"We should pause and ask the question," says David Wiley, "is more open always better?" The answer, of course, is "it depends". We have other priorities in life as well. The question is this: what are these other priorities? And what overall purpose are we enlisting openness, among other things, to serve?
I don't know what the statistics on this would be overall, but it's worth noting that the impact on individuals can be significant. As the article says, for Black students like Josh, "in addition to learning algebra and coping with social awkwardness, they're often navigating an educational system that historically hasn't supported them.... (but) for Josh and kids like him, learning from home has given them a chance to thrive." Historically we've simply been blind to the shortcomings of in-person learning, but now, having focused on the shortcomings of remote learning, we're more focused on shortcomings in general.
This is an engaging and interesting article, well worth taking the time to read. The central focus is on the question of why teachers ignore the scientific evidence that is "regularly invoked in defense of one classroom practice or another." There are several reasons, but in the end they boil down to the idea that the research as conducted simply isn't relevant to their classroom experience. For example, a result that shows "x is better than nothing" isn't helpful to a teacher who considering a range of different options. Moreover, it is rare that a single best practice applies for all circumstances; context matters. Now I don't think all this is as easy to fix as the authors suggest; you can't just "start with with whatever trusted intervention is considered the current 'gold standard' for the desired outcome and used that as the control group." For most things, there is no 'gold standard'. So there needs to be, at a minimum, a back-and-forth with teachers to identify the context and intent. That's why a whole discipline called 'knowledge mobilization' emerged' a number of years ago. And to the extent that this doesn't happen, teachers will continue to ignore what is essentially uninformed research.
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What are the key themes associated with the positive learning experience in MOOCs? An empirical investigation of learners’ ratings and reviews
Ruiqi Deng, Pierre Benckendorff, International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education, 2021/03/02
This paper is really smart on a number of levels. It endorses a "students as co-creators" approach to course design, making their responses part of the design process. It uses a third-party site to collect reviews because several MOOC platforms don't support student feedback. It uses Leximancer, "a data-mining tool which extracts key concepts from collections of textual documents." It surveys a large number of varied responses - 8475 ratings and reviews submitted for 1794 MOOCs. It recognizes "there are underlying differences between MOOCs and credit-bearing university courses, and learning outcomes valued in traditional HEIs (e.g. achievement, persistence) may not be the best indicators to represent MOOC learning outcomes." And it produces a useful list of six propositions for promoting the learning experience in MOOCs, which I would summarize as follows::
Yesterday while reading Alan Levine's post I confused Open ETC Inspire with Open Education Challenge Series, then saw immediately after that 'How to Submit', and the pattern-matcher in my brain said 'contest'. It's not a contest, of course, it's an exercise where people recommend inspiring OpenETC sites, offering some words of explanation why. Atoning for my error, I read the post much more carefully, and this led me to the aforementioned Open Education Challenge Series, which (more accurately this time) is a set of ten challenges that take ten minutes or less to complete. It's intended for people new to OER, it started March 1, but hey, nobody says you have to follow the schedule. Via Alan Levine.
I really wish writers would avoid the use of military analogies when writing about learning and technology. There's no sense in which education has a 'front line', or a 'trench', or a 'battlefield'. I know it has been popular recently to talk about "front line workers", but they are more accurately "customer-facing" or "people-facing" workers, and their role is usually to serve and support, not to engage in battle. When I go to school or to work, I am not entering combat. More often than not I am seeking to work with people rather than against them. And even when we're working against each other, any escalation to the norms of warfare signify failure, rather than business as usual, let alone success.
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