1/?p=2638. I hope students will benefit if we do a better job of collaborating as educators across communities within and among states and state systems. As I see it, the experiment of Open Learning ‘17 will give us a chance to answer the questions above.  I confess I want to find stronger ties than I am seeing right now.  It is true that information literacy is one of the outcomes of the Liberal Education and America’s Promise or LEAP initiative http://www.aacu.org/leap.  Will we find richer points of convergence?