Posts made by Irwin DeVries

Well… I haven’t recently noticed revolutionary posters in the Main Concourse or heard of sit-ins in the President’s office at SFU lately. Seriously, though, there are so many changes that I hardly know where to start. I could fill a book with responses, which is something I am sure you don't want or need. However, the one biggest thing, when I force myself to narrow it down, is that academic knowledge and activity are no longer so much the exclusive property of, or confined to, the halls and classrooms of the university, approved textbooks and library stacks. In fact, I would go further and say that things have turned inside out: The world is the university and we just have to figure out how to harness this new concept and how we as universities can redefine our role in this reality. To me the jury is still out on how this will happen, although there are some interesting hints of things to come. For instance, high quality open courses and other learning resources are now available with the tap of a finger on a touchscreen or mouse from MIT or Stanford University; countless high quality video resources such as lectures by eminent professors and thought leaders are available from the Khan Academy, TED or YouTube; and tools for debate, research, collaboration and mass communication are available for anyone with Internet access to use. Many creative faculty are inspired to reach out and bring the world of resources and tools for collaboration into their courses, testing new and interesting forms of teaching and learning. Some of these initiatives seem to be working well and some of them are more hype than substance. But these are still early days and we have a lot to learn – and I don’t think that will ever stop. At least I hope it doesn’t!  

Hi Diana and Hilda,

Thank you for taking the time to do this! I really look forward to learning from your experiences and from those of other participants. I'm involved with developing online courses at TRU, Open Learning and am eager to gain any wisdom and insights from students who live in the online learning world. On a side note, I was an undergrad at SFU more years ago than I care to tell, and I think I can safely say things may have changed a little!

Hi Janet -  I'm Irwin DeVries, Director of Instructional Design at Thompson Rivers University, Open Learning Division. Like a number of others here I'm a PhD candidate and studying open course development and design. This is of particular interest to me as I will be gathering data from a busy and complex Wiki as well as conducting such processes as interviews and focus groups with participants worldwide. Looking forward to this discussion - Irwin

If learners go on to gain formal credit at another institution based on competencies gained through their participation in an OER/open course having received support from a volunteer - wouldn't that be great feedback to the vol. Not sure how...but something to think about.