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Dissertation Couros FINAL 06 WebVersion

Dissertation Couros FINAL 06 WebVersion



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Published by Alec Couros
PhD Dissertation - Examining the Open Movement: Possibilities and Implications for Education
PhD Dissertation - Examining the Open Movement: Possibilities and Implications for Education

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Published by: Alec Couros on Mar 07, 2007
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A DissertationSubmitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and ResearchIn Partial Fulfillment of the RequirementsFor the Degree of Doctor of PhilosophyIn EducationUniversity of ReginaBy Alec Valintino CourosRegina, SaskatchewanDecember 2006Licensed Under the Canadian Creative Commons (AT/NC/SA)
This dissertation reports the results of a two-year long study focused ondescribing and coming to understand the perceptions and beliefs of a group of educators immersed in open source culture (OSC). The study was conducted usinggrounded theory methodology. Participants included teachers, educationaladministrators, educational theorists and technical experts who were distributedmostly throughout North America, and other parts of the world. Methods of data-collection included: online surveys, Internet telephony, telephone calls, face-to-face interviews, blog posts, email and discussion forums.In preparation for the study, a comprehensive literature review was performed. It covered the origins of the free/open source movement, changetheory, communities of practice and social capital theory. The literature reviewinformed the theoretical framework which guided the study. Additional literature,where needed, was introduced through the data collection and analysis processes.The study uncovered open activities and tools available and used byeducators. In particular, the research focuses on the use of open source software,open publishing and open content. The identification of open practice (e.g., types,tools and methods) is an important feature of this study. Open source advocacy isalso identified as an important characteristic/activity of most study participants.The final three chapters of this study describe the benefits of and barriers tothe adoption of open source tools, methods and philosophies. While many
technical benefits and barriers are described, the study uncovers power relationships that affect the adoption of open source tools, practice and philosophies at all levels of implementation. In response to this discovery, Ideveloped the concept
open thinking 
as a critical tool to reveal and redistribute power/control structures. Additionally, I developed the CARES considerations, atool for supporting open thinking and openness in educational environments. Thedissertation ends with final reflections, a summative overview for supporting openthinking in education and topics for further study.

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