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OERs, MOOCs and thre Future
Stephen Downes, May 25, 2013, Vancouver Island University's Online Learning and Teaching Diploma - OLTD 505: OERs, Online, via Blackboard Collaborate
Overview discussing open educational resources (OERs) and massive open online courses (MOOCs) as they relate to the future. Issues considered include varieties of openness, licensing and combining resources, access, the nature of definitions, types of MOOCs, change and the future.
Some really good writing in this longish post about university admissions that ends with this: "Rather than a market response to unmet consumer demand, my data tell a story of class insecurity that is transformed into a credentialing process through marketing that sorts, and admissions processes that signal to students that a for-profit credential can provide the security they intuit they need. The success of colleges like Profit U not only responds to the individual pain points of students grappling with increasing competition for fewer good jobs, but organizationally they have responded to weaknesses — pain points — in the social structure." This is really important. It's not just about jobs and it never has been. It's also about being able to 'join the club' - only to realize, that once you've finally gotten in, there are many more inner circles you'll never get to see. (Browse the rest of the site, too, for interesting stuff, including this astonishing dispute with the Chronicle from last year). Via Matt Reed.
According to the letter signed by 58 faculty members from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard, "It is our responsibility to ensure that HarvardX is consistent with our commitment to our students on campus, and with our academic mission." They then ask that a committee of tenure and tenure track faculty draft "a set of ethical and educational principles" that will govern their involvement. The Harvard faculty letter, writes Phil Hill, takes the approach of "viewing MOOCs as experiments in 'teaching methods that can be validated, refuted, or refined through the collective efforts of a scholarly community'." And, pointedly, not adjuncts and support staff, students, providers, funders, or anyone else.
David Wiley clarifies, and his points are worth lingering on.
- "Some readers may have gotten the impression that I was saying it was ok to 'Be Awesome Instead' of being open. That was absolutely not the point I was making. Being open – truly open – is absolutely critical..." Quite so.
- And I am really really of the same mind as Wiley when he writes this: "For a number of years I have felt that the overwhelming majority of educational researchers are focused on the 'high quality' problem, to the virtual exclusion of the 'universal' and 'free' problem from the discourse." From my perspective, talk of 'quality' has become a useful red herring for those really wanting resources to be not open and not free. That's not to say I oppose quality (and neither does Wiley). But if it must be perfect before it is free, then it will never be free.
- "The only way to accomplish the amount of personalization necessary to achieve high quality at scale is to enable decentralized personalization to be performed locally by peers, teachers, parents, and others." Once again, I'm completely agreed. This is what I was trying to urge at OECD (not that they listened).
My only quibble is with his insistence on "free 4Rs permissions" - which includes allowing commercialization of free resources. Given what he has just said about opoen access, and about there being "no rights and royalties regime under which this personalization could possibly happen" I just can't see requiring allowing commercial use. Somewhere someone is going to have to say, "if you throw up a paywall, it's not open access, and you've broken the agreement."
Do you doubt me? If I blocked access to this website and started charging a subscription fee for OLDaily, would you consider it consisten with my long-time committment to free and open access? No? Then why would it be consistent with free and open access if someone else did it to my stuff?
Doug Belshaw has started a new blog on a new blog service / magazine called Svbtle. Here's his announcement post. "Svbtle is a new kind of writing and publishing network that takes the best things from traditional publishing and combines them with the best parts of the web." There's an application for membership, but it's not clear yet why someone would apply. Meanwhile, it has been interesting watching Doug Belshaw's transition from staid academic to hipster dude since his employment at Mozilla. (I say that just in jest, but it's still interesting to watch.)
So I spent way too much time playing this game this afternoon, which automatically makes it worth passing along. "'Data Dealer' is an online/serious/educational game about collecting and selling personal data - full of irony and humour. It's an interactive exploration of the personal data ecosystem in the digital age and targeted at both young people and adults." Have fun!
This is a set of eight presentations (slides only) from yesterday's conference on open access policies Goodenough College, London. Presentations inlcude talks from funders such as Wellcome Trust and RCUK, as well as discussion of the green and gold routes to open access archiving. Interestingly, open access includes not the ability to read a document online, but also search for and re-use (including download) the content and unrestricted use of manual and automated text and data mining tools (according to thisRCUK presentation). Some good statistics, also, from Alma Swan of SPARC Europe. See also controversy regarding RCUK's policies.
Interesting. "Learning Locker provides a destination where users can create a personal locker housing their learning data that they can then put to work for them. The data comes from a variety of sources including the web and any learning platform that exports Tin Can statements." Of course, for this to work well, you need not only to be able to export your data, but also to make it available (via an API, perhaps) to learning and other applications. Anyhow, this is a good idea, and Dave Tosh certainly has the background in e-learning to understand how it should work.
Interesting thought experiment. "If there were no students fees and higher education were free, what would that do to MOOCs? I mean, obviously it'll never happen... oh, wait, Germany just abolished student fees. Yeah, but what do they know about running an economy, right?" If I were in Germany, would my priorities be changed? I'm not sure, partially because MOOCs are as much about alternative pedagogy as they are about access (but, crucially, they are about access, and that thought is never far from my mind). But in a world of free? Most likely, as Holden comments, "possibly, MOOCs as support and community around traditional classes?" Because access isn't just about opening doors, it's also about makiing sure people are successful once they enter.
Links and Resources(presentations include slides and audio recordings)
RSS Feed: http://www.downes.ca/news/OLDaily.xml
Cites:294 Educational Blogging (Local copy)
264 Learning objects: Resources for distance education worldwide (Local copy)
134 E-learning 2.0 (Local copy)
126 Models for sustainable open educational resources (Local copy)
88 The future of online learning (Local copy
75 Learning networks and connective knowledge (Local copy)
70 Design and reusability of learning objects in an academic context: A new economy of education (Local copy)
59 Resource profiles (Local copy)
40 Learning networks in practice (Local copy)
33 Semantic networks and social networks (Local copy)
35 An introduction to connective knowledge (Local copy)
27 Design, standards and reusability (Local copy)
23 EduSource: Canada's learning object repository network (Local copy)
22 An introduction to RSS for educational designers (Local copy)
(Cites from Google Scholar for an H-Index = 14)
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Things You Really Need to learn: http://www.downes.ca/post/38502
Contact: email@example.com Stephen.Downes@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca
About Stephen Downes
Stephen Downes is a senior researcher for Canada's National Research Council and a leading proponent of the use of online media and services in education. As the author of the widely-read OLDaily online newsletter, Downes has earned international recognition for his leading-edge work in the field of online learning. He developed some of Canada's first online courses at Assiniboine Community College in Brandon, Manitoba. He also built a learning management system from scratch and authored the now-classic "The Future of Online Learning".
At the University of Alberta he built a learning and research portal for the municipal sector in that province, Munimall, and another for the Engineering and Geology sector, PEGGAsus. He also pioneered the development of learning objects and was one of the first adopters and developers of RSS content syndication in education. Downes introduced the concept of e-learning 2.0 and with George Siemens developed and defined the concept of Connectivism, using the social network approach to deliver open online courses to three thousand participants over two years.
Downes has been offering courses in learning, logic, philosophy both online and off since 1987, has 135 articles published in books, magazines and academic journals, and has presented his unique perspective on learning and technology more than 250 times to audiences in 17 countries on five continents. He is a habitual photographer, plays darts for money, and can be found at home with his wife Andrea and four cats in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.
Stephen Downes travaille pour le Conseil national de recherches du Canada, où il a servi en tant que chercheur principal, basé à Moncton, au Nouveau-Brunswick, depuis 2001. Affilié au Groupe des technologies de l'apprentissage et de la collaboration, Institut de technologie de l’information, Downes est spécialisé dans les domaines de l'apprentissage en ligne, les nouveaux médias, la pédagogie et la philosophie.
Downes est peut-être mieux connu pour son bulletin quotidien, OLDaily, qui est distribué par Internet, courriel et RSS à des milliers d'abonnés à travers le monde. Il a publié de nombreux articles à la fois en ligne et sur papier incluant The Future of Online Learning (1998), Learning Objects (2000), Resource Profiles (2003), et E-Learning 2.0 (2005). Il est un conférencier populaire, apparaissant à des centaines de manifestations à travers le monde au cours des quinze dernières années.
I want and visualize and aspire toward a system of society and learning where each person is able to rise to his or her fullest potential without social or financial encumberance, where they may express themselves fully and without reservation through art, writing, athletics, invention, or even through their avocations or lifestyle.
Where they are able to form networks of meaningful and rewarding relationships with their peers, with people who share the same interests or hobbies, the same political or religious affiliations - or different interests or affiliations, as the case may be.
This to me is a society where knowledge and learning are public goods, freely created and shared, not hoarded or withheld in order to extract wealth or influence. This is what I aspire toward, this is what I work toward.