Posts Tagged ‘open learning’
Back in 2001, MIT launched OpenCourseWare, a bold idea to put world-class MIT professors’ lectures, syllabi and resources online to the world for free. Today, Open Education Resources (OER) industry leaders are arguing that the free content is only the starting point. The next stage of the open education movement has evolved into Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) — the key word being “massive,” as in drawing tens or hundreds of thousands of students.
Even with all the OER in the world, the way people learn is by being excited about it, by making things (even if it is just a blog post) and working together. “The things I care most about is collaborative skills, are you a good communicator, can you get stuff done?” Focus on community, recognition and content because it is more important to discover successful learning techniques rather than merely sign up 100,000 students online. Promoting big-sized classes as a way to bring attention to the issue.
University wants scientists to make their research open access and resign from publications that keep articles behind paywalls. Exasperated by rising subscription costs charged by academic publishers, Harvard University has encouraged its faculty members to make their research freely available through open access journals and to resign from publications that keep articles behind paywalls. A memo from Harvard Library to the university’s 2,100 teaching and research staff called for action after warning it could no longer afford the price hikes imposed by many large journal publishers, which bill the library around $3.5m a year.
Reading Edupunks, Edupreneurs and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education by Anya Kamenetz has been fascinating. It’s a book that has been recommended to me several times over, so it was long overdue that I laid my hands on a copy. With its lurid red cover and aggressive image of a fist gripping a pencil I would have suggested an iPod Touch or iPhone instead while wearing a wrist band that proclaims DIY U, the books holds a lot of promise. But we all know you don’t judge a book by its cover. Anya Kamenetz is no edupunk, and doesn’t pretend to be. Turns out she’s a journalist, working the scene, trying to make sense of the open access and bricollage movements that are gripping the imagination of teachers in schools, colleges and universities across the globe. Yet she does express opinions that are sympathetic to the Edupunk philosophy of ‘do it yourself’, rage against the system, undermine the edubusinesses and give it all away for free with the exception of her book, which is reasonably priced …. and she does earn her living as a writer. You can visit her DIY U website for a deeper insight into her views.
In contemporary popular culture, Australia’s cities and suburbs are places where children are aborted, abandoned, exploited, murdered or never conceived. Like the bush-lost children before them, these “at risk” young people symbolise adult fears of self, society, and the future. My concern is that the most common public policy response to these persistent fears and insecurities is to retreat to a politics of complexity reduction. Many politicians and public opinion leaders see teachers and schools as being in the vanguard of people and institutions dedicated to Australian children’s educational ruin, and simplistically seek to “protect” them with blunt instruments such as back-to-phonics literacy and a national curriculum. I argue that Australia’s young people are much more seriously endangered by the symbolic violence of those who position them as docile receptors of whatever schools and teachers serve up to them, and who treat them as passive screens upon which to project their own anxieties.
For more than a decade educators have been expecting the Internet to transform that bastion of tradition and authority, the university. Digital utopians have envisioned a world of virtual campuses and “distributed” learning. It’s true that online education has proliferated, from community colleges to the free OpenCourseWare lecture videos offered by M.I.T. But the Internet has so far scarcely disturbed the traditional practice or the economics at the high end, the great schools that are one of the few remaining advantages America has in a competitive world. Our top-rated universities and colleges have no want of customers willing to pay handsomely for the kind of education their parents got; thus elite schools have little incentive to dilute the value of the credentials they award.
Thrun’s ultimate mission is a virtual university in which the best professors broadcast their lectures to tens of thousands of students. Testing, peer interaction and grading would happen online; a cadre of teaching assistants would provide some human supervision; and the price would be within reach of almost anyone. “Literally, we can probably get the same quality of education I teach in class for about 1 to 2 percent of the cost.”
The state of Penang is an example of successful transformation in Asia based on strengthening the rule of law. Open and Distance Learning (ODL) is an important vehicle for the education that can underpin this process by expanding the freedoms that people can enjoy. Using technology can not only cut costs but also enhance the quality of education and therefore yield important benefits. The development of eLearning has encouraged many conventional universities to offer ODL but research in North America suggests that few are doing it very well. Private for-profit providers are more successful. Research also shows that the notion of a divide in attitudes to eLearning between young ‘digital natives’ and older students is a myth. Technology-mediated learning encourages all students to engage more deeply with their work. Finally, the Open Educational Resource University is described as a potentially radical transformation in higher education.
This paper conceptualizes the theoretical framework of modeling learning spaces for self-directed learning at university courses. It binds together two ideas: a) self-directed learners’ common learning spaces may be characterized as abstract niches, b) niche characteristics are collectively determined through individually perceived affordances. The implications of these ideas on the learning design are discussed. The empirical part demonstrates the learning niche formation at the master course “Self-directed learning with social media“ at two consequent years. The results of the affordance determination were used to characterize and develop the learning spaces that support self-directed learning with social media. The realization of the learning niche at two following years demonstrated that students used different social media tools for putting a similar types of affordances of the learning niche in action. This finding suggested that affordance-based niche descriptions would allow flexibility and learner-centeredness but simultaneously might enable to identify a common emergent learning space and make it reusable for modeling environments for self-directed learning courses.
In Lessig’s presentation to CERN – The Architecture of Access to Scientific Knowledge – he addresses the insanity (immoral) aspects of today’s knowledge-blocked publishing system. I think even the staunchest capitalist to the most devoted socialist can agree that the system of knowledge access fostered by closed journals is antithetical to research, health of science, and knowledge growth. It’s an outstanding presentation. Take the 50 minutes needed to watch it…
This report takes the experience of OpenLearn over its two-years of operation to reflect on what it means to offer free resources and the issues that we have been able to explore and learn from. The structure of the document is:
Section 1 The OpenLearn initiative – an overview
Section 2 OpenLearn research methods
Section 3 Designing for Open Content
Section 4 Types of user of OpenLearn
Section 5 OpenLearn modes of use