2.5 Open, closed, usability, security – a fine balancing act
This discussion has covered some of the arguments around when and why a closed approach should be used to balance an open approach for distance learning and for the networked practitioner. Organisational, and sometimes also personal, security concerns are the strongest argument for closing or restricting access. As we heard from Martin Weller, there are numerous arguments for openness that sit on the other side of the balance. It would be useful to explore Adams and Blandford (2005) and Adams and Sasse (2005) for a more detailed review of the fundamental differences between the culture of security and open online learning that produce clashes between the two approaches. These clashes are often the root cause of usability issues in security mechanisms for online and distance learning users. These two articles also present an account of how future systems can be developed which maintain security and yet are still usable. Gauging this balance between security and usability is a core skill of the networked practitioner.