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Andres Reyes

"You want to learn? Come on in! We're open and it's free!"

4 min read

Reflection on Working in/at Public by Robin DeRosa


            While reading the journal by DeRosa, I couldn’t help but agree with her sentiments on how what we post on the web through social media can cause avalanches of opinion and in some cases, backlash.  I also strongly agree with her opinion on how we as educators should not be only willing to work in the public, but work at it as well.  Her blotter/journal shows not only a cautionary tale of working in the public, but also a means to how and why we should be willing to work with the public as well.


                                                Robin DeRosa

                                                                     (Robin DeRosa)





DeRosa told a story of a professor whose tweet caused a backlash against her and her profession.  She uses this example and others as a way of showing the risks educators take while talking on happening issues publicly through social media or just publicly at all.  An educator doesn’t even have to be an activist for free speech or tenure protections when it comes to having your opinions and remarks on social media analyzed and critiqued.  The irony with the Goldrick-Rab’s specific case is that she was an activist for public schools and her “public” engagement through a tweet kind of ruined her work for the public good.  Her research and work pushed aside because of a tweet.


                                                               (Got that post-tweet regret)





While some participates in the Digital Pedagogy Lab were frightened by the Goldrick-Rab example in DeRosa became empowered.  She explains that the challenge of being a scholar is not just in being accountable for your words to a diverse audience; it is being responsible for demanding that the diversity be preserved in the face of pressure that stems from profit driven, comfortable elitist.  Her work on OER (Open Educational Resources) initiatives are trying to pave the way for more free and openly licensed content that would allow students and educators to ‘remix’ or ‘hack’ (ala Professor McVerry’s term) knowledge.  One student even brought the environmental aspect of the OER movement; explaining how digital textbooks increase the access for students and decrease the impact we have on the environment in order to make paperbacks.  (This even elicited a response from DeRosa herself!)



                                          (Trailblazing literacy comprehension!)





DeRosa explains how we must “stand-up” to oppressive structures.  These exclusive digital structures are all to exclusive and oppressive and by carving out public digital space in which all have access, the public can all benefit from the open learning occurring in the carved out digital space.  The OER movement is a great weapon against these structures.  We need to keep the “public” a product-less environment and the digital world a place of nondominant expression.



                                               (Standing up to the big dog!)                      






Working in/at public can be like walking on eggshells, but we must keep the public an accessible and open space for creativity and knowledge sharing!


                                          (Demand a free and open web for all!!!)


Link to Working in/at Public