Openness in the context of computer networks: Educators’ Perspective

Dragana Martinovic, University of Windsor
Jelena Magliaro


In this paper we look at computer networks, especially the Internet, from the educator’s perspective. As our world becomes more dependent on computers, aspects of human-computer interaction and interaction between humans supported by computers requires extensive critical analysis. In doing so, we draw on several ground-breaking initiatives that are ideologically based on the concept of “openness.” More specifically, we compare and summarize attributes of the three distinct communities: (i) open access, (ii) open source, and (iii) open online help. In all three we find examples of intellectual generosity, as when a capable peer/patron/student becomes the source of a gift and a scaffold for the community on which to prosper. Although the Internet has contributed to increased connectivity between individuals and social entities, the commercial scholarly journals’ owners and commercial software companies do not share the same enthusiasm as the proponents of openness. In addition, this paper further examines the use of openness as a concept or idea that, in conjunction with the Internet, promotes access to knowledge as a right rather than privilege.