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Anna Greathead

Open Scholarship

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Edited by Anna Greathead, Wednesday, 15 Jan 2020, 13:12

I can already see that my personal leap forward in H818 is a renewed grasp of what open scholarship is - not least because of the keynote talk by Martin Weller which opened the H818 conference in 2018.

Martin described how, as the internet began to move into educational settings and learning environments, paradigm shifting predictions were made. When a bleak future is foretold then it is hardly surprising that the steps en route to the predicted outcome are resisted!

As Martin astutely points out - we have not seen the end of the university, nor has the theoretical promise of the MOOC actually altered the landscape of learning forever. We have, however, seen a definite and significant change in the way the learning and teaching is conducted and experienced. We have also seen a similar change in the way the scholarly research and debate.

My studies within MAODE have incorporated quite a lot of thought and discussion about OERs (Open Educational Resources) but I confess that the idea of data being made available for repeated analysis by researchers with different hypotheses had never occurred to me! (I had rather thought that an OER was mostly a sharable and editable lesson plan or learning resource).

The idea of Open Journals seemed to be a non-starter to me as I considered how both authors and journals would be paid for their work but the talk made me realise that many authors may be happy to be 'paid' in citations and reach. (I assume they have income from elsewhere?).

The use of blogs and social media within learning has been a common theme within MAODE but Weller made me consider again that these are not necessarily inferior to journals and conferences in their impact as they may afford a wider reach and greater engagement and connection.

My blog here is close to 30,000 views as of today. I do check the blog counter. I do get some pleasure from the idea that someone, somewhere, has found my ideas and reflections to be valuable. I even like the fact that I know various MAODE colleagues have cited me! Is this blog on a par with an academic journal? Probably not if someone is looking for closely researched and data driven conclusions but maybe if someone is looking for the honest experience and reflections of someone studying, using and providing online education and learning.

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Anna Greathead

Happy 50th Birthday Open University

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Edited by Anna Greathead, Sunday, 28 Apr 2019, 16:28

If you didn't watch the fantastic program presented by Lenny Henry giving a precis of the whole ethos, life and times of the OU then please get to iPlayer ASAP and catch it!

I am unexpectedly moved and inspired by the history I just watched and the future I just envisioned. As a MAODE student it even seemed very educationally relevant. 

The open ethos of the Open University, the way resources have had to be created entirely to fit that ethos and courses designed with that ethos central to the pedagogy, the way that the OU has collaborated with other bodies, the way that the OU has utilized every emergent technology for the purposes of learning.... in fact.... was the whole show someone's MAODE dissertation?! 

Whilst I did put on the show as a slight 'TMA02 procrastination' activity I am now feeling full of enthusiasm! 

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Anna Greathead

Podcasts as a part of open education

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Edited by Anna Greathead, Thursday, 25 Apr 2019, 13:35

I am a podcast geek and the further my OU studied take me the more I a convinced this technology is both under rated and under utilized (though I must confess to having done a sneaky search to check that it was them, and not I, who had under utilized the podcast!)

The OU does produce a number of podcasts around disciplines as wide ranging as learning Italian (amongst many other languages), creative writing, astronomy and project management. I cannot describe how helpful I would have found additional instruction about the theories of education or a glossary of key terms at the start of my studies. Whilst there are resources I could have found and read, having something to listen to on my commute, or at the gym, would have made use of some time in which I couldn't read or watch.

That is, I think, the strength of the podcast - it uses a spare sense (hearing) in times and spaces where other resources aren't useful. There is something quite special about hearing experts explain their expertise. I often understand things I have heard explained better than things I have read. 

Outside of my OU studies I listen to dozens of podcasts - some for entertainment but many for learning as well. The learning is pretty non-linear and scattergun as I can only listen to material which has been produced. An institution like the OU would be in a position to create short (or long) series on the fundamentals of hundreds of subject matters. This would not only be useful for people studying those subjects but may simply be interesting for those who love to learn outside of formal structures. 

Podcasts are free and easy to access. They make use of the one commodity we all have in equal measure and which cannot be bought or sold - namely time. I hope, in time, a podcast version of YouTube with the vast choice of professional and amateur content, every subject under the sun and ease of access and sharing will develop. 

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Anna Greathead

Representing Open Education

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The two articles I read to create this presentation were:

Alan Tait, (2018) "Open Universities: the next phase", Asian Association of Open Universities Journal, Vol. 13 Issue: 1, pp.13-23, https://doi.org/10.1108/AAOUJ-12-2017-0040 and

Bates (2015), ‘What do we mean by open in education?’

My original intention was to read the two most recent articles but I glanced at them all and found the Bates post complemented the Tait one in that they raise similar, although not identical, issues. 

Both posts raised issues which, as I read them, seemed like common sense. Of course - both go far beyond common sense but the explanations and writing were clear and explicit and made their points seem self evident. Hopefully you can get a decent flavor of the posts in my presentation below. 

Permalink 2 comments (latest comment by Anna Greathead, Tuesday, 26 Mar 2019, 12:43)
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Anna Greathead

Zero Sum Education

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Edited by Anna Greathead, Monday, 18 Mar 2019, 21:39

The first activity this week is to write blog posts about our experiences of Open Education and then  to comment on each others posts. I have found this interesting and thought provoking. Firstly - I had to accept I still don't have all the relevant terms properly defined in my head!

When reading the post of a colleague who is based in Belize, Central America, this evening I had a mini-epiphany! 

Education used to be a zero-sum game. Everyone who got a place at university deprived someone else of that place. Every person reading a book from the library deprived someone else of reading it at that time. Every resource associated with learning - desks, classrooms, books, pens, display boards, teaching hours - were finite and could only be used by one person or group at any one time. 

The internet - and the concept of Open Education - has changed that. Whilst access to people for personal interaction (tutors, practitioners, experts, lecturers) is still finite access to their work isn't. Accreditation, certificates and awards may still be controlled and rationed by institutions but the materials they teach are much less so. As automation takes over some of the roles previously filled by people then access to the expertise and the recognition will become even wider too.


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Anna Greathead

Experiences of the Vaguely Described

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"Describe your experience with open education. Is it just with the OU, or have you studied a MOOC, used open resources, or engaged with open access publications?"

So - a few questions? What is open education exactly? I'm not proud of it but I often start at Wikipedia - it's easy to find, usually understandable, and can give some foundational knowledge before you dive deeper.


And this is the first thing I see! (Note - must click on that blue italicized link later)

So Wikipedia give me these useful starting points:

1. Education

2. Without academic admission requirements

3. Typically online

So my experience of the OU MAODE program would not be included under the open education banner as I needed to submit evidence of my undergraduate degree in order to begin it. 

I did, at the same time as beginning MAODE, also start a basic maths program with OU though which was more in keeping with this definition of 'open education'. I did this because I am continually frustrated with my GCSE grade C maths and feel strongly I could have done more, better and further in maths had I been taught better at school. Also - my husband and at least 3/4 of my children are science-biased (don't want to label the 13 year old yet) and frankly they mock me for my inability to solve differential equations! I did the first two weeks of the lessons but then found it was too much as well as H800. There was no accountability, no sunk cost and no problem in simply stopping. No-one called me, no-one berating me for wasting money, time and effort and no-one apparently noticed. 

If it were not for point 1 I could claim hours of open education (on top of OU) every single week. I am a voracious podcast listener and listen to all sorts of people from whom I learn all kinds of things. However - that does not really qualify as education as it is not linear, directed and purposeful. For this reason I can't even claim they are open educational resources although I imagine there may be educational programs which utilize the podcast medium. 

I do wonder if the 'badge' system may actually motivate me though. I look forward to seeing how Credly works for me. Even the scantest of rewards, recognition or accountability may be exactly what is needed for me to move some of my general curiosity to formal enquiry.  

Permalink 4 comments (latest comment by Tabitha Naisiko, Wednesday, 10 Apr 2019, 11:21)
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