Category Archives: open education

OER13: reflections on Doug Belshaw’s keynote address

I should probably start with a disclaimer: I am a strong supporter of open practices, but I am not an activist. My reflections on Doug’s entertaining keynote should therefore be interpreted in that light.

Doug’s keynote at OER13 began with a discussion on types of ambiguity and trajectories. It’s not entirely clear why the audience would be keen to be exposed to this discussion, but it appears that the bottom line was that it is not possible to define “open” in a way that satisfies everybody and that OER belongs in the “creative ambiguity” area.

The focus then shifted to Open Badges (OB), including the rationale behind the Mozilla Foundation’s support of OB. We were taken through the ‘anatomy of a badge’. Not surprisingly, metadata was referred to several times. A badge, Doug argued, constitutes evidence, trusted credentials, somehow captured explicitly in the metadata associated with the badge. Badges, he said, prove things outside of your community: they are a form of recognition and a way of representing yourself and your facets. There’s more to one’s transcript than silo-based qualifications. Badges are explicit by nature and provide a means of ‘jailbreaking formal education systems’. They encourage learner sovereignty and allow non-traditional pathways, Doug argued.

The next part of the keynote focused on web literacy standards. The Mozilla Foundation aims to create a web-literate planet, a generation of ‘web makers’. For this purpose, Doug and others have been working towards a web literacy learning standard, built with the community: an open learning standard for web literacy. People should be able to ‘earn badges around the web’. The OB approach, in the presenter’s view, should be seen as a platform for innovation.

The concluding part of the presentation was about ‘changing the world for the better’. OER and associated OEP are on the cusp of shifting from creative to productive ambiguity. The ‘Learning Registry’ could be a platform for innovation.

I confess that I left the session with as many doubts about OB as I went in with, but perhaps with more concerns. Some of the audience’s questions at the end illustrated similar concerns, and elicited some worrying statements, such as ‘you can award a badge for anything’ and ‘awarding an OB for trying’. In this context, the usual questions about these approaches became evident once more: would you hire someone whose “evidence of achievement” is presented to you in the form of open badges? Does packing a badge with metadata mean that everyone can see (and rely on) what and who is behind it? Does a badge give evidence of any form of achievement or, more importantly, competence?

An example was given of a group of people who apparently ‘provide trusted credentials for the small things they do’. Really?

Explicitness, trust, openness, opportunity, innovation and value are key works associated with OB. Those words can be compared and contrasted with other terms, such as too easy to get, mean very little, prove nothing, unreliable, a distant second best, don’t change much. Although there was a lot of passion, no persuasive argument was made (assuming there is one) to address such queries and concerns with evidence or authority. Who underwrites that trust and those credentials? “The community” is not a valid response, I’m afraid.

In sum, I was far from convinced. Doug referred to his own PhD research several times during the presentation. Indeed he used it a lot in his discussion of theories of ambiguity. Would he be where he is today solely on the back of his open badges? Probably not.

Alejandro Armellini
4 April 2013
Ale.Armellini@northampton.ac.uk
http://www.northampton.ac.uk/people/ale.armellini

Lightning Talks #abs50 #abs73 #abs77 #abs112

Title: Writing in Booksprints

Presenter and authors:  Phil Barker, Lorna M. Campbell, Martin Hawksey, CETIS and Amber Thomas, University of Warwick.

Session: LT50, #abs50

A booksprint is a facilitated, highly structured intensive writing process.  This booksprint ran for two and a half days, involved four people and was facilitated by Adam Hyde.  The aim of the sprint was to produce a synthesis and summary of the technical outputs of the UKOER Programmes  Once a chapter is written it’s passed on to another author, not for editing but co-creation.  The initial author does not “own” the chapter.  During this sprint each chapter was re-written by three authors.  The team used Booki.cc open source authoring platform to facilitate the collaborative writing. Booki is much like other collaborative writing applications but incorporates additional tools for ebook creation.   By the end of the two and a half day sprint the team had written a 22,000 word book.  Some of the authors were concerned that the quality of the writing would be compromised but this does not seem to have been the case. Colleagues who have read and reviewed the book have all responded positively to it.

Phil Barker - Writing in Booksprints

Booksprints are ideal for people who have a shared conception of a topic and want to present it together, or alternatively want to present different aspect of a topic.  The content has to be material that is already known to the authors. This is not unlike the situation lecturers are in when they are producing course materials.  Booksprints could be an excellent way to produce educational resources as it’s an inherently open approach to content production.  We talk a lot about sharing educational resources but we don’t talk nearly enough about sharing the effort of creating those resources.  In order to produce really high quality resources we need to share the task of content creation

Into the Wild – Technology for Open Educational Resources can be downloaded free from CETIS Publications.  A print on demand edition is available from Lulu.

For further information on booksprints, see booksprints.net


Title: Libraries, OA research and OER: towards symbiosis?

Presenter: Nick Sheppard, Leeds Metropolitan University

Session: LT73, #abs73

Leeds Metropolitan University have established a blended repository to manage both their research and teaching and learning resources, including OERs. They have been involved in a number of JISC funded projects including the Unicycle UKOER project.  The blended repository was originally based on Intralibrary and they have now implemented Symplectic.  There has been considerable emphasis on developing research management workflows.

Open access to research is changing dramatically in light of Finch and role of institutional repositories and there are synergies with Creative Commons potentially being mandated by Research Councils UK.  Nick also referred to Lorcan Dempsey’s recent posts on “Inside Out” libraries, which focus on the changing role of institutional repositories and libraries.

Nick Sheppard - Closing the institutional UKOER circle

Leeds Met have worked closely with Jorum and Nick said that he believed that the new Jorum API is a game changer which will allow them to close the institutional OER circle.


Title: Why bother with open education?

Presenter and authors: Viv Rolfe & Mark Fowler, De Montfort University

Session: LT77, #abs77

De Montfort have undertake a huge body of OER work since 2009.  OER is incorporated into the institutional strategy for teaching an learning and OER is also is part of  the De Montfort PG cert course.

Despite this, when the team interviewed senior executives about OER, none could name any major institutional projects.  They saw the marketing potential of OER but didn’t appreciate the potential of OERs to enhance learning.  There is a distinct lack of buy in from senior staff and a lot of work is needed to change their mindsets.

Viv Rolfe

Student researcher Libor Hurt undertook a student survey on attitudes to OER.  28% had heard of OERs. OERs are used to supplement lectures and for informal learning.  They are seen as being good for catching up with complex subjects but are less used to study for assessments. Students overwhelmingly share stuff with each other, usually through facebook and e-mail. This is naturally how students work now and could have a major impact on OER down the line.  Students also loved producing OERs, lab videos and quiz MCQs.  However while students are happy to share within the university, they are less happy about sharing their OERs with the public, or those that are not paying fees.  Institutional strategies need to be mindful of this and need to communicate that universities are not giving away whole courses, they are just sharing some of the best bits.  Only a few students cited plagiarism concerns as a reason not to share.  From a student perspective, there is a real tension between paying fees and sharing OERs

It doesn’t matter if everyone in the institution isn’t sharing, as long as there are enough to get momentum going.  However it is important to get senior managers on board, OERs need to be enshrined in institutional  policy.


Title: Taking care of business: OER and the bottom line

Presenters and authors: By John Casey, University of the Arts, Jonathan Shaw & Shaun Hides Coventry School of Art and Design, Coventry University.

Session: LT112, #abs112

Talking about open in a closed education system is a lightening conductor for many thorny issues – power, control, ownership, identity, pedagogy, technical infrastructure, cultures, policy, strategy and business models.   The OER space is a very productive but scary space.

Media is about coproduction and teaching is itself a form of media production.  Coventry fell into open learning with the #Phonar and Creative Activism #creativact courses which opened up their classes.  Rather than having courses led by individuals, they now have teams of people all thinking and operating in different ways. Professional partners have also shown an interest in participating in these courses.   They are thinking about how they conceive the design process of teaching, and are working with students and professional partners to let content evolve.

Shaun Hides - consequences of oer

OER is a political problem, you need to lobby senior management. OERs don’t just open up content, they change institutional practice.  There are many unintended consequences and we need to deal with new educational and economic models of co-production.

Opening up our minds to Wikipedia at OER13

Pete and Sarah sharing their knowledge of Wikipedia (and their brown bag lunches) with us

Sarah and Pete sharing their Wikipedia knowledge (and their brown-bag lunches) with the POERUP team at OER13 (CC-BY)

Wikipedia and the OER community – natural bedfellows? One would think yes, but the reality is, according to Pete Forsyth and Sarah Frank Bristow of CommunicateOER, those of us who are involved in OER projects and programmes tend to play a very limited role in creating and editing Wikipedia articles. The focus of Pete and Sarah’s session today was to raise our awareness of the need for volunteers to improve the existing articles on OERs and related topics. See, for example, the entry on Open Educational Resources, which at the time of writing, has only the briefest statements on “Definition” and “Aspirations of the OER movement”.

One of the reasons for the lack of activity on Wikipedia may be that we feel a bit daunted by the Wiki markup technology that confronts us when we hit the “edit” button. CommunicateOER and the P2PU School of Open are offering a MOOC-type course at the moment, Writing Wikipedia Articles: The Basics and Beyond. It has just started, but is still open to anyone who wants to join in and is willing to catch up.

Promoting open practices with the UK PSRB/subject associations in medicine #abs46

Claire Cunningham of ASME presenting the "Promoting Open Approaches' project

Claire Cunningham of ASME presenting the “Promoting Open Approaches’ project

The ‘Promoting open practices’ project, led by ASME (the Association for the Study of Medical Education), is examining the policies, practices and processes in several organisations (including ASME, the General Medical Council, and the Wellcome Trust) with the intention of adopting open approaches and sharing good practice through the development of individual case studies.

Victor Oatway shared the common Issues they found amongst the organisations: limited knowledge, some had never heard of CC, it’s not easy to consistently identify the owners of materials, educators not knowing how the materials can be used (comparing paper, hardcopy, electronic versions of douments). Often, the print version of a document had different information than the online electronic document. Takedown policies were rarely posted on sites. Even those working on the project found themselves asking “Is this document even from ASME?” But on the plus side, there was an enthusiasm to make resources available, and a desire amongst staff to make changes, together. New staff training is seen as the way forward, toward the project goal of creating overall open policy for the members.

Having recently seen for myself some of the difficulties navigating locked-down medical online networks and resources, I’m beginning to see that sheer convenience is probably the most significant driver toward openness in the medical field particularly.

Terese Bird, Learning Technologist and SCORE Research Fellow, University of Leicester

The role of openess in educational innovation, universities in tsunami of changes #OER13 #absOEII #abs127

Wodecki started his presentation on The role of openess in educational innovation, universities in tsunami of changes, to present th concept of open and openess, with some slides with different aspects of openess,

IMG_1321[1]

He stated that open and openess have a wide range of meanings and vary in different cultures and contexts, he ended up with teh discussion on coding and the open Mozilla Badge movement.

Furthermore he argued that open means:

  • I can enter
  • Everyone can enter
  • Diverse and tolerant
  • I can change it , I can influence it
  • They are listening
  • I can use it in many ways and places
  • It is free
  • It is online
  • It is informal
  • It has many meanings and many levels

Wodecki continued in the same way with the concept of innovation, and stated that innovation means improvement that works and new stakeholders with adds real value. He argued that a tsunami is on its way in education and especially higher education, Society is faceing an elderly population and that consumption and technology spreads faster today. Thus the role of universities are changing adn disruption is high. Universities have to concern more on lifelong learning, lead the change and to be more practical due to openess and innovation. Steps to be taken are to work on best practice, take the stakeholders perspective, advanced cases (OER, MOOC), guidlines for going open and the recommendation is that policy makers should support it. He argued that universities has to lead that change and listen to the market and stakeholders. Stakeholders as students, academics, international networks and companies. Feasibility studies and external market analises is of most importance. Change leaders may be crucial in the development processes.

What leeds to the success?

  • Quality
  • Flexibility of study programmes
  • Participation in EU programme
  • Modern infrastructure
  • Listening to the market
  • Well-equipped labs
  • Social and professional regional embedding
  • Student professor relationship
  • International aspect
  • Frequent travelling, especiallu for decision makers
  • Teach fundamentals

Do ICT matters?

Wodecki argues that  ICT really matters as development with ICT runs faster, cheaper, richer, wider. Steps which has to be taken are to work on best practice, to take the stakeholders perspectives, to work with advanced cases (OER, MOOC) and guidelines for universities to go open and to be innovative. It is strongly recommended that policy makers should support the openess development. The development can be illustrated in the image as below.

It is argued that universities has to  lead the changes to go open. With open edcuation more students will be involved. More students will  give

  • more inspiration
  • different perspectives
  • more diversity, more culture, religion, lifestyles
  • must adopt teaching methods
  • better feedback
  • can experiment
  • more needs, I learn that one method can´t satisfy everybody
  • creative meltdown
  • more talent to hount
  • more better students

In summary universities need efficient organizational interfaces with the external world. Otherwise…

This blog Ebba Ossiannilsson, Lund University, Sweden, @EbbaOssian

Wikipedia Education Program: open educational practice on a global scale #abs70

Martin Poulter a volunteer for Wikipedia, presented a passionate defense of the idea and practice of writing articles for Wikipedia, as digital literacy and open practice. In fact, the sort of skills required to successfully write an article on Wikipedia — digital literacy, critical thinking, good review practice, and it helps to be a pedant — are not far away from the skills we hope any HE degree student would demonstrate and learn.

Martin Poulter of Wikipedia

Martin Poulter of Wikipedia

Martin advocated incorporating the writing of good, well-researched and well-referenced Wikipedia articles into a course as a form of assessment, allowing students to research, write, post, and defend their own work on some stopic. Wikimedia offers to come in and help with this process — hence, the Wikipedia Education Program. Martin made a compelling case for this sort of incorporation of open educational practice into formal learning and it made me wonder why I don’t write more Wikipedia articles myself.

Terese Bird, Learning Technologist, University of Leicester

Reflection through transition: the role of OERs in bridging informal to formal learning #abs106

Lindsay Hewitt from Open University in Scotland presented on ‘The Reflection Toolkit’ – a five hour self-study unit which aims to get the user started on thinking about themselves, who they are, what they want to do in their present situation, and how they can work towards doing what it is they want. The platform LabSpace (a subset of OpenLearn as I understand it) was used to build the toolkit.

Lindsay Hewitt of Open University in Scotland on using OER to widen participation in higher education

Lindsay Hewitt of Open University in Scotland on using OER to widen participation in higher education

How is it being used? Glasgow Caledonian Uni’s ‘Caledonian Club’ — community engagement initiative. even to primary schools and feeder nursery schools, has rolled out a 5-week course on reflection which is hoped will open up learning opportunities for local parents and carers. The course is built around the reflection toolkit. I love the idea of open learning materials and open practice being key to widening participation in practical ways such as this. Check out the reflection toolkit here.

Terese Bird, Learning Technologist, SCORE Research Fellow, University of Leicester