About Ken

Hello, my name is Ken, I currently serve as deputy vice chancellor of academic services and CIO at the University of Southern Queensland in Australia. I have spent much of the past 30 years or so with universities and related organizations, and along the way have supported the development of open organizational culture as a critical factor in sustained open education practice. Some examples of work that I felt has been meaningful includes:

  • while serving at the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand, Richard Wiles and I launch the New Zealand Open Source Virtual Learning Environment.
  • promoting the use of open educational technologies and openly licensed educational content in Central Asia while forming the distance learning network.
  • actively supporting the Open Educational Resources Foundation and OERu through supporting USQ’s technical contributions to the open learning technologies, open educational design, co-sponsorship of a community Open Source Technologist, and delivering open courses to the OERu community.
  • developing open licensing policy at USQ for educational, course, and corporate content.
  • leading the USQ effort to become the first member of the OSI higher education institution affiliate program.

Like everybody else, I have contributed to a lot of efforts that run their course, have only local impact, simply do not work, or that leave a mark, perhaps to be revisited at a later date. These too are meaningful and have included an open blog that focused on the impact of OSS and OER on Higher Education titled Terra Incognita, co-founding the Education Openness Constituent Group, the Jasig 2-3-98 Group, and recently the OSI Free/Libre/Open Works (FLOW) Management Education working group, among others. From each effort we learn a bit about how to contribute to a movement.

 

Interests in Open Source and Openness

My interest in OSS/FOSS is indicative of a broader commitment to cultural openness, which of course includes education and learning. Openness promotes meaningful collaboration, sharing, discovery, and honest debate, which are essential qualities of educational communities, the growth of knowledge, and the university’s commitment to enriching human life. It struck me while serving as a visiting assistant professor in Slovakia during the mid-90s a few years following the Velvet Revolution, how important open cultural and intellectual assets are for universities to do their job in promoting open society, transparent government, intellectual freedom, and social justice. Following similar experiences in Kazakhstan, I took a commitment to open practice to each place that I have served. Eventually my interests grew from FOSS, OER, OA, etc. to include ways of supporting the development of open institutional culture through open management and governance. 

It is my feeling that the openness agenda, while gaining much popular ground and profile during the past decade, has also been inflicted by a sometimes subtle appropriation and manipulation. We have all witnessed the growth of those who might financially profit by deceptive practice through hijacking the language, agenda, and spirit of openness. I believe that organizations like the OSI, the FSF, the OER Foundation, JISC, the Apereo Foundation, and many others, have been essential to maintain flexibility, focus, and integrity in the evolution of open culture. They have helped ensure that open values and principles are openly debated, understood, promoted, and made relevant through practice.

 

Interest in Serving on the Board.

It is for the reasons referenced above that I am interested in serving on the OSI board. The OSI has extended to the higher education community through its affiliation program, and it is essential that the community extend back meaningfully through service, open exchange, commitment, and through engagement to learn how to best contribute back to the community. In addition to community service, membership on the OSI Board is another way to actively promote open culture through working groups, attract additional members to the OSI and its mission, enhance the profile of open licensing in universities, and (somewhat selfishly) drawing USQ further into open technology, education, and organizational practice. In some small way, I hope too that my service on the Board, will influence the thinking of the Board and inform the progress of OSI.

 

Contact

If for any reason, you want to contact me please feel free to email me at [email protected] or through twitter (kenudas), or simply through commenting in this wiki page.

Ken [2].jpg

Ken Udas by USQ Media Team - CC-BY

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