Tag Archives: OER

Students and OERs: Exploring the possibilities #abs125

Presenter: Toni Pearce, NUS Vice President (Further Education)

Session: Keynote #abs125

Toni presented an insightful and thought provoking keynote based on the results of a wide ranging survey of student attitudes and online behaviour, which will be published later in the year.  The keynote was very well received and generated considerable positive discussion at the conference and on the twitter backchannel.  These are just a few of the points Toni raised.

The NUS is a political organisation interested in the expansion of educational opportunities, social justice and social cohesion.  What are the benefits of open education for groups that are excluded from traditional education? Students are not a homogenous group and some are better positioned to gain advantage from open education than others.

Students are conservative in their use of OERs.  Many do use OERs but they are more likely to use them if they are used as part of course or recommended by lecturer. “Traditional” students (i.e. young students in full time education) are very firm about the value of face to face learning and will defend lectures to the death. Lecturing is not an out of date mode of teaching, though podcasting and video captures of lectures is becoming increasingly popular.

Students appreciate the convenience of OERs, they are used to access content at home and revise topics.  OERs are primarily used as a labour saving device, not to change how students learn. This is not transforming education; it is just making it more convenient.  OERs have not unsettled traditional hierarchies of knowledge.

A small number of students use OERs before entering HE to learn about HE institutions and the experience of higher education.  More structured support is needed to facilitate this transition. 

In determining the value and reliability of any resource, look is important.  Students tend to equate look with value.  If a resource looks professional, it is regarded as being reliable.

Students struggle to find appropriate OERs, the volume of resources is overwhelming.  Some students bemoaned the failure to develop the equivalent of Dewey Decimal classification for online resources (!), though clearly this is not a viable option. Students lack sophisticated search skills, they need support to situate their use of learning resources in the context of developing their knowledge.

Students often share resources on twitter and facebook, which many find easier to use than VLEs.  Sharing is a relationship for cyclical advantage, not altruism, and students will keep resources to themselves in order to gain competitive advantage. Few students create their own OERs or adapt existing resources.  While they are happy to use OERs created by others they are unlikely to create their own resources due to concerns they would be co-opted by others. It is also concerning that some students believe that people who are not registered to education institutions should not have access to resources.

Current students are not the key audience for OERs. Education has a tendency to leave you with a desire to keep learning forever.  OER has the potential to expand access to learning and make education more widely available to those excluded from traditional educational institutions.  There is a widespread belief that OERs can bridge the gap between formal and informal learning experiences.

Students place great value on being able to work together with other students.   Technology can be isolating despite access to more and more resources and technologies that support collaboration.  Students worry about the lack of learning community and value traditional study environments.  Communities give us the assurance that others share our experiences. We can accomplish more as a community than alone as individuals.  Our identity comes from the communities that we are part of, which is why web 2.0 social applications can be so effective. The biggest opportunity for OERs is to create communities of education for those that do not have them.

Education is about collaboration not passive consumption but students have little interest in structuring their own learning journeys.  However we are moving into unpredictable territory and students need to take control of change.

Will institutions be able to continue offering OER for free? Openness sits uneasily beside marketization and competitiveness and increasing fees will only exacerbate this. No one quite knows what to do about MOOCs.  Should we try to control the growth of MOOCs or should we let them proliferate?  Opinions are becoming very polarised, but maybe it’s all hype like the Internet bubble.  However MOOCs are important because they have started a public conversation about educational technology and part of that conversation has to be about whether openness will be swallowed up by privatisation and competition.  We need a balanced thoughtful discussion about the future of education.

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Sharing @ 100%? – arguments for a less selective approach to reporting OER activity – Chris Pegler #abs119

#abs119

Abstract available from https://www.medev.ac.uk/oer13/119/view/

The consensus (on Twitter anyway) was that the opening keynote of #oer13 was pretty good. NUS president Toni Pearce spoke engagingly about the student perspective of University education in general and OER in particular and Chris Pegler introduced her session by acknowledging so…but emphasising that the educator’s view is (or should be?) different.

We were also warned that “there will be groupwork” and Chris evoked sharing and the open landscape asking “who are we open with?”, identifying that open behaviour tends to become ever more restrictive in concentric circles away from the creator:

Who are we 'open' with?

Who are we ‘open’ with?

Then came the group work where we were asked to “Talk to 1-2 other people nearby. Identify  some resources which you would be happy to share at one of the very local levels. Think about whether you are also happy to allow remix at these levels”.

As a non-pedagog I did necessarily feel qualified to contribute to the conversation on the same terms as my group (although I am committed to sharing sometimes half baked ideas of my own). There was some discussion of “value” – would this resource (complete or not) be of value? – also of context, just releasing stuff – unfinished – into the wild is of limited use unless the community can continue the “conversation” – this my own sense of blogging from a technical/infrastructural perspective – like the conversation in this room, open dissemination allows us to “converse” and formulate our own perspectives.

Trust is key (not to mention time and motivation), not only in one’s community to accept your contribution to the conversation in the appropriate spirit but also faith in oneself. Confidence that comes with practice.

More group discussion (good pedagogy!)…What would it take to share more widely and what are the barriers? What are your concerns? Some tweets from the session include:

Chris brought the session to a close by emphasising that immature outputs can offer valuable insight that may be lost in more polished material; in addition there is a potential dissemination bias if we over select our outputs. By way of example Chris cited candid mid project meetings of the ukoer programme. The final reports of those same projects did not capture the vibrancy of mid project meetings when live projects were exploring their still developing outputs.

Final question: Trust or Time? Both?

Final question: Trust or Time? Both?

At the end of the session, answering a question, Chris conceded that the “100%” of her title was a little mischevious. Rhetorical. Impossible (and not necessarily desirable) but ultimately, open is as open does and if we are continually aspiring to “showcase” resources we are missing a huge and valuable learning experience.

T n T – sharing practices between two different scale OER developments #abs61

Theresa Connolly and Teresa Connolly both presented on this project, and so I simply couldn’t help myself thinking of this presentation as T ‘n’ T. OpenLearn, the platform of open courses developed at the Open University and focused on the HE community, was originally funded as a 2-year project, but many more years later is still going strong. ORBIT, a Cambridge project, drew from existing teacher practices, encouraging teachers to edit and craft and create. VITAL was a wiki project, providing educators with access to free, innovative and dynamic teaching resources as well as peer-to-peer networking opportunities.

Theresa Connolly and Teresa Connolly discuss large OER projects at the OU

Theresa Connolly and Teresa Connolly discuss large OER projects at the OU and Cambridge

OpenLearn informed VITAL, which supplied re-crafted materials to ORBIT and adapted OpenLearn pro forma. As the two Ts worked on these projects and worked together, it became clear that as in a community of practice model, these open projects and their stakeholders influenced each other freely. Often those who ‘practice openly’ benefit as much as those who receive the ‘products’ of such projects.

Terese Bird, Learning Technologist, University of Leicester

Digital Futures in Teacher Education – locating digital literacy practices in the open textbook #abs96

Anna Gruszczynska and Richard Pountney presented on the Digital Futures in Teacher Education project, the full story of which is told in the Open Textbook they developed. The open textbook they developed is WordPress-based and very attractive and friendly to use. The key to the open textbook is ‘the thinking space’ which allows for sections to be downloaded and added to. The intent is for both teachers-in-training as well as those providing education to teachers to make use of the textbook.
photo
The ‘meadow’ in the slide is a representation of digital literacy ideas which were being addressed during the project, reflecting the supportive and collaborative on digital literacies as part of teacher education reflected in the project. The meadow and the open textbook are OERs, and the project encourages sharing of the idea of creating open textbooks generally.

Terese Bird, Learning Technologist, University of Leicester

OpenJoyce: ‘a great field was to be opened up in the line of opening up’ , #abs83

We present OpenJopenjoyceoyce – a new OER which takes a service-based and community-focused approach to ‘open’.

OpenJoyce is a collection of resources and a community around the author James Joyce.

At noon on day one of OER13, OpenJoyce was presented by Cleo Hanaway from the University of Oxford and Pat Lockley of Pgogy. The other authors, Mr Ronan Crowley, and Dr Elizabeth Switaj were not present.

The abstract for the session can be found at https://www.medev.ac.uk/oer13/programme/#83 You can access OpenJoyce at http://openjoyce.com/

This lively presentation started off with Cleo, a self confessed Joyce geek, who is now cultural engagement officer at the University of Reading. Pat introduced himself as having done nothing with his life….

Pat and Cleo started us off with introducing us to different ideas of ‘open’ and pattern recognition in Ulysses. They made visualisations and put them online, this grew into about 20 visualisation tools and how they work in Ulysses. These went to Dublin to a Joyce conference, where they met up with Ronan, who needed some tools, and Pat built more tools….

Pat made a MOOC, and met Elizabeth who wanted to run a MOOC on Joyce, which then turned into a communty. Kind of a lighthouse… to broadcast out to people. 117 words in Latin have some meaning of ‘open’.

What does ‘open’ mean to you? Was survey of one question which went out to Twitter and on the Internet. They had about 50 anonymous responses – which were really quite carefully considered as far as the examples shown demonstrated.

We were introduced to several notions of ‘open’, including reciprocity. Is the idea of ‘open’ moving towards a more public domain definition? There is no preferred licence on OpenJoyce. All code available, sharing over multiple sites, having fun with the vagueness of open, and didactic openness. OpenJoyce is trying to be completely collaborative and take the concept forward in new ways. it is moving away from the the idea of having sole intellectual ownership of an idea of tool.

OpenJoyce is now looking for more people to get involved, it is explicitly not about commodity dumping. They do not want it to be a simple broadcasting process. Already have one MOOCow, with two more coming, and possible funding. Though it is really hard to do stuff outside of University constructs.

No prior knowledge of Joyce is necessary, and they are interested in seeing how far ‘open’ can go. A small grant will hopefully enable a conference on OpenJoyce and also small amounts of money to enable more people to contribute to the site.

As Megan said – Blimey!

OER13 pre-conference tweets

We are now only a few hours from the start of OER13, and I’m feeling quite excited! At the end of OER12, when Jonathan Darby gathered a group of us and suggested that we begin working on OER13 even though there was no official money to do so and we would have to do everything as volunteers, I had my doubts that such a thing could be pulled off. But here we are on the eve of the conference — with a venue, keynotes, presenters, posters, and most of all delegates.

We are hoping to record and make available all presentations. At the same time, we will be blogging on presentations, right here on this blog.

I thought it appropriate to include here the tweets discussing OER13, for a taste of things to come. Follow the link below — and hopefull see you in Nottingham! –Terese Bird, University of Leicester

[View the story “OER13 Conference” on Storify]