OERu: Developing an Agenda Together Sept 18 - Oct 2, 2013

OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?

 
 
 
 
Picture of Wayne Mackintosh
OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Wayne Mackintosh - Wednesday, 18 September 2013, 3:28 AM
 

Welcome to Session 1 of this SCoPE OERu seminar on Developing an Agenda Together.

The OER Foundation, since our inception, has subscribed to the principles of open and transparent planning where members from the OERu anchor partners join the open community in shaping the OERu agenda. The aim of this SCoPE seminar is to consult on on the development of the agenda for the 2nd meeting of OERu anchor partners. True to our open traditions, the 2nd meeting of OERu anchor partners will also be streamed live with collaborative break out sessions for remote participants. 

We will kick off discussions by exploring the following questions:

  • What is the OERu point of difference and does it need one?
  • What differentiates the OERu collaboration from xMOOCs?
  • What has contributed to the uptake and global interest in the cMOOCs and xMOOCs?
  • What does this mean for OERu?
  • Are there other contemporary developments which the OERu network should take into account?
  • What questions should the OERu network be asking to inform its future?

Please note that all posts in this SCOPE seminar will be harvested and integrated into the #OERu feed on Wikieducator.

You can also post via Twitter, G+ and WikiEducator WENotes using the "#OERu" tag.

Looking forward to rich discussions and interactions. We also thank you for your gift of knowledge in helping us widen access to more affordable education opportunities, especially for those learners currently excluded from the tertiary education system who are seeking formal academic credit.

Your facilitators

Irwin, Brian and Wayne

Picture of Christine Horgan
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Christine Horgan - Wednesday, 18 September 2013, 7:22 AM
 

Irwin, Brian, and Wayne:

I'm really glad we're continuing this conversation (from last year). Could you please, though, remind the less-bright participants (that'd be me in this case) what an xMOOC and a cMOOC are and how they differ from a "regular" MOOC.

 

Thank you, Christine (Chris) Horgan

Haydn
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Haydn Blackey - Wednesday, 18 September 2013, 8:17 AM
 

Hi Chris,

My understanding, for what it is worth, is that a xMOOC is a MOOC using traditional pedagogy across new media to deliver (mainly) paid for learning or as tasters for paid for learning - think Udacity and Coursera. A cMOOC, where c is for constructivist, is the type of webwide learning opportunity which the learner navigates for themselves, supported by others on the journey. These were pioneered by Stephen Downes and George Siemens.

Cheers,

Haydn

Picture of Joyce McKnight
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Joyce McKnight - Friday, 20 September 2013, 8:54 AM
 

Empire State College has been doing some interesting cMOOCs our longest running one moderated by Carol Yeager and Betty-Hurley Dasgupta is on Creativity.  We have a new one on Metaliteracy moderated by our Dean Tom Mackey and his colleague from SUNY Albany and I hope to develop one on Community Organizing in the coming year.  They are great fun and very different from the xMOOCs.

Haydn
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Haydn Blackey - Wednesday, 18 September 2013, 8:15 AM
 
  • What is the OERu point of difference and does it need one?
    • Its distinctive feature is its open collaboration in a international context developing learning for the whole world by building on the experience and practice of learning in many nations/continents.
  • What differentiates the OERu collaboration from xMOOCs?
    • Its primary purpose of sharing learning in an open environment. Its philanthropic routes and its agenda to open up, nor close down, access to education.
  • What has contributed to the uptake and global interest in the cMOOCs and xMOOCs?
    • cMOOCs have seem uptakes and interest because they challenge people to learn in new ways and create new networks of learning. OERu can build on this approach to enable learners to dip in and out of learning from throughout the globe and accredit that (if they want accreditation) or use it as Continuing Professional Development) CPD, if that is their desire
    • xMOOCs have been sold by media hype and effective marketing. They do not, necessarily, offer the innovative approach to learning which are characterised by cMOOCs or the OERu.
  • What does this mean for OERu?
    • The OERu can ride on the MOOC banner while it still has 'street-cred' but needs to be building structures and approaches which challenge simple xMOOC solutions by retaining the Open in OER (while many xMOOCs seem to have lost that element of its provision.)
  • Are there other contemporary developments which the OERu network should take into account?
    • National approaches to OER - the OERu can develop its international engagement by encouraging more nations and institutions to commit to the open in OER.
  • What questions should the OERu network be asking to inform its future?
    • Where do we want to be in the next five years
    • How do we achieve sustainability of provision (though Wayne may have started answering that already)
    • How do we leverage the skills and knowledge of the network into new opportunities
    • How can we grow while maintaining the supportive network and the community of OERu

       

That's my first attempt at answering the questions, I'd welcome additions, corrections and challenges - because how best to use this interaction if not be being open and challenging.

 

Cheers,

Haydn

Picture of Wayne Mackintosh
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Wayne Mackintosh - Wednesday, 18 September 2013, 1:20 PM
 

Hadyn. Excellent set of questions the OERu should be asking about the future. We need to work these into our planning and operations. 

Picture of Rory McGreal
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Rory McGreal - Wednesday, 18 September 2013, 9:25 AM
 

Well, to help heat up the discussion, a few comments on the questions:


What is the OERu point of difference and does it need one?

As I see it, the main point of difference from the xMOOCs is that the OERu is non-profit and composed of a  much wider international membership of institutions. The institutions are not "elite", but overall have far more experience in elearning and open education.

We differ from cMOOCs in that the OERu does not subscribe to Connectivism or any other learning/teaching approach, but rather leaves that to each institution to decide (or to faculty or course designers/assemblers).

  • What differentiates the OERu collaboration from xMOOCs?

As above. And, courses are assembled/built from OER (or not).

  • What has contributed to the uptake and global interest in the cMOOCs and xMOOCs?

The rapidly growing need of millions of learners for higher education acces either because they have no institution available or they cannot afford it because of rising tuition. Also, because of the growing accessibility to the internet using mobile devices (mphones, tablets, netbooks etc.), it is now possible to reach masses of learners globally.

  • What does this mean for OERu
  • RORY> That we need to get up off out a**es and get moving moving!!
  • Are there other contemporary developments which the OERu network should take into account?
  • RORY>> Ubiquity of access; the reduced costs of access to the Internet; Standardisation;
  • What questions should the OERu network be asking to inform its future?

Here's a thought for discussion. Many criticise MOOCs (and elearning in general) for the "commoditization" of education or even worse the "McDonalization".  I would think that although there are negative features of commoditization (one size fits all; all the same; mediocre quality) there are many positive aspects (relatively cheap food, service, standards) etc.  For the most part, people can afford them!

Wouldn't the world be better off if we could commoditise education and thus reach millions of learners, not with a rolls royce education but with a hyundai (or to stretch the analogy further a used car [cf. reused OER]}. I would caution those who think that supporting one approach means opposing other approaches. This is all too often the attitude in education. How about we have "both" or "all of the above" - a learning ecosystem with MOOCs, mOOCs, anit-MOOCs and various approaches to traditional education.

Some thoughts! Let the fireworks begin. (smile

 

Irwin  DeVries
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Irwin DeVries - Wednesday, 18 September 2013, 11:26 AM
 

Hi Rory,

OK I'll take a nibble at this, just for fun.You must have seen this sign when exiting the airport in Denpasar, Bali for the OCWC 13 conference. I couldn't resist taking a picture! So:  I'd suggest that one of the distinctives of the OERu is that it's open for all to use and adapt to their own needs and cultures rather than presenting a standardized product.


Picture of Rory McGreal
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Rory McGreal - Wednesday, 18 September 2013, 12:12 PM
 

Irwin:

Great sign! And to make a point. If OERu is open to all this would include commodified learning packages! Oops! We can't call them that can we? Or, do we have to refer to "learning pathways".

Burger King allows you to get your burger without the pickle, unlike McDonald's. Maybe that version of commoditisation is more acceptable. The Canadian chain Harvey's gives even more choice.

All the best. CU in Kamloops

Rory

 

Picture of David Porter
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by David Porter - Wednesday, 18 September 2013, 1:14 PM
 

To cut it a little finer, I offer the distinction that my colleague, Lawrence Parisotto at BCcampus, uses to distinguish shared service offerings.  It may also apply to OERu differences.

  • Some organizations offer a fixed and described service (the service they offer)
  • Some organizations offer flexible services attuned to identified needs (the services you need).

It seems to me that OERu may be tilting closer to open and flexible services that provide a category of students with educational services that fit their needs.  Describing the range of "fitted" educational services and their open qualities would be the differentiator.

dp

Irwin  DeVries
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Irwin DeVries - Wednesday, 18 September 2013, 4:50 PM
 

David I see one further and finer distinction: not only is the service potentially provided in a more tailored manner, but also users can take a self service approach based on the 4 Rs of openness evident in the OERu model to roll their own courses, i.e. ability to reuse, redistribute, reuse, remix.

In this I'm thinking of users in a broader sense to include educators, who can "4R" these courses  to fit their needs. That in part is why so much work goes into ensuring that every piece of every course is developed or contributed under open licenses.

Picture of Wayne Mackintosh
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Wayne Mackintosh - Thursday, 19 September 2013, 7:46 PM
 

Hi David, 

Great distinction! The continuum between "described service" and "individualised flexible services" can, in my view, be achieved through the adoption of the principles of mass-customisation (referenced by Hadyn). 

Incidentally, the theory underpinning mass customisation has played an important part in the strategic planning for the OER Foundation and the OERu. We are shifting the traditional model of mass standardisation associated with single mode ODL where "economies-of-scale" drive the economic model to one where "economies-of-scope" leverage the principles of mass customisation to achieve "individualised products" at costs lower than those associated with economy of scale approaches.

We have learned from industry that the successful adoption of mass-customisation requires new organisational structures and processes which are often difficult to implement in large organisations. However, the OER Foundation as an independent entity, enables our member institutions to leverage the affordances of mass customisation for their own organisations through a networking model without the need for major reorganisation and/or re-engineering of existing processes. Win-win for all involved.

By way of example, we have been collaborating with Rory McGreal, Diane Conrad, Angela Murphy and Gabi Witthaus on a small research project to explore the economics of disaggregated models for assessing and accrediting informal learners, with particular attention to the OERu. Using open education approaches it is possible to disaggregate a traditional university package into discrete service components for implementing the principles of mass-customisation in a fiscally sustainable and scalable way. (See diagram below.)

Returning to your example, based on needs, an individual may want to have a “described service” similar to those offered by the conventional system. The difference is that the OERu model of mass-customisation will enable partners to provide the “described service” cheaper when compared to the conventional model with the added advantage to reconfigure new service packages for individuals without increasing the unit cost in the OERu production model.

This is smart philanthropy. Watch this space smile

 

    

Haydn
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Haydn Blackey - Wednesday, 18 September 2013, 10:51 PM
 

Rory,

in my discipline (Marketing) we call the idea of commoditised but personalised - Mass Customisation.

I agree with you and David that this is where we should be heading. A core of efficient and effective learning opportunities/pathways which, never the less, become an individual route for the individual learner. And as Irwin points it is even more flexible, because it is not just the individual learners who benefit from taking their own study route, but is also a benefit for educators who can reuse, redistribute, remix and repurpose for yet more educational and personal learner journeys.

 

Cheers,

Haydn

Tony Cairns
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by tony cairns - Thursday, 19 September 2013, 12:27 AM
 

I think students and teachers are using a far deeper and richer stream of information. Students are accessing all available info on all screens 24/7 and teachers are trying to keep up. The world and info is a lot more fluid fast moving and diverse than the streams on offer here. I am thinking of 3D modelling of data, 3D printing of designs and 3D Art music and drama that is occuring just in my school at the moment. I think text and writing is dying and moving image is all - this is a difficult time of transition for those baby boomers like myself or even later generations. The books, texts an essays that we przied and prised from students are as dead in the water as oracles keel. Students are flying on foils and we are in case boats and zodiacs last seen on babylonian tablets. I thought the future was gaming then 3D simulation then altered and augmented reality but that was the last 3 years (2011 - 2013) now its singualrity, travelling towards epsilon and mega data. In short the speed of info is reaching towards an asymptote at exponetial growth - the old power relations and numeric processes fall away and we are left in the dust of our star flung students - we are rounded ere on earth while their minds, technology and processes raom the universe. We need more than a paradigm shift we need new species, ecosystems and ways of being to remain relevant and useful to our offspring in the next 3 months days or hours let alone 3 years.

 

Irwin  DeVries
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Irwin DeVries - Thursday, 19 September 2013, 12:40 PM
 

The topic of credentialing is a big one and has been directly or indirectly referenced several times already in this forum. From early on, the intent of OERu has been to address the growing need, particularly among underserved populations, for access to both the learning opportunities and the credentials provided by higher education institutions. I suspect most if not all of us in this forum, and in the wider field of education, are well supplied with academic credentials that allowed us through the door to work in our field. Of course there are many learners who wish to take their own path and learn as they will, without a need for (further) credentials, and the opportunities in this regard are bountiful, including in the OERu.

On a more strategic level, i.e. institutional transformation, the OERu provides a catalyst for institutional partners to think about alternative ways of assessing and credentialing learning in new and creative ways, as well as new ways of engaging more widely with the world of open.

Picture of Wayne Mackintosh
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Wayne Mackintosh - Wednesday, 18 September 2013, 1:16 PM
 

Rory,

Agreed - -we need to up our game if we are serious about helping widening access to those excluded from formal education. 

We need a sharper game plan to priotise the selection and development of courses towards a "programme of learning" leading to our inaugural credential. I think this is an important agenda item for our upcomming meeting.  

Haydn
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Haydn Blackey - Wednesday, 18 September 2013, 10:57 PM
 

Hi Wayne,

at the University of South Wales (as the University of Glamorgan has become) we have a clear local mandate for Widening Access, so are keen on sharing that with the OERu on an international basis.

We are planning two OERu courses around Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, which would fit well with other topics as the personal skills for business or social enterprise can underpin much development. It is why we choose these topics from our portfolio - so that they would add more value to potential credentialed learning through the OERu.

Cheers,

Haydn

Picture of Wayne Mackintosh
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Wayne Mackintosh - Thursday, 19 September 2013, 6:56 PM
 

Hi Haydn,

That's great news. Enterprise and Entrepreneurship is an excellent contribution to the growing number of OERu course nominations. Do you think the Enterprise and Entrepreneurship could be designed and configured into three or four micro courses? 

We're in the process of building the OERu launch website, and we are keen to list courses which will become available in the network on the website. I'll be posting a call in the next few days to our partners for course nominations which will be listed on the launch website. Look forward to seeing the Enterprise and Entrepreneurship listing smile.

Haydn
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Haydn Blackey - Friday, 20 September 2013, 12:17 AM
 

Hi Wayne,

the existing courses are each 20 credits (200 learning hours). But they are structured so that they could easily be broken into 2*10 credits or 5*4 credits. How micro did you have in mind. We would have to do quite a bit of additional work if we were going down to 1 credit (10 learning hours) as like most of our courses (or modules as we would call them) are multiples or divisors of 20 (our standard size).

Cheers,

Haydn

Picture of Wayne Mackintosh
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Wayne Mackintosh - Friday, 20 September 2013, 1:05 AM
 

Hi Hadyn,

We have been working on a micro courses of about 40  - 50 notional learning hours. I think breaking down "courses" to 10 learning hours (1 credit in your system) are too small for a coherent learning experience imo.  

So 5 by 4 credits would fit very well with the emerging model if that's doable. The big advantage of the micro course format is that it provides a useful mechanism to manage the differences in learning hours / credits for "courses" when finding solutions for international course articulation.

Wayne

Haydn
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Haydn Blackey - Friday, 20 September 2013, 3:37 AM
 

Thanks Wayne,

will get the team working on that now. Getting the content ready has been the priority, but repackaging is something we will focus on now.

Cheers,

Haydn

Picture of Maria Droujkova
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Maria Droujkova - Saturday, 28 September 2013, 4:00 AM
 

When you look at the MOOC stats, most people who start at least some tasks drop out after 6-10 hours of work (2-3 weeks). Something to ponder.

Picture of Joyce McKnight
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Joyce McKnight - Saturday, 28 September 2013, 1:27 PM
 

The number of hourse of engagement is probably one place among many that MOOCs need some research...who starts them? why are they intrigued?  why do they drop out after a relatively few hours?...and here is another place where your comment about learner involvement rings true...this research should focus on learners and should include both qualitative and quantitative components.   Does OERu (perhaps through its partners) have any access to graduate students in education...some of these questions might make good theses.

Picture of Maria Droujkova
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Maria Droujkova - Saturday, 28 September 2013, 2:27 PM
 

I've been taking some start-up business training this summer, which came with an NSF grant. The point everybody keeps making again and again: TALK TO YOUR CUSTOMERS. Early and often. To hundreds of them, one-on-one, face-to-face (or at the very least in video-conferences).

For example, one "magic ingredient" raising completion rates of online courses are local support groups. Who would have thought? The optimal length seems to be three to four weeks, whatever the weekly workload. This may be different for degree programs, but research is needed.

Picture of Kathleen Zarubin
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Kathleen Zarubin - Saturday, 28 September 2013, 2:44 PM
 

picking up on the point .by Joyce  above  

"Does OERu (perhaps through its partners) have any access to graduate students in education...some of these questions might make good theses."  

I have a still 'fuzzy' idea that perhaps, for fun? at first 'a person like me'  could think "I would like to investigate that ....   and then (somehow?)

Do 'my investigation' through / within OERu .. free-range? via 'courses'?  - all for free ...   and share / feed back into OERu ...

and then either think - well that was fun / I learnt some stuff / shared some stuff - which may or may not then be built on by others ... 

and / or ...

I might think "hey - I wonder if some place might be interested in looking at / assessing (for a fee) - my stuff ... and see where (if anywhere) it may fit into some kind of credential ..

 

Is this part of the vision that others see as well?  (or am I way off mark?)

Picture of Wayne Mackintosh
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Wayne Mackintosh - Saturday, 28 September 2013, 6:01 PM
 

Hi Maria,

Thanks for popping in -- I recall that you have been part of the OERu discourse since our inception.

Drawing on our own data from running a few micro open courses concurs. We typically schedule the learning interaction in cohort-based mOOCs over 10 working days (2 weeks). Our very first open course in the WikiEducator community in Jan 2007 was scheduled over 3 weeks and we found the more compact and shorter format resulted in better engagement.  We have also found that staring a 10-day micro course on a Wednesday so that we sandwich two weekends within the course teaching-interaction perios also provides learners with more flexibility to "catch-up" over the weekends. We also "extend" the course for a week or two for late arrivals to complete the activities before we run the course analytics. 

This format fits the 40 hour model for a univeristy credit bearing mOOC. The courses are designed for 2 - 2.5 hours learning time per day, which totals 20 - 25 learning interaction hours leaving 15- 20 hours for a substantive summative assignment.  For now it seems to be a good size to maximise engagement without too much attrition but large enough to design meaningful summative assessments. 

Picture of Maria Droujkova
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Maria Droujkova - Sunday, 29 September 2013, 4:40 AM
 

Wayne, thank you very much for that study. I have not seen that data yet. Yes, I've been following these talks and other Wiki adventures before that, and went to the UNESCO meeting in Paris in 2011.

It's interesting that your experiments led to the same length of courses as ours. I think the number of hours per week varies by the goal of the course, but two weeks (plus pre- and post- admin work) seems like some sort of a universal optimum for the course duration.

Picture of Brian Lamb
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Brian Lamb - Wednesday, 18 September 2013, 11:05 AM
 

Thanks for getting us rolling, Wayne. It's exciting to see this discussion getting underway. TRU is very fortunate to be hosting the next gathering of OERu Anchor Partners, and it will be fascinating to watch this open process develop the agenda for that event.

This characteristically participatory process in itself speaks to the "OERu point of difference" that Wayne refers to.

I had something of a moment of clarity when I read the announcement for the "Open Education Alliance" last week. At the time, I was most struck by Audrey Watters' observations that this OEA made no mention of open source, open licensing... it seemed like a defining case of "openwashing".

But reading David Wiley's dumbfounded response the next day, my reaction to the OEA alliance grew even darker. What strikes me as most troubling is that this group of that this collection of major corporations (and a token university partner), with little history of supporting the long evolution of open education, had taken it as their right to declare themselves the "alliance" of open education with no consultation with or even acknowledgment of the community that has been working so hard on this stuff for so long.

So if I had to pinpoint the "OERu point of difference", I would say it lies in an identity as the inverse of the OEA. It is profoundly and demonstrably dedicated to transparent and participatory processes. Its members have been hard at work in all manner of open education work (not just open content, but the extension of access to higher education) for many years.

But obviously noble values are not in themselves enough. As noted by others in this thread the challenge we face is to build on our extensive expertise as educators to build out frameworks that will push open learning beyond inspiring ideas and impressive collections of learning resources. These days, I am thinking a lot about the dreary details of staffing, training and sustainably funding the new ways of working that open education requires. Can OERu allies help figure this stuff out?

I'd also add that what I think of as the "OERu mode of collaboration", highlighted by the public nature of this planning process, integrating 'Twitter, G+ and WikiEducator WENotes using the "#OERu" tag' in itself speaks to a potential strength of OERu -- an ability to tap into and feed back into a larger collection of networked educators beyond our formal alliance. I hope we will be able to take full advantage of that strength.

 

Picture of Stephen Downes
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Stephen Downes - Wednesday, 18 September 2013, 2:16 PM
 

- What is the OERu point of difference and does it need one?

The primary (and perhaps the sole) point of difference between OERu and the other initiatives is the manner of course construction, using the wiki and (mostly) volunteer labour. Perhaps secondarily, the fact that OERu materials can be reused, though reuse permissions vary through the open online learning community.

- What differentiates the OERu collaboration from xMOOCs?

Strictly the reuse permissions. The 'logic model' employed by OERu is (more cynically) also employed by, say, Coursera.

It may be that there is an argument to be made for the gretaer quality or usefulness of learning materials created collaboratively in a wiki environment, but as OERu has focused more and more on its university "founding partners" it becomes more like Coursera, and less like Wikipedia. In my view.

- What has contributed to the uptake and global interest in the cMOOCs and xMOOCs?

Marketing.

CMOOCs were around for a while without making a huge impact (though they were influential pedagogically). It is with Stanford's AI course - and the support of the Stanford media machine - in 2011 that the format became popular. The marketing was so influential that they were actually given credit for inventing the form, though we know that both MOOCs and OEREu were around before Coursera.

- What does this mean for OERu?

It's running behind in a race against well-funded marketing machines. No doubt board members on OERu "founding partners" have wondered why they weren't "involved in a MOOC'. OERu is not sufficiently 'more open' to attract notice from the supporters of xMOOCs, at least, not in the popular media and public opinion. Initiatives like Wikiversity and Curricki find themse;ves in the same position.

I don't think 'being a wiki' open education initiative will be sufficient to attract long-term interest (though this should not deter OERu and WikiEducator members from continuing to create and contribute valuable online learning materials). It will probably create funding pressures for OERu, as "founding members" look elsewhere to join the MOOC bandwagon.

Should OERu brand itself as a MOOC initiative? I don't think so - it would be like trying to retroactively give itself credit for being a part of a movement it wasn't a part of (like the way Alison is saying it created the first 'MOOCs' in 2007 because it released some 'openish' learning content).

But I think OERu can draw on its superior pedagogical knowledge and offer a more substantial learning experience than the Video+quize format of the xMOOCs. Maybe cMOOC people and OERu people should talk more.

- Are there other contemporary developments which the OERu network should take into account?

Well, yeah. Can it get past the concept of a 'class' and 'university credit' (ie., the old-fashioned and not very open logic model) and embrace a model of learner-driven education? Can it nurture (and support existing) domain-specific communities with the sharing of resources, practices, war stories, activities, etc?

Before MOOCs became large the same community was talking about the concept of personal learning. The institution-based OERu model is a step away from that (as are the institution and course-centric MOOCs, both 'c' and 'x'). Can OERu find a way to merge collaborative community with personal learning?

- What questions should the OERu network be asking to inform its future?

To me, the central (and existential) question always facing OERu (and WikiEducator) is: who does OERu and WE serve? WQho is intended to be the ultimate beneficiary of these initiatives? When a person contrubutes content to WE, who are they trying to help?

As the emphasis of WE has shifted over time from open learning to founding partners, the answer to this question has become murkier. When we see initiatives like Coursera and Udacity launch, it becomes relevant to ask how different OERu is from either of these. I'm not saying they are the same. But the difference is far less clear after the 'logic model' than it was before.

 

Picture of Rory McGreal
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Rory McGreal - Wednesday, 18 September 2013, 4:04 PM
 

Stephen et al.

Thanks for you contribution and your support for learner-driven education and personal learning environments. There is room in the OERu tent to experiment with these approaches. There is also room in the OERu tent to support video lecture-led classes and learning-driven educational approaches. This of course is to be expected in and open initiative made up of more than 25 institutions on five continents. 

Other members, I am sure have their own opinions in our wide tent, but I for one do not see OERu as “running behind in a race against well-funded marketing machines”. In fact, I wish them every success and if they can deliver education to masses of learners for free at low cost to students, that is wonderful. I hope they can make money doing it. Let’s spur them on. Shame on us in public institutions if we cannot do better. The OERu represents one attempt to do better. 

Who the OERu serves is very clear. The OERu serves learners who through no fault of their own (or even if it is their fault!) cannot attend a traditional (or even open) university, probably because there isn’t one available in their region or country, or its full and won’t accept them or they cannot afford the tuition. They want to attend the university to gain the credential.  They gain the credential by learning. And by paying for it in some cases. 

Other learners, who are not interested in gaining a credential can also benefit from OERu by accessing the content provided and/or following the OER pathways that are being assembled/created. For them everything is free. They can also use the OER to help create their own personal learning environment and meet other learners in the OERu communities, some of whom may be more interested in the credential. So, the OERu is not a “step away” from PLEs, but it can include PLEs along with many other approaches to learning, as any “open” initiative should.

I do not see the relevance in asking how we differ from UdaCity and Coursera.  The reality is that knowledge has broken out of its chains in libraries and bookstores and become widely available to billions of internet users. What is relevant is how we as educators can make use of this cornucopeia of knowledge to educate the billions of people who need it AND to ensure that their learning, whether through PLEs or programmed instruction or simple browsing can become recognized and accepted. OERu will differentiate itself by increasing learner access to credential more than the others. But if others do better, eh! What harm? There’s room for everybody.

Rory

Tony Cairns
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by tony cairns - Thursday, 19 September 2013, 1:39 AM
 

I agree with Rory - above - and i am reminded that the golden horde trvelled far with their tents packed tight. That 1 in 200 still carries its leaders genes (including me)  should not blind us to the power and persusion of more modern day Khans. For it is in ther academies, wiki fields and WINyardsthat my students labour. My students carry 3 devices one the phone connects to youtube, spoify or even itunes to drown out theri teachers voice another the (i)pad, (i)pod or note(book)  plays the videos games and skpes to hide the sight of teachers too and third my students carry cams and coms to link to every other student cohort.

How can teachers let alone OER ever compete and hope to win their attention, time and energy. Students are mainlining data, they are info junkies and they rarely dine on our toxic brews of words and still images form a long forgotten age when we were young.

In musems where i curated for 7 long years and advised for another 7 -  the object, memory and story were king queen and fool. In teaching the experience, experiment and explorations remain our bishop, knight and rook. In OER the wiki, tweet and post become our 1, 2 and 3 but all are gone before the kids arrive

Credentials are nothing to kids, they arrive for credits, swot for exams and pay for degrees. More paper in a digital age is recycled unread, unnoted and undone. Creeping credentialism runs out of wall space. Kids value, time, money and contact as we do not the writings readings and numbers of ages past. Co construction of knowledge only works if you have something to say and someone wants to listen

I think education suffers if we think we have something worth listening to rather than listen to(o)

 

Picture of Joyce McKnight
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Joyce McKnight - Saturday, 28 September 2013, 1:43 PM
 

Right on Rory!!!!

Picture of Wayne Mackintosh
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Wayne Mackintosh - Thursday, 19 September 2013, 6:40 PM
 

Stephen Downes wrote: 

Can [the OERu] get past the concept of a 'class' and 'university credit' (ie., the old-fashioned and not very open logic model) and embrace a model of learner-driven education? Can it nurture (and support existing) domain-specific communities with the sharing of resources, practices, war stories, activities, etc? 

Before MOOCs became large the same community was talking about the concept of personal learning. The institution-based OERu model is a step away from that (as are the institution and course-centric MOOCs, both 'c' and 'x'). Can OERu find a way to merge collaborative community with personal learning?

A minor clarrification and response to Stephen's questions.

The concept of a "Logic model" is widely used in the non-profit sector as a results-based management approach to assist with planning and implementing complex projects. For better or worse, it is the structure we are using to classify the wide range of activities needed for implementation of the OERu.  The "logic" of the logic model is that there are a number of inputs for key initiatives aimed at achieving a number of project outputs on the pathway to achieving the stated outcomes. At the OERu 2011.11 meeting we identified a number of intiatives (eg Open design and development, open curriculum, open pedagogy, open assessment.)  These are used as headings to classify and list the range of indiviual activies necessary for the implementation of the OERu. There are possibly better organising frameworks, but so far we have found the logic model to be very open in that any activity needed to progress our work can be slotted into the framework. If we need a new initiative - we simply add it to the mix. Openly licensed - there are no constraints to how we organise the framework for planning the implementation of the OERu.

Can the OERu get past the concept of "class" and "university credit"? 

Yes -- I think we can and already to some limited extent have been moving beyond these contraints. 

For example, in the recent OCL4Ed micro Open Online course, we identified 3 ways for learners to engage;

  1. Self-directed interest: Learners in this category select concepts, topics and activities during the course according to personal interests. They can sip and dip into sections of the course which they find interesting. (Note that registration is not required for participation in any of our courses and we harvest the course tag from a wide range of social media technologies.)  In our experiences from offering OCL4Ed from small groups of around 300 up to 1000 participants, many learners in this category participate actively during all sessions of the course, however there are no minimum participation requirements for self-interest learners. We have found that a single microblog post from a passerby can add value to the networked learning experience.  

  2. Optional certification for active participation: During OCL4Ed 13.09 we are trialling certification for participation, based on the achieving the minimum participation thresholds. Participation will be measured by the interactions learners posted and selected activities they completed during a course. The OERF will issue a free digital badge for those learners interested in this form of certification. 

  3. Optional learning for credit: A unique feature of the OERu is that learners can submit your work for formal assessment on a ‘fee for service basis’ from designated OERu partners. Successful students will carry academic credit towards the specified course credits. All the assignments and assessments are published as OER and do not require registration with the OER to access these assignment questions. They could be reused by any organisation as is the case with all our OERu course materials (which are essentially distributed on the web.) 

A small step in the direction of learner-driven education is our work prototyping micro Open Online Courses (were micro is a subcomponent of course.) In theory this could provide more flexible options for learners to customise their own curriculum towards academic credit. This is easier said than done, because a point of difference in the OERu model is that we are offering credit towards credible credentials and the ecosystem will be constrained by the accreditation requirements of the regional and national qualification and credentialing authoroties. Most university credentials are based on the building blocks of courses - so we need to work with this. I think "ecosystem" is a good word here -- the OERu is focusing on the formal academic credit part of the ecosystem, others will be able to step in and fill the missing gaps and pieces in other parts of the ecosystem.  

The beauty of the OERu model is that we can dissagregate the learning from cohort-based delivery and paced assessment. In the future I would like to see options for "continous courses" where learners can start an OERu learning experience when they want, in the sequence they want, where they focus on areas of their own interest and if they want, submit formal assessments when they are ready. The approach will not suite all disciplines, but we can use when appropriate. This model presumes a critical mass of learners working on the same topic at a given time for more valuable peer-learning support but will rely on the principles of open self-organisation.

Can OERu find a way to merge collaborative community with personal learning?

Yes - we are very supportive of merging collaborative community with personal learning. Its in the DNA of the open wiki design model. It's a lot harder to implement in practice and we've got a lot to learn in getting this right -- but I don't see any barriers to implementing these approaches alongside the range of approaches which are and will emerge as we gain more experience. 

Stephen - an insightful contribution to keep us thinking.

Picture of Gail Morong
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Gail Morong - Thursday, 19 September 2013, 7:56 PM
 

Wayne wrote: In the future I would like to see options for "continous courses" where learners can start an OERu learning experience when they want, in the sequence they want, where they focus on areas of their own interest and if they want, submit formal assessments when they are ready.

Wayne, I like this idea. As you know, I started the OCL4Ed course late and I am diligently working through the sessions although the course is officially over...my intent was not to "sip and dip", but to get the learning in its entirety. However, because the course had a set start and end date, some of the options mentioned in your post are now not open to me eg the participation badge...unless my current work and contributions can count the next time it runs. I felt as if I was in a very "closed" system because of the time constraint. Of course, I plan to keep going with my personal learning around open licensing, but I am not sure others will keep reading my posts and answering my questions since the course instructions did not mention it as a possibility (I know you will personally answer any questions I have, but is the rich communication opportunity with classmates now lost to me?)

As someone coming in late into the mOOC, I also found it difficult to find all of the older comments on a particular question (eg What is a good definition of OER? ) because there was no subdivision of posts by topics or questions...so much was mixed up, buried far in the past and not easy to find (there is probably an easy fix for that in future).

I am not intending to be critical, but simply offering some perspectives as a mOOC participant that might be helpful as we think of designing learning experiences that a variety of users can find enjoyable and useful to them.

Question 1 for OERu: How do we get institutions to go beyond saying they support "open" to putting some serious resources into making it part of their practice and culture?

Question 2: How do we measure the cost of people's free labour "for the cause of open?"

Many people may have discovered their attempts at contributing to the open movement is not sustainable...it can be quite time-consuming for some volunteers with full-time jobs. I guess I am trying to say that "time is money"...so implementing the 4Rs has a big cost to it...It's easy to tell people to use OER, but it's not always easy for them to actually do it within the context of their busy lives.

Picture of Wayne Mackintosh
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Wayne Mackintosh - Thursday, 19 September 2013, 8:45 PM
 

Hi Gail,

Valuable feedback -- thanks for those inputs. 

OCL4Ed 13.09 instance has a  fixed start and finish dates and was not offerred as a continuous mode course. However, obseving pariticpation from "late arrivals" during this and previous offerings has us thinking about how to tweak the technology to support a "continous cohort." It is certainly doable from a technology point of view and it is something the OERu should prototype in the near future. 

The architecture of the aggregated feed could be further refined to deal with these challenges and we can improve by using unique tags for designated activity blog posts which would help navigate these contributions over time. It would be great if a few of our OERu partners could contribute a little technology development time as part of their 0.2 FTE contribution to the network. In this way we could speed up the rate of technology innovation.

You are absolutely right - time is money.

The OERu model is fiscally sustainable and scalable. In an ideal world:

  • OERu partners should not add the development of their OERu course contribution on top of existing workloads, but rather as part of the redesign of an existing course.  
  • OERu partners should reuse existing OER courses -- because they can offer assessment services without spending a cent on development. 

That said, we are in a protype phase where our developments are intended to inform our work for the future and in some instances, the prototype developments were carried out as "additional" projects rather than mainstream operations. I think this will change as our network and experience matures.   

I can confirm that our network is on the verge of achieving a fiscially sustainable project without reliance on 3rd party donor funding. We only need another 10 or so partners to achieve the economic threshold where we can start paying for the assembly of courses for the benefit of the OERu network. At our next meeting we will discuss the criteria we will use for deciding on which courses we will comission. For example, partners who have competed their two course contributions could have preferential voting rights on where the money will be spent.

The OERu network is shifting the question from: How do you achieve sustainable OER projects?  to  How will your institution remain sustainable withour OER?  

While I don't regularly admit this, I trained as an accountant in my first life. The OERu network was designed for fiscal sustainability from its inception wink. We're almost there!  

By design, we've been operating on a shoestring budget to date. Flying below the commercial MOOC media hype has been very good for us. The advantage is that we do not have huge debt or venture capital to pay back, but we're gaining authentic experience from an incremental design approach.  We are well past the 60% sustainability threshold and the model will scale as more partners join. I anticipate that we will have a session at the meeting where we will unpack the economics and sustainability of the OERu model. 

Picture of Gail Morong
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Gail Morong - Thursday, 19 September 2013, 9:39 PM
 

Thanks Wayne for your explanation. I know you live and breathe OERu, and newbies like me are only now coming to understand more about the economics and sustainability of the model. That understanding is important as I will need to play my part in marketing the model to others. I appreciate that the OERu is only in the prototype phase until the official launch in Nov. and I am honoured to be part of this phase. I am learning so much everyday. I am looking forward to all OERu member institutions developing their 2 open offerings...hopefully sooner rather than later. Keep asking institutions to contribute the technology assistance that is needed to move the OERu forward...help has to be somewhere out there.

Cheers, Gail

Picture of Wayne Mackintosh
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Wayne Mackintosh - Thursday, 19 September 2013, 10:26 PM
 

Hi Gail,

Another reason why these open planning seminars and our annual OERu partner meetings are so important. We can share experiences and bring everyone up to speed with what is happening. This will become increasing important as new partners join the network. We need think of ways of sharing our collective experience better so others don't need to reinvent wheels.

This alludes to an agenda item we should consider for  the TRU anchor partner meeting, i.e.  to reflect on how we can improve on open collaboration within the network. Irwin's research work on open design using the OERu as a case study will add good value to this agenda item.  

 

Picture of Joyce McKnight
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Joyce McKnight - Saturday, 28 September 2013, 1:34 PM
 

Stephen:  I agree whole-heartedly with your statement

"It may be that there is an argument to be made for the gretaer quality or usefulness of learning materials created collaboratively in a wiki environment, but as OERu has focused more and more on its university "founding partners" it becomes more like Coursera, and less like Wikipedia. In my view." 

And in my view that is a bad thing.   We do not have the resources to compete with Coursera and I don't think we should try.  

Picture of Joyce McKnight
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Joyce McKnight - Saturday, 28 September 2013, 1:41 PM
 

Another place I agree with Stephen who said:

What questions should the OERu network be asking to inform its future?

To me, the central (and existential) question always facing OERu (and WikiEducator) is: who does OERu and WE serve? WQho is intended to be the ultimate beneficiary of these initiatives? When a person contrubutes content to WE, who are they trying to help?

As the emphasis of WE has shifted over time from open learning to founding partners, the answer to this question has become murkier. When we see initiatives like Coursera and Udacity launch, it becomes relevant to ask how different OERu is from either of these. I'm not saying they are the same. But the difference is far less clear after the 'logic model' than it was before.

For what it's worth, as an idealist I was drawn to the OER-u (and wikieducator) as a way to help share "all the world's knowledge with all the world's people" by getting materials out to educators particularly in developing countries...the partners often have a different agenda (i.e. institutional survival and growth) that contradicts the altruistic mission...I think the partners' main role may be in accepting credits drawn from OER sources, not in creating courses, MOOCs, modules or anything else themselves.

 

Picture of Wayne Mackintosh
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Wayne Mackintosh - Saturday, 28 September 2013, 7:09 PM
 

A few comments and clarification in follow up to Joyce's post referencing Stephes contribution:

To me, the central (and existential) question always facing OERu (and WikiEducator) is: who does OERu and WE serve? Who is intended to be the ultimate beneficiary of these initiatives? When a person contrubutes content to WE, who are they trying to help?

As the emphasis of WE has shifted over time from open learning to founding partners, the answer to this question has become murkier.

WikiEducator serves all educators who want to engage in collaborative OER development or perhaps just to learn wiki skills which is an important service the OER Foundation offers to educators worldwide. As the site rankings of WikiEducator have increased over the years, we have seen an increased number of new accounts created for the purposes of spamming links to external sites (about 200 - 300) new accounts each month. Spam posts are deleted and these users accounts are banned. 

There are hundreds, if not thousands of projects in WikiEducator ranging from small personal "pet projects" to national collaborations which are not in anyway related to the OERu.

The OERu is but one of these projects in the WikiEducator community.  

The OERu project is serving learners who are interested in more affordable opportunities to formal academic credit using courses based on OERs and openly accessible materials on the Internet. 

This is what WikiEducator users say when joining the community based on our survey of 2200 community members (I don't think spammers bother filling out the survey wink):

  • +34% of users are working in the school sector
  • +48% of users are working in the higher education sector.

Over time the school sector has steadily being increasing in relation to tertiary.

Here is the breakdown of reasons educators cite for joining the community. The majority of WikiEducator users (70.3%) join to learn wiki skills. 67% join Wikieducator to research new ideas and trends and 62% join to develop OERs. 56% of respondents indicate that they join to connect with the WIkiEducator community. 

About 60% of new account holders in WikiEducator have never created a wiki account before. In this regard WikiEducator plays an important role in providing educators the opporunitiy to gain wiki editing skills.

In answer to the question, I think when I person contributes to WikiEducator they are serving their own open education needs within their own context.  The OERu is one sub-community focusing on their particular needs for the communities they are aiming to serve, i.e learners seeking formal academic credit from OER courses. 

Picture of Paul Stacey
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Paul Stacey - Wednesday, 18 September 2013, 6:15 PM
 

Congrats on the upcoming meeting and for continuing with the open collaborative process of planning.

What is the OERu point of difference and does it need one?

  • I like to say the OERu is "distinctively open". I see several real points of OERu difference. Open peer review, open public input, open educational resources, open textbooks, open file formats, open source software, open enrollments – add these all together and the OERu is distinctively open. OERu walks the open talk.


What differentiates the OERu collaboration from xMOOCs?

  • OERu is different from xMOOCs in that it uses and develops OER, its focus is on granting credit (as opposed to seeing credit as an option), its participating institutions are global, and it is looking not just at courses but full programs and credentials.


What has contributed to the uptake and global interest in the cMOOCs and xMOOCs?

  • Providing free (no cost) access to education. Perceived prestigiousness of institutions and their "star" professors. Venture capital. The global recognition that education has yet to fully realize the innovations associated with going digital.


What does this mean for OERu?

  • OERu needs to hold the course it set for itself. OERu offers a credible and attractive alternative model. A model in which all institutions can participate not just the elites. However, OERu needs serious marketing help to define how it is different and how it should describe itself to students and other potential institutional partners.


Are there other contemporary developments which the OERu network should take into account?

  • I think OERu needs to leverage the pedagogical possibilities of OER and innovate the teaching and learning process it intends to use. I suggest it change the traditional formula of engaging students as passive recipients of pre-packaged learning to one of engaging students as active co-creators of OERu offerings. The OERu could also set for itself a goal or challenge of fulfilling a particular societal need.


What questions should the OERu network be asking to inform its future?

  • Who are the target students OERu wants to serve?
  • How will OERu recruit, retain and ensure student completion of OERu offerings?
  • How can OERu surround OERu offerings with student supports?
  • What will be the tangible outcome and benefit students achieve on completion?
  • What does success look like in 1 year, 3 years and 5 years?

Paul Stacey

Tony Cairns
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by tony cairns - Thursday, 19 September 2013, 1:04 AM
 

I think the OERs that work are the ones we try and ban - the ones that offend us the one that shock us

I think wikis are pretty damn dead and buried and before you think I am some troll come to rattle the wooden  bridges of the billy goat gruffs let me explain that yes we used them to no small success in 2009 and maybe 2010 and they were boring teacer led dump heaps even then - students had moved to logs, vlogs and texts

As for lectures videoed and mixed we tried that in the 2010s and 2011s to equally faint acclaim

My thoughts are simple - what we try and ban is what works - what we disdain is current what we reject is modern 

We tried to ban powder keg games that taught bomb making and explosive analysis they keep creeping back in on sticks, drives and emails We tried to ban YouTube but it crept through the walls with hacked networks and repeater stations in basements and lockers. 

 

We banned phones, pads, games, blogs, YouTube, tumblr, Facebook, MySpace, Wikipedia - what we did not know and could not understand was that the utility, ubiquity and reward startegies/feedback mechanism made all the above winners in their time and we came late to the party to adopt if not use all of them

What we dislike is liked by our students, what we disdain they respect, when we despair they repair - its a function and product of aging to be on the wrong side of technology, education and history

or in the mortal words of Blam Blam Blam Don't fight it marsha(ls) It's bigger than the both of us

I think Pauls questions are good ie 

What questions should the OERu network be asking to inform its future?

  • Who are the target students OERu wants to serve?
  • How will OERu recruit, retain and ensure student completion of OERu offerings?
  • How can OERu surround OERu offerings with student supports?
  • What will be the tangible outcome and benefit students achieve on completion?
  • What does success look like in 1 year, 3 years and 5 years?

But I seek to change the time scale to 1 month, 3 mnths and 6 months as technology is speeding up and the time to market (OERs) decreases

I seek to change the word student to content consumer and provider

I think students need to design lead test and use OERs apps, sites and processes

I thik there is no completion its just survival to be noticed in a tide of info that runs quickly out of our safe harbours to meet the tsunami of data crashing on our screens

I think its a contest for time energy and atoms of students minds eyes and brains

Success is being ere next week, month and year, tenured or not, funded or no,t relevant and useful or not

Service is a worthy goal in the contest of memes but i am not sure what currency it holds or carrries in a free contest of ideas

Picture of Joyce McKnight
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Joyce McKnight - Saturday, 28 September 2013, 1:54 PM
 

Paul:  Really good thoughts...probably because they resonate so well with my core values, especially this statement:

Are there other contemporary developments which the OERu network should take into account?

  • I think OERu needs to leverage the pedagogical possibilities of OER and innovate the teaching and learning process it intends to use. I suggest it change the traditional formula of engaging students as passive recipients of pre-packaged learning to one of engaging students as active co-creators of OERu offerings. The OERu could also set for itself a goal or challenge of fulfilling a particular societal need.

I support this statement from the bottom of my heart so to speak and am willing to spend time on such a focus...developing courses, not so much.

Picture of Wayne Mackintosh
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Wayne Mackintosh - Saturday, 28 September 2013, 6:40 PM
 

Paul and Joyce,

Absolutely! We have found the strategy of engaging learners as co-creators of OER to be effective as a pedagogical approach in the WikiEducator community. 

The WikiEducator family has been using pedagogical approaches which engage learners as co-creators of OER development since the inception of our open courses in 2007. The pedagogical design of the Learning4Content initiative which to date has offered free learning opportunities to +6000 educators worldwide is based on the idea of sharing their knowledge by developing one lesson of free content and releasing this as OER back to the community. Its a learn-by-doing model and pretty active in the sense that students are developing OER in an authentic open community. Uptake from learners is not as high as we hoped it would be with only 25% to 30% of the learners actually engaging in the process. 

Other examples I think of:

  • In the most recent Open Content Licensing for Educators workshops we invited learners to develop MCQs for testing knowledge on copyright based on the idea that if you want to learn something, teach it! Learners were given the choice of applying open licenses for their creations and these MCQs will be used as inputs for future offerings of the course as well as developing the question database for future summative assessment for formal academic credit using a credit by exam model. There was also an activity where learners were tasked with developing case studies on copyright and Creative Commons licenses which will be integrated back into the course materials in the future.

  • We are developing a mOOC on the design of OERs as an elective in the Open Education Practice course (which will be credit bearing.) This will involved the design and development of 5 notional hours of learning to be released as OER. 

Picture of John Stampe
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by John Stampe - Thursday, 19 September 2013, 6:38 AM
 

First, let me take Rory's analogy a step further (maybe a step to far smile) and consider OERu not as either a rolls-royce or hyundai education, but rather as an electric car education. That is, with innovative design and good for the environment (in this case educational environment).

As for a question for the future, especially as it concerns newly joining institutions (or those wishing to join): How can we incorporate OERu credentials (if that is the correct term) into national standards, many of which are designed around traditional education and ideas, including credits, evaluation, classwork, etc. Many authorities have a tendency to be defensive and reluctant to change. I have known colleges (some prestigous ones) which have been threatened with closure due to this.

John

Picture of Joyce McKnight
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Joyce McKnight - Friday, 20 September 2013, 8:50 AM
 

Hi Folks.  Sorry to be somewhat late in joining ESC is changing to the Moodle Rooms platform and life has been chaotic to say the least...I will try to keep up now...and hopefully add to the conversation.  All the best to everyone.  Joyce McKnight, Empire State College (USA)

Picture of Joyce McKnight
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Joyce McKnight - Friday, 20 September 2013, 10:36 AM
 

I would like to take a quick shot at this:

  • What is the OERu point of difference and does it need one?  I am not really sure what is meant by "point of difference" but it sounds like a marketing term.  I think it is far more important that we are clear about our mission, our target audience, the measurable outcomes for our target audience, the processes needed to reach that audience, evaluation criteria, how we are going to monitor progress and formative evaluation.   Marketing should never trump mission.  Mission informs marketing.
  • What differentiates the OERu collaboration from xMOOCs?  I hope that our mission is the point of differentiation...our goal is to enable mostly underserved students to access learning that they can use as they wish (including providing ways to turn that learning into marketable credentials...including degrees but other kinds of credentials as well).  We should be learner centered.   I think the xMOOCs are really institution centered...although they certainly do share information, they are really marketing and PR tools...and probably do not really reach the underserved very much.
  • What has contributed to the uptake and global interest in the cMOOCs and xMOOCs?  I think cMOOCs and xMOOCs are two very different "animals" cMOOCs systematize the kind of "connected learning" that lifelong learners and effective people in general have used for millenia...they use "high tech" but are really "close" forms of learning, participants are able to be real people and build ideas with one another.   I am less familiar with xMOOCs but they seem to be colder and more distant, based on an information sharing rather than a connected model of learning...I see a place for both kinds of MOOCs in what I hope will be the ultimate OERu world...a place where people learn to structure their own learning experiences from all the marvelous resources available and then have it recognized.  Personally I like cMOOCs because I like being connected and learning together...but I can see a role for xMOOCs in conveying technical information.
  • What does this mean for OERu?  I really don't think the OERu should be in the business of creating courses.  I feel that emphasis has been a big mistake.  Our major role should be in helping learners make wise choices, helping them consolidate and articulate their learning, and then enabling them to link to institutions where this learning can be given credit.
  • Are there other contemporary developments which the OERu network should take into account?  In the US PLA (or PLA-R as it is known elsewhere) is finally starting to "make waves" in fact President Obama has even mentioned it in a recent tour of higher education institutions as a way to acknowledge non-institutional learning.  The State University of New York (which has 60 different colleges and universities including ESC) has a major PLA initiative going on...I think OERu is remiss in not emphasizing that part of the mission.
  • What questions should the OERu network be asking to inform its future? I think we should be designing do-able ways to teach learners the steps I mentioned above:  helping learners make wise choices, helping them consolidate and articulate their learning, and then enabling them to link to institutions where this learning can be given credit.  I am experimenting with ways of doing this with our own students.  I would be glad to share if there is an easy way to do it.
Picture of Wayne Mackintosh
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Wayne Mackintosh - Friday, 20 September 2013, 8:35 PM
 

Hi Joyce,

Welcome aboard our planning seminar!  Its always good to remind ourselves of the core philanthropic mission of the OERu -- that is is widen access to more affordable education for those excluded from the formal sector. Yes marketing should not triumph mission. That said, I think the OERu is best described as "smart philanthropy" because the lesson we learn from widening access to education through the OERu can be ploughed back to improving effeciencies in the mainstream operations of our partners.

I agree that we should not be in the business of creating courses -- we should be in the business of assembling courses from existing OERs. While the OERu should think about ways in advising students to take informed decisions -- I don't agree that we shouldn't be involved with courses for the simple reason, without the organisational obligation to award formal academic credit for OERu courses they assemble - -we will not succeed in mainstreaming open education approaches on campus. The option for using closed courses becomes too easy wink

PLAR or RPL is cores to the mission of the OERu and partners who have robust RPL mechanisms in place will generate competitive advantage in the network. PLAR provides the policy protocols (or precedent) for credentialing services. The challenge is that traditional PLAR methods (eg portfolios) do not scale well and in some institutions the cost to students for PLAR would be higher than the costs using alternative OERu credentialing models.   

Picture of Joyce McKnight
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Joyce McKnight - Sunday, 22 September 2013, 5:47 PM
 

I think you and I differ on the scalability of portfolios.  We (Empire State) are really pushing and being pushed for scalability right now and are working to use the Mahara platform in that way.  The State University of New York is huge and the models we will have to create are being designed with worldwide applications...and should/could be used by the OER-u.   I am not saying don't create courses from OER's...but I am saying work on PLA-R scalability.   We have to do it here at ESC...and I for one am working to make sure that whatever we do here could be easily shared.

Picture of Wayne Mackintosh
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Wayne Mackintosh - Sunday, 22 September 2013, 6:23 PM
 

Hi Joyce,

There is no question that ESC are pioneers in implementing individualised degrees and I suspect that if anyone has the insights into scaling PLAR it will be ESC wink.

In a recent study, we extracted a small sample of leading PLAR institutions and established that the average cost to student for gaining credits for 3 courses averaged 44.5% of the comparable full tuition costs for the 3 course equivalents. The cost to student is still very high when compared to estimated costs of around 20 - 25% of full tuition using the OERu course model. To be fair, PLAR is more labour intensive and provides learners with greater flexibility than course-based models.  There is no question that OERu must incoporate PLAR solutions as part of the mix in providing customised pathways to gaining more affordable academic credit using open education approaches. 

I'd be keen to hear what solutions ESC are implementing to scale the PLAR model and what opportunities OER provides to potentially reduce the cost per credit for OERu learners in a sustainable way.

For example, The LearningCounts initiative of the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) has a do-it-yourself course to support learners in building a portfolio (however, learners don't get hours for this course unless they take the instructor-led version.). The OERu network could design a "do-it-yourself" credit bearing course on how to build a portfolio based entirely on OERs. The credits for this course could be recognised towards our Bachelor of General Studies.

Other ideas for scaling the PLAR model? 

 

 

Picture of Mika Hoffman
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Mika Hoffman - Friday, 27 September 2013, 6:53 AM
 

Sorry to be so late replying--had great trouble finding the time to navigate the steps to participate! Anyway, hoping it is not too late to respond to other ideas for scaling the PLAR model: one of the great things about the OERu model, to my mind, is that if there is some coordination on which open content is used for courses, then scalability of assessment is possible with "pre-fab" exams. Excelsior's major interest in the OERu community, in fact, is that we build such exams, and see a great opportunity for them to help reduce the cost of a credential. Wayne mentioned an average of 44.5% of full tuition costs for PLAR, which may still be out of reach for many; by using exams that broadly test the subject area, if enough people take the exams we can get costs to 10% or less of the cost of a comparable course. I'll go back to the commoditization comments Rory raised: by having the assessment be less hand-crafted and more assembly-line, we can still provide a credible credential, even if it's not as "pretty" as a portfolio. The key here is to have well-defined learning outcomes for the OERu courses. That way even if individual institutions want to mix and match the OER in different ways, if we can all get together on the core of the course, it is possible to create exams to fit the core that can be used for credentialing.

Picture of Wayne Mackintosh
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Wayne Mackintosh - Friday, 27 September 2013, 6:12 PM
 

Mika wrote:

[O]ne of the great things about the OERu model, to my mind, is that if there is some coordination on which open content is used for courses, then scalability of assessment is possible with "pre-fab" exams. Excelsior's major interest in the OERu community, in fact, is that we build such exams, and see a great opportunity for them to help reduce the cost of a credential.

Exactly! As we discussed previously, I have an OERu prototype in mind, namely to trail the concept of a single mOOC for mutliple level exit points. I want to trial the Open Content Licensing for Educators micro-course for credit at 3rd year bachelor's level in addition to a 1st year bachelor's level. I have the credentialing and summative assessment sorted for 3rd year level. I will be able to implement a 1st year option towards an approved credential at Otago Polytechnic. What I'm keen to do is prototype the first year assessment with the help of Exelsior College using your credit-by-exam model. I don't think this course would be a high enrollment option, but that's ideal for prototyping. Small enough to manage if we get things wrong. However, the course will be high profile because it will be an initiative of the UNESCO-COL OER Chair network as our contribution to widening knowledge in OER with multiple options for credit. 

I'd like to set asside a session during the upcomming meetings to explore these ideas. 

Picture of Joyce McKnight
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Joyce McKnight - Saturday, 28 September 2013, 2:06 PM
 

I think that OERu could take a page from ESC (or at least how ESC seems to be evolving)...when a student enters the OERu world, offer them a free course in portfolio development (designed around the principles of the OERu's PLA-R accepting institutions)... offer it very much like you offered the beginning wiki-educator course...give badges or something for completion...and design it so that at least some of the receiving institutions would give PLA-R for it...

Part of the scalability would be in fact that the student would have a portfolio (or at the very least the means to create a portfolio) in hand when s/he entered the receiving institution.   As a mentor at Empire State, I would dearly love to be assigned a student who already had even a partially assembled portfolio...the time needed to go through our PLA processes would be halved.  I suspect that the same might be said of other PLA granting institutions...the more the student has a grasp on what exactly they know and would like to have credited...the faster (and therefore less expensive) the whole process.  (I have a lot of "stuff" on this already).   By the way, I love Mahara for this process...I think it would be the platform to use.

Picture of Wayne Mackintosh
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Wayne Mackintosh - Saturday, 28 September 2013, 7:41 PM
 

Hi Joyce,

That's a brilliant idea -- why don't you propose the development of an OERu course (hopefully credit bearing) on how to develop a portfolio based on OERs as ESC's course contribution to the network.

I would imagine there would be strong interest from other OERu partners who have advanced / progressive PLAR operations including for instance, Athabasca University, Thomposon Rivers University, Otago Polytechnic, University of South Wales, others?  If there is interest among the partners we can definitely include this in the agenda during one of the meetings.  We will have a few of the PLAR / RPL gurus from our partner institutions attending the OERu 2013 meetings. So a good opportunity to develop a proposal for action.

I would strongly recommend that a development like this should be technology neutral (i.e. it should prescribe or be dependant on a given e-portfolio technology) because that would seriously impeded reuse accross the network for institutions who do not use Mahara.  Adopting a generic design would enable partners to choose their own e-portfolio platforms. 

Picture of Joyce McKnight
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Joyce McKnight - Saturday, 28 September 2013, 10:02 PM
 

Maybe we could develop a "working group" among us at the meeting that could continue beyond...there are also a lot of Council on Adult Experiential Learning members that might be interested...I think I might be able to round up some volunteers...representing ourselves as volunteers, not necessarily our institutions.   J.

Picture of Paul West
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Paul West - Saturday, 28 September 2013, 11:31 PM
 

Hi Joyce 

I have been watching the PLA/RPL space for a long time and feel ongoing frustration with the seeming lack of progress. Maybe your experience combined with the OERu, could help to show how a system could really work. 
 
The issues around RPL not being a simple assessment, and the learner needing to have 'the rest' of the knowledge of the course s/he might have undertaken, is an issue. So now RPL sometimes appears to be seen as providing a few credits - but that the learner still has to register for (and pay for) 'the course' - and do the prescribed exams to get the credit and recognition. I have heard comments in presentations on RPL about this - that the learner may just as well have done the whole course because the volume of work in preparing the portfolio (usually for part of the credit required) is just so much.
 
While we are debating these things, some policy documents are beginning to emerge that restrict future actions by groups such as the OERu (Example: http://tinyurl.com/oxs5m8y). As policies by governments get published, the future becomes more locked down. Could the OERu, with experience of the institutions mentioned in this discussion, help to formulate example policies for governments to consider? Is there sufficient influence within this group to get the outputs of these discussions heard so that we influence the future of policy which in turn impacts on the OERu and the future of education?
 
We need a simple way to recognize the competence of tens of millions of people who did not have the benefit of an ivy league education. I hope the OERu can really focus on such needs in its future. Influencing the future of policy and creating a pragmatic system for conducting RPL/PLA for itself could be a part of the OERu's work. 
 
Regards
 
Paul
 

---

Paul G. West
 
Picture of Wayne Mackintosh
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Wayne Mackintosh - Sunday, 29 September 2013, 3:39 PM
 

Hi Paul,

I'm not a PLAR /RPL expert -- but speaking to colleagues who work in this space, one of the major differences between "advanced" PLAR/RPL systems and “pseudo” PLAR/RPL  is the ability to recognise experience "outside the traditional classroom" at the graduate profile level rather than individual course credit outcomes. When PLAR/RPL systems attempt to map learning outcomes at the individual course level we risk ending up with the scenario you describe, namely that it would have been cheaper and perhaps easier for these learners to complete the courses themselves. Sadly many institutions use idiosyncratic systems which attempt to map learning experience to individual course outcomes under the banner of RPL. Such systems are not scalable and not good examples of how PLAR/RPL should work.

However, institutions which do have robust PLAR/RPL operations are able to offer a viable and affordable alternative for credentialing life experience. For example, at Capable NZ, Otago Polytechnic's RPL initiative, portfolio based assessment for a full-credential is about 33% of the comparable cost of tuition for a full-time degree. Most RPL policies do incorporate credit transfer protocols for recognising classroom learning as part of the larger PLAR/RPL systems.

We're very fortunate to have a few of the world's leading PLAR scholars and practitioners joining us for the OERu TQF meeting at COL on 4 November 2013 and we will focusing on how the OERu system of course-based learning will interface with our PLAR/RPL systems.

Picture of simon fenton-jones
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by simon fenton-jones - Saturday, 21 September 2013, 8:15 PM
 

Hi,

I lurk too often. But OERu are always one of my guiding communities.

It's interesting that we are starting at this "marketing" discussion. Stephen, Haydn and Joyce have made comments to which I can only nod. It's seems to be the hardest thing for most OPEN initiatives. i.e. Coming to terms with the new principle of marketing, which in turn changes the business logic.

For me OERu's main point of difference is OERu's "open governance". You have no idea how many of my policy making correspondents I have pointed to the first Anchor Partners meet and said "here's an illustration of the culture you're trying to encourage". (which for me, always leads into a discussion about common (network) tools the global OPEN cultures would share, in order to be inclusive).

And just so you don't think I'm limiting this to Education. Here's a recent conference that bought lots of "Opens" together. Nice.

That comment you made Wayne; about OERu being a part of an (education) ecosystem, in which other projects/initiatives (with collaboration) will provide missing elements, made absolute logic to me. So maybe the question here should be; what are the missing elements, and with which (kind of) communities should OERU be collaborating? Here's one project's perspective of "their" ecosystem from OKcon. (slide 2) Everyone's scratching their heads about the business case/sustainablity. There's no lack of potential collaborators. But no common strategy and division of labour.

Perhaps the only point I can make is that OERu members might revisit "what business they are in?" So far as i can see, OERu is a marketing opportunity for its institutional(ized) National members and beyond. That Linkedup challenge illustrates  some of the common challenges for OERers. 

But these global OER communities really don't like addressing their common issues with their National network managers, as a global group, do they? It's "the Web" or nothing. That would be one unique point of difference. Might also provide some serious tools which everyone would want (to share).

Picture of Wayne Mackintosh
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Wayne Mackintosh - Saturday, 21 September 2013, 9:21 PM
 

Simon wrote:

Perhaps the only point I can make is that OERu members might revisit "what business they are in?" So far as i can see, OERu is a marketing opportunity for its institutional(ized) National members and beyond.

The OERu is in the business of offering free learning opportunities using courses based solely on OER and providing more affordable pathways to gaining formal academic credit towards credible credentials.  We are building the ecosystem to achieve these objectives in a fiscally sustainable and scalable way.  The majority of our partners are engaged in our network as part of their committment to social inclusion. The OERu model will open opportunities for new (but optional) services.

Our core values are:

  • Free learning opportunities for all students worldwide

  • Affordable assessment services towards credible credentials

  • Open source (technology and learning materials)

  • Strategic philanthropy

  • Sustainable education futures.

We are scratching our heads less about the business case / sustainability than others because our work is alligned with the core mission of publically funded education and we have clear indicators of how sustainability will be achieved leveraging the affordances of open education approaches.

Picture of simon fenton-jones
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by simon fenton-jones - Monday, 23 September 2013, 4:58 PM
 

Thanks Wayne,

Just to complete this positioning (to use the marketing lingo) discussion. The one value that seems (to me) to distinguish OERu from other OER initiative is:

Affordable assessment services towards credible credentials

I don't know how OERu members judge credible credentials. Obviously students will judge them from the jobs it enables them to get. So, for an on-demand uni, one main focus for the OERu will be in defining the skills and knowledge that will satisfy the job market. That's why I suggested that the OURu is a marketing opportunity for its members. Many jobs these days require an understanding of a global culture and online skillset. No single bricks and mortar uni can see it, much less provide it. I think the OERu might.

I'm not sure I understand you last para. But I should point to this online learning platform and charging approach, and community, as it's been self sustaining, without any public money, for over 10 years. So it's a proven self sustaining model. (advertising for the forums. Charge for the books and answers) Their expert volunteers are paid.

Hope it's of some use.

Picture of Wayne Mackintosh
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Wayne Mackintosh - Monday, 23 September 2013, 6:15 PM
 

Hi Simon,

I would agree that "Affordable assessment services towards credible credentials"  is a point of difference only when we add "distinctively open" to the mix.  To the best of my knowledge, we are the only international collaboration where all our infrastructure technologies and learning materials are open source, we subscribe to and implement open design and open planning practices - this SCoPE seminar being a case in point.

I still see the OERu as one node in a larger ecosystem when it comes to responding to the needs of the job market. I think the "informal learning" initiatives will play an increasingly important role in this evolving ecosystem in conjuction with the traditional closed university models and corporate startups we are seeing in this space.

Wearing my OER Foundation hat, we will not implement adverstising as a potential revenue stream on the WikiEducator websites as this is not a good fit with publically funded education, nor will the WIkiEducator community accept this approach.

I'm reminded of Naimo Klein's 1999 book: No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies regarding the risks associated with permitting the sale of "one brand" of a comodity on campus at the expense denying learners the right to purchase "competing brands".  In addition, academics who provide assessment services through our OERu partners are entitled to a "living wage" in accordance with remuneration practices. The OERu is not a  "sweatshop" operation. This is why we need to charge for assessment services. In time we may be able to identify alternate revenue sources, for example government grant to subsidise OERu summative assesments -- we will see how this evolves.  

We will achieve a fiscally sustainable model by leveraging the network effect of integrating OER as part of mainstream operations on campus, thus giving expression to the UNESCO 2012 Paris OER Declaration where member states are encouraged to release teaching materials funded from taxpayer dollars under open licenses. With 30 partners -- we will have 60 courses assembelled from OERs and open access materials for use by anyone with optional pathways to gain formal academic credit. The more partners who join the network -- the greater the benefit and return on investment for individual partners. A classic example of the whole being more than the sum of the parts.  

The OERu network is smart philanthropy smile

 

 

Picture of simon fenton-jones
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by simon fenton-jones - Tuesday, 24 September 2013, 9:57 PM
 

Kup pun Kap Wayne (hey, I'm trying to learn the local lingo),

I think you'd be surprised just how many projects there are who say "we are the only international collaboration where all our infrastructure technologies and learning materials are open source, we subscribe to and implement open design and open planning practices".

Just reading Paul's last posts where he addresses "Open Access" amongst other things, which is the librarian profession's spin on the same open visions. These days I'm using the OKFN working groups page as a central point for where all the openers might discover what they have in common. And you know, when I talk infrastructure, I'm including the National network managers, who plug the unis in every country together, and are always left out of these (content) discussions.

But even they are starting to talk above the radar. (Gotta say though - you'll like this - after I had assembled this page and asked for a little collaboration on fleshing it out. Silence.) You have no idea of how many open source collaborative/social tools have been reinvented in the National R&E network silos. e.g. Put any NREN acronym, followed by collaboration, into Google. Endless versions of the same thing.

Re: advertising. I hear you. I guess (the best way to explain) the development I see is that the orgs who are willing to part with money to sponsor a F2F conference will eventually extend that to sponsor the online discussions which take place before, during and after a series of conferences. And some conferences might always be virtual.

BTW. That last comment you made "The more partners who join the network -- the greater the benefit and return on investment for individual partners" is a perfect description for what network guys talk about when they say "cross-side network effect". So you might want to give this one some thought, especially Fig 1. It tends to explain why there's so much confusion between the two mindsets when they start talking about networks.

Khun dee ma, simon

Picture of Rory McGreal
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Rory McGreal - Wednesday, 25 September 2013, 9:33 AM
 

Simon,

Thanks for this. Could you please point to the projects you refer to in the first paragraph? We are involved in a mapping exercise and also for putting relevant Open content into the  OER Knowledge Cloud.

All the best.

Rory

Picture of Don Beadle
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Don Beadle - Monday, 23 September 2013, 2:49 PM
 

This morning, myself and a group of educators were looking at a product that is designed to make publishing easy for students, "ibook author", so it is a product, designed by a company, laden with copyright and proprietary issues, designed for the education industry. All very well if one lives in the developed world and has access to required hardware.

At OERu it seems that we are the antithesis of this, finding ways to collaboratively, and openly provide learners with successful (universal) access to education, to learning.  

I think that is the point of difference, of departure.

Picture of Wayne Mackintosh
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Wayne Mackintosh - Monday, 23 September 2013, 6:41 PM
 

Hi Don,

Great example. The OERu approach is based on the fundamental starting point that no learner should be forced to purchase a proprietary software license or be forced to sacrifice their freedoms regarding preferred technology choices to access OERu learning materials.

At the OER Foundation, we go to extreme lengths to ensure that all materials use open and editable file formats. This is to foster and promote a culture of remix and avoid the risks of “neocolonialism” where materials from the industrial world are dumped in formats which restrict educators around the world from adapting and modifying content for their own context and purposes.  

In practice, the question of open file formats is sometimes hard to implement, for example the use of open video formats where some commercial browsers do not provide native support for these video formats.  The obvious solution is for the learner to download an open source browser. However, sadly, some employers lock down the desktop and do not allow the user to download and install software. Consequently we have a scenario where learners may not be able to view open file format video because their employers do not allow the freedom to choose browser software. We take a pragmatic view and do our best to maximise access to the materials compromising our values on open file formats sad

But I do agree, distinctively open (as mentioned by Paul Stacey) is a point of difference in the OERu network. 

Picture of Maria Droujkova
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Maria Droujkova - Saturday, 28 September 2013, 4:41 AM
 

What is the OERu point of difference and does it need one?

Accessible certification that counts.

Most of your potential users don't care about:

  • How open OERu internal processes are
  • That the resources are open-licensed

The above two are tools that allow OERu to operate, not value propositions for users. Users want access.

What differentiates the OERu collaboration from xMOOCs?

Working with universities on certification that counts.

What has contributed to the uptake and global interest in the cMOOCs and xMOOCs?

Star names of universities and professors. People want a piece of that, in both c and x cases, though in different contexts.

What does this mean for OERu?

Nothing - OERu has a different value proposition. It's more like Seth Godin's initiative: a Community College.

Are there other contemporary developments which the OERu network should take into account?

Blended (local+global) networks. If OERu prepares and promotes local, on-the-ground leaders of local learning circles, it will make a difference. Look at La Leche League - it is, first and foremost, an education initiative.

What questions should the OERu network be asking to inform its future?

Talk to the students. Ask them what they need. Where are the students in these forums?

Picture of Joyce McKnight
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Joyce McKnight - Saturday, 28 September 2013, 1:22 PM
 

Maria:  You are quite right...we need to have input from students (learners) and we also need input from faculty members at all levels (we have tons of them who have taken the wikieducator courses) at this point our planning is way too top heavy...

Picture of Wayne Mackintosh
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Wayne Mackintosh - Saturday, 28 September 2013, 6:12 PM
 

Hi Maria,

I think you right, most learners don't care if the OERu processes are open or not. However, our partner institutions do care about open processes and this is particulary important because prospective partners can see what we are doing and it contributes to trust in the project.

I think learners do care about the price of text books and proprietary resources the are required to purchase in traditional closed models. So that is a point of difference - -more affordable education.

You make an excellent point of blending local and global and this was a significant benefit of the Scenario Planning protype we ran in conjunction with full-fee students at the University of Canterbury was able to offer an international learning experience with participants from +32 countries which would be difficult to replicate using the traditional campus model. The local community of post graduate students generated the "critical mass" of interactions for a meaninful networked learning exprience. 

 

Irwin  DeVries
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Irwin DeVries - Saturday, 28 September 2013, 8:38 PM
 

Maybe learners don't care (or notice) much at the outset as to whether the OERu has open processes or not, but they may well be surprised when they find out that "open" as in Coursera includes prohibiting the use of their MOOCs for credit elsewhere, as noted in the Textbook Zero thread. That is definitely a point of difference that needs to be part of the OERu's marketing message. That seems like quite a biggie, in my opinion.

Picture of Wayne Mackintosh
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Wayne Mackintosh - Saturday, 28 September 2013, 9:12 PM
 

Definitely a biggie to be included on the student FAQ page of the OERu launch website.

Have made a note. 

Picture of Joyce McKnight
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Joyce McKnight - Saturday, 28 September 2013, 9:45 PM
 

Yes, non-tranferability is certainly a big one...do they mean that students can't transfer a MOOC and call it their learning experience?  Or do they mean that they can't claim it as background for their knowledge of a topic (without asking for credit)...For instance in the PLA I am familiar with the student defines his/her learning, the college assesses it, and an agreement is made about credit to be received...we would probably not transfer in a MOOC of any kind that did not have credit from an accredited institution...but we would transfer in documented knowledge which could have been gained from a MOOC.

Long before MOOC's or even the internet there were workshops etc. that provided knowledge but no systematic evaluation (like a proctored exam etc) that could not be brought in transfer, but students could and did use as one of several ways of documenting learning for the PLA process...

As I understand it the OERu courses would be transferrable as courses...but the other thing I hope the OERu will work on is encouraging an easy way for student to document prior learning will simultaneously working to get institutions to give credit for it.   I wish we would work on that side of the equation...but may be a lonely voice in it.

Picture of Maria Droujkova
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Maria Droujkova - Sunday, 29 September 2013, 4:59 AM
 

Wayne, let me clarify the point I am trying to make. It's not as much about the substance as it is about the way messages are crafted. Here's a TED talk about it (Simon Sinek), and here's a short summary by Hugh MacLeod:

  • Why are you doing it?
  • How are you doing it?
  • What are you doing?

The order you answer is key. “We make a car, this is how we make it, and this is why we’re making it.” Yawn. Everyone makes cars. I already stopped listening. But answering “Why to What” gets attention. Passion attracts passion. Employees feel it. Customers feel it.

Openness is the HOW. Start from the WHY, like those you listed in reply to my message.

Dear partner institutions, we are transparent and trustworthy. We achieve that by using open processes.

Dear students, we are affordable and accessible. We achieve that by using OERs and open processes.

Dear students, you learn deeper and stay more motivated by participating in local groups. We provide structures for that to happen, by forming an international network of local groups.

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Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Wayne Mackintosh - Sunday, 29 September 2013, 2:44 PM
 

Hi Maria,

Thanks for the clarrification -- I now see what you mean. That's well founded advice which we must implement in our communications. 

Thanks for that!

Picture of Wayne Mackintosh
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Wayne Mackintosh - Saturday, 28 September 2013, 6:18 PM
 

Maria wrote:

Talk to the students. Ask them what they need. Where are the students in these forums?


Yes, the OERu should be more proactive in talking to students and that's an area for improvement potential.

Just two points:

  • We do talk to students through the course evaluations we administer after each micro course and this has been invaluable in refining and improving our delvery approach over the last 6 years trialing the open course delivery model in the WikiEducator community.
  • We run numerous open community lists, of which this forum is one. Many participants in our community lists are learners from our courses who stay on and help shape the future of the community.
  • In jest, when is comes to open education, most faculty are learners in this space wink

Picture of Joyce McKnight
Re: OERu 13.09 - Session 1: The OERu point of difference?
by Joyce McKnight - Saturday, 28 September 2013, 9:48 PM
 

Of course we are learners...I learned in this space not to fear Moodle at least from the learner side (the jury is still out on the teaching/course design side)...I love to learn which is why I want to share the experience (of self-directed learning) with everybody.