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Graduation 2008

Activity 25: Reflecting on openness

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Edited by Amanda Harrington-Vail, Tuesday, 10 Jun 2014, 14:10

This is my first attempt at an animated video. I used GoAnimate and attempted to upload it to both YouTube and Vimeo but was unfortunately not successful on this occasion, however when a TMA is not pressing I will work on it again because it was a useful exercise.

The video is 30 seconds long and includes animation, voice and text, its focus is on OER remembering that it's not just the financial aspects which often dominate thoughts (amongst other areas) but the consideration that is needed in regards to genuine openness and accessibility for all learners.

However upon testing it the following day I realise (gggrrr!) that it neither loaded or saved - despite signing in and constantly clicking save. As is often the case with learning design tools it takes time, patience and several attempts to get to grips with them, therefore I'll revisit this activity later on.

Until I complete and add my video I've written a slide show, which is openly accessible and searchable:

 

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1khtruNeYBIZsemW7ze9xaHgwysP5xcivgt5LhNSePDA

 

 

 

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Graduation 2008

The 3 key issues in OER and how they are being addressed

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Edited by Amanda Harrington-Vail, Thursday, 24 Apr 2014, 14:30

OER topics

There is an “increased specialism in HE institutions” (Farrow, 2013) which I consider as both a pro and a con for OER. Exclusive modules may not appeal to many students so although they are open and available they might not be sought after as a learning source. However they might influence and inspire further investigation by appealing to tutors and/or researchers, in this way they can still motivate learning. A way to address this is to recognise that OER benefits from crowd learning (McAndrew, 2013) so although e.g. an OpenLearn topic is not being used by a student in the way the module was designed for, it can be utilized as a source of knowledge e.g. referencing an assignment, stimulating debate in social networks or forums and by encouraging new explorations. Therefore OER topics can be used in a variety of ways by students and researchers, either by completing the module or dipping in and out of significant aspects to develop individual depth and breadth of understanding in specific matters. Because OER is open it cannot necessarily predict the type of topics that will interest others, specialist topics are just as important as general topics.

 

Retaining students’ interest

Students are recognised as being busy and should “not be expected” to participate in optional activities, there needs to be “flexibility” and “goals” to motivate students to continue their learning (McAndrew, 2013). Some universities are “developing institution-wide accountability for the recruitment, admission, retention and success of students” (Sharples et al. 2013) although without training and support some staff could unwittingly alienate students further. Students in the OU who withdraw from their studies often opt to continue receiving e.g. tutors group emails and access to the module website. Where they or other students do not attend exams their result in tutors exam grading lists are shown as a fail even though they did not even take the exam. This reflects in tutors overall pass/fail rates; however I don’t know how it affects institutional funding. On the plus side these students may continue to access supportive group emails from their tutor and to read the module website materials, which can inspire them to continue studying either that module or another one at a future date. Therefore OU registered modules, like OpenLearn materials, might be considered as motivational ‘OER’ because “over 30%” (Weller, 2014) of OER’s are used in this way. OU students can use Assessment Banking to return to a previous module or defer within a certain time period to return to studies the following year or change modules.  “…Research commissioned at the Open University, suggest that the vast majority who withdraw (94 per cent) still aspire to earn credit for the course/award upon which they embarked” (Tresman, 2002). This, I acknowledge is now an old statistic so I wonder how the rise in student fees have contributed to this discussion i.e. perhaps students now have increased expectations. The issues may seem to have changed in maintaining students’ keenness in continuing their studies although I consider they remain as: financial; institutional reputation; international competitiveness regarding data on different countries learning statistics. The latter can presumably be counted as website hits.

 

Limited incentive

Students often prefer a certificate of achievement rather than a badge e.g. from a MOOC for participation, the former would likely be taken more seriously for instance on their CV. This can link to my above points on OER topics - perhaps they don’t appeal or because the student finds the module too time-consuming or material is over or beneath their current understanding on the subject. OER creators have limited incentive too because of the effort in producing the materials; they may not be paid for time and resources taken in this process. However, similarly to blogs OER resources are being recognised as published materials – without the necessary time and costs taken by publishing houses. Therefore OER’s for those who create them are ways to market their work, it can lead to employment or writing a book – as it did for Weller (2011). Institutions funding OER materials may be concerned about giving away tasters of their modules for free e.g. OpenLearn. As shown above OER’s are often studied prior to registering for the full module, which are an institutional incentive. Businesses could enrol employers on a MOOC as work-based learning which would be part of their CPD.

 

528 words

 

References

Farrow, R. (2013). Openness in Education: Technology, Pedagogy, Critique. Presentation on 10 June 2013 accessed from the OER Hub. [online]. Available at http://www.slideshare.net/robertfarrow/20130607-lcct-paper?from_search=1 (last accessed 27 March 2014).

McAndrew, P. (2013). Agile Research for Open Education Researchers. Presentation on 13 June 2013 accessed from the OER Hub. [online]. Available at http://www.slideshare.net/openpad/agile-research-for-open-education-reso (last accessed 27 March 2014).

Sharples, M., McAndrew, P., Weller, M., Ferguson, R., FitzGerald, E., Hirst, T. and Gaved, M. (2013) Innovating Pedagogy 2013: Open University Innovation Report No. 2, Milton Keynes, The Open University; also available online at http://www.open.ac.uk/personalpages/mike.sharples/Reports/Innovating_Pedagogy_report_2013.pdf (last accessed 27 March, 2014).

Tresman, S. (2002). Towards a Strategy for Improved Student Retention in Programmes of Open, Distance Education: A Case Study From the Open University UK. [online]. Available at http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/viewArticle/75/145 (last accessed 27 March 2014).

Weller, M. (2014) The Battle for Open. Webinar on 13 March 2014 at 16:00 accessed from the OER Hub. [online]. Available at http://www.slideshare.net/mweller/the-battle-for-open (last accessed 27 March 2014).

Weller, M. (2011). The Digital Scholar: How Technology is Transforming Scholarly Practice. Bloomsbury London/New York.

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Graduation 2008

Identifying priorities for research

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Edited by Amanda Harrington-Vail, Thursday, 24 Apr 2014, 14:31

Accessibility to learners with additional needs – this is complex due to the multi-authoring; however an ethos might be reached between the Big OER providers. This relates to our tutor group forum discussions about Prezi etc. It’s not good enough to be open thereby financially accessible; everyone should have equal right to the access of usability - funding research to look at assistive technologies adaptability to OER.

Picking up on what several of my tutor group have said about quality I’d like to propose a quality assurance scheme for OER’s, complicated to agree internationally admittedly. Based on similarity to the food hygiene star rating on restaurant/café doors in the UK (and possibly elsewhere but I have not seen any as yet). This would determine the quality of accessibility alongside reputation etc. of each open access provider to reach an “Open Source” standard (Weller, 2012 p. 2). Not only would MOOC participants have a badge but OER sites would too, on their home page (front door).

Developing mobile technology via apps that have clear functioning reputable tools, for instance I’ve had some technical difficulties with OUAnywhere crashing.

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Graduation 2008

New tools etc.

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Edited by Amanda Harrington-Vail, Thursday, 24 Apr 2014, 14:31

I was looking for another new tool to use for my Weller presentation and came across this pdf which may be useful for others in our MAODE studies, additionally it had this interesting quote about Prezi accessibility:

“While the movement of Prezi is definitely eye-catching, there has been some criticism of Prezis that move too quickly or dramatically, causing a negative visceral reaction—but by using and not abusing the zoom (a Prezi best practice) a presenter can introduce a sequence of ideas engagingly and effectively. Savvy Prezi users use the zoom function to show specific relationships of equality or subordination by “drilling down.”” (Bunzel, undated, p.6)

Bunzel (undated) 7 tools for Creating Visual Presentations [online]. Available at http://www.usb-ed.com/content/Downloadable%20documents/7-Tools-for-Creating-Visual-Presentations.pdf (last accessed 20 March 2014).

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Graduation 2008

I'm glad to discover a lot of JSB's work this week

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Edited by Amanda Harrington-Vail, Thursday, 24 Apr 2014, 14:32

John Seely Brown just tweeted this - it's a filmed conference called Innovation and Technology in Education. JSB is speaking and his part starts 9 minutes in:

http://www.c-span.org/video/?312978-1/us-education-strategy-digital-world

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Graduation 2008

OER - Seely Brown and Adler (2007) summarised

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Edited by Amanda Harrington-Vail, Thursday, 24 Apr 2014, 14:32

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1Es4hrXHRjGwI5umilYjmgyg892kw00CuPtzGQ_R_K8s/edit?usp=sharing

Please view my Google Slides presentation (click weblink above). I've already attempted to place this summary into Prezi but time was against me so I shared a somewhat clumsy presentation in my tutor group forum.

Later (when I've finished marking - or am taking a marking break) I intend to summarise the following article:

Weller (2012), The openness–creativity cycle in education.

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Graduation 2008

My experience with open resources

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Edited by Amanda Harrington-Vail, Thursday, 24 Apr 2014, 14:33

Although primarily with OpenLearn, since about 2007 - I've (thanks to the MAODE modules) found out about and used open resources from:

JISC

Jorum

FutureLearn

Cloudworks

Although I signed up to OldMOOCs this never really got off the ground for me due to other commitments, always a bit of a concern as regards MOOCs e.g. engaging with it in the first place and then continuing to do so. I've however overcome this with FutureLearn due to selecting especially thrilling topics.

I've also found lots of open resources through Pinterest.

Just remembered I love accessing TED talks on my phone - great for when cooking, washing up or commuting. Background learning to take your mind off the hum-drum wink

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Graduation 2008

Week 2, activity 5 OER and OpenLearn

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Edited by Amanda Harrington-Vail, Thursday, 24 Apr 2014, 14:37

OpenLearn is accessible both financially and for those with disabilities, so it is open and innovative. For those who are 'hard to reach' e.g. have not heard of it or are not computer-literate, it is less open. Additionally "open document formats may be seen as a barrier if it means downloading new software" (JISC, 2014). The more recent easy to use drop-down boxes are much easier for locating locate topics of interest than when I last looked at OpenLearn. Its quizzes and graphics are eye-catching too - I had to pull myself away!

The Open University discusses the historical context of OpenLearn and its achievements. "Established in 2006 it started as a two-year experiment to understand how we can operate in a more open manner and what benefits it brings for learners, educators and The Open University. Since then OpenLearn has become an integrated part of The Open University attracting more than 5 million unique visitors each year" (The Open University, 2014). However the university does not state the financial implications, whether they believe the benefits outweigh the cost and if it had been considered as a target for their budget-trimming.

Conventional universities provide OER too. "The most compelling argument for the release of OER is the marketing opportunities that it provides. The more you release the more people know about you" – Mary Stuart, Vice Chancellor, University of Lincoln (JISC, 2013). OpenLearn challenges conventional assumptions about paying for higher education modules by being available to anyone who can use a computer. Previously universities were places where mostly white middle class non-disabled men (and later on, women) would frequent. OER has broken down the barrier of low social economic status (Tekleselassie, 2010). Younger and mature students can study whilst juggling other commitments such as work and family.

 

References

JISC, (2013) http://www.jisc.ac.uk/publications/programmerelated/2013/Openeducationalresources.aspx

Tekleselassie, A. (2010). Demystifying Conventional Assumptions: Do African American parents anticipate investing less toward their children’s college costs than their white peers? Journal of Student Financial Aid, 40 (2), 5-20.

The Open University, (2014) http://www.open.ac.uk/about/open-educational-resources/oer-projects/openlearn

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