OER university: Feb 16-Mar 2, 2011

Checking in

Checking in

by Dr. Nellie Deutsch -
Number of replies: 23
Oops, I hadn't realized I was required to check in. I am very excited about free e-learning and helping educators learn to create and share OERs. Getting accreditation for the OERs is a very important step.

I have been active on WikiEducator and have facilitated many L4C online and face-to-face workshops. I am a strong believer in collaborating and sharing freely, but I am quite along in my neck of the woods so I search for educators online to share and create online courses and free online conferences such as Moodle for Teachers (M4T) and Connecting Online (CO09, CO10, CO11). It would be great to get accreditation for the free professional M4T workshops we are providing for educators around the world.

I am a bit confused about the term OER University after listening to Wayne's conversation with Steve. Is the idea to have an environment for free OERs since the OER Veristy will not be giving degrees. So, how is it different from WikiEducator or Wikiversity?

Thank you for starting this discussion forum on SCoPE, Sylvia and Paul.
In reply to Dr. Nellie Deutsch

Re: Checking in

by Wayne Mackintosh -
Hi Nellie,

Good question.

<Nellie said>

I am a bit confused about the term OER University after listening to Wayne's conversation with Steve. Is the idea to have an environment for free OERs since the OER Veristy will not be giving degrees. So, how is it different from WikiEducator or Wikiversity?

Students are free to learn from OERs hosted on the open web -- irrespective of the project, community or initiative which produces and distributes these OERs. So for example, learners working through course materials at MIT OpenCourseWare do not necessarily get a degree from MIT. Learners studying courses at the University of the People currently have no pathway to gaining formal academic credit.

The "OER university" concept is a collaboration among formal education institutions to find solutions that will provide pathways for learners studying OERs to gain credible qualifications. It doesn't matter where these OERs are hosted --- what's more important is to figure out how we can widen access to credible qualifications using OER learning materials.

Cheers
Wayne


In reply to Wayne Mackintosh

Re: Checking in

by Maria Droujkova -
Wayne, I have a follow-up question. All the professors I know - well, those who aren't lecturing out of their 30-year-old notes exclusively - use OERs of some sort in their teaching. I have a notion of how this is different from the OER university mission, and I want to run it by you:
  • OERu un-bundles the package of services traditional universities provide: recommending (and selling) learning materials, forming learning groups, arranging learning experiences, supplying teachers, certifying.
  • Specifically, OERu provides certification and (possibly) a search service for OER materials and learning
  • OERu is a part of a larger ecosystem that provides other items in the un-bundled list, and may loosely collaborate with others in the ecosystem, without going back to the bundle model

In reply to Maria Droujkova

Re: Checking in

by Joyce McKnight -
I think it is important to focus on mechanisms to enable the learner to develop learning plans including the OER materials to be used that will lead to college level learning. The learner is responsible for following through with the learning and systematically articulating it in a sort of portfolio. This prior learning assessment portfolio can then be presented to a college or university of the student's choice which will be responsible for developing and maintaining a process for evaluation for credit. This is the process Empire State College has now used for forty years. In this model the OER University would not be underwriting the credit but would be facilitating the student's self-directed planning and perhaps the portfolio creation. OER U would be linked with colleges and universities offering prior learning assessment...it seems to me that this model should at least be considered because it keeps OER U out of the business of evaluating and certifying student learning, but facilitates a legitimate route to degrees for students that want them.

I like the idea of "pre-bundling" some resources especially as we learn about students' major interests. We do something similar at ESC but we never, ever dictate what a student has to take. I hope that OER-U develops this kind of learner centered approach.
In reply to Joyce McKnight

Re: Checking in

by Wayne Mackintosh -
Hi Joyce,

A learner-centred approach based on well-founded "open pedagogy" will be paramount for success.

mmm -- I like the idea of OER student support resources to help students navigate their learning paths and compile portfolios where components are based on PLA.

W
In reply to Wayne Mackintosh

Re: Student Support

by Joyce McKnight -
Our mentoring system (the student support you referred to) is the heart and soul of Empire State College. In fact in all of the college's decisions about appointments, tenure and promotion, skill in mentoring trumps scholarship, university and community service, course development, and even direct instruction in one's area of expertise...but it works. Year after year ESC is voted the most responsive college in the entire state system by our students.

It can be an expensive process though. OER-U would probably have to find some way of funding these support people. J.
In reply to Joyce McKnight

Re: Student Support

by Joseph Thibault -
I think student support is integral to student success. But why not let the institution conferring credit to the students taking OER courses provide it? Or let it be up to the student to procure (there are lots of tutoring sources available on the web).
In reply to Joseph Thibault

Re: Student Support

by Wayne Mackintosh -
Hi Joseph,

Absolutely! I agree on both counts. Student support is integral to student success and I envisage that participating institutions of the OER university concept will provide options for student support on a fee for service basis.

I addition we have a unique opportunity using open models to widen the array of options and alternatives.

For example, it is plausible utilising international mass-collaboration approaches combined with social networking under the "Academic Volunteers International" concept that some level of peer-to-peer and tutor-student support could be provided for free to OER learners. For example, Community Service Learning programs, where senior students earn credit for community service hours, could assist in providing tutoring support to junior students.

The idea is to widen options and create more flexible pathways for OER learners to gain formal academic credit.


In reply to Joseph Thibault

Re: Student Support

by Joyce McKnight -
The receiving institutions will probably provide student support when students arrive. For instance, I provide a great deal of support as I help students identify prior college level learning and prepare their requests, but I am not sure whether receiving institutions would be able/willing to help students define their self-directed learning ahead of time unless there was some guarantee that the student would eventually become matriculated.

Right now ESC helps students reflect on their self-directed learning experiences some of which are very tacit and enables them to turn this tacit (gut) learning into explicit, transferable learning. For instance, through a number of structured experiences I may enable someone who has been a supervisor for many years to articulate management principles they have learned in vocabulary that is used in management courses and enable them to "speak management language" to an experienced evaluator. Occasionally, I may recommend that they read a management text and/or seek material on the web (a kind of use of OER) to supplement what they have already learned. I think that this is a good example of the responsibility of the "receiving" institution.

I think though that there is a need on the "front end" for OER-U to provide simple guidance on how to develop a learning plan that will provide a relatively quick way to the knowledge, skills etc. needed.

It might be as simple as a list. We could say "If you would like to develop knowledge of Australian business law here are some OER resources that might be helpful and list OER courses, web-sites, books, etc. and perhaps course syllabi that the student might use in designing their learning experience...the exact tools used would be up to the student...who would then go to one of the receiving institutions and say, "I have developed and followed through on a self-directed learning plan and have knowledge of Australian business law, can you help me prepare a learning statement so I am likely to pass a prior learning assessment review?" It would then be a very easy task for someone with reasonable training in developing PLA statements (we have 30 or more of them just at ESC's Center for Distance Learning) to help the student get the credit they want. Most students would probably prefer to talk with a person as they plan their self-directed learning but the costs might be too prohibitive.
In reply to Maria Droujkova

Re: Checking in

by Wayne Mackintosh -
Hi Maria,

I think you're right -- there are many Professors who utilise materials hosted on the open web in their teaching. Learners without question ;-). That said, OER is far from being mainstream in our education systems. For example, how many post-secondary teaching institutions have intellectual property policies which default to open content licenses?

The analogy of "unbundling" services within an open ecosystem is a good one. The detail surrounding how this might work is the prime purpose of the meeting. and the outcomes of this process should contribute to the development of a logic model for how the OER university might work and function.

Professor Jim Taylor from the University of Southern Queensland suggests we should think about the OER university concept as a "parallel learning universe" which augments and adds value to the formal system.

Exciting times!

Cheers
W
In reply to Wayne Mackintosh

Re: Checking in

by Hemlata chari -

Wayne

all said I m concerned with the quality and authenticity of course materials developed. Most of the course writers-Im referring to (my department-India) still upload materials from books and they are not learner friendly specially for students registering through distance mode

How to develop the course materials for learners globally?

I agree with Prof Jim Taylor on a parallel university .

I like the concept of OER univ its a challenge a beginning is made

In reply to Hemlata chari

Re: Checking in

by Wayne Mackintosh -
Hi Hemiata,

As a distance educator - -I too place a high priority on the quality of our pedagogy (in both closed and open models.) The "Open design and development" initiative in the logic model will be important in addressing quality issues.

On a positive note -- the single-mode distance education institutions have a wealth of experience in the design and development of high quality independent study materials and we will need to tap into this experience for the OER university concept.
In reply to Wayne Mackintosh

Re: Checking in

by Vinod Kumar Kanvaria -

I, too, fully agree with the concept of OER and OERU. My concern is how to provide not only free education but free authentic, valid and reliable certification too.

Regards.

Vinod

In reply to Vinod Kumar Kanvaria

Re: Checking in

by Joyce McKnight -
Agreed on all counts.  I do think that there are already well-designed courses available (I think we might be willing to share, for instance) as well as folks who are seasoned in the creation of interesting online courses who might be connected with inexperienced developers in the developing world.  One issue would be finding a free online platform though...our courses are now all on Angel that is rapidly being taken over by Blackboard...not free and not particularly user friendly.  J.
In reply to Joyce McKnight

Re: Checking in

by Maria Droujkova -
Check out the new Canvas LMS: http://www.instructure.com/

And their promo video involving BB and flamethrowers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCIP3x5mFmw

There are also established Moodle (what this seminar runs on) and Sakai.


In reply to Maria Droujkova

Re: Checking in

by Wayne Mackintosh -
Hi Maria,

Relating to my earlier post on reusing wiki content in an LMS, I tested the <iframe> feature on Canvas a couple of days ago.

Here is the example:

http://canvas.instructure.com/courses/26200/wiki/getting-started

Easy to set up -- WikiEducator content reused in Canvas. Must say, I'm quite impressed with Canvas -- great open source LMS.

As an aside -- Interesting case study on the "copyright" of the Canvas promo video, reusing the concept from the Apple "1984" advert.

Cheers
Wayne

In reply to Joyce McKnight

Re: Checking in

by Wayne Mackintosh -
Hi Joyce,

Good point about the delivery platform platforms.

A minimum requirement would be that learning materials for the OER university must be developed (or converted) into open file formats that are equally accessible by a variety of Learning Management Systems (LMSs). The OER university shouldn't dictate which LMS or delivery technology is used by the teaching institution.

This is much easier to resolve with OER when compared to closed content because the course materials do not need to be locked behind a password, which means we can use "HTML" is the interoperability standard and avoid extra costs associated with IMS content cartridges, SCORM packages etc. ;-).

To illustrate this practically, we've been experimenting with reuse scenarios where a simple click-cut-paste activity can embed learning content from WikiEducator into the learning management system. This means the same content can be reused across multiple delivery technologies. Its all open source and uses open file formats.

With support from UNESCO we're hosting a free online workshop from 21 - 25 March 2011 on Open Content Licensing for Educators. In this example we are reusing content hosted on WikiEducator in a Moodle course (but could be any delivery platform which supports iframes.) Its a nice feature because it removes the redundant Mediawiki navigation and much easier to collaborate and keep the course materials up to date. Folk who are interested can enrol for the course and see how this works.
In reply to Wayne Mackintosh

Re: Checking in

by Paily M.U. -
Hi Wayne,
I agree with you about the interoperability. However I feel click-cut-past from wikieducator to embed learning content lack a professional look as far as the user interface is concerned. Correct me if I am wrong.

I have been using eXe for creating RLO and as you know the resources authored in eXe can be exported in IMS Content Package, SCORM 1.2, or IMS Common Cartridge formats or as simple self-contained web pages. Off late the use of eXe has become so user friendly and anyone with typing skills and content mastery can create learning content easily (including re-use from wikieducator). The tutorials of eXe on wikieducator can also be used.

Another alternatives to eXe, may be xerte (http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/xerte/index.htm). Using this tool we will be able to integrate text, graphics, animations, sounds and video, create simple interactivity, and deliver it in an accessible interface. Content can be SCORM compliant for delivery in any LMS or VLE.

Above all both are open-source software, released under the GNU public license

Thanks for the Open Content Licensing for Educators course, I have enrolled for the same.



In reply to Wayne Mackintosh

Re: Checking in

by Vinod Kumar Kanvaria -

Hi all,

Can we ensure one notebook/netbook to every learner of our university through state or other organisations?

Moreover, as far as fee for the course is concerned, i suggest 'no fee' should be charged from the learner. It is a point that In USA $400 or like may be a nominal charge but in India it will be around Rs 20000 (roughly) which is not a less amount and many may not be able to even pay such an amount.

There are many other universities which are providing the same degree at a very low cost, so we must ensure that we should have ready students too, who would like to learn from our university.

As a whole, i mean to say, everything (as far as possible) must be free.

Regards.

Vinod

In reply to Vinod Kumar Kanvaria

Re: Checking in

by Wayne Mackintosh -
Hi Vinod,

Realistically -- I'm not sure we will be able to raise sufficient funding to provide every learner with a notebook. However projects like the OLPC initiative, working in collaboration with Governments and NGOs may be able to help here.

In the mean time -- we will develop materials in ways which facilitate easy conversion into print-based materials (for the main course content components). We can also prioritise low-cost / low-bandwith solutions for learner support and explore the integration of mobile technologies for these interactive components.

The intention of the OER university is to provide learning for free (no cost). Leaners may need to pay for credential services unless national governments provide grants to cover these costs through the state education system. Above all, the OER university concept will develop high quality learning backed up by credible qualifications.


In reply to Vinod Kumar Kanvaria

Re: Free materials

by Joyce McKnight -
I agree and also agree that things have to be available or at least readily convertible to low tech, pencil and paper form...and we need to get the pencils and paper to people for free. J.
In reply to Vinod Kumar Kanvaria

Re: Checking in

by Deleted user -
Great point Vinod,

the $ 400 which is a small amount in the developed world context as you say Rs 20000= around Rwf 240 000. Who will get it in the later context? Only the learners from affluent families. Without scholarship, or other financial support opportunities, learners from poor family cannot afford it.
In reply to Deleted user

Re: Checking in $400 for PLA

by Joyce McKnight -
I know $400 US is a lot in the developing world particularly if it is borne by individual families. I only gave it as an example and more important I think in a global context or even for wealthy foundations (i.e. Gates) $400 is not really very much. If students do have to pay for credits (and I think institutions will invariably want them to), one part of OER-U student services should be a major effort for endowed scholarships. J.
In reply to Dr. Nellie Deutsch

Re: Checking in

by Peter Rawsthorne -
Paul,
Thanks for kicking all this off. And thanks for using Scope, an excellent resource.
Best way to get a sense of who I am is to click on my name and follow my links... I am an independent EdTech, with loads of experience in technology and education. I am currently innovating Legal Education in BC, all very interesting with a number of solutions being introduced over the next 6 months...

This whole topic is really, really, really important. I am looking forward to lurking more than participating. As my current projects have me distracted...

Be Well... Peter