Statement of the Problem and Rationale of the Project
According to the Uganda National Household Survey 2016/17, among the major concerns of the communities in accessing health services at the public health facilities were; unavailability of medicines/supplies (23%), long waiting time (13%), long-distance (12%), limited range of services (14%) and understaffing (10%). Precisely, the challenges pertaining to the limited number of medical personnel. Yet the available staff is limited in knowledge, skills, and facilities. This does not only affect Uganda but the globe at large. In the current global context, health for all is another matter of urgency because with increased mobility through migrations, formal education, and trade, the risk of spread of diseases. It is on this basis that medical volunteerism is encouraged to cover the medical service gap in communities but also as a means of open education and inclusion through the transfer and exchange of medical knowledge, skills, innovative technologies across the globe.
This research project serves a double purpose of effecting networking as an academic task under H818 The Networked Practitioner and availing information that will be used to recruit medical volunteers to promote community health. The research targets former, current and prospective medical volunteers. The specific objectives of the research will be: 1. to establish the factors that determine volunteerism, 2. to find out the type of learning that is acquired during volunteerism, 3. to find out the types of learning disseminated during volunteerism, and 4. to identify the people who would be interested in volunteering in Uganda
Volunteerism as a Mode of Open Education and Inclusion
Based on the open education philosophy of removing barriers to education, knowledge generation and transmission, I argue that volunteerism is one of the modes of open education. This is because volunteerism reconciles theory acquired in class with practice gained in the field placement or practicum. It is important to observe that there is a lot of unlimited and indiscriminate types learning that take place in the process. This gives the gist of open education and inclusion through volunteerism as supported by the open education literature below.
- Sfard (1998) argues that the acquisition metaphor and participation metaphor are important in learning. Volunteerism offers a platform for the two metaphors to reinforce each other. In this way, through practical work (volunteerism), learners inclined to one metaphor get an opportunity to appreciate and learn from the other.
- Brown et al (1989) support learning experiences through internships, apprenticeship, and learning from Just Plain Forks (JPFs). They refer to these as authentic learning where the learners get the cognitive knowledge and practical experience and can apply the knowledge. Otherwise, there is a risk of acquiring knowledge that can not be applied. Here, volunteerism offers the platform for practical work.
- Silvertown et al (2015), in their article on Crowdsourcing the Identification of organisms also reveal that the community can teach a lot to the volunteers. This could be resourceful to those in research and continuing education.
In the same way, Cormier (2008) argues that in the rhizomatic model of learning, the community acts as the curriculum and rhizome responds to changing environmental conditions. Learning should never be static; it is a dynamic process teaching people to be productive in a changing society. Volunteerism can be a good strategy for evaluating pedagogical designs and learning analytics.
Ferguson and Macfadyen, et al (2015) argue that the key component of complex pedagogy includes stakeholders, communities, current practice context, technical components, and business model. The complex pedagogy reveals education is not a mandate of only teachers. As regards, knowledge generation, the teacher, the student, and the practitioners ought to participate. I see volunteerism as an inclusion to open education as it allows a network of practitioners/stakeholders in the academic industry to get feedback, identify and train the needed skills, to evaluate pedagogical designs, and learning processes.
Review of the Progress and Exploring Multi-Media Platforms
I read the course material on the homepage of H818 and the related literature identified in the reference list. I watched the video clips and searched for more information from YouTube. Through this, I realized the need to reactivate my social media accounts, invited friends, liked or followed organizations and groups to expand my networks on Facebook, LinkedIn, blog, Website for St. Joseph, Flicker, Skype, and Twitter. As observed by the OU staff who developed the H818 course, these exercises helped me to develop and plan my own networking practices and to refine my project beyond what I had envisaged in TMA01. I started interacting with classmates on the Tutor Group Forum. Here I read and benefited from the experiences, links, and instructions given the Tutors and classmates. I revisited the title of my work, learnt more about the research, inclusion and practice networking. I learnt how to use various multi-media technologies and got information on those that can be accessed for free. This part of networking has been very helpful not only in the H818 academic tasks but is resourceful to me as a practitioner, lecturer and scholar. I copied all the links on to my computer for continuous practice, learning and teaching even when my access to H818 website expires. Indeed H818 allows maximum inclusion because as a learner from the developing country, I have already shared the links with my colleagues and students who are also benefiting. The links on multimedia forum plus the consequent emails have helped me conceptualize my poster and project. I benefited a lot from the link posted about a blog about the multimedia presentation by Karen. https://elearningyork.wordpress.com/2016/11/14/creating-resources-visual-digital-presentation/
I explored and tried out many of the technologies because they were new to me. I was thrilled by the Visual digital presentation and felt more inclined to SlideShare, portfolios, infographics, making a digital poster and google fusion tables. I was inclined to these because a) they allow me to maximise presentation with texts, pictures, videos, voices, and personal presentation. b) they are accessible and free c) they are not complicated for developing countries, d) they can be easily disseminated to other media such as Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin, e) they allow inclusion in case for those who are visually challenged or have challenges with audios or voice and f) they can be worked on concurrently with other people. At this stage of exploration, I really benefited from the guidance of tutor and classmates. For instance, while trying out the PowerPoint with animation, the animation icon on my PC remained inactive, and I could not proceed. Here Simon sent me some link with similar questions and answers, and the answer indeed helped me.
Mapping the Project and Making the Poster Making a Poster in preparation for the conference was part of the TMA02, I started exploring the H818 OpenStudio. Having picked confidence with some technologies, I started illustratively conceptualizing the whole project i.e. at the conference and beyond the conference. Here I used a software called MindMaster. I found it easy to work with to map out my entire project as illustrated in image 2 below. Image 2. After mapping, I wanted to use a PowerPoint Presentation with animations to make a Poster. I, however, made 7 slides instead of one! The feedback given from the network from the OpenStudio helped me to condense the key content on one page. Work on one slide of PowerPoint using multi-media as required by the TMA02 became hectic and I resorted to Ms. Word. I was able to insert YouTube video links, audio, pictures, screenshots, and words. Then I formatted to make a beautiful poster. I am highly indebted to Karen for the critical details about what font to use i.e. either Times New Roman or Arial and to be consistent. They ought to be bold, capital and italised to be readable from the screens. I had not thought of this while designing, I was only caring about the attractiveness from my own perspective, not others.
The tasks of mapping, making the poster, as well as feedback, got from my classmates gave me the impetus to advance to the actual research process. The research will undergo the normal cycle of problem identification (already done), literature review (still in the process), data collection (started), data analysis and dissemination at the conference. Below are some of the progress of these stages. Sources of Data The sources of data are social media (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn), volunteer organization websites and literature about the key concepts of medical volunteerism, open education, and inclusion. Prior to data collection, I designed an online questionnaire which I shared with the Tutor for pre-testing. The feedback helped to make it understandable.
Through the multi-media platform, I asked about free software for data collection. In the responses, I got several alternatives including; google forms, quiz makers, JotForm, lime survey, and others. I opted for google forms and designed a questionnaire on the link https://forms.gle/xqwNNcLbZNrH2hmR9 I am now collecting data using Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. These have enabled me identity links/organizations for volunteers which I have sent a questionnaire and requested to either participate or share with the study target. This has expanded my network of medical practitioners because I have followed, liked and can now get information about their activities on my pages. Among these organizations are medical schools on the NHS ePortfolio on link https://www.nhseportfolios.org/Anon/PublicInfoPage.aspx?page=WhoUsesEPortfolio The details are presented in Image 3 below. Image 3: Source: https://www.nhseportfolios.org/Anon/PublicInfoPage.aspx?page=WhoUsesEPortfolio
According to the 2020 NHS Education for Scotland, the portfolios support a rapidly expanding number of health professionals’ achievement, reflection, and learning. It is on this basis, that I found it right to use their social media to post my questionnaire. Through Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, I searched and posted the questionnaire to the organizations below with the hope that they have my study population. ⁃ World Health Organization ⁃ UNAIDS ⁃ UN Volunteers ⁃ Giving way ⁃ Doctors without Boarders ⁃ International medical volunteering ⁃ International medical corps ⁃ Volunteer medical corps ⁃ Medical doctors ⁃ USAID ⁃ Irish Aid I also posted to the social media group networks, where I am a member. Including ⁃ Howzit Jinja https://www.facebook.com/groups/169025666579875/ ⁃ H800 2018 https://www.facebook.com/groups/936756316480922/ ⁃ OU MA.ODE incl H800, H809, H810, H817, H818 https://www.facebook.com/groups/363706683817437 Besides the questionnaire, I hope to collect data from websites of the volunteer organizations and make an analysis of their documents/reports. I will also review literature from the identified articles extracted from OU library.
These are listed on the bibliography below. They have been downloaded and saved in a folder on my laptop. Risks and Mitigation Measures At this stage of data collection, I foresee respondents being too busy to respond. For this, I have used a triangulation of technologies on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. I have requested contacts, networks, and organizations to share my questionnaire to the target group. I hope to get some respondents, though for now, it is still worrying. At the practical level, I foresee a challenge of conflicting values in terms of service delivery especially regarding issues of abortion, homosexuality, and euthanasia which are legalized in the North and are illegal in Uganda. Here I would give an online orientation program through a webinar. Such that whoever engages, come informed to operate within the legal framework of the host country. Having read some literature, I also foresee a challenge of volunteers not having the experience to treat/handle tropical diseases and conditions. Here I hope to network with Rubaga hospital which often gives orientation lessons to new volunteers and to re-affirm medical ethics.
Bibliography/Sources of Evidence 2020 NHS Education for Scotland https://www.nhseportfolios.org/Anon/PublicInfoPage.aspx?page=WhoUsesEPortfolio [Assessed on 6th January 2020].
Asgary R, et al. (2012) New trends of short-term humanitarian medical volunteerism: professional and ethical considerations. J Med Ethics 2013; 39:625–631. Available at https://jme-bmj-com.libezproxy.open.ac.uk/content/medethics/39/10/625.full.pdf (Accessed 6th January 2020).
Basaninyenzi, U. (2019) Social Inclusion. Available at Https://Www.Worldbank.Org/En/Topic/Social-Inclusion (Accessed 10th November 2019).
Bates, T. (2015), ‘What do we mean by open in education?’ [Online].https://www.tonybates.ca/2015/02/16/what-do-we-mean-by-open-in-education/ (Accessed 15th May 2019).
Blessinger, P. and Bliss, TJ. (2016) Introduction to Open Education: Towards A Human Rights Theory in Blessinger, P and Bliss, TJ Open Education: International Perspectives In Higher Education. Cambridge, Uk: Open Book Publishers. Pp 11-30. Available at Http://Dx.Doi.Org/10.11647/Obp.0103 (Accessed 10th November 2019).
Brown, JS. Collins, A. and Duguid, P. (1989) Situated Cognition and the Culture of Learning In Educational Researcher, Vol. 18, No. 1 (Jan. - Feb., 1989), pp. 32-42 American Educational Research Association Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1176008
Cámara De La Fuente, L. and Comas-Quinn, A. (2016) Situated Learning in Open Communities: The Ted Open Translation Project in Blessinger, P TJ Bliss, TJ Open Education: International Perspectives In Higher Education. Cambridge, Uk: Open Book Publishers. Pp 93 -114.Available at Http://Dx.Doi.Org/10.11647/Obp.0103 (Accessed 10th November 2019).
Chuang, C & Khatri, S et al. (2015) Medical and pharmacy student concerns about participating on international service-learning trips. BMC Medical Education 15:232 Available at https://bmcmededuc.biomedcentral.com/track/pdf/10.1186/s12909-015-0519-7 (Accessed 6th January 2020).
Cormier, D. (2008) "Rhizomatic Education: Community as Curriculum," Innovate: Journal of Online Education: Vol. 4: Iss. 5, Article 2. Available At: Http://Nsuworks.Nova.Edu/Innovate/Vol4/Iss5/2 (Accessed 10th November 2019).
DeCamp, M. (2011) Ethical Review of Global Short-Term Medical Volunteerism. HEC Forum (2011) 23:91–103 Available at https://link-springer-com.libezproxy.open.ac.uk/content/pdf/10.1007/s10730-011-9152-y.pdf (Accessed 6th January 2020).
Ferguson, R., & Buckingham, S. (2012) Social Learning Analytics: Five Approaches. In: 2nd International Conference on Learning Analytics & Knowledge, 29 Apr - 02 May 2012, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (forthcoming).
Flaherty, A. Alberta (2004) Where a Bar of Soap Can Make a Difference: Family Planning Volunteers in Uganda Express Their Needs. The Journal of Volunteer Administration, 2004, 22(1), pp. 27-33. Wellness, Edmonton, Canada Walter Kipp University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada Foundation for International Medical relief for children https://www.fimrc.org/uganda/volunteer (Accessed 6th January 2020).
Galukande, M. & Kituuka, 1 O. et al. (2016) Improving Surgical Access in Rural Africa through a Surgical Camp Model. Surgery Research and Practice Volume 2016, 6 pages. Available at http://downloads.hindawi.com/journals/srp/2016/9021945.pdf (Accessed 6th January 2020).
Gibson, H and Clarke, A (2018) Learning Analytics and Enhancement: A Discussion Paper. The Open University. Goozner, M (2016) Patient safety and the limits of volunteerism. Modern Healthcare; Chicago Vol. 46, Iss. 12, (Mar 21, 2016): 24. https://www.unv.org/sites/default/files/UNV%20Issue%20Brief%20-%20Basic%20Services%20and%20Volunteerism.pdf (Accessed 6th January 2020).
International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (2011)The value of volunteers Imagine how many needs would go unanswered without volunteershttps://www.ifrc.org/Global/Publications/volunteers/IFRC-Value-of-volunteers-report-EN.pdf (Accessed 6th January 2020).
Kristine J. Ajrouch, Toni C. Noah J. (2014) Volunteerism: Social Network Dynamics and Education In: Journals of Gerontology: Social Sciences Vol. 71, No. 2, 309–319.
Liqiang Nie Xuemeng Song Tat-Seng Chua (2016) Learning from Multiple Social Networks: In Synthesis Lectures on Information Concepts, Retrieval, and Services. Available at https://ieeexplore-ieee-org.libezproxy.open.ac.uk/xpl/ebooks/bookPdfWithBanner.jsp?fileName=7464096.pdf&bkn=7464095&pdfType=book (Accessed 6th January 2020).
María Celeste Dávila (2018) The Relationship between Social Networks and Volunteerism among Seniors, Journal of Social Service Research, 44:1, 38-49. Available at https://www-tandfonline-com.libezproxy.open.ac.uk/doi/pdf/10.1080/01488376.2017.1395382?needAccess=true& (Accessed 6th January 2020).
McCabe & Tamara L. et al (2007) The Importance of Volunteering Functions to University Students. Australian Journal of Volunteering 12(2):pp. 50-58. Available at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/27471019_The_importance_of_volunteering_functions_to_university_students (Accessed 6th January 2020).
Miller, A, Simpson, B, (2011). Understanding the Role Of Volunteerism In Creating Social Inclusion. Available at Http://Swcrc.Ca/Wp-Content/Uploads/2013/09/Understanding-The-Role-Of-Volunteerism-In-Creating-Social-Inclusion-Final-Report-For-Swcrc-September-2011.Pdf (Accessed 6th January 2020).
Paola Zappa, P and Zavarrone, E (2010) Social interaction and volunteer satisfaction: an exploratory study in primary healthcare/ Published online: 19 March 2010. Available at https://link-springer-com.libezproxy.open.ac.uk/content/pdf/10.1007/s12232-010-0095-4.pdf
Persico, D., Pozzi, F., Anastopoulou, S., Conole, G., Craft, B., Dimitriadis, Y., Hernández-Leo, D., Kali, Y., Mor, Y., Pérez-Sanagustín, M. and Walmsley, H. (2013) ‘Learning design Rashomon I: supporting the design of one lesson through different approaches’, Research in Learning Technology Supplement, vol. 21 [Online]. Available at http://oro.open.ac.uk/38312/1/RashomonI.pdf (Accessed 5 June 2018). Republic of Uganda (2017/18) The Annual Health Sector Performance Report. Ministry of Health. Kampala. Available at Http://Health.Go.Ug/Sites/Default/Files/Moh%20ahspr%202017_18%20fy.Pdf (Accessed 10th November 2019).
Richards, C. Larson, M. Farr, J. and Sarah Ferrell, S. (2015) Fostering Inclusive Volunteering and Service Learning. National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability For Youth. Available at http://Www.Ncwd-Youth.Info/Wp-Content/Uploads/2016/09/Fostering-Inclusive-Volunteering-And-Service-Learning.Pdf (Accessed 10th November 2019).
Sfard, A. (1998) ‘On two metaphors for learning and the dangers of choosing just one’, Educational Researcher, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 4–13 [Online]. Available at https://learn2.open.ac.uk/pluginfile.php/2247862/mod_resource/content/1/H800_Week3b_OnTwoMetaphorsforLearning_Sfard.pdf (Accessed 23 August 2018).
Silvertown, J. Harvey, and M. et al (2015) Crowdsourcing the Identification of organisms: A case-study of iSpot ZooKeys 480: 125–146. [Online]. Available at https://zookeys.pensoft.net/article/4633/list/1/ (Accessed 5 September 2018).
Social Inclusion and Volunteerism: Considerations For Post-2015 Development Agenda January 2014 Unv Issue Brief. Available at https://Sustainabledevelopment.Un.Org/Content/Documents/119520443_Un%20volunteers%20post-2015%20brief%20-%20social%20inclusion%20and%20volunteerism%20web.Pdf (Accessed 10th November 2019).
Stukas, A. A., Snyder, M., & Clary, E. G. (2016). Understanding and encouraging volunteerism and community involvement. The Journal of Social Psychology, 156, 243-255. Stukas, A., Snyder, M., & Clary, E. G. (2014). Volunteerism and community involvement: Antecedents, experiences, and consequences for the person and the situation.
In D. A. Schroeder & W. Graziano (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of prosocial behavior. New York: Oxford University Press.
Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS), 2018. Uganda National Household Survey 2016/2017. Kampala, Uganda; UBOS Posted onn https://www.ubos.org/wp-content/uploads/publications/03_20182016_UNHS_FINAL_REPORT.pdf Accessed on 6th January 2020 Valuing Volunteering (2015) Institute of development Studies https://www.vsointernational.org/sites/default/files/the_role_of_volunteering_in_sustainable_development_2015_vso_ids.pdf (Accessed 6th January 2020). Volunteering in Uganda https://www.volunteeringinuganda.org/volunteering-opportunities/healthcare-program/(Accessed 6th January 2020) Volunteerism and Development United Nations Development Programme, No. 12 October 2003 http://www.civicengagement.org/agingsociety/links/volunteerismanddevelopment.pdf (Accessed 6th January 2020).
Volunteerism: The Influences of Social, Religious, and Human Capital In: Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 2014, Vol. 43(2) 227–253. Available at https://journals-sagepub-com.libezproxy.open.ac.uk/doi/pdf/10.1177/0899764012458542 (Accessed 6th January 2020).
Yamile Molina, Y. Marnyce S. & Barbour, L et al (2016) Health Volunteerism and Improved Cancer Health for Latina and African American Women and Their Social Networks: Potential Mechanisms 33:59–66 Available at https://link-springer-com.libezproxy.open.ac.uk/content/pdf/10.1007/s13187-016-1061-y.pdf (Accessed 6th January 2020).
The article I chose to review is that of Chris Jones, Mirea Asensio & Peter Goodyear (2000) Networked learning in higher education: practitioners’ perspectives, ALT-J, 8:2, 18-28. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/0968776000080203?needAccess=true Accessed on September 7th, 2019. As a lecturer still using a traditional face-to-face approach of education and wishing to gradually initiate technology enhanced learning, I have found the article so interesting in several ways. Before the content, I liked the phenomenographical research approach that seeks to understand people's ways of experiencing the world. Thus, through interviews, the paper is based on the data that expresses networked practitioner’s experiences with the practice. I realise that the paper previews the unit learning objective one which says, “be familiar with the design of the module and the project choices required of you”. The paper thus tackles issues of course design, inclusiveness, innovation and implementation. These inform the pedagogical approaches within, such as constructive learning, collaborative learning as well as the tensions that accrue from strict structured and loose structured modes of assessment. These tensions have an implication on the learning design as well as learning outcomes. It was revealed that very structured modes of assessment with strict deadlines impended the creativity that would come with more time, if the learners had it. Thus, highlighting the challenges of the course implementation. The other methodological design that impressed me to capture the above is the cross-sectional approach whereby interviewees were selected from 5 universities across 8 study programs including IT, law, education, library, information studies, and management. This depicts the inclusiveness of the research, approach and data.
Among the findings, what interested me was that networked practices are not a single invent occasion. In the due course, practitioners confessed that at first, they got challenges of working with an online environment, and so are the learners. This at times led to disappointments as many learners dropped off. It was revealed that at times, practitioners worked offline and loaded online later, thus compromising the learning outcomes and course designs. However, with time of application, the practitioners revealed that they got comfortable with the networked practice. For a practitioner who dealt with post-graduate courses, he confessed having it easy, an implication that conceptualization of learning objectives as well as motivation of learners can ease networked practices at higher learning.
In this article, am obliged to critique the article of Veletsianos & Kimmons (2012) on Assumptions and Challenges of Open Scholarship. Based on Open Educational Practices (OEP), Resources Open Educational Resources (OER) and Open Access (OA), the authors claim that researchers, educators, policymakers, and other education stakeholders hope and anticipate that openness and open scholarship will generate positive outcomes for education and scholarship. Veletsianos and Kimmons parade some assumptions which I need to critique based on the context of Uganda my country.
The assumptions identified suggest that open scholarship:
- is rooted in an ethical pursuit of democratization, human rights, equality, and justice. The literature on the advantages of OER and OA in International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity (2016, p.11), World Bank Group (2017), Hoosen, & Butcher, (2019) and Fengchun Miao, Sanjaya Mishra and Rory McGreal (2016) affirm that open scholarship is aimed at the promotion of sustainable goal No. 4 which is aimed at promoting education for all. Here it goes beyond claims for human rights as stated to provision of basic human needs. Based on the multiplier impact of education in the realization of other basic needs and elimination of other societal problems, I totally agree with the authors. However, in practice, open scholarship does not entirely meet its purpose especially when it comes to developing countries because it takes a generic approach and does address specific problems that deal with basic human needs in given contexts. Taking the assumptions of the pursuit of democracy and equality and justice is proselytization of academics not actually open scholarship for it would emphasize basic needs, not generic claims.
- highlights the importance of digital participation. I do agree with this assumption because open scholarship has indeed promoted digital participation. It has to some extent leveled the world where partially, a few keen individuals in the academic fraternity have benefited from digital participation. However, as Veletsianos and Kimmons affirm, many scholars are benefiting from Web. 2.0 interactive technologies through open discussions, professional networks, promoting their visibility. This semester, I have also integrated Web 2.0. in my teaching approach. This is because I noticed that though we are predominantly traditional in our approaches of teaching, I would see many students swiping their smartphones during a face-to-face class. Nearly all the class of 60 students is connected to WhatsApp, Facebook, and YouTube. For that matter, I chose to give some assignments where they could use OERs and they appear comfortable with it. However, this is possible because they are in an urban setting where they can access power and internet easily. For those in the rural areas, given challenges of accessibility, connectivity and socio-economic challenges, a limited percentage of the scholars in the south can participate in the digital platforms.
- is treated as co-evolutionary with technological advances. I totally agree with this assumption because open scholarship has indeed brought a new twist in education demand in terms of skills needed, approach, and educational technologies. Right now, education without digital skills is obsolete. The development of the time requires digital skills in medicine, agriculture, transport, communication and education itself. Open scholarship together with the technological advances has led to the collapse of ivory tower syndrome of powerful universities. As Veletsianos and Kimmons, observe, now OERs and MOOCs are becoming trendy and popular for they empower learners with in-demand skills and make them more functional. In an evaluation study of OERs (de los Arcos & Farrow et al 2014, p.5) report an increase of many informal learners. This is an implication that open scholarship together with technological advances have brought about education evolution and has de-institutionalized education.
- is considered as an approach capable of achieving socially valuable scholarly aims. Based on the objective of education aimed at enabling the cognitive, affective and physical development of learners in order to make them responsible and productive citizens, I differ from this last assumption. This is because open scholarship loses that aspect of face-to-face value where the teacher and the learners interact and share from mentorship. It is possible with open education that at the end of the course, the learner’s other aspect beyond cognitive aspects may not develop appropriately to achieve the “socially valuable scholarly aims” as claimed. Besides the too many networks and contacts, many bring confusion when scholars fail to manage information as Veletsianos and Kimmons observe. At the end of the course, or interaction in open scholarship, it is possible that the scholar communities may not be stably built and strengthened.
Based on the realities, challenges, and opportunities in open scholarship discussed above, just like Veletsianos and Kimmons I too concur that open scholarship is not a magic bullet to solve international educational challenges in the world. It may not be generalized to achieve education for all as wished by the sustainable development goals. Besides, it seems the concepts of OER or OEPs are hijacked by the consumerist group of the world. This could be the reason why Veletsianos and Kimmons observe that entrepreneurs, industrialists, and marketeers now work with universities to propose researches/innovations, give internships in various educational technologies such as software are innovated and sold at a faster rate than they are learned or used. In countries like Uganda, before we learn of a software or an innovation, the newer version has come up. Eventually what is being understood as open scholarship, to us in developing countries is academic Proselytization; a campaign to buy and adapt numerous versions of academic innovations. And since academics require concentration, the rapid drive to acquire, learn and use/consume educational technologies has compromised the purpose of education as problem-solving. Thus, what is termed as open scholarship starts and ends up as a means and never as a service of education.
Quoting (SoLar, 2011), Heather Gibson and Alan Clarke (2018) define learning analytics as the measurement, collection, analysis, and reporting of data about learners and their contexts, for purposes of understanding and optimizing learning and the environments in which it occurs. They observe that Ferguson (2018) emphasizes that it is important that the data generated by learning analytics is acted upon, so the definition can be amended as follows: "The measurement, collection, analysis, reporting, and use of data about learners and their contexts, for purposes of understanding and enhancing learning and the environments in which it occurs". Based on this, in the table attached, is an assessment of the learning analytics that applies for H817 block 3 on Learning Design Studio.
Precisely, learning design is theoretical while analytics are practical and deals with a) data, b) technology, and c) pedagogy. Learning analytics, therefore, reflects the achievement of the learning design and thus informs points and process of designing and redesigning. The two broad categories of analytic presented by Lockyer et al. (2013), are checkpoint and process analytics. Having read the article, I realise that process analytic are student-oriented and deals with teachers assessing how students are understanding the pedagogical and technical contexts in which data is generated. Teacher bases on tasks given to evaluate student understanding. On the other hand, Checkpoint analytic is teacher-oriented, whereby the teacher evaluates the learning design if it is giving the planned learning outcome.
As a lecturer, I find these classifications more useful than the previous ones because these are very contextual in academia. The former to me seemed more business-like and was dwelling more on data than the factors underlying the data.
According to Dyckhoff et al (2013), learning analytics is understood as the development and exploration of methods and tools for visual analysis and pattern recognition in educational data to permit institutions, teachers, and students to iteratively reflect on learning processes and, thus, call for the optimization of learning designs on the on hand and aid the improvement of learning on the other. Based on the definition in comparison with the Teachers questions asked on Table 1 and the learning analytic goals in Table 4, I observe the following;
- Learning analytics have been narrowed to data generation and the learning technologies without considering the issues behind the data. Among these are: motivations, inspiration and challenges.
- Learning analytics have also been narrowed to students’ performance and the underlying dynamics without considering the teachers’ role in the performance. What if the teachers’ competences are wanting so, contribute to declines in student performance?
- Pedagogical assessments are lacking, there is a need to put them into consideration when making learning analytics
- I would add contextual analysis as a classifier, because society is dynamic and varied, this the risk for those who make learning analysis to limit learning analytics and its findings to their situation.
In conclusion, the definition above is inclusive but much of the effort in learning analytics has been narrowed to learners and technological data. There is a need, therefore, to expand learning analytics to designs, pedagogies, teacher’s competencies, and context.
- It is aimed at contextualising knowledge through teaching putting into consideration cultural preservation, revitalization, and nation-building. In this case, higher education could align content and help build local communities.
- Learners and teachers will need support in funds to purchase commercial video games, field data collection to get narratives, and digital storytelling.
- Available data will be google analytics i.e. geo (language and location reports), reports on technology and mobile devices’, digital tour websites, cultural studies websites, google books and google scholars.
- It is a lifelong learning approach aimed at finding solutions through deep thinking, collaborative learning and developing skills.
- Learners and teachers will need support in employers creating time off work, mobile learning devices, and the internet.
- The available data will be google analytics reports on demographics, user flows, benchmarking, visualization websites
Learning through wonder sparking
- It aims at promoting constructive learning through exposure to wonders and creative interactive exhibits.
- Learners and teachers will need the support of financial facilitation to meet transport, accommodation and tours costs. They also need mobile data collection devices, internet, time.
- The available date will be google maps, google earth, google analytic reports on geo (language and location), technology, and mobile devices.
Type of report/Justification
About demographics and interests. By analyzing information, the learner can use information in the research methodology course. It can be used to state the problem, justify the study, collect data and data analysis of both quantitative and qualitative approaches.
Demographic and interest, mobile devises, behavior and technology. These can help in learning designs by informing on pedagogical approaches, technological choices, and motivation.
Benchmarking, demographics, and geo language and location. These can help in making the strategic plan of the institution and its implementation.
Audience analytics, cohort, geo language and location, all these help in making market surveys and thus manufacture or supply the commodities on demand
With reference to the above table, I would make any negative judgment on the analytics regarding education. However, I feel the analytics lack the reasons underneath the quantities presented. It, therefore, presents a partial picture that cannot lead to conclusions.I have not been keen on how my workplace uses analytics on other issues except on academic rankings and see how our university is ranked in comparison to those in the world and in Africa.
From the article Ferguson (2012), learning analytics: drivers, development and challenges, I have come up with the following key issues that would contextualize the article in Ugandan realities.
⁃ Learning analytics is a huge data driven measurement approach aimed at promoting efficient and effective management of learning and educational processes. It is done by the academic institutions to measure, demonstrate and improve performance.
⁃ Learning analytics is an implementation of social technology to addresses pedagogical issues to using technology so that education becomes functional to address societal issues in the formulation of informed policies. In other words, learning analytics addresses anthropological/sociological behind the production and impact of technology in education.
⁃ However, while the above is the idea of learning analytics, it is unfortunate that learning analytics have turned out to aim at promoting consumerism drive through new technologies. It turns out that now the consumerists turn educational technologies into business whereby at times, the industry informs the curriculum through financing research and innovations which will compel the education sector to buy from them.
⁃ Precisely learning analytics is a double sharpened sword whose impact depends on the usage and motive. However, I would promote the use of learning analytics for it systematizes the educational process and can enable academic quality assurance and promotion.
The learning analytics in the literature have in this task been highlighted to solve challenges of learning with regards to resource/service utilization, level of risks and outcome. Learning analytics in the case have been predictive. Information on this is used to improve enrollment, fundraising, feedback, predicting, counseling, and establishment of facilities. However, there are issues as regards issues of privacy, ethics and patronage, institutional rules and generalisations or taking a holistic view.
Based on the above, in relation to the recommendations we gave in activity three, I find Hazel Church’s caution on taking longitudinal learning analytics such that policies are not based on narrow perspectives resulting from short term analytics very important. I would warn again generalising analytics if the data is to be used for policy formulation. This is because naturally institutional and people’s realities are varied and caused by varied reasons. It is this important to think of how to manage diversity [calling for qualitative approaches which analytics do not seem to capture].
Big data is a term used to describe a collection of data that is huge in size and yet growing over time such that traditional management tools cannot store it. Among this is facebook, twitter, dropbox, amazon and google. The data is categorized into structured, semi-structured and unstructured. The results from the google search on https://www.guru99.com/what-is-big-data.html give the benefits of using big data such as Improved customer service, better operational efficiency, Better Decision Making. I add that to me, big data is used for research, feedback, personal development, skills acquisition, entertainment, and online teaching and learning, benchmarking, window shopping, making comparisons and giving users exposure.
Nearly all professionals and occupations benefit from the use of big data because it avails enough information. In a way, big data helps academics, medics, engineers, architects, agriculturalists BUT most specifically businesspeople. I can argue that big data is an engine that promotes consumerism. No wonder most of the searches give customer interests, products and services, sometimes created out of wanting not need through behavioral manipulation using adverts.
Besides creating unnecessary demands as driven by big data, I see the negative impacts being environmental degradations and toxicities which may cause challenges of sustainability of the future generations. To me in academia, big data limits mental creativity because most learners and scholars run to google, copy and paste even before thinking. In a way, a lot of innovations will be hampered especially in developing countries because the West has already set the pace. It gives challenges of competitiveness and failure to scale up for local products. Here local knowledge is at stake and we risk keeping in neocolonialism and mental slavery.
I was impressed with the title of the activity 17, student co-creation and its corresponding article of DeRosa (2016), My open textbook: pedagogy and practice. In the first place, I should confess that engaging students to write a textbook in my country is still a dream because of lack of facilities, funds and time on both the teacher and learners. For the learners, this would also depend on which level, if post-graduate, it may be plausible. However, with my experience in H800 and H817, I would happily use the approach because it opens the mental windows of the learners to broadly see I wide perspective of the course. This emanates from the varied individual contributions, researches, and literature they are exposed to in the process of making the textbook.
I trust the course objectives and learning outcomes can be understood better and thus more acceptability and responsiveness to the course. This is because it is contexualised in students environment and interests. The feeling I have is that I got when we got involved in a hand-on in weeks14-19 when making a learning design studio. Through collaborative and social learning, I felt a more appreciation of the course and since then, I try more learning technologies and literature with confidence because of the product we achieved at the end. Besides being pedagogically sound but promoting digital transformation and empowering students through academic, relational and networking skills, the approach also allows mentoring of new scholars this academic reproduction in practice. Although this seems well structured, I still see some elements of Rhizomatic 15 approach where learns eventually learn about the course, each other and about each other; which is referred to as open learning. Thus open textbook results into open learning as more and more students participate and construct.
On the other hand, as noted by the author, in H817, this approach would be so derailing for it would take away the freedom of working at an individual pace; which is also an element of open and online learning. This project seems more practical to on-campus or face-to-face learners.
In the tasks of activity 14, am comparing MOOCs, specifically, I have chosen Rhizomatic 15 with an offering from Future learn. In Future learn, I choose an ongoing MOOC course titled Learning Online: Reflecting and sharing, run by the university of Leeds ( https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/reflecting-and-sharing). The course is designed to help learners at school or college to make the transition to studying at university or workplace. On the other hand, Dave, the blogger argues that rhizomatic learning is one story for how we can think about learning and teaching in the complex world (http://davecormier.com/edblog/2015/04/10/a-practical-guide-to-rhizo15/). These two have similarities in technology, pedagogy, and general approach and philosophy. However, they also have remarkable differences as will be presented in the article.
The similarities in technology are that both Rhizomatic
15 and FutureLearn use interactive technologies of web 2.0 including Facebook,
Twitter and blogs. However, Neil Moris the Tutor on future learn goes ahead to
illustrate the several tools they will use and why as reflected here. “Online tools for sharing I use a mix of tools:
* Microsoft Office - especially teams - for work
* Twitter to engage in politics
* Facebook to engage with friends and interests
* Instagram for pictures
* I will usually play around with new tools as they came onto the market just so I am familiar with them, eg Snapchat, Gab, Pinterest, etc”
On the other hand, Dave the blogger in the Rhizomatic 15, does not stress which technology and why, for he thinks [feels] learning is a very messy place and the story of the rhizome is one he found super useful in explaining things he has seen happen in learning spaces. He doesn’t justify but uses videos and sketchbooks; perhaps to get sense out of a mess.
For pedagogical comparison between rhizomatic 15 and FutureLearn, I find the later more systematic. Perhaps because the course is also systematic with clear objectives, learning outcomes and course content. The pedagogy used is thus watching videos, joining discussions, reading articles and completing exercises. In assessment, there are short tests and quizzes. For the former, rhizomatic 15 does not have a clear system of pedagogy. Dave refers to this as learning in the new school which involves a lot of interactions with teacher and learners. It uses a lot of collaborative learning, social learning, constructive learning and a lot of networking. Dave refers to this as the community as curriculum and open learning because the teacher learns the learners, learners learn each other and about each other and this turns out to be open learning.
For the general approach and philosophy, I observe that both rhizomatic and FutureLearn use connectivism theory and empower learners through promoting networking by use of collaborative and social learning approaches with the use of interactive technologies and the internet. However, FutureLearn is more teacher-oriented while Rhizomatic 15 is more student-oriented.
Having watched the video clip where Martin Weller (2012) interviews George Siemens and Dave Cormier about the range of issues concerning MOOCs as well as the additional articles about Activity 12, I got a mixed feeling about whether the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) would be ideal as an educational approach in Uganda. Based on the challenges of education in all sections and levels in Uganda, which include lack of school fees, lack of structures, long distances to school, lack of library facilities, lack of staff and technological facilities, MOOCs would come in handily to avail opportunities to those that cannot afford conventional education either online or face-to-face. This is because they are often free, user-friendly, and allow learners to choose appropriate time and content.
However, literature mainly from America and Europe indicate that MOOCs face challenges which compromise academic quality. This is mainly regarding academic rules and regulations, content, assessment, course designs design and pedagogical approaches. George Siemens argues that MOOCs would not address the academic rigor that is required for academic quality. He urges specific countries to finance the education sector to enable the ideal standards of higher education which is characterized by research/innovations, teaching and community service. Otherwise, through MOOCs, academia has turned out to be like other industries like Music and business. The Top Ed-Tech trends of 2014 pessimistically present MOOCs as a failure that cannot promote learning but disruption that promotes profit, union-busting, and outsourcing.
About Uganda, despite the above challenges, I would still recommend MOOCs as an educational approach because I consider the above challenges as room for improvement which if run in Uganda, such problems can be foreseen and avoided. While the challenges have been identified in America and Europe as presented in the literature, to Uganda as a developing country still drawn in challenges of lack, MOOCs are still ideal. It is better to have MOOCs for they cover the educational gap and besides, education is not just about content, it is socialization that creates social, cultural and economic capitals. Besides, most learners that enroll in MOOCs often have prior qualifications and MOOCs serve as professional development to update knowledge and skills. I once enrolled for a MOOC run by Authoraid on Research methodology and writing skills. Due to hassles of life and workload, I too dropped out, I did not do the exam nor got a badge. However, I learn a lot, about new research software for data collection, analysis and referencing. Some of these were free and I downloaded them, practiced and since then, my research teaching research methods improved. I also learnt about the possibilities of learning online, using various educational technologies. Before the MOOC, this was a huge monster to confront. Being international, learners benchmark skills, develop professional networks that can improve practice and national service and development.
In conclusion, despite the challenges of MOOCs that have been identified in the West, we in developing countries need them and they can continue to supplement conventional education. Besides, they also act as a transitional journey to online education. As I observed, I dropped out of a MOOC, but this was a foundation for my interest in the online course, besides the numerous education technologies I learned and still us.
This task with its varied activities including; individual exercises, group activities, online meetings, designing a website, Tutor forum has given a real experience of online education. The task has introduced me to several technologies, it has built my confidence and empowered me to start through hands-on activities. It has been challenging because it was my first time with such activities and technologies. For your information, I can now confess that I often messed with our website and struggled to correct. Whenever it happened, it was a sweet but tensing learning opportunity. You needed to know the satisfaction I got after doing right without calling Ed our Team Leader. I will certainly dedicate more time to practice new technologies. Thanks to you all, my Blue Team, you have not left me the same. I will keep referring to the fruits of our work. https://sites.google.com/view/h817bluegroup
I will base on the OER Evidence Report 2013-2014, (de los Arcos, Perryman and Weller 2014) to discuss three contentious issues about the cross-cutting themes of performance, openness, access, retention, finance, reflection, support, transition, policy, and assessment; all in the area of OER. This report concurs with Fengchun Miao, Sanjaya Mishra and Rory McGreal (2016), who maintain that OER movement has grown and there has been a significant increase in the development, use, and sharing of OER as more and more governments and institutions come to realize their value in enhancing access to educational opportunities, informal and formal. In the OER Evidence Report 2013-2014, there are three critical issues which are: quality assurance and regulations, credentialism of informal learners and OER environment. Details of which are discussed below.
Credentialism arises due to the increasing number of informal learners who follow open learn course as a way of connecting to formal education. This made the production of OER a recruitment strategy for education institutions. Although some respondents were considering joining the formal study, I observe with concern that (83.2%, n=2197) indicated that they are less likely to take formal study than to carry on using OER. I am concerned whether the learners of OER would get the benefit of the credentials that allow them to join credible universities for further studies and recognition. However, in the report, some informal leaners hope for the possibility of accreditation which seems to be motivating to OER users. I am however concerned if accreditation will be valid for learners in developing countries; especially when opting for opportunities that require international standards.
Quality assurance and regulations was another key issue. The report indicated that participation in OER pilots and programs led to policy change at an institutional level. However, there is no evidence of quality assurance procedures undertaken. I am afraid the complacency may open the OER collections to substandard materials which are not pedagogically tested and qualified. Education being a sensitive service that ought to be regulated, otherwise, the risk of miseducation is very possible and detrimental. For instance, the report reveals that policy and regulations top-down initiatives to drive OER adoption, yet examples of bottom-up policy adoption are rarer. It also reports that OER practice is often not formalized as policy as reported by the librarians when asked about their awareness of policy/practices that had taken place since the adaptation of OER in their institutions. However, in some cases, there have been formal adoption of OER policy.
OER environment was a critical issue. To me, the OER environment is a functional stakeholder’s network comprised of the educationalist, the designers, industry and public service, and government ministries of education and finance that can enable the sustainable use of OER. The collaboration indicated in the report is partial and that of only practitioners which albeit may hamper the adaptation and sustainability of the OER resources. As regards developing countries, the entire OER environment paramount because without political will and policy guidelines, OER practices may not be sustainable.
de los Arcos, B., Farrow, R., Perryman, L.-A., Pitt, R. & Weller, M. (2014). OER Evidence Report 2013-2014. OER Research Hub. Available from http://OERresearchhub.org/about-2/reports/
According to Kolesnikova (2010), the spread of Internet-based information sources and communication technologies requires educators to rethink their methods and goals in order to maximize the potential of the new opportunities. This is imperative of Uganda as well because of the challenges faced when providing higher education in tertiary and universities. Among these are lack of academic structures, poor infrastructure, lack of books, failure to pay tuition fees as well as social issues related to the family. Providentially, the widespread internet distribution by MTN, Airtel, Africell, Smile, UTL telecommunication companies, communication technologies and mobile devices in Uganda would be used to avail opportunities for higher education for those that qualify using open education (OE). Open education is recommended because study materials and study progress can be easily accessed, assessed, regulated, monitored and facilitated using digital platforms. Moreover, it can be assumed that all the targeted learners own a smartphone or more. Study devices will this not be a challenge.
Taking advantage of Open Educational Resources (OER) and, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) which the academic institutions in developed countries have freely availed to promote all education for all would be an enhancement to Uganda’s higher education. However, the success of Open education lays on a strong political will which will influence the structural, cultural and agential factors that can enable the adaptation of open education through policy. It is on this basis that this report is addressed to the Uganda National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), which was established to implement the University and Other Tertiary Act of Parliament (2001) as the regulator of higher education. The NCHE is in position to advocate, implement and monitor the establishment of open education in Uganda.
The Transformative Role of Higher Education in National Development
Uganda’s vision is “A Transformed Ugandan Society from a Peasant to a Modern and Prosperous Country within 30 years”. In the country’s vision, core projects have been identified for example a hi-tech city, large irrigation schemes, mining industries, airports, oil and gas, and nuclear power among others. These projects require high skilled human capital, yet the results of the 2014 census showed that it is inadequately skilled labour force (Uganda Bureau of Statistics 2017).
According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) (2017), indicate the number of students enrolled in Uganda ‘s tertiary education level, as a percentage of the population of official school age (for the tertiary level) was only four percent. Overall only 11% of the population aged 22-25years had completed tertiary and university education. Moreover, youths (persons 18 – 30 Years) constituted 23% of the total population. Moreover, in the same report, it was observed that those who attained higher education had higher levels of income and opportunities to create jobs. This implies that in order develop, the government of Uganda must invest in higher education.
Commendable efforts have been made in this regard, though have yielded minimal results due to overwhelming challenges and minimal resources invested. In his paper about the challenges facing Universities in Uganda, Ssengendo (2012) enumerates a litany of challenges affecting both public and private universities. These include: lack of funding, shortage of academic staff, demotivated staff, the poor quality of students who lack adequate writing, speaking and social skills, failure to manage human diversity, competition, brain-drain, unprofessional conduct on the part of some staff, sexual harassment, selling and purchasing of marks, examination malpractices, marking the scripts. Poor facilities, lack of adequate lecture rooms, library space, and related academic structures like offices and furniture. These are in addition to high levels of poverty where many students fail to raise tuition fees as well as meeting their basic needs to keep them at university. All these impede universities to give quality education, research, innovation and community services. Given the significance of higher education to national development, it is timely for Uganda to adapt open education for its higher education section because it can mitigate most of the challenges above.
Understanding and Justifying Open Education
According to Opensource.com (2019), open education is a philosophy about the way people should produce, share, and build on knowledge. Proponents of open education believe everyone in the world should have access to high-quality educational experiences and resources and they work to eliminate barriers to this goal. Such barriers might include high monetary costs, outdated or obsolete materials, and legal mechanisms that prevent collaboration among scholars and educators. Precisely, open education implies of education for all, open access to programs, open access to courses, open course material, open research and open data. This affirms what Nyaberg (2010) illustrates as being open to a) educational resources, b) learner’s needs, c) learning services, d) teaching efforts and e) employability capabilities development. Open education is effected through OERs and MOOCs.
For Van Damme (2017) Open educational resources are digital learning resources offered online (although sometimes in print) freely and openly to teachers, educators, students, and independent learners in order to be used, shared, combined, adapted, and expanded in teaching, learning and research. They include learning content, software tools to develop, use and distribute, and implementation resources such as open licenses. The learning content is educational material of a wide variety, from full courses to smaller units such as diagrams or test questions. It may include text, images, audio, video, simulations, games, portals and the like. These are used by OER initiatives given by Coursera, BCcampus, Futurelearn and openlearn.
Open education is made possible through an evolution of educational technologies such as projectors, desktop computers, radio, television. The virtual learning environment VLE online tutor forums. Right now, we have mobile learning devices such as cameras, smartphones, laptops and tablets. Through research, open education has adapted more interactive technologies which combine some technologies and can allow groups to work spontaneously from different spaces at their convenience. Among these are padlet, thinglink, Web.2.0 facebook, Whatsapp, twitter, blogs.
Not different from the traditional face-to-face system, open educations pedagogy is informed and informs learning approaches of cooperative learning, constructive learning, individual learning, collaborative learning. All these are informed through learning theories of cognitive, connectivism, behaviour and social constructivism theories. It is for this reason that open education operates in a cycle, especially at the level of OER. Hodgkinson-Williams, & Arinto (2017) show that OER is a component of open education cycle which is comprised of:
1. Conceptualisation phase (planning what OER and which pedagogical strategies are most suitable for which context)
2. A Creation phase ( development of original material for self use)
3. Use phase (use or “locate” modified),
4. Adoption phase (being customised, revised or modified or both. Remixed with more than one set of OER)
From the above image, we can affirm that open education does not in any way compromise academic quality. It is critically designed and regulated through creative commons licenses. On the introduction of OER in Uganda, it would be ideal to use of the creative commons license called Attribute-ShareAlike 2.0. Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0). Under this license, one can share (copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format. The OER in this arrangement can also be adapted (remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially. The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms if one follows the license terms of attribution and share-alike. I recommend this CC license because, through attribution, it ensures the required academic quality by preventing the temptation to plagiarise. It also allows commercial use whereby based on the intensified need for OER, through the UNCHE, private practitioners can be engaged and regulated in reproducing and distributing to remote areas at a subsidized fee. This would promote innovations and job creation to the remote areas where otherwise nobody would be motivated thus excluding the rural areas from participation in open education. Besides it is a tendency of Ugandans to value and sustain something they have spent money on, than not. Furthermore, based on the study in Portugal’s public universities, it was found that academic staff want to be acknowledged when they have produced OERs (Cardoso, Morgado, Teixeira, 2019). The acknowledgment in Uganda is also a basis for academic promotion, the chosen licence would motivate staff and build scholarship but also promote academic mobility.
Benefits of Open Education
Open education if adapted in Uganda would enable many potential candidates that qualify for tertiary or university education to get a quality education. Similar challenges in Uganda were prevalent in New York City where 54% of the students in the City University of New York (CUNY) qualified for financial aid because were from the minority and poor groups. However, with the adaptation of OER pedagogical approaches by introducing Zero Textbook Costs (ZTC) courses, many students were able to save money and spend on other costs to keep them in school. The student confessed to accessing OER on their mobile devices and improving in their academic performances. The adaptation of OER through ZTC, enabled the university to save $9.5m and impacted 76000 students in the first year of the project. Moreover, they were targeting 260000 students in the second year of the project (Brandle, Katz, Hays, et al 2019). This success story of Open Education Practices (OEP) would be benchmarked to Uganda and would solve many problems and enable more students to get higher education.
Kolesnikov (2010) urges that open education is good for people who seek to; upgrade the level of their professional and general education, to acquire an education of the needed level by enrolling in any educational institution of the open type, as well as maintain one’s ability to compete in the labor market. Faced with the challenges of universities in Uganda, adoption of Open education would be helpful in various courses. This is because open education integrates formal education, informal education, continuous education, professional education apprenticeship and edutainment. Society being dynamic, open education provides room for continuous learning to update knowledge, skills.
It also allows one to get exposed to international affairs and approaches. It also avails room for self-study, especially in languages. Often times, Ugandans have been limited due to lack of knowledge of another foreign language except English. This denies them opportunities to work the United Nations or in other countries which are not anglophone. With open education, enthusiastic students may learn other foreign languages like French, Spanish, Chinese through self-study. This has been successful in a South University of Thailand, where students use Tell-Me-More (TMM) a language learning technology to teach themselves English. Although the study indicate that the students needed a lot of self-discipline to learn and master the language, to the extent that some did not achieve their goals, several were proud they succeeded (Gyamfi, Sukseemuang, Tantiwich, and Kaewkong, 2019). Through self, study, the students will add value to themselves out of their own initiative. This implies that if adapted, Ugandan human resource would be open to working in another country, thus promote labour mobility, increase on the possibility for foreign income exchange and well as benchmarking technologies that can improve on the country’s development. Open education is not limited to students alone, it is equally beneficial to staff especially academic staff.
For academic staff, OE allows access to global networks which are good to benchmark and share modern pedagogical, research and publication skills. Open education leads to the emergence of new kinds of professional and pedagogical activity and new specialties. It is on this basis that Van Damme (2015) urges that OER support innovative pedagogies through changing the role of learners from passive consumers to active producers, fostering peer-to-peer learning, stimulating problem-based learning, enriching learning resources through collaborative practice and enhancing the social and emotional context of learning.
Policy Factors enabling the creation, use, adaptability of open education
Orr, Rimini and Van Damme (2015) argue that policy support is necessary for OER to reach their full potential as a social innovation. To this aim, policymakers should focus on the OER funding, OER use, the regulations for their production and providing a central repository for openly licensed OER. In Uganda, despite the significant of OER in solving challenges of higher education, without the political will, it is unlikely that OE can be sufficiently adopted. In the same way, Hodgkinson-Williams, and Arinto (2017) also present factors influencing OER as are 1) structural factors, 2) cultural factors and agential factors as illustrated in image below:
From the above image, we can affirm that although open education appears to solve many problems in the traditional system, it is important to note that it is not a magic bullet. It will only be functional until some factors are in place to enable availability, use, and sharing of OER. Among these are: Infrastructure (ICT, Internet connectivity, electricity), financial resources human resource, ongoing research, educational technology networks, educational technologies logistics, publicity, the right attitude, good governance, ethical behavior, functional stakeholders’ networks e.g. ministry of education, education institutions, industry, and NGOs, Public service and employers. The UNCHE, therefore, must devise strategies to ensure publicize the advantages of open education, its justification as an alternative paradigm as well as making a proper design for its adaption, implementation and monitoring. As an innovation in the education sector, it is important to benchmark open education practices from other countries in order to minimize the risks or mitigate them.
Risks of Open Education
Based on the context of Russia, Kolesnikova (2010), observes that despite the benefits of open education, having open access to the international educational space also increases the degree of professional and personality risks. The fact that open education automatically implies internationality, Uganda needs to take caution on these risks for it is not immune. The other danger Uganda would have it that there is a possibility of taking on old models which developed countries dropped due to several challenges. This would be the first risk that Uganda should watch out. Other risks as presented which Uganda would also suffer are: Information overload, temptations for various kinds of cultural expansion, loss of loss of focus (globalization versus localization debate) and culture shock from the encounter with educational practices on a fundamentally different level
There is also uncritical borrowing of educational models without consideration of existing traditions and possible consequences that can lead to the destruction of one’s own cultural identity.
The syndrome of project network “dependency,” a habit of constantly taking part in all kinds of international educational demonstrations and events as an end. It has been observed that in some universities, the staff does not give physical presence for they are more on travel than in class. This is fatigue but also compromise academic quality though, in reality, these movements make the university profile ranking higher. It may be beneficial to the university but not allow learners to benefit from the availability of their lecturer.
There is a risk, on the nature of information shared. Since time immemorial, all communities have had secluded information that can be accessed through socially acceptable ways such as initiation, ordination, circumcision, and graduation. However, in OER, such information is not clearly protected and perhaps might lead to abuse or misuse.
The other risk is a failure to ensure quality whereby teachers are not trained in open education practices, which may lead to challenges of methodological confusion. This will be made worse by unfortunate realities of most lecturers not being sure of their tenure. The majority are part-time or on contract, therefore, this uncertainty makes most of them pre-occupied by thinking about means of survival. It is unlikely that such the academic staff will do the needful to develop, use, or remix OER. This was already found by Hodgkinson-Williams, & Arinto (2017) who carried out empirical research and found out that adoption and use of OER in the global south is already lacking as presented in the image below.
With the above observation in the image, it is possible to open education will not be contextualised, to solve local problems and may not thus contribute to national development. The UNCHE ought to influence the availability of funding, human resource acquisition, and other basic infrastructure if open education is to be adapted and to be functional.
Conclusion and the way forward
In a recap, it is important to acknowledge that open education is the way to go for Uganda’s high education. In Uganda, open education is timely because the country has potentials for its use, yet it is facing many challenges in the traditional face-to-face system that impede the provision of quality higher education. Moreover, other sectors which are also important in development such as roads, agriculture, construction, security, health, all demand money on the national budget. It is based on this that the UNCHE should advocate for open education because as the case was in City University in New York ZTC courses, even in Uganda, some reasonable amount of money will initially be invested in the project but in the short time, a lot of saving will be realized and more learners will benefit. In this, there will be minimizing costs and maximizing academic services and output. We need to acknowledge that based on the significance of education in the formation of human capital and workforce, education needs to be given priority in funding because this investment will give a direct impact to other sectors. As observed early in literature, open education can only be implemented successfully through political will. Despite a few risks, I can affirm that the benefits outweigh the risks. Moreover, the risks would perhaps be avoided if the UNCHE learned from the literature and the OEP of other countries that adapted OE before introducing it to Uganda.
Bates, T. (2015), ‘What do we mean by open in education?’ [Online].https://www.tonybates.ca/2015/02/16/what-do-we-mean-by-open-in-education/ (Accessed 15th May 2019).
BCcampus, https://open.bccampus.ca/ (Accessed 15th May 2019)
Brandle, S., Katz, S., Hays, et al (2019) ‘But What Do The Students Think: Results of the CUNY Cross-Campus Zero-Textbook Cost Student Survey’. Open Praxis, vol. 11 issue 1, January–March 2019, pp. 85–101[Online]. https://openpraxis.org/index.php/OpenPraxis/article/download/956/525 (Accessed 15th May 2019).
Cardoso, P. Morgado, L, Teixeira, A., (2019) ‘Open Practices in Public Higher Education in Portugal: Faculty Perspectives’. Open Praxis, vol. 11 issue 1, January–March 2019, pp. 55–70[Online]. https://openpraxis.org/index.php/OpenPraxis/article/download/956/525 (Accessed 15th May 2019).
Coursera https://www.coursera.org/ (Accessed 15th May 2019).
Future learn https://www.futurelearn.com/ (Accessed 15th May 2019).
Gyamfi, G., Sukseemuang, P., Tantiwich, K., Kaewkong, P., (2019) ‘Self-Study with the Educational Technology Tell Me More: What EFL Learners do’ . Open Praxis, vol. 11 issue 1, January–March 2019, pp. 103–116 [Online]. https://openpraxis.org/index.php/OpenPraxis/article/download/956/525 (Accessed 15th May 2019).
Hodgkinson-Williams, C. & Arinto, P. B. (2017) Adoption and impact of OER in the Global South. Cape Town & Ottawa: African Minds, International Development Research Centre & Research on Open Educational Resources.
Kolesnikova, A. (2010) ‘The Prospects, Challenges, and Risks of Open Education’, Russian Education & Society, 52:6, 3-20.
Nyaberg, D. (2010) The Philosophy of Open Education. New York: Routledge.
Open University of UK. https://www.open.edu/openlearn/free-courses (Accessed 15th May 2019)
Orr, D., Rimini, M. and Van Damme, D. (2015) Open Educational Resources: A Catalyst for Innovation, Educational Research and Innovation, OECD Publishing, Paris.
Ronald, M., (2016) ‘Open Education and the Hidden Tariﬀ. In: OEGlobal 2016: Convergence through Collaboration’, 12-14 of Apr, Krakow, Poland.
Ssengendo, A., (2012) Challenges Facing Universities in Uganda in UVCF BULLETIN VOLUME 1 [P.17- 39] https://uvcf.ac.ug/images/UVCF1.pdf (Accessed 15th May 2019).Uganda Bureau of Statistics (2017) The National Population and Housing Census 2014 – Education in the Thematic Report Series, Kampala, Uganda. [Online]. https://www.ubos.org/wp-content/uploads/publications/03_2018Education_Monograph_Report_Final_08-12-2017.pdf
In the slidecast, Weller (2011), indicates the future of education as an open public good and services that require minimal tech skills, familiarity, and confidence, networks as well as a store of images. The store of images brings us the OERs both big and little and the need to evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of each. For big OER the advantage is that they are hard to begin for instance in the MIT (Wiley 2007) but the advantage is that they are easy to scale up and disseminate for wider usage and reuse. The technological transformation too favours them and thus the platform can be upgraded with each time technology advances. This is made easy with high compromise as Weller (2011) observes. In this during usages, the costs can be minimized through maximum use. On the other hand, however, with big OER resources, they have a selective audience which may impede freelance users and posters as the case is with informal learners. This makes OERs exclusive and limited from the informal practitioners.
On the other hand, little OERs approaches like the case was with the RICE model (Wiley 2007), it may appear cheap, user-friendly more open in participation for it has limited restrictions. However, they are already challenged with issues of quality assurance for they are free from restraining checks on attendance, postage, and usage. In other words, freedom with small OERs is not being free. Besides, due to lack of compromise, collaborations in upgrading the platforms, technology and reproducing to scale up is hard. In a recap, little OER may appear friendly but they have diminishing audience and lifespan, as the trend in open education and technological sustainability lay in minimizing costs and maximizing output.
On the introduction of OER in Uganda, I would recommend to use of the creative commons licence called Attribute-ShareAlike 2.0. Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0). Under this licence, one can share (copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format. The OER in this arrangement can also be adapted (remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially. The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms if one follows the licence terms of attribution and share-alike. I recommend this CC licence because, through attribution, it ensures the required academic quality by preventing the temptation to plagiarise. It also allows commercial use whereby based on the intensified need for OER, private practitioners can be engaged and regulated in reproducing and distributing to remote areas at a subsidized fee. This would promote innovations and job creation to the remote areas where otherwise nobody would be motivated thus excluding the rural areas from participation in open education. Besides it is a tendency of Ugandans to value and sustain something they have spent money on, than not. Furthermore, based on the study in Portugal’s public universities, it was found that academic staff want to be acknowledged when they have produced OERs (Cardoso, Morgado, Teixeira, 2019). The acknowledgement in Uganda is also a basis for academic promotion, the chosen licence would motivate staff and build scholarship but also promote academic mobility.
Furthermore, open education as literary perceived remains more of a myth than a reality. It is on this note that Bates (2015) observes that
“Although in themselves OER and MOOCs are important developments, they tend to cloud other developments in open education that are likely have even more impact on education as a whole. It is, therefore, necessary to step back a little to get a broader understanding of open education. This will help us better understand the significance of these and other developments in open education, and their likely impact on teaching and learning now and in the future.”
It is one the above note that practitioners in open education and the relevant stakeholder such as ministries of education, donors, and teachers streamlined the open education system weight the cost-benefit analysis and other impacts. This perhaps can come up with more design strategies to make it effective and efficient.
Tait (2008), Open universities: the next phase, concurs with the fact above that in a dynamic and different society all the time, the concept and practices of open education become elusive within time. He thus calls for ongoing research and benchmarks to update the system in order to address challenges, meet current opportunities in the world as it changes. Giving an example of OU starting in 1969, 50 years services gives a vast but also complicated lessons to the open education approach and practices. These certainly require revisiting the aspects of the original design in terms of vision and mission, innovations in learning and teaching, innovation in technologies for learning, innovations for educational logistics and significant scale.
In the two articles, I can argue that the concept and practices of open education are open-ended in themselves for they are dependant on how society is changing and developing. Based on this, there is no need to hurry to announce open education as the sole solution to the limitations of education for all. This is because it is a versatile experience and practice that may perhaps be more expensive than we think especially in developing countries with minimal infrastructural development in terms of electricity, internet, and educational technologies. In developed countries, the reality is still challenging in terms of the rate of production which rather at times seem too rapid to allow concentration; which is very basic in education and learning.
1. Tracing the Need of eLearning Innovations in Karamoja
According to the UNDP (2015), education provides knowledge, skills, values, attitudes, and behaviors that are inputs for human development. The government of Uganda thus established Universal Primary and Secondary Education to enable education for all. However, in the Karamoja, chances towards this goal are minimal due to the nomadic culture of regular movement in search of pasture and cattle grabbing using guns which cause insecurity. This impeded service delivery, making it the poorest region in the country (Brown, Kelly and Mabugu 2017). However, with the disarmament programme, the guns were withdrawn, but boys are withdrawn from schools to rear cows while girls as early as 12 years are forced to marry in order to get cows from bride price. Moreover, without education, it is unlikely that the situation will change at the current rate of enrolment of 33.7% primary and 10% secondary. The government primary school accessibility in 5km is 4.7% while for secondary school is 74.9%. This calls for innovations that promote education. This paper will evaluate the Alternative Basic Education for Karamoja (ABEK) Programme with the aim of streamlining it through eLearning innovations to make it functional.
2. Conceptualizing Innovation in eLearning
In the diffusion of innovation, Flichy (2007) gives an understanding of innovation as the use of technology to minimize input and maximize in performing a task. Innovation in education is understood as the use of technology to generate, process, document and disseminate knowledge. This brings us to the broad term educational technology which according to Mangal (2009) include teaching, instructional, behavioral, and instructional design technology. I would add “humanware” to emphasize usages and rules attached.
Mangal (2009) further presents the characteristics of teaching which justify the use of innovation in teaching as presented in the image below.
Based on the image above, it is important to note that now, teaching need to be innovative at design and pedagogical level in order to meet the learning and teaching objectives.
3.0. Evaluating ABEK Through eLearning Innovations
Based on the nomadic realities of Karamoja, in 1998, the ministry of education introduced ABEK as informal open and mobile education to bridge learners to the formal system. This was to counteract the rejection of formal education which would keep the children away from household chores and cattle rearing. As an open education, ABEK removed unnecessary restrictions to learning, including timing, adherence to English language, methods and school uniforms. This was the beginning of innovation in education to allow the Karimojong start formal education. However, the programme failed to deliver and was ignored. Based on the knowledge, skills and literature acquired in H817, this paper hypothetically gives advice to the Ministry of Education in Uganda on how ABEK can be open, innovative and beneficial to fulfil the mission of education. Below are three examples of innovative technologies to promote education in Karamoja.
3.1. Digital Study Hall
Digital Study Hall (DSH) is a Facilitated Video Instruction for primary school education in low resource settings. Anderson (2012) observes that low quality primary schools are substantial obstacles to improving livelihoods of people in developing countries. The specific intervention is Facilitated Video Instruction, where lessons of experienced teachers are shown in rural schools by local teachers. The teachers are instructed to alternate between playing the video and conducting activities with students. The goal is for students to benefit from the expert video materials and personal interaction with a teacher. In the DSH, the content is not limited to cognitive education, it also includes community-based education in areas of primary health care, human rights, gender relations, microfinance and well as social relations.
The DSH is still existing moreover working in almost similar situations like ABEK in Uganda where the learning centres were officially ‘mobile’, with the facilitators following the kraal and, if necessary, willing to stay at the kraal. During the ABEK, many children were enrolled, and later joined the formal system (Krätli 2009). ABEK was also open to community members and was used as a platform for community mobilization, acquisition of skills in literacy and numeracy, agriculture, peace and conflict resolution and well as ecological systems. However, in the Strategic Review of 2009, Krätli does not indicate there whether there was some effort to use innovations by use of advanced technologies like facilitated videos instructions. The ABEK just continued with traditional means of open education and did not do any benchmarking.
DSH approach is ideal in Karamoja because it favours remote areas which are isolated, marginalized with low means of service delivery. Here the Karamoja teachers and community can benefit from knowledge from advanced teachers in urban and well facilitated schools. The communities too can benefit from strategies or success stories from other communities. For instance, a documentary about Yacouba Sawadogu a man who stopped the dessert can help in solving a problem of semi-desert conditions, famine and joblessness that the Karimojong suffer.
3.2. Use of Open Educational Resources for Karamoja
According to Damme (2017) Open educational resources (OER) are digital learning resources offered online (although sometimes in print) freely and openly to teachers, educators, students, and independent learners in order to be used, shared, combined, adapted, and expanded in teaching, learning and research. They include learning content, software tools to develop, use and distribute, and implementation resources such as open licenses. The learning content is educational material of a wide variety, from full courses to smaller units such as diagrams or test questions. It may include text, images, audio, video, simulations, games, portals and the like.
EDUCAUSE (2019) presents a resource website of related to open educational resources (OER) in higher education. The Website with OER resources includes: The Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources, OpenStax, Free online course materials, MIT Open courseware, The Open course library, OER common, Open education resource foundation, WikiEducator, The World Digital Library and Future Learn.
Damme (2017) ungues that there are many benefits for educators and learners which can arise from creating, sharing and utilising OERs in student education. Besides being cost effective in terms of time and costs, among others are enabling student experience through accessing media-rich materials, promoting digital literacy and promoting visibility of profiles of those that create the OERs. OERs also promote the academic profile of the institutions that provide them and improve their academic ranking. On the side of learners, OER help in changing the role of learners from passive consumers to active producers, fostering peer-to-peer learning, stimulating problem-based learning, enriching learning resources through collaborative practice and Enhancing the social and emotional context of learning. This innovation is ideal for Karamoja because it solves challenges that appear in traditions education system of; lack of library space, library materials, transportation, and time limitation.
3.3. Social Media
According to Faizi and Abdellatif El Afia et al (2013) and (Brown and Adler 2008), social media are categories of interactive technologies which includes a) social network sites like Facebook, Ning, MySpace and Twitter that serve as online communities via which users connect with friends or colleagues and share ideas and resources, b) content sharing and organizing sites like Delicious, Digg, Flickr, YouTube, Dailymotion and RSS readers and c) content creation and editing websites such as Blogger, Google Docs, Wikipedia and WordPress. However, the features and functions of a social media network can overlap, making a tool appropriate for more than one category. In week 4, group C I learnt new technologies of padlets and Thinglink which allow to use several social media concurrently, thus taking care of diversity of choice on a single task. This would be good for education theory by putting into consideration the behaviorism, cognitivism, constructionism and connectivism theories to guide the practice of teaching and learning.
In practice, social media are collaborative platforms, communication channels, tools of engagement, links learners to employers, builds a profile, evaluate character and causes social responsibility through consciousness. Social media too favors the Karimojong character of being mobile, this can be used on mobile devices like phones, laptops, and tablets. In addition, like all parts of Uganda, Karamoja has a pyramid population structure with the majority under the age of 30 and are referred to as the “.com generation”. Thus, they would adopt social media technologies with enthusiasm which is very good for learning.
Based on the above, propose the three innovations of the DSH, Social media and OER in eLearning will empower Karimojong and keep them abreast with international affairs, which is good for learning. This exposure will break the cluster of disadvantages of poverty, illiteracy, vulnerability, and powerlessness. However, this is a learning experience calls for Gibbs’ reflective cycle of evaluating ABEK (Dye (2011, p. 230). The policymakers and implementors of ABEK should benchmark from DSH, OER, and Social media innovations to redesign the approach if it is to be successful.
Arboleda, A.M, Introducing Open Educational Resources Https://Www.Futurelearn.Com/Courses/Blended-Learning-Getting-Started/0/Steps/7860 (Accessed on 24th March 2019).
Brown. V, Kelly, M, and Mabugu, T. (2017) The Education System in Karamoja. HEART High-Quality Technical Assistance for Results): Oxford.
Damme, D.V, (2017) Open Educational Resources: A Catalyst For Innovation In Education Https://Www.Open-Science-Conference.Eu/Wp-Content/Uploads/2016/02/Vandamme_Open-Educational-Resources-A-Catalyst-For-Innovation-In-Education-Berlin-Open-Science-Conference-22-March-2017.Pdf (Accessed On 24th/3/2019)
Dye, V. (2011) ‘Reflection, Reflection, Reflection. I’m thinking all the time, why do I need a theory or model of reflection?’, in McGregor, D. and Cartwright, L. (ed.) Developing Reflective Practice: A guide for beginning teachers. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill Education (pp. 217-234).
Faizi, R, Abdellatif El Afia etal (2013) Exploring the Potential Benefits of Using Social Media In Education Ijep ‒ Volume 3, Issue 4, October 2013.
Flichy, P, (2007) Understanding Technological Innovation: A Socio-technical Approach, Northampton, Edward Elger Publishing limited.
Krätli, S. (2009) Alternative Basic Education for Karamoja Strategic Review Final report to Save the Children in Uganda, Kampala.
Mangal, S. K. (2009) Essentials of Educational Technology, New Delhi, HPI Learning Private Limited.
McAndrew, Patrick and Farrow, Robert (2013) Open education research: from the practical to the theoretical. In: McGreal, Rory; Kinuthia, Wanjira and Marshall, Stewart eds. Open Educational Resources: Innovation, Research and Practice. Vancouver, Canada: Commonwealth of Learning and Athabasca University, pp. 65–78.
Uganda Bureau of Statistics (2017) Uganda National Household Survey 2016/17, Kampala.
Reading the two literature of Week 4 & 5 assignments, i.e. 1) Price and Kirkwood (2011) Enhancing professional learning and teaching through technology: a synthesis of evidence-based practice among teachers in higher education and 2) The NMC Horizon Report: 2016 Higher Education Edition; I felt the above title is the most deserving. The two articles reveal that learning and learning methods are dynamic and different all the time. This has resulted in new trends, innovations, dynamics of education technologies all of which enrich teaching and learning approaches, experiences, and processes. Interestingly, the invention of new technology does not automatically erase the old one. They either co-exist or complement one another because the shift is transitional. In other words, educational technologies have developed through incrementalism and reflective approach. Care in the process is very necessary as Price and Kirkwood (2011) observe, that using technology in education can be a costly business, both in relation to the financial investment for infrastructure and equipment and in personal investment that staff and students make in using the technology in learning and teaching. It is on this basis that I appreciate the evidence generated research to inform about practices, technologies, and theories.
Reading through Price and Kirkwood (2011), I observe that technological advancement in learning and teaching is so dynamic. They mention technologies like virtual learning environment (VLE), podcast, digital video, YouTube, Facebook, blogging, e-portfolios, and wikis. The literature quoted in the text range between the year 2000 – 2010. While these technologies have persisted, some have been modified to a better version, while others have been condensed and used concurrently. In the task of week 4, my group C members introduced me to newer technologies and innovations that minimize costs and maximize output in the teaching and learning process. Among them are padlet, Thinglink, prowise, kahoot and others. I thus appreciate that the term and practice “blending” methods have remained a significant concept amidst new technological innovations.
The NMC Horizon Report: 2016 Higher Education Edition reveals how education technologies have this evolved. They group them into consumer technologies, internet technologies, social media technologies, enabling technologies, digital strategies, learning technologies and visualization technologies. We learn that all the above component now operates like parts of the body, living organism if I am to borrow the old theory of social functional theory of Bronislaw Malinowski. They form a structure, function, order, interdependence and evolutionary change. This imagery confirms what the NMC Horizon Report: 2016 Higher Education Edition observe that educational technologies are critical aspects and implications for leadership, policy, and practice. They honestly accept that the process certainly presents challenges at three different levels; these being: solvable, difficult and wicked challenges. Moreover, all these still have implications for policy, leadership, and practice.
The above is more critical for developing countries because, at the current rate, we learners and teachers will need to skip some stages in order to catch-up. Taking Uganda as an example, since we are predominantly using traditional methods of face-to-face, the appropriate transition would be using educational technology for teaching aids, like use of computers, computer software for teaching, database, research and data analysis e.g., PowerPoint presentation, statistical package for social sciences, Atlas Ti, Endnote and encyclopedia. However, before most teachers and learners learn these skills, we are now into high education technologies like online learning, mobile learning, Web 2.0. Moreover, as I read literature on the MOEDE programme, I learn that even the developed countries seem to see education and learning technologies as moving too fast; at times perhaps concentrating on the technologies than the objectives of learning. To developing countries, this is a serious challenge to the leadership, policy, and practice to devise strategies or regulations to ensure the means (educational technologies) do not override the end of learning and teaching. Yet at the same time to keep a pace that elevates the learning and teaching practices to international standards as they ought to be.
Based on the above, as a response to Activity 13 of significant new technologies, I would like to observe that my organization has a school of computer sciences that is working on several innovations through research to coordinate the transition to eLearning and educational technologies in the university. However, I notice that there is no proper coordination among faculties, and this compromise the appreciation of eLearning and educational technologies in teaching and learning. Yet rapid educational, economic and social transformation through educational technologies compel some of us to individually adopt curiosity-based learning through informal learning or workshops and short courses. It is on this basis that I use the technologies below. I cannot account for the university practices because, in my faculty, educational technologies are not officially and commonly used at the moment.
How long used for educational purposes
by my organisation
Since February 3rd 2018
Games and gamification
In my department of Development Studies, I would propose the adoption of social media, flipped classroom and online learning. While each has special reasons, I will later give in the table below, the general reason is that these technologies are available, affordable and user-friendly in a way that they can enable transition from purely traditional methods of face-to-face to online learning through blending approaches.
- 70% of the Ugandan population is below 30 years. These are the learners and they are very dynamic and responsive to interactive technologies (Web. 2.0) As a platform for learning and teaching, most learners will be interested in it and thus in the learning content and process.
- It builds team work skills, and can this can easily be assessed through the (content) postings and number of postings
- It is used for coordination, mobilization, networking and entertainment. In this, the teacher can full fill all the objectives of education of teaching cognitive skills, physical skills and affective skills. It is easy to mentor because the teacher can assess more issues than would be in traditional approaches.
- It can be good platform to teach large classes like we have in the department. In the year 2012/2013, I once had a class of 230 students at once, then 170 students in the evening. With social media I could have at least seen what every student write, which I could not at all with the usual face-to-face approach. I felt inefficient as a teacher, if I had used social media, I would have been different.
- It allows mobile learning. This flexibility can allow learners to upgrade to higher degrees, get new skills and develop their professional’s expertise regardless of time and space.
- Flipped classroom would be good because they are the best in the transition from traditional approaches to online learning. This is because the teacher is physically present and part of the process at one time. This presence is helpful in mentoring as well.
- The method is good for learning group dynamics and personal skills.
- The learners showcase their own skills and knowledge, there is an aspect of collaborative and cooperative learning which is good for professional development and character formation
- With Online Discussion Forums, a teacher can achieve her objectives though posting assignments and making assessment of student progress. Online tutor forums can enable a teacher to assess the individual, collaborative, participatory and cooperative learning aspects of the students.
- Online Discussion Forums can enable the university to overcome the “ivory tower syndrome” whereby the university can run open course MOOC to allow lifelong education and also formal and informal short courses.
- The Online Discussion Forums help students overcome challenges of time and space and thus can get an opportunity to study and work or engage in other businesses if they so wish.
- Online Discussion Forums are good because they can also be used as base to pilot other educational technologies on VLE and Web 2.0.
- Uganda has been predominantly face-to-face, it would be unrealistic to leave students on their own and expect them to learn. It is another justification to start with Online Discussion Forums to regulate the learning process during the transition from face-to-face to purely online and distance education.
In this way, Siemens (2005) in the theory of connectivism argues that nurturing and maintaining connections is needed to facilitate continual learning. And the ability to see connections between fields, ideas, and concepts is a core skill. In the digital era learning, it appears everyone and everything learns and is taught simultaneously thus a need for full time connectiveness to allow this inclusiveness. I have a feeling, the rules of the theory of connectivism at times surpasses or challenges the traditional norms of education and learning. Among these are matters of copyright, tuition fee and student identity. The flow in and out of the networks and phases which are not definite cannot allow extreme structures. It is based on this reality that the OU module of H817 of Innovations and Openness in eLearning comes in handy. It is handy because it keeps the supremacy of the curriculum but also glorify technology and connectivity in learning.
These 3 theories took me back to 1994-98 when I was being trained to be a social worker. However, then I did not seem to appreciate them as of now, that I am a teacher. I have been putting them into consideration in my pedagogies but wonder why videos made them clearer in terms of innovative pedagogy in e-learning. With e-learning, I think the best of them is constructivism, where now learners need to construct their world based on new innovations, technology, and knowledge in their environment. I am not comfortable with the extreme application of the cognitive theory in our education system. This at times makes them kept in boarding schools and they are withdrawn from the environment. Then it might be hard to assess their behavior and response to the environment and incidents, thus impeding not only their academic but also personal growth. It releases graduates who if being assessed using Bloom's taxonomy, want to reproduce/recall and do not go higher the pyramid to apply and construct. They find it hard to get jobs and create jobs. They need to be blamed with reservation because the system emphasizes and assesses good grades, not competencies which would come out clearly if all the three behaviorism, cognitivism and constructivism are used concurrently. I have to stop here and wait to sleep. Electricity just went off. My battery is soon running down. I have a big ambition for the night to catch-up. good night. It is 8:38 pm
This blog might contain posts that are only visible to logged-in users, or where only logged-in users can comment. If you have an account on the system, please log in for full access.