Tag Archives: open educational practice

Notes from the facilitated discussion on the Experience theme, day 2

So, are you experienced? Have you ever been experienced? Well, I have.

So, are you experienced? Have you ever been experienced? Well, I have.

Many thanks to everyone who came and took part in the stimulating and wide ranging discussion in room B52 on the experience theme. Despite the room being a very formal lecture theatre we managed to have some interesting exchanges about how we might encourage academic practices amongst our colleagues (I hesitate to use the word open or transparent as I don’t think they reflect the direction the discussion took).

Special thanks to Professor Megan Quentin-Baxter for taking the following (almost) verbatim notes:

Problems and practice and the implications for practice.

I feel a bit like an interloper in the conference discipline – media department archaeology etc. – I don’t come from this world. Whatever this world is.

The questions that are here are about the world of educational development and practice.

Computers will be interesting when they disappear.

OP will be interesting when it disappears.

In accordance with what Pat was saying earlier on then.

I am sort of outside of this comunity as well. Twitter, copyright. We need more education. Not too frightened of it.

There is that kind of education for us and for our students. What should they be doing. What should we be doing.

Staff development and cpd. JIS legal has been doing very good stuff.

SH had been doing stuff like that in Ncl for the last 6 months or so. But you only get the people who know that there is a problem to be solved.

In my experience obstacle s is time. You need tie to take understand things. What it meants to be CC licenced. As authoritative as it comes and with good intentions. I edont have this time

Is it time or fear? Both but time is most important. I am working part time and I am at capacity. If you make it official then people don’t engage you have to make it part of everything else that you do.

Embed it in other activities such as other staff development. Julian I don’t know how you get through to the lone academic who has done it for years. Lots of other people out there. I am at a loss to know how to spread this wide. Nuanced to us. You have to kjnow a  lot. Enganced learning, open learning, you have to think differently. They don’t get it and link it over there because they don’t get it.

Anna – open educational practice. Same as when we tired to get people to use computers. Lots of things to learn. You have to make it ubiqiutious.

Sean if they are brilliant at what they do (staff) does it matter computer slide projector, engaging students.

How can students help? Students putting pressure on academics.

Getting students to engage has been important with oer was difficult but I am on Twitter and I tweet OERs to them they are rubbish at using Moodle but they are using resources. They are not very good at demanding – we have to tell them and they are interested but they are not proactive. I talk to students about what my role is at the beginning of the first year so that they know more about me.

Is it a lack of understanding of OERs? It is not the student’s job – students think that they are doing your work for you.

A quality issue if it doesn’t ?

Student will look at stuff again.

With the issues of OER there is a concept there is an empahsis on asking students to create their rown learning pathways. Homogenisation. Competitive environment.

Students are paying a lot of money (England, international). Client relationship. We had the issue recently of providing moducless

Have we managed to embody exciting new pedagogies in oers/moocs?

Spreading open practice – danger that evangelism can lose critical faculty

Where is open? What is open? Less about pedagogy and more about learning

Cant provide models because it would make it too easy for students to complete the assignment. Reluctance because students have travelled that path.

Networking – people. Research

Hang out in the same places. We know this. There is no obvious way of marking ourselves out. Pages that you create on resources. I am an open academy. Some Badges. – Not a lot of ways to identify

Signed up a year ago (OER pledge) a paper and nothing has happened.

We have to go with everything that has happened. Showcase of use of something for a year institution recolonizing by some … no factors need to be

Some kind That is what we have to change for the students to create the context. Pedagogy. Some desire if you took x student and tll them the outcomes that have have to achieve and then the evidence that they have to produce.

If we take away the open, leaving changes in practices. What makes good practice. Better practice. I started out when everything fro the OU was in print. Programmes on the BBC. What happened before it was recorded. Correspondence. Difficult to say that the students viewed that time as better or worse than it is now. Technologies are available and used .

Online conferencing in1988. 2005 before the policy that all courses should have some sort of online presence. How long it takes for change to happen.

The question from me about where the openness is helpful is that people in the OU and across the sector. How do you inculcate the sharing part of practice.

You have to get that activity recognised.

Recognise that type of activity. You have to have a recognition and reward system. MOOCs. Might make us look good. Books as MOOCS but you share books.

Transparency. Always using things in different ways. Very open about what they want to do. The technowizz is not transparent. Transparency with colleagues. Try to sell the benefits of saving time by being transparent. For the students to sell it to them. This looks flashy and weird it might not work. Students might be talking about

Why am I paying for this? Massive transformation – in our old world we had control but we are now in the situation where what we produe might be duplicated 1000 times. You can’t build value systems around.

The opne agenda is getting from that old situation to a new situation. If you tell people that they can only get that info from that place that one place then they will find answers elsewhere. Drop in the ocean. How it makes you think about being in a teaching sigutaiont. Terrible basis for going forward.

MQB noted the look on the face of Vice Chancellors  who were lensing forward thinking well if all knowledge is on line then what is the role of the university? One conclusion was that we would have to teach our academics to teach.

Growth in the content agenda.  Bookshops libraries. Chalkboards. Taking down the notes and transcribing them. I

There has been more emphasis on the creation of resources rather than the creation of learning experiences.

Using content and rich media. One animation, cost of multiple animations and economies of scale. What is best use of funding. Why redraw something if you can use the original.

Quality of resources, quality of lecturers. Are we prepared to keep paying 100times more for something. Universities .

Changing perceptions of student.

Fragmented practices.

Top down directives are needed.

Early days for us including elearning.

Change of universities.

Not as fast as what goes on around it.

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.

Libraries and the OER Community #abs30

Gema’s slides from her presentation

@gema_bueno presented on how librarians and libraries are involved in the OER Communities.

I’m not a librarian, so I tweeted to ask if any library has an OER policy. Obviously Nottingham has Open Nottingham, and Leeds has an OER policy, but I am not explicitly aware of a library with a commitment to OER as a policy (perhaps Open Michigan).

How well the classical librarian skill set suits OERs and OER promotion – and also assessing the quality of OERs. This could be seen as similar to books, but I assume lecturers do much of the book vetting and quality assurance.

Are librarians also the people to be promoting licenses and discussing copyright issues directly? Classically OER production might not involve librarians, and then librarians may be outside the OER loop.

Gemma suggested a structure for librarians to get involved – the slogan being “from containers to content to context” – suggesting librarians cataloging both their own institution and the world’s OERs – but would steps such as this need institutional, professional or national bodies to co-ordinate this work?

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.

x v c – hybrid learning in, through and about MOOCs #abs79

The #FSLT (First Steps in Learning and Teaching) course at Oxford Brookes University has been one of many small pockets of interesting practice within the box of delights that is the UKOER programme. Certainly one of the earlier “MOOCs” in the UK, it is now reflecting on online learning practice as it begins preparations for the next iteration, beginning in May 2013.

But even since the last run, the landscape of online learning at scale has changed substantially. George Roberts, Jenny Mackness, Marion Waite and Liz Lovegrove prepared a very discursive and open workshop session which examined the “new normality” of MOOC practice and how learners were decoding and contributing to their online learning experience.

A lot has already been said at OER13 about the MOOC bandwagon, and it was noted how deep the mistrust was between the “open learning” community and the wilder ends of MOOC “disruptionism”. There is clearly some kind of a change, some kind of a liminal space emerging on the edges of traditional education, but what is it and why?

“MOOCs offer an unlimited number of possibilities for hybridization because, whatever else, they offer participants the opportunity to fashion their own learning according to their own needs.”

The dream of open online learning actually does encompass the concept of drop-out – in that it is expected that in plotting their own course through the multitudinous learning opportunities available online, it would be rare to see a learner-designed pathway coincide with an institutionally provided one. That’s a rather longwinded way of saying that you would expect learners to drop in for certain parts of a course, rather than complete the thing.

Of course the MOOC is a course, and in advertising itself as such lends itself to these kind of volumetric analyses where effectiveness is linked to student throughput. In some ways – and certainly in the case of the larger commercial platforms – metrics more akin to those used in general marketing practice mean that the “stickiness” of the course platform is valuable. We could speculate about the eventual introduction of advertisement to these platforms, it certainly makes sense of their interest in selling pickaxes rather than mining for gold during the great MOOC rush.

Another strand of the conversation concerned the place of the expert participants. Marion talked about the self-described “vets” – experienced in online learning – who supported and encouraged the “newbies” by modelling good open academic practice. It was postulated that this cohort of “vets” were experienced cMOOCers (connectivist moocs like change11 or OldsMOOC) who had got in to the habits of sharing and acting online.

The contrast here is with the xMOOC experience, where peer learning (more peer assessment) is explicitly built in to the course design, but the scale of the class and the nature of the closed forum environment actually mitigate against learner interaction. The direct opposite of something like ds106, where the line between tutor, classroom learner and online learner is often indistinguishable.

The MOOC movement is a disruptive movement, not because it is doing anything especially new (teaching in public is older than our oldest institutions of learning, and has been a key function of these institution throughout most of their existence), but because it is once again foregrounding discussions about the nature and place of educational liminality… the boundaries of place and space that constrain and define education.

George ended with three wonderful quotations:

“[Open Learning is a] proxy for the historical conversation about continuing, professional, open, online, distance and blended learning” (Bon Stewart)

“[Discourses around HE are] an arena of conflict between rival principles of legitimacy, and competition for political, economic and cultural power”  (Bourdieu)

“Open online academic practice offers a radical challenge to the “polyarchic” limits to the discussion of digital literacy within institutions, which are in conflict with themselves.” (Richard Hall)

(post by David Kernohan for OER13)

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

Love is a stranger in an open car… to drive you toward OEP

I would like to encourage you to follow my SCORE colleague Alannah Fitzgerald’s blog covering her TOETOE project in open educational practice (OEP) in the area of English language teaching. Alannah will present at the OER13 conference with the title Stories from the Open Frontier of English Language Education Resources. Her post Love is a stranger discusses what drives people to investigate and begin to use and share open educational resources, and includes her own journey. Having recently seen some new drivers toward OEP in the medical and social work field — the need for hard-to-create video clips of patients coupled with the frustrations of locked-down networks in the public services — I can see the drivers question as a necessary tool for OEP practitioners to get to grips with.
Terese Bird, Learning Technologist and SCORE Research Fellow