A Framework for Academic Volunteers International: Dec 5-16, 2011

Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Wayne Mackintosh -
Number of replies: 68

Welcome to all participants! 

Please consult the "rules of the game" for this open planning session of the OER univeristy on SCoPE.

First and foremost, the OER Foundation acknowledges the sterling support from BCcampus in hosting another SCoPE seminar for the OERu. Thank you BCcampus! 

Our first task is to review the recommendations and decisions taken by the OERu anchor partners and remote participants during the recent planning meeting for planning Academic Volunteers International (AVI). This SCoPE seminar will inform the development of a Framework Proposal for AVI to be considered for adoption by the founding OERu anchor partners.  

We will spend one or two days on this task to clarify points, listen to suggestions for improvement and to identify major themes for further discussion during this planning session. 

These themes will inform the major discussion threads for our deliberations. In parallel with the discussions, later this week we will commence work on developing usecase scenarios. More information to follow. 

Thank you for volunteering your time to help the OERu design "Academic Volunteers International".

Your facilitators

Vasi and Wayne

 

 

 

 

 

  

In reply to Wayne Mackintosh

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Vasi Doncheva -
Thanks for getting us started Wayne,
We have a great group of participants keen to contribute and conversations in a number of areas have already started. From the initial contributions I can see that we are goining to have quite productive two weeks ahead of us.

Before we move on to more detailed and specific discussions ( it is natural that some participants feel more strongly about some elements of the framework and want to engage with them) about the AVI framework it will be great to get some overall feedback from the OER community on the proposed structure and initial draft concept of the framework.

Here are a few questions to get us started:
- What do you think about the propoused role of AVIs? - what kind of support will be needed and critical for OER learners to succeed in particular at the initial stages ( year 1 and 2 level of Univercity study)?
- What do you think of the suggested structure?
- What else we need to consider and include in the design that we have missed in the initial draft?

Looking forward to your contributions over the next couple of days.

Wayne and Vasi
In reply to Vasi Doncheva

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Ellen Marie Murphy -

I hope this is the area in which to post this.

In considering my suggestions about the roles AVIs might play, I'm assuming there will be a type of FAQ forum where students can get find answers to the most commonly asked questions.  And, a further assumption is that these FAQs will include questions pertaining to navigating the courses and the site.  With those assumptions in mind, I suggest that the role of AVIs might be equivalent to academic tutors--that is provide clarification in areas where a student might not completely understand a concept, help students set up a method for the collection of artifacts of learning (that could later be used for requesting credit), and for encouraging students to collect and reflect on their learning (preparing them for the PLA procedures).

AVIs might also provide students with clarification on how they would seek credentialing, and provide guidance on which path to take.

Ellen

In reply to Ellen Marie Murphy

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Wayne Mackintosh -

Hi Ellen,

Yep - you've posted your ideas in the right area. This opening forum will help us identify the themes for more detailed discussions later during the planning session. I agree, the roles AVIs might play is an important theme.  A few thoughts:

  • Re FAQs, I imagine a system where anyone can ask a question, anyone can answer a question, and some form of peer-review where Volunteers who have more kudos and experience can quality assure the answers. The system could allow voting, most viewed questions and be linked to other social software technologies which foster P2P support. (see for example askUbuntu)
  • I think that FAQs could be classified into different domains, eg general student support, study skills, content specific advice on OERu courses, preparing portfolios etc. 

The challenge is to design an AVI system which scales -- for example, that the FAQ system should aim to solve 80% of the typical questions. It would be the first port-of-call if an OERu learner gets stuck. We need to design a system which keeps operational costs to a minimum for large numbers of learners.   

I've started a page for user stories which we can develop in parallel with the discussion forums here. Its a useful way to articulate the variety of roles within a complex system. Feel free to post any new user stories.

 

 

 

In reply to Vasi Doncheva

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Joyce McKnight -

I basically like the model, but my experience with Empire State's own students has shown that most of them need more that a FAQ sheet to feel comfortable with the process so I think that perhaps there should be a way for potential students to talk with someone and clarify their questions then they could be channeled into more automatic Q & A etc...In my mentoring I find that a few minutes of personal orientation can save hours of confusion and does wonders to help students with the process.   Ideally, this would be done by telephone, I think, but it could also be done by e-mail.   So I see the process as personal contact spent as students arrive, then more dependence on FAQ's, peer-to-peer and up the ladder to the "gurus"...but I think a real live "door opener person" who the student can come back to if need be will be very important for retention.

In reply to Joyce McKnight

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Kathleen Zarubin -

Perhaps a virtual online 'office' or room could be 'attached' - one that has the ability to 'web tour' .. I have a (up to 15 persons) Blackboard Collaborate (used to be Elliuminate) room I would be willing to donate use of (for example) ... and either a system of 'booking in' or even a 'rooster or mointering requests' could be established - (this might be too hard / too much?) ... but just an idea

In reply to Kathleen Zarubin

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Joyce McKnight -

Sort of building on your idea...at our Center for Distance Learning all new students have to attend an online orientation session that I believe is somewhat interactive.  It has been a great help in smoothing the mentoring process...perhaps it could be fairly easily adapted to the OER-u use.   (Ellen, I think Student Affairs developed it).  JMcK, Empire State

In reply to Joyce McKnight

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Don Beadle -
So, does it follow that an avi "mentor" would be a resource that a learner could contact after beginning a course of studies? Or would an avi mentor provide assistance before a learner begins. I'm not trying to be obtuse, but in the former situation the avi contact could be part of a course resource list, while in the latter the contact would be... well what would it be? ( I'm thinking of the bottom of the pyramid here, not the "guru" level.) Don
In reply to Don Beadle

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Wayne Mackintosh -

Hi Don,

Good question. Ideally I think the AVI system should be able to provide support for the learning lifecycle, eg pre-registration through to post-graduation. Some advice may not be course specific, for example general questions on how to enrol as OERu learner, or how to use the AVI system, or support on digital literacies etc. Other advice may be subject specific, so I imagine a range of different types of AVI volunteers who will self-organise according to their interests etc. 

We'll need to think about the best ways to connect the learner query with the relevant support volunteer. 

In reply to Wayne Mackintosh

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Joyce McKnight -

At ESC it works best to have a mentor assigned from the beginning to follow through the whole process...the process could begin with an online orientation (which is what ESC does), then if the person registers he/she could be assigned to a volunteer who would be their contact point throughout the process.   I think that this human touch will lead to more success for students...it may not allow for fast growth but I think we have to balance numbers with quality of interaction or we will not build a good reputation for service and then will have problems building anything at all.   Once we see how this works then we can identify places where it can be "automated" so to speak.   I would like to see trained mentors in each of the target countries...and in the poorest ones I would ideally like to offer a small stipend so we can recruit volunteers who are culturally similar to potential students.   Many non-profits in US especially in poorer communities seem to work on this kind of "quasi-volunteer"  model...a small stipend seems to allow people to justify what is really mostly a "donation" of time.

In reply to Don Beadle

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Kathleen Zarubin -

Further to Don (above) - Maybe some AVIs could also be listed (if they 'nominated') to be part of a "SO you are THINKING aboout doing a course .."   'resource list' - ie the Before Doing Phase .. (so these would be AVIs that had skills in helping people work out the options for What Where How Why ..)

Separately to a listing attached to ... so you are doing this course - here are some AVIs that could 'help' ?

Also maybe see my comment "AVIs - 'select or assign'?  ..

In reply to Don Beadle

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Joyce McKnight -

At ESC it works well to have a single person (we call a mentor) follow the student from entrance to completion with most of the time spent at the beginning of the process helping the student develop a program design but connection with the student all the way through their journey.  Usually this means that the student becomes more and more independent as time goes on.   The early stages can be thought of as the development of a learning "map"...the later stages involve the student following the map.  I hope this makes sense.  Joyce McKnight

In reply to Joyce McKnight

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Wayne Mackintosh -

Joyce McKnight wrote,

Sort of building on your idea...at our Center for Distance Learning all new students have to attend an online orientation session that I believe is somewhat interactive. It has been a great help in smoothing the mentoring process...perhaps it could be fairly easily adapted to the OER-u use.

Joyce, thats a good idea. We could design an mini OERu orientation course using WikiEducator's the Learning4Content (L4C) approach for providing free training for wiki skills. The model scales well - -we have provided free training to thousands of educators. Many "graduates" of the L4C  have become L4C facilitators.

We have also designed the Open Content Licesning for Educators workshop using high quality resources designed for independant study with microblogging as a mechanism for peer to peer learning support. The advantage for this type of course is that a single faciliator can easily manage thousands of participants in a single course offering. 

I think the OERu should also think about a first-year level course focusing on digital learning skills for the 21st century which could carry credit towards the Bachelor of General Studies.  

In reply to Joyce McKnight

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Vasi Doncheva -
I see some great discussioin and very good points and ideas coming through already :-)

I agree with Ellen that a FAQs forum will be a great way to provide learners with the opportunity  and space to ask questions which they can't find in the FAQs database. As new questions are asked and answered they will be added to the FAQs database so it will keep growing overtime and initially we may not have the 80% of the Qs and As in it but I assume we will get there within a year. 

I also support Waynce's view that anyone can respond / answer the questions including other learners that are more experienced or have figured out the answer. Initally it could be that some AVIs are assigned responsibility to move the questions from the forum to the FAQs database but that concept can also evolve with time - unless we develop the database in a way that learners can add Qs that they can't find in it and post to the FAQs forum the link to that question so someone can answer it. Answers may need to be reviewed / moderated if submitted by a learner by an AVI before published officially.

Also a very good suggestion to classify or categorize the Qs. It will be easy to start that from the beginning of the building of the database by setting categories and tagging the questions as they are added so learners can find them easily with the database search function ( short tutorial - instructions on how to search the FAQs database may be useful as part of the learner orientation - very good suggestion by Joyce).

I like Joyce's idea about personal contact and some 'virtual office hours' with AVIs with different time zones it will not be difficult to provide a 24 hr roster :-).

Very excited to see how our initial scetchy ideas a developing further and taking shape with your help.

Thank you all for your time and contributions, keep them going!

Vasi
In reply to Vasi Doncheva

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Don Beadle -

Good morning, it is Tuesday "here" and I believe Wednesday "there".  

I was digesting several comments, and thought, we are getting an idea of learners expected needs from educators.  Is there some way we can get an idea of these needs from prospective learners?  Build in a feedback system for learners? Have educators engaged as learners?

In reply to Don Beadle

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by David Porter -

I like this thinking, Don. 

Seems like there should be some real attempt to crowdsource potential student/learner needs for OERu processes and AVI-like support systems, even at this early stage. For me, hearing from potential OERu learners now would give a better sense of co-development and perhaps mediate the dominant educator voice.

How do we do that?

In reply to David Porter

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Wayne Mackintosh -

Don, David

Learner input is most welcome and will contribute significantly to the future success of AVI and the OERu. Fortunately, using an open and transparent process, nothing precludes learner engagement in the planning. Joyce has already demonstrated an excellent way to get student feedback by using one of her classes to discuss the concept and feed the results back into our collective planning.

Hope other members of the list will encourage students to participate.

 

 

In reply to Don Beadle

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Wayne Mackintosh -

David, Don

Have added the following as a user story so we don't loose this important component in the design of the AVI system:

As OERu student I want to participate in the ongoing design and implementation of AVI. (Submitted by David Porter and Don Beadle during SCoPE seminar.)

In reply to Kathleen Zarubin

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by simon fenton-jones -

Hi Kathleen,

I meant to thank you for your offer of the virtual room on the "tools" thread", so thanks. We have a problem with the Elluminate and Blackboard offerings as they are pretty expensive (and don't "scale") and we're after zero cost tools . But I'm with you & Joyce on introducing the human touch ASAP. There's nothing like a human voice.

No, it's not that hard. UKOU and others have done it a few times. One illustration is over at the M&L community where you can see a red light under each participant. Imagine if you can click on it and talk, chat, conference, stream. It's been done. But not for an open group of volunteers from different unis scattered around the world.

What we need now, as David says, are some young(ish) learners so we can get an idea of what they need. Most of my correspondents, in a parrallel learning unverse are, like David, network engineers who are locked into supporting a geographic area, although at at a national level, and now they are trying to be as globally minded as the OERu community. This will give you an insight in their thinking.

So as we go through this open and transparent process we will find them wanting to join in and lend a hand. You can imagine why I bought up the "tools" discussion. That's what they want to co-design and co-implement.

In reply to Joyce McKnight

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Wayne Mackintosh -

Joyce McKnight wrote,

In my mentoring I find that a few minutes of personal orientation can save hours of confusion and does wonders to help students with the process

That's valuable advice and my own experience confirms this. This kind of service would contribute significantly to the success of OERu learners and help manage attrition rates.

For the purposes of our discussion, lets imagine that OERu is serving a million learners in 5 years time. A few open questions seeking advice from the SCoPE seminar participants:

  • How do we scale the model so that we have enough volunteers to provide a short personal orientation service for new OERu course enrolments (without adding cost to the OERu anchor partners.)?
  • Are their ways in which the OERu network could generate revenue to offer some form of payment for a "call-centre" type of environment where personal support of this nature could be offered?
  • Are there kudos incentives which would encourage volunteers to provide a personal orientation for OERu learners?  For example -- I wouldn't object, for instance, to donating 1 hour a week to provide orientation services - -I enjoy connecting with "real" people and get tremedous satisfication from helping a neighbour. 
In reply to Wayne Mackintosh

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Wendy Burton -
If we hope for a million learners by year five, then we need at least 250,000 volunteers. If we are committed to personal orientation and mentoring, these relationships are built on more than an hour or two. An automated faq or call centre will not provide the level of support propsed by the AVI frame work. Most potential volunteers could not take onmore thanone or two learners at a time. Just learning to move around this terrain takes a considerable time commitment. I can imagine many potential volunteers who would not have the time to learn the skills needed to use wiki educator and e other tools so cheerfully suggested. I ask my favourite question. What does the learner (if there were 'one') want? My first guess is access to simply-offered, easily navigated material leading to a definable conclusion. If we are building this OERu on volunteers, we need to be carefulwe do not promise support we cannot deliver, else we do end up creating a bleak alienating environment where learning does not happen.
In reply to Wendy Burton

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Wayne Mackintosh -

Wendy Burton wrote,

If we hope for a million learners by year five, then we need at least 250,000 volunteers.

What data are you using to calculate the volunteer ratio? 

Based on my experience of open distance learning, a ratio of 4:1 seems unreasonably high. I think it is plausible to build high quality independant study materials as OER which would achieve significantly higher student-tutor ratios.

Wendy Burton wrote,

I can imagine many potential volunteers who would not have the time to learn the skills needed to use wiki educator and e other tools so cheerfully suggested

mmm -- I don't see that the use of WikiEducator is necessarily a requirement for AVI volunteers. We will be using the wiki as a collaborative authoring tool for course development -- not necessarily as an environment for AVI's to use for their support activities. That said, I agree that we will need to provide support in helping volunteers use whatever technologies we may choose for this environment.

Wendy Burton wrote,

We need to be carefulwe do not promise support we cannot deliver, else we do end up creating a bleak alienating environment where learning does not happen.

I agree entirely. Hence an earlier post that we need to be honest about the kinds of support AVI can realistically provide.

The system we are envisaging for learners excluded from the opportunities of a formal education is an order of magnitude better than no education at all. The OER Foundation is aiming to provide opportunities for gaining formal academic credit towards credible credentials for as little as 20% of the cost of comparible full-tuition models provided by many publicly funded institutions.  I think we are going to get this right!  

The OER Foundation will gladly share our knowledge and experiences with all post-secondary institutions worldwide -- we would like to see mainstream integration of OER for a more affordable and sustainable education system for all learners.

 

 

 

In reply to Wayne Mackintosh

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Wendy Burton -

I am trying to understand the scope of what an AVI might do - hence my "guess" about the ratio of students to volunteers.

Many of the posts seem to indicate - to my unknowledgeable eye - a depth of commitment that, given the possible volunteers I know, would be unreasonable with more than two or three learners. If I am mistaken, I stand to be corrected. Oh, wait.I already have been corrected!

Wayne is suggesting ten - well, that would leave me, for example, out. The commitment seems - again, I am just trying to get a sense of what is involved - quite long. I work with supported learners all the time, and they need a great deal of initial support, support that cannot usually be met by an automated faq.

so - forgive me if I've missed the initial statement that would have brought me in the loop. I have read all the documents so far, but clearly I'm missing a statement about what an AVI might be expected to do.

Further, in my message, I was trying to indicate that if we are going to attract volunteers, we cannot assume that every one of them is comfortable with the high-tech capability that appears to be a given. Jumping on the wiki is the sort of suggestion many volunteers would be totally baffled by, and if we are going to create multi-tier users, most AVI would probably find that ... baffling. 

If a particular "AVI" ideal is articulated, perhaps someone could tell me what it is? As it is, I'm probably a good prototype, with a tech overlay. 

In reply to Wendy Burton

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Wayne Mackintosh -

Hi Wendy,

This seminar is a sub-activity of the planning for AVI as part of the logic model of the OERu. We are in the process of refining what an AVI might do and we envisage there will be a variety of roles in the AVI system. 

For the record -- I didn't suggest 10 ;-) -- in fact I think that with careful design we can achieve much higher ratios -- in the hundreds using a pyramid model as explained in the documentation. 

Early in my career, I was course co-ordinator for an Education 1 course at Unisa which at the time had +12000 registered students. We taught the course with about 8 full-time equivalent staff. (We contracted part-time markers for grading assessments and examination scripts) but the majority of the teaching was done by the core team. I'm of the opinion that we can achieve relatively high student-AVI ratios through smart design. However, during the OERu 2011.11 meeting Professor Jim Taylor argued that these numbers would not be ideal when using a "pedagogy of discovery" model.

We're not in a position to articulate an AVI ideal -- we are in the process of determining what thay might be. 

The 2012 prototypes will provide valuable data and information on what acheivable ratios might be within the confines of a managable experiment. 

 

 

In reply to Wendy Burton

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review time commitment of AVI recommendations

by Joyce McKnight -

The overall time commitment will probably not be as much as it might seem.  If we use a model similar to the one I use at Empire State, the process would be front loaded...  the volunteer and the potential student would work together one or two times for a total of about 10 hours maximum to be sure that the student understood the process, how to choose learning experiences, how to keep track of them and had a broad based plan and then the student would be largely on his or her own to follow through with the map with the understanding that they could contact the volunteer as need be.  

With this model I carry between 20 to 40 students at a time along with other major teaching, service and writing responsibilities but at any given time I have about five or six people who are at the beginning (intense) phase of mentoring.   Since the OER-u volunteers will not have any where near the responsibilities of a mentor at Empire State, I think one or two per month (anywhere from 10 to 20 per year) would be reasonable.   The amount of time spent would probably be about 2 hours a week with some weeks busier than others.   I hope this gives some idea of the time commitment we are talking about.    Best to all.   Joyce McKnight, Associate Professor/Mentor, SUNY Empire State College.

In reply to Wendy Burton

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Joyce McKnight -

If we hope for a million learners by year five, then we need at least 250,000 volunteers.

I am confused by these figures.  Even if we had a million students in five years, we would not necessarily need 250,000 volunteers because that would be only four students per year per volunteer.  I would think that ten students per year would be reasonable and that some volunteers would take more and some less.  

If we are committed to personal orientation and mentoring,

I think that we should provide a thorough online orientation for students, then a certain percentage who felt comfortable could go off independently, those who needed more guidance could use personal mentors, if someone who went off on his or her own somehow became lost s/he should also be able to find human assistance easily...but such a model would cut down the personal contacts considerably.

My first guess is access to simply-offered, easily navigated material leading to a definable conclusion.

Very good point Wendy.  In fact my own students said something similar that the online tools have to be very clearly and simply designed for easy use, but they also said that most students will need some personal attention as well...our Empire State Students are all adults mostly living in the US with prior college level experience but they get lost in the technology and need upfront guidance.   The best approach I have found is to give them attention in the beginning, teach them how to use the tools and then trust their independence.  

In reply to Wendy Burton

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Wayne Mackintosh -

Wendy Burton wrote,

My first guess is access to simply-offered, easily navigated material leading to a definable conclusion.

Thanks Wendy -- have included this point as a user story for designing the AVI system.  

In reply to Joyce McKnight

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Nicholas Bowskill -

 

Hi, 

In my mind is the emerging sense that the goal here is to set up a poor-person's university on a nineteenth century industrialisation model of content battery-farms. Is the internet to become the new Victorian work-house for the world's learning-poor? Are they to be left to seek out what comfort and support they can find amongst kindly online volunteers who may come and go on the electronic tide? 

Remarkable just how bleak and closed openness can be in such a view of education. Is this the ghost of our Christmas to come? Please tell me this is not the future of learning - especially for the poor. Don't they suffer enough in such an ambition?

In reply to Nicholas Bowskill

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Wayne Mackintosh -

Nicholas Bowskill wrote,

In my mind is the emerging sense that the goal here is to set up a poor-person's university on a nineteenth century industrialisation model of content battery-farms. Is the internet to become the new Victorian work-house for the world's learning-poor? Are they to be left to seek out what comfort and support they can find amongst kindly online volunteers who may come and go on the electronic tide?

I sense that our OERu anchor partners are aiming to provide the best quality learning experience for OERu learners using the power of openness, transparency and the social networking tools at our disposal within the existing economic constraints

UNESCO figures predict that we need to provide an additional 98 million places for learners who are qualified to enter the system. Many of these learners will not have the money to affford tertiary study or may be living in areas where local institutions are unable to meet the demand.

The system we are building will rely on the gifting culture of educators -- there are contraints. The OER Foundation is aiming to widen access to post-secondary education for as little as 20% of the current cost of full tuition at most education institutions. Some governments may choose to subsidise these learning opportunities for their national learners.

I don't see this as a bleak view of the future of education -- on the contrary, I'm inspired by how many institutions and educators around the world are collaborating to address these challenges. 

 

 

In reply to Wayne Mackintosh

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Joyce McKnight -

Actually, it seems to me that this seminar is designed to avoid these bleak predictions...if we are able to link aspiring learners to volunteer mentors (especially if those mentors can stick with the learners through most of their journey) we will not be offering them scraps but instead many of the advantages of individual tutoring for free or at a very low cost.  I think the main rewards of the process both for volunteers and students will be positive relationships, the learning that occurs and the opportunity to turn that learning into credits through a personalized process that is not usually available even to traditional students at established universities.   The challenge will be to find ways to personalize the parts that should be individualized and mechanize the parts that are just busy-work...it can be done at ESC we are getting a bit better at it all the time.

In reply to Nicholas Bowskill

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Vasi Doncheva -
Nicholas unfortunately I have to agree with you that the model that we are building is not perfect and may not get anyware close to perfect in the next few years considering that we are relaying on the 'gifting culture' and volunteer help of educators and support of initial anchor partner insittution.

But I also have to agree with Wayne that this is a start and is better option than NO option for those learnes that have no access to formal - tradition education.

Have the great universities with significant funding and resources done any better for their fee paying students? Very few have. Unfortunatealy majority have not and continue to shamelessly charge and further increase the huge fees for education that is 19th century industrial age 'sausage factory' model. So in such terms I would see our bleak view still outshining them.

There are plenty of informal learning opprtutnites for leanres to choose from to gain the knowledge or skills they are after and we are not trying to replace them. The aim is to offer these learners whichever path they take OER or informal learning opportunities to be able to gain credible qualifications through the OERu.

We really apreciate all the support and contributions from the participants in this seminar.
So please do not hold back and let us know how do you see or suggest that we can improve the model.

cheers
Vasi
In reply to Vasi Doncheva

Re: Getting started - "AVIs - 'select or assign'? ..

by Kathleen Zarubin -

I am wondering .. when we have a 'pool' or group of AVIs ... & they are listed .. besides the issue of when they 'begin' (eg before or after a participant begins a course ..)  the other thing is ..

a) Will the Participant 'select' or choose to link to an AVI or

b) Will an AVI be 'assigned' to a participant.

Or could be an either / or .. & neither situation I guess ... but with a) or b) ...

There could be issues of 'on what bases are we 'expecting' a particpant to choose?  What if too many people want to choose an AVI? (ie more than they have time for?  If assigned ... is this good practice?  and on what bases?  IF AVI 'offers' to be an AVI for a particpant ... on what bases would they do that? (ie 'country? language? age range? - or after enrolled in course could be on subject matter ... 

 

hummm .. just some food for thought - sorry if this has all been 'sorted' already :)

In reply to Kathleen Zarubin

Re: Getting started - "AVIs - 'select or assign'? ..

by Vasi Doncheva -
Great questions Kathleen,
Exactly what we are looking for in this seminar. Our initial thoughts were if possible to develop a self selection framework - process where learners can select the AVI to approach based on the AVI profile (experience, expertise, skills etc.) and ranking in the community. The risk with that strategy is that some AVIs will get more requests than what they can cope with.

Another option is to have AVIs providing different type of support : digital literacy, orientation, supporting learners in they choices etc. ( some theames already coming through discussion about the role and type of support AVIs would provide).

I beleve this discussion will continue in a separate thead so we can get into more detail and specific solutions. But in the meantime I invite anyone with questions or ideas in this area to contribute them here.

Looking forward to how this will develop

Vasi
In reply to Vasi Doncheva

Re: Getting started - "AVIs - 'select or assign'? ..

by E.A. Draffan -

Just dipping in really quickly, but I think support from Mentors with different expertise and skills, working on different strategies sounds ideal when you think of disabled students who may need to access materials in different ways and find not everything is available to suit their mode of learning e.g. auditory versus visual etc. 

In reply to Vasi Doncheva

Re: Getting started - "AVIs - 'select or assign'? ..

by Joyce McKnight -

I think that there will probably be at least a couple of models.  For instance, one of my students suggested that one or more volunteers might be attached to an existing NGO or non-profit and work face to face with students...those people would probably be "generalists" since they would be seeing people with different interests.

On the other hand, at Empire's Center for Distance Learning we have found it more scalable to have advisers with somewhat broad specializations but not necessarily complete generalists.   For instance, I may be assigned to advise anyone with any interest in community and human services...but probably not someone in computers.

I think some way of assigning volunteers would be best but it adds a layer of bureaucracy and probably a salary...a list of available tutors would probably be best with tutors having the power to accept an assignment...not sure though

In reply to Joyce McKnight

Re: Getting started - "AVIs - 'select or assign'? ..

by David Porter -

These are helpful scenarios Joyce that would lend themselves to being diagrammed in a workflow model that accounts for the context in which learners approach OERu institutions - directly or through a network of AVIs that may include NGOs and non-profit community groups.

The NGO | non-profit example provides a concrete example of a "use case" that currently exists beyond institutions. I'm sure NGOs would see OERu and its processes as a potentially inviting path for learners in their orbit. So, completely understanding this particular path in detail would be a useful exercise to pursue.

I'm also mindful of Wendy's mantra about servicing student needs appropriately through the provision of "...simply-offered, easily navigated material leading to a definable conclusion."  Getting these themes mapped into a use case for particular learner pathways would be on the critical path for me.

d.

In reply to Joyce McKnight

Re: Getting started - "AVIs - 'select or assign'? ..

by Kathleen Zarubin -

I am also thinking about the idea of 'something' modelled on' - a number of ‘freelancer’ type websites where in that concept

A) people post a ‘contract / project/ job’ (ie in our case a ‘learner’ ...posts .. “I am looking for …” ) and

B) a ‘Freelancer’ responds ..(ie in our case an AVI ‘offers to meet the need’)

 

The biggest problem with above is that in many cases the learner may not know exactly WHAT they need (maybe) and also would have to have the confidence to ‘post’ the request out to the world so to speak.
(Asking for help is not always easy for everyone ..)

In reply to Wayne Mackintosh

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Anil Prasad P -

Dear Dr. Wayne, Vasi and other friends,

I would like to suggest that we may start separate discussion pages for each critical theme for which we need inputs from the discussants like Role of AVIs, Recruitment/Enrolment of AVIs, Coordination/Governance System for AVIs etc
 
In respect of the first theme – Role of AVIs – I would like to add the following

AVIs can support initially

Course Development

  • Bookmarking of existing OERs
  • Course content development

Counselling services to prospective learners

  • Answer the queries of prospective learners about the OERu system and help them to select a course ideal for them

Post-enrolment learner support

  • All l4c practices like support through group mail, personal mails to promote learning whenever required, video/audio conferencing, group discussions using google group etc, streaming of recorded talks/lectures etc

Assessment support

  •  Help the OERu partners to conduct learning assessment through appropriate LMS/CMS

Warm regards

Anil

In reply to Anil Prasad P

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Wayne Mackintosh -

Thanks Anil,

During the first few days our intention is to review the ideas of AVI concept proposed at the OERu 2011.11 meeting as the basis for identifying the main themes for our deliberations.

Thanks for your contibution(s) for discussion themes.  As we receive contributions from the participants we will categorise these into separate threads for discussion.

 

 

In reply to Wayne Mackintosh

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Ramesh Sharma -

Dear Wayne

thanks.

I like the idea of developing a FAQ database as part of the course development and maintenance process.

May we have some more information on "hybridised approach drawing on gaming theory" please.

with best wishes

ramesh

In reply to Ramesh Sharma

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Wayne Mackintosh -

Ramesh Sharma wrote,

May we have some more information on "hybridised approach drawing on gaming theory"

 I was part of the OERu 2011.11 breakout group at the meeting which discussed ideas for AVI.  A key principle of any volunteer system is the notion that "you can't tell volunteers what to do". Therefore, we recognised that the AVI system will need to be designed as a self-organising system.

The group recommended that we should draw on experiences from a variety of projects, hence the reference to "hybridised", for example open source software communities, honour systems and industry, for example game-based marketing.

This is not my area of expertise, but as I understand it, game theory postulates that an individual's success in a community is based on the actions of others. The idea behind game-based marketing is to engage individuals rather than being mere passive recipients of advertising or traditional loyalty based marketing. Game-based marketing levarages levels, badges, challenges and rewards. (See for example Game-Based Marketing: Inspire Customer Loyalty Through Rewards, Challenges and Contests.)  In computer games, increased experience and competence results in more features and privileges as a "reward" for progress. 

We recognise that OERu is not a game, but there are conceivably game related ideas like WikiEducators Wikimaster typology where community badges are awarded for increased wiki and community competence. Progress is dependant on real service and interactions within the community.  

In social networking games like FarmVille, users earn experience points for doing certain actions. A new player is given a predetermined level of "farm coins" Players can purchase crops and animals in the market. Farm coins are earned by increased levels, completing offers or challenges or can be purchased.   

Are their meaningful challenges and rewards an AVI system could implement?  

Kathleen suggested the idea of Tokens or currency as a possible reward or incentive system in an earlier post.

Are there folk on the list with experience in using game-based strategies? Does the idea have merritt for adults who are volunteering services? 

Helping a learner is a serious but rewarding activity of itself. At the same time, why shouldn't we have fun doing it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

In reply to Wayne Mackintosh

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Christine Horgan -

Wayne:

 Love your comment about, "you can't tell volunteers what to do." You might be able to. The Scouts movement in Calgary interviews and trains its volunteers and the job description is very clear. ... Just a thought.

 Don't know whether or not there's been a negative impact on the volunteer base.

 As a regular volunteer myself (of many things) when it's a big commitment, I certainly appreciate knowing what's expected of me so I can select in or out or pace myself with my other commitments.

 

Cheers, Chris

In reply to Christine Horgan

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Valerie Peachey -
Hi there I tend to agree with Chris. having worked in the field of philanthropy and with volunteers, as well as being a volunteer, I think we should provide some frame of reference, expectations for them etc. This doesn't mean they can't exceed the expectations. Also maybe consider some form of volunteer recognition After so many hours of service. Just wasn't clear if that's what the intention of the badges and gurus were. If we could generate enough revenue I think it would be terrific to actually have a face to face event whereby these virtual volunteers could meet, network and get the recognition in a formal setting. Maybe there are some foundations or corporations who could be approached for sponsorship as this unfolds. Thanks Valerie
In reply to Valerie Peachey

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Wayne Mackintosh -

Valerie Peachey wrote,

If we could generate enough revenue I think it would be terrific to actually have a face to face event whereby these virtual volunteers could meet, network and get the recognition in a formal setting.

 Good point Valerie -- have added this to our user stories so we can incorporate this into the design of the AVI system. 

In reply to Christine Horgan

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Wayne Mackintosh -

Christine Horgan wrote,

As a regular volunteer myself (of many things) when it's a big commitment, I certainly appreciate knowing what's expected of me so I can select in or out or pace myself with my other commitments.

 Thanks Chris -- your authentic volunteer experience is helping us design AVI. I've added your comment as a user story so we incorporate this into the system.   

In reply to Wayne Mackintosh

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Joyce McKnight -

A key principle of any volunteer system is the notion that "you can't tell volunteers what to do".

I am not sure I agree.   When I volunteer (and I do a lot of volunteering) I appreciate having a clear job description that outlines what I am to do, how much time it will take and how I will document my participation.  I do like to have recognition but that is usually in the form of a letter of recommendation or thanks etc.  Although some folks might like tokens etc. that can be cashed in, I would not...keeping track of the things would be a "pain" to me...but then I don't play Farmville or any of the other Facebook games so perhaps I am just too serious and grumpy.  :-)   Some folks might like the gaming aspect but I think the more we can do to make this part of folks' professional recognition the better. 

In reply to Joyce McKnight

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Wayne Mackintosh -

Joyce McKnight wrote,

I appreciate having a clear job description that outlines what I am to do, how much time it will take and how I will document my participation.

 Hi Joynce and others - -I stand corrected on the notion that "you can't tell volunteers what to do" ;-).

Have added your suggestion as a user story for the design of the AVI system. Thanks. 

In reply to Wayne Mackintosh

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Betty Hurley-Dasgupta -

I like the list of potential AVIs.  A challenge will be connecting learners with appropriate AVIs. Some AVIs may be interested in a mentor role as Joyce McKnight describes, but some may not be able to make that level of commitment. So, a range of levels should be made available. An initial aplication that generated tags may work.

Here's a short-term project I could see some AVIs taking on-- some learners need to see how theory conects with practice. For example, a learner interested in water quality would benefit from engaging with an environmental scientist about this work. The environmental scientist may even recommend other resources for the learner.  Or, a statistician may engage with a group of learners in analysis of data. 

In reply to Betty Hurley-Dasgupta

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Wayne Mackintosh -

Hi Betty,

Great to have another experienced colleague from ESC -- the instituion who pioneered the individual curriculum and corresponding support systems!

Matching the different AVI roles with learner needs will be a challenge. We also need to figure out ways in which to manage the realities of what is a reasonable level of commitment for different volunteers. 

I like your example of linking theory with real pracitioners.

Your post also got me thinking about the need for us to be realistic, but more importantly honest with our prospective OERu learners. 

I think the OERu anchor partners appreciate that we're designing and developing the AVI system in good faith as a philanthropic exercise. We accept that we may not be able to provide all the levels of service we would like to see in a "perfect" education system - but what we are offering has to be better than nothing. 

I think the most important aspect is to be honest with our learners. And in this regard we can learn a lot from the open source software experience. For example, the GNU General Public License for free software states:

This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
it under the terms of the GNU General Public License ... 

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.

I'm quite optimistic that with the collective experience of asynchronous learning amoung our OERu anchor partners that we will be able to design a pretty impressive AVI model. Sure, we'll make mistakes -- but we will also learn from the experience. I suspect that the learners we are trying to help will be appreciative of our efforts.

In jest, the saving grace of education is that we can learn inspite of teaching -- so hopefully the OERu is a low risk product :-).

We will be running a controlled and managable prototype in 2012 -- hopefully these prototypes will generate some data for us to gauge needs and realistic levels of service which might be available and achievable.

An exciting project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In reply to Wayne Mackintosh

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Jim Flood -

Hello everyone.

I've been following the threads with interest.

The thoughts that the discussion has stimulated in my mind are:

Starting out as a remote learner is a daunting experience. Do we need to encourage learners to begin within existing communties  (e.g villages, clubs, societies, organisations) who follow an initial course so that to some extent they can be self-supporting - and possibly select their own AVI? 

Can we, as a group, take part in the pilot, taking on the roles of participants and AVIs? Nothing beats first hand experience!

Jim

In reply to Jim Flood

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Pheo Martin -

Good thoughts everyone!  My contribution is that we remember to tap that great number of retiring baby boomer educators.  I believe many would like to be to "give back" and stay involved in what we offer.

In reply to Pheo Martin

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Wayne Mackintosh -

Pheo Martin wrote,

My contribution is that we remember to tap that great number of retiring baby boomer educators. I believe many would like to be to "give back" and stay involved in what we offer.

Hi Pheo (and others) -- any thoughts on how we might engage our retired educators? Looking for a relevant user stories for  the Retired Academic Volunteer role to asssist with the design of the AVI system. 

In reply to Wayne Mackintosh

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Kathleen Zarubin -

This is an Australian Program  ‘Golden Gurus’ http://www.deewr.gov.au/Employment/Programs/GoldenGurus/Pages/default.aspx

Maybe at the very least ‘we’ could make sure ‘they’ know about this project and if similar type programs exist in other country ‘we/ someone could do the same’?

 Maybe there could be a suggested ‘spiel’ (sort of like an invitation?) authored by someone ‘with authority’ (ie you Wayne? …)  - that people could copy and paste and ‘send to relevant’ people / organisations? (should they also cc ‘the author’ ? )

The reason I suggest this is 2 fold.

1) to maintain a consistent message but more importantly

2) to increase the chance of the information being taken seriously (eg I think information from Wayne or whoever, would carry more weight than just me for example .. saying ‘have a look at this’)

Alternatively ..  if it doesn’t create too much work – Maybe there could be a page or discussion where people like me could post a link to programs / places / people like the ‘Golden Gurus’ and ‘someone’ with connections, influence, authority or another ‘appropriate’ person could indicate ‘they’ will make contact with the suggested program/ places/ people.  

 

By indicating ‘they’ will make contact this will avoid either no one contacting suggestions (because everyone thinks someone else will) .. or 100 people contacting the same place.

 This page could also work as a record of the who & when and by whom contact and promotion had occurred.

 

Just writing this I am thinking of a range of places such as Uni Alumni, Volunteering organisations, State Government Departments(?) Other training associations etc. 

Basically, in order to ‘tap into’ the possible  ‘Retired Academic Volunteers’ if promote the opportunity to these types of organisations / programs and ask them to pass on the concept to their members, clients, people, and have (maybe) a ‘welcome’ landing page .. and then a place for them to ‘register’ their interest ...

In reply to Kathleen Zarubin

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Wayne Mackintosh -

Kathleen Zarubin wrote,

Basically, in order to ‘tap into’ the possible ‘Retired Academic Volunteers’ if promote the opportunity to these types of organisations / programs and ask them to pass on the concept to their members, clients, people, and have (maybe) a ‘welcome’ landing page .. and then a place for them to ‘register’ their interest ...

Good thinking Kathleen. Organisations like  ‘Golden Gurus’ (http://www.deewr.gov.au/Employment/Programs/GoldenGurus/Pages/default.aspx)  would be an excellent point of contact.

The OER Foundation would be happy to write formerly to these types of organisation.  Do members of the list know of similar organisations in your respective regions? 

Perpaps we need a separate thread to collect advice and suggestions from SCoPE participants for the contents of the letter. We can draft and make the text available in the wiki to faciliate a consistent message.)  

We also need to think about the kind of volunteer help we would need at this time.

My sense is asking for advice and input for the planning of AVI with specific reference to "Retired academic volunteers" .

Would a covering letter and a short survey collecting the information we need be a suitable approach?  

Would participants be interested in generating ideas for the kinds of questions / data we need to gather when contracting groups like the Golden Gurus?

This could feed into the context evaluation of the OERu evaluation plan being developed by Dr Angela Murphy at the University of Southern Queensland in parallel wtih our planning activities (like this SCoPE seminar.)  The OERu context evaluation is being designed to feed into the planning processes of the OERu. 

Thoughts? Ideas?

 

 

 

 

 

In reply to Jim Flood

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Wayne Mackintosh -

Jim Flood wrote,

Starting out as a remote learner is a daunting experience. Do we need to encourage learners to begin within existing communties (e.g villages, clubs, societies, organisations) who follow an initial course so that to some extent they can be self-supporting - and possibly select their own AVI?

Thanks Jim, good idea. Added to our growing list of user stories.  

In reply to Wayne Mackintosh

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Betty Hurley-Dasgupta -

An exciting project, indeed! I'm happy to see the category of "retired AVI volunteer," for example. Empire State College has connected with it (we give them space) a group that provides learning opportunities for retirees. I can see members of this group taking the Wikieducator training ad engaging as AVIs.  Great resource!

In reply to Wayne Mackintosh

Wraping up the Getting started discussion

by Vasi Doncheva -

Thank you all for your time, great contributions and feedback on the proposed AVI concept and framework.

GSUSA All Abouts Thank you

It seams that most initial questions about areas and things that lacked clarity have been answered and we are ready to move into more focused discussions. Over the next few days I'll be summarizing your suggestions and ideas from the Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations forum and starting new focused discussion threads around the emerging main themes.

The first one is around the proposed role of AVIs ( it got the most contributions).

Please move any further discussion and contributions to the new forum Clarify the role(s) of AVIs  where we hope to define the AVI role(s) and provide some frame of reference what are the expectations that will be communicated at recruitment stage so AVIs can self select the right role for them by the end of this week.

Also feel free to continue contributing user stories in WikiEducator or in the forum User stories as parallel and ongoing activity for the live planning session .

Keep up the great energy and ideas comming.

Vasi and Wayne

In reply to Vasi Doncheva

Mentoring in Teams?

by Nicholas Bowskill -

One reason for my earlier concern was the idea of learners hacking away at self-study material and supported by forums such as those you find for solving IT problems. In an effort to take a more positive view I offer this from my experience of organising a volunteer initiative about 8 years ago.

The key difference is that it invited people to propose learning projects in order to gain support from the community. It avoided leaving them to do self-study and it gave the community a productive focus. The idea was that a proposal would be put to the community to invite those interested to participate as volunteers. This way everyone was a learner and gained something from it. We had projects from Mongolia, India and all over the world and it included helping coordinators to do offline work (Mongolia). The volunteers found resources and discussed the project and its development with the proposer. Volunteer groups typically had about 5-6 people working with the proposer so that no volunteer had to carry the whole burden. The proposer got a conversation about their idea, a variety of hand-picked resources and often a solution that they could use. A win-win all round.

Eventually, things drifted and it faded out but it was potentially scalable. Along the way I wrote and presented a paper at the networked learning conference in 2004 which is here http://www.networkedlearningconference.org.uk/past/nlc2004/proceedings/individual_papers/bowskill.htm

I'm not sure if this early example of internal crowd-sourcing is of interest as a different model but I can feel that I was as positive this time as I was negative before. ;-)

Best wishes,
Nick

In reply to Nicholas Bowskill

Re: Mentoring in Teams?

by Betty Hurley-Dasgupta -

I really like your model and the technology available now (like ePortfolios) make it easier to implement. I could see this model applied to all sorts of projects.  And, what better way for a learner to demonstrate an understanding of a math/science concept (and  concepts in other areas as well), than through engaging in the solution of a real problem!

Thanks for sharing the paper.

In reply to Betty Hurley-Dasgupta

Re: Mentoring in Teams?

by Wayne Mackintosh -

Betty Hurley-Dasgupta wrote,

I really like your model and the technology available now (like ePortfolios) make it easier to implement. I could see this model applied to all sorts of projects.

 Betty, your post emphasises two important issues for our planning of AVI

  1. New technologies (like ePortfolios) and OERs enable us to do more than we could 150 years ago when the University of London external studies programme pioneered the examination only model where students could use any materials for their independents learning and if they could pass the exam, they would get a University of London degree . (Incidentally the Univeristy of London Model produced 5 Nobel Laurettes)   - I think that the OERu network can do better :-)
  2. There is an interplay between the pedagogical design of the OERu delivery model and how the AVI might function in the future. We need to ensure that the "Open Pedagogy" and "Open Student Support" initiatives of the OERu logic model interact with each other. The 2012 prototypes will provide us with real projects to refine these interactions.  
In reply to Nicholas Bowskill

Re: Mentoring in Teams?

by Wayne Mackintosh -

Hi Nick,

Appreciate the feedback and link to your paper. Its a good read.  The OER Foundation experiences concur with your work on "Informal Learning Projects as a Vehicle for Collaborative Professional Development in Online Communities"  Our experiences are very similar to those you have reported. 

For example, we convene an international volunteer community of +25,000 registered WikiEducator users from almost every country in the world. Small groups cluster around interests and through the processes of self-organisation combined with centralised support in professional development the model appears to be working and is scalable.

The planning and development of the OER university is another example. All our planning is conducted openly and transparently. This SCoPE seminar is an example of a small group of volunteers who are assisting with more detailed planning of the AVI sub-activity of the OERu logic model. There are many similarities with your project, for example:

  • The SCoPE seminar planning volunteers are using resources developed by the OERu Founding Anchor Partners (the proposer) as well as contributing links to other resources and personal experiences.  

The OERu network (as proposer) is getting  "a conversation about their idea[s], a variety of hand-picked resources and often a solution that [we] could use. A win-win all round."

I think there are important lessons for us to learn from the history of the Internet and the bazaar model used in open source software development (as opposed to a Cathedral model) for designing the OERu. (See for example:  In an Open-Source Society, Innovating by the Seat of Our Pants by Joichi Ito, Director of the M.I.T. Media Lab). 

The ethos of the OER Foundation planning model draws on this open source thinking, namely to find  "rough consensus and running code".   At this juncture of our planning - -we are aiming to achieve rough consensus about how AVI could work, and then cobble together a few working technologies to get a prototype of the system running for the 2012 OERu course offerings.   

To be fair, we are not going to be able to design a "perfect" system out of the box. No individual involved in the planning of the OERu network can presume to know the detail of the whole of our future network system. It's too complex. However, I think that our distributed intelligence combined with a strong moral commitment to achieve free learning opportunities for all students worldwide (who would otherwise be excluded from a formal education), we can achieve achieve great things.

I hear your concerns about Fordist education systems and the "idea of learners hacking away at self-study material and supported by forums such as those you find for solving IT problems" -- That said, I feel that the aim of providing free learning for all students worldwide is worth the risks of an imperfect system. Hacking away using high-quality OERs designed for independant study has got to be better than no education at all.  After all  -- we can learn in spite of teaching ;-). Working together I think we can design something which has the potential to be an order of magniture better than leaving students alone. However, it must be affordable, scalable and practically doable. 

We welcome your inputs into the design and development of the OERu - -Perhaps the University of Glasgow would like to join the OERTen as an anchor partner in the network? Europe is noticably absent in our innovation partnership :-(.

 

 

 

 

  

  

In reply to Wayne Mackintosh

Re: Mentoring in Teams?

by Nicholas Bowskill -

Hi Wayne, I think you're right about anything being better than nothing and also that this is not just anything. Its a noble project if done with the right values and I wish you luck. As to European representation I don't know why they haven't responded although there are a number of initiatives around networked learning communities that may have occupied people here. 

I'm very low on the totem pole at Glasgow but I'll mention it to a few people. I could certainly see benefits for participation in a number of areas that would offer excellent experience. I'll talk to anyone I see that might be interested to raise a bit of awareness if I get chance.

 

cheers,

Nick

In reply to Nicholas Bowskill

Re: Mentoring in Teams?

by Wayne Mackintosh -

Hi Nick,

I think the restructuring of the funding models in the United Kingdom is a major strategic priority for higher education institutions at this time and understandably is diverting attention away from thinking about innovation partnerships like the OERu.

As an open project -- the European institutions are free to join at any time. We will welcome their participation when they're ready. Until then -- our anchor partners will have competitive advantage for this parallel learning universe ;-).

Exciting times!

In reply to Nicholas Bowskill

Re: Mentoring in Teams?

by Joyce McKnight -

I think this is as excellent idea as is Betty's about using the Life Long Learning group at ESC and perhaps similar groups at other colleges.   I can also envision "on the ground" teams of folks living in similar locales...not all the teamwork necessarily needs to be on the web.  JMcK

In reply to Nicholas Bowskill

Re: Mentoring in Teams?

by Vasi Doncheva -

Hi Nick,

Problem / project base learning in a networked learning environment is a great model engaging learners in authentic learning experiences. I could see how that model will fit well with OER courses designed based on  PBL or inquiry based learning models.

As Wayne pointed out in his reply “"Open Pedagogy" and "Open Student Support" initiatives of the OERu logic model interact with each other”. OERu partners agreed to accept open pedagogy as well as diverse pedagogies as part of the OERu course design as well as assessment.  This translates into the need for variety of support strategies and one of them could be facilitating online group/ project work.

It is great so see we have experts in that area willing to contribute. I have added facilitating online gorups and group work to the suppot under the generalist category.

Vasi

In reply to Wayne Mackintosh

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Paul Stacey -

Wow, lots of great ideas here for tapping in to volunteers. However I notice that everyone is thinking of an AVI as an educator. It seems to me that AVI's could be fellow students or, to build on suggestions already made, teams of students.

As part of what OERu does I think a higher quality learning experience could be achieved by a student to student match making service. I see two possibilities:

1. Match make students pursuing a similar path of study into informal cohorts who could help each other. Essentially students, as part of their study toward an OERu credential, volunteer to take on an informal educator role and reciprocally teach each other.

2. Match make students seeking mentors with students who already have successfully completed study for the area students want mentoring in. It seems to me that OERu could, as part of its model, design in an approach where a student can get credit associated with the degree they are seeking by mentoring another student. One of the best way of consolidating learning is to teach someone else what you have learned.

If OERu and it's anchor partners can conceptualize a model where OERu students are both students and educators I think exciting potentials become possible. Current students (and potentially alumni) are immediately AVI's.

Paul

In reply to Paul Stacey

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Wayne Mackintosh -

Paul Stacey wrote,

As part of what OERu does I think a higher quality learning experience could be achieved by a student to student match making service. I see two possibilities:

 Couldn't agree more - -if you want to learn something, teach it! Good suggestions.

Our thinking is to design courses which build in delivery models that encourage Peer-to-peer learning support. Also, the anchor partners are keen to build in scholarships for senior students who provide volunteer support for other courses they have passed. 

These ideas will also be addressed in the Open Pedagogy and Open Business model initiatives of the logic model.

 

 

In reply to Wayne Mackintosh

Re: Getting started - Seminar overview and review of AVI recommendations

by Hemlata chari -

Excellent Thinking Wayne I think peer to peer shall also help in marketing the programs. I am sorry I joined late. We are starting new program online and as ususal busy with that.

 

In reply to Wayne Mackintosh

Re: Getting started - summary and new focused dicussion"Who are our AVIs?"

by Vasi Doncheva -

Hi everyone,
I have started a new focused discussion around who are our potential pool of AVIs, how can we attract/ recruit them and reward them for their services.

I have summarized the comments and suggestions so far (apologies if I have missed anything). Please post here all your suggestions and further contributions.

Vasi and Wayne