We are supposed to break the rules ! Aren’t we ? So, I am going to the extremity of rule breaking in this mooc, which is not to agree with Dave and ALL the participants that I could read their posts !
I do not agree with Dave on the fact that cheating is weapon for succeeding and that cheating is the same thing as rule breaking. I believe that there is a great difference between cheating and rule breaking as a weapon. Cheating, in my sense, has this surreptitious aspect.. When somebody cheats, he does not want that to be known by others.. He feels that he is doing something bad, not because he is breaking the rules, but because he is doing something bad or something wrong !! When this somebody breaks some rules knowing that what he is doing is not bad, he will not be doing it secretly. Cheating is bad, because it is done clandestinely ! When you break rules for the sake of the society or the whole universe, you will do it so openly that you want every body to know about it!
In fact, it must be said that rules are necessary for the human development. We cannot break ALL the rules! Otherwise, we will be in a chaotic situation. Even when you “liberate” your learners from some contraints such as the grade and use of others’ work, some rules must resist or new rules are to be imposed. Can you allow your students to take others’ work without permission?!! Can you just break all the rules and tell your students that they can do whatever they want..and at the end of 4 years they will get certified for a certain field of science?!! medicine for example??!! I suppose not, unless there is something that I am missing! Yes, liberating students from some constraints such as grades might lead to great results, but it is just a “might”.. and it might not!! But even though, you are liberating them from “traditional” constraints, but I suppose that you are imposing new “nontraditional” constraints”.
That said, two particular activities captured my attention in the posts that I could read. These two activities are related to collaboration and innovation in education and to intellectual property in academia. I will explain why breaking rules in these two fields is a great thing, but in the same time, I will explain why, this cannot be considered as cheating.
Let me start by the collaboration. When a teaching facilitator “allows” it, collaboration stops being cheating. Collaboration becomes cheating when it is not allowed. And when the “system” does not allow something, it will be so difficult to contradict it. It is only because the system allows us to make something that we do it.. it is only because the system allows us to permit collaboration among our learners that we do this. And here the system, of course, will impose new restrictions! Now I believe that I do not need to talk about the benefits of collaboration in the academia. We all now that, and the evidence is that we are here participating and collaborating in this great mooc!
This leads to the use of innovation in academia. I think that innovation is breaking rules (but so loudly, not surreptitiously). Innovative ideas in academia such as OERs (and openness in general), new ways of assessment, gamification, BYOD, Social media, critical learning, academia 3.0, m-learning, and much much more are great things to experiment and then to get results, that, we have to admit, might be negative in some cases!
The other point is intellectual property. As we all know, Internet and electronic documents facilitate “cheating” when it comes to the use of others’ work. You can so easily take the work of somebody, which is published on the net, and claim that it is yours, but this is not ethical!! However, I am not cheating when I am using the ideas of somebody or including parts of his documents in my work as far as I am referencing the resource! It is sure that there is a need to review intellectual property rules in the scope of the electronic media era, but at least when you are referencing the source you know that you are not behaving unethically.
So, to conclude, I think that rule breaking (not cheating) “might” be a weapon for succeeding, and might not, and we must be careful when breaking rules because this might be dangerous, especially when dealing with sensitive fields such as education. This said, I want to assure that I try my very best to be an advocate of the use of innovative ideas in education, but I am also realestic and suppose that we must believe that every thing we are trying might give great positive results, which I sincerely hope, but might also give negative results!