Can you add something student-centered to the priorities? I mean a way to get students involved in the process, now. If I send my pre-college students your way, what will they be able to do to help build this dream?
Valid point - yes we should add something student-centred to the priorities. We really need to pick up on early brainstorm work around designing Academic Volunteers International - this is missing from the plan.
I've added your point to the summary for the Strategic Planning Working group.
Thinking out loud -- I wonder if student engagement should be incorporated into the community source objective of Strategic Goal 1 which deals with building a sustainable and scalable OERu network? Volunteer contributions, especially from learners will help scale the OERu collaboration.
Hi Wayne, agree with Maria on the need for outreach to students as early as possible. For me, school was a lost cause by the time I was 14. There being no means for me to contact people who cared, left me in a pointless spin until I could escape.
If you are suggesting that Academic Volunteers might help I think the first step is to decide what categories those volunteers will come from. If all are from an academic background then OERu will simply repeat what we already have.
Thanks for sharing.
During a previous SCoPE seminar, we started brainstorming "user stories" for different categories of volunteers. This still needs a lot of work, but your point is well made that simply replicating what we already have will not necessarily get us to where we want to be.
The fundamental challenge we are trying to address is to widen access to free learning opportunities, especially for the millions of learners who are excluded from the tertiary sector, with pathways to acheive credible degrees.
As a small charitible colloboration - we simply do not have the resources for sophisticated outreach to students. Our model is designed around smart integration of peer-learning support. On the technology side, we use a Personal Learning Environment (PLE) approach with careful integration of peer learning activities.
Terry Anderson's work on the interaction equivalency theorem provides some research evidence that if we can effectively ramp up student-student support, we can get away with not having high levels of lecturer-student interactions.
To be candid - in a large online class, there is a strong likelihood that a number of learners will "know the answer" (or at least know how to find it).
Good call about volunteers, because volunteering is something a lot of active teens already do.
How can students participate in decision-making, with appropriate support? Power, agency, design, that sort of thing.
Maria, exellent point about power, agency etc of decision-making in volunteer models.
I think there is a lot we can learn from the meritocratic approaches used by a number of open source projects where influence is earned through the recognition of their contributions.
I think the OERu is evolving in this direction - we are distinctively open in all our processes but folk who have earned their stripes and gained authentic experience through their contributions play a significant part in the open decesion-making in our network. Using this model, there is no reason why learners can't influence the shape of the OERu in a meaningful way.
The model seems to work, because OERu partner institutions retain decision-making autonomy regarding, for instance credit transfer and course articulation which keeps a healthy balance.
I suspect there is still a lot we need to learn - but doing it helps us move forward in an incremental way.
Hi Wayne, I appreciate the difficulty of organizing a system of volunteers but also think this can emerge from an interested community. It wasn't until after graduating high school that I realized education was actually interesting and even occasionally useful.
Having worked most of my life with apprentices in the building trades it's now clear to me I wasn't oddity. Of course by then it was too late. Strangely, there seems to be no one in schools that can explain the value of education beyond it being the thousands of rules called "learning".
If school is going to be for everyone there's going to be a need to convince young people that themselves educated is available without surrender.
Hi again Wayne, just realized my comments are not particularly helpful so instead ofgeneralities...Reading; "Summary of AVI ideas as of November 2011" the last source of support existing open communities sounds good.
Isolation is a large weakness in online learning. People simply drift away, get behind, feel ignored or have some crisis that could be noticed and fixed f2f. Someone who will respond with support within a reasonable period of time on the net might be service shared out among a community. This person need not be an expert but rather a reliable companion with the experience of the "silence of the internet.
Beyond being saved from disappearing by being noticed this mentor-like role provides a membership example of where education can lead. This was vital working with apprentices as a validation of effort noticed.
Yes, I see what you mean now. In the absense of "designing" learning pathways with integration of peer-support, independant study online can be a lonely experience.
In the OERu model, we incoporate microblog posts and something called WENotes which provides a 24/7 stream for peers to interact with each other. We've also developed support tutorials to help with technical support.
The idea is that volunteers could help with both content and "how to learn" support using these interaction tools.
We have experiemented with a peer-based question and answer technology (similar to Stack Exchange) in some of our prototype courses where learners could post questions, and anyone could provide answers earning karma points for good answers voted by the community. This worked reasonable OK until the critical mass of main questions were populated on the site, and then it became a read-only resource rather than a community support tool.
I do agree, building a community of OERu mentors could help tremedously, including retired educators, peer-learners, community service initiatives where learners "pay-back" their learning by offering help and support or actually earn credit for providing support etc. I think the challenge is to build the critical mass of volunteers to make this work. It will take time, but I think we could build an amazing global community of support.
Just adding some experiential insight here regarding polling. When we have added polling with well-scripted questions that build on the previous responses, we discover that participants/students help shape how we move forward in building an engaging framework for online learning.