outputs published

Dear Folks,

We are pleased to have published version-1.0 of the Commonwealth of Learning Guidelines for prospective authors and creators of OER. The Quality Assurance Guidelines for Open Educational Resources : T.I.P.S. Framework is now available freely at http://cemca.org.in/ckfinder/userfiles/files/OERQ_TIPS_978-81-88770-07-6.pdf  (1.2MB) and at http://www.open-ed.net/oer-quality/tips-v1.0.pdf.

Basically the intended readers of these Guidelines are practising teachers at the chalkface and their students. While MOOC (and now mOOC) cater to tertiary students, these OER Guidelines cater for pre-tertiary teachers and their students – including those in pre-primary, primary, and secondary education and those in vocational education and informal education (eg adult lifelong learning, and out-of-school teaching and learning). This is version-1.0, and version-1.2 should be ready by the end of July. A draft consultatation version-v1.2 (4.6MB) is available for you at http://www.open-ed.net/oer-quality/tips-v1.2.pdf. Versions will be continuously released in consort with feedback received from ongoing workshops and experience reported by users. You can get copies from me through email if you have difficulty with internet access.

The author Paul Kawachi thanks Sanjaya Mishra, Fred Lockwood, Colin Latchem, Patrick McAndrew, Andy Lane, Mary Thorpe, Rob Farrow, V.S. Prasad, and many others who engaged in constructive conversations both in face-to-face and online discussions. CEMCA presents its sincere thanks to all the participants, presenters, expert resource persons in the Regional Consultation Workshop held at Hyderabad. Special thanks are due to Tan Sri Prof. Gajaraj Dhanarajan and to Prof. V.S. Prasad for their valuable advice to improve these Guidelines.

The Proceedings of the OER Workshop at Hyderabad is published separately at http://cemca.org.in/ckfinder/userfiles/files/OER%20Quality_Hyderabad%20Final_20130430.pdf.

Feedback and conversation as usual to me at

kawachi@open-ed.net

with all best wishes

paul

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outputs in progress

Dear Folks,

Of interest to everyone working in the OER field, during the past week a very successful Regional Consultation Workshop on Developing Quality Guidelines for Open Educational Resources was organised by Sanjaya Mishra, of the Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia (CEMCA, http://cemca.org.in), New Delhi, and the Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad, India. The consultation among experts from Bangladesh, Malaysia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and India is producing some outputs that will be developed openly in the next few days and weeks, with some details at  http://www.cemca.org.in/news/experts-commonwealth-asia-discuss-quality-guidelines-open-educational-resources-13-15-march-201

Three outputs in particular are worth noting. One is the construction of guidelines on quality, for teachers and/or students as original authors or adapters of OER. Another is the development of a training module (much like that used for online tutor training) for these authors and adapters, with built in examples, models, templates and so forth. The other is the concept of a new domain suffix as (dot).oer. While this third output initially related to discoverability concerns, what with the millions of already existing OER many of doubtful quality and reusability, the domain.oer could serve as a white-list of good quality OER from now onwards. It could serve as a process gateway through which people prepare their OER conscientiously. So that rather than dumping out-of-date lectures, the authors prepare good quality OER.

with all best wishes

paul

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exporting White Elephants

Dear Folks,

The key barrier to wider adoption in Europe continues to be the uncertainty prevailing over whether the resource is appropriate and matching the context or personal need of the user (Andrade, 2011 p171). While translating OER into a foreign culture and local language might be well-intentioned to promote regional learning, if the underlying reasons for their non-adoption within Europe are not resolved, then sending off translated versions is simply exporting the problem – shifting the problem onto those who are least qualified to cope, and in essence exporting white elephants. Richtera & McPherson (2012, p203) report that “responses to a school-level survey in Germany, by Richter & Ehlers (2011, pp4-6) indicate that teachers simply have no idea how to evaluate a given OERs appropriateness and adapt it for their particular situation”. Getting the in-context teachers to adapt the imported resource is overly burdening those teachers who are untrained in OER. The solution lies in motivating the student to discover his or her own resource, and in promoting student-created personalised curricula – which are both very well achieved through using profiling. Peer-to-peer or student-led group learning can then re-distribute these resources which are found best to develop the student’s profile. Their subsequent social tagging of the OER will help to reach a wider user-population. Such self-aid is the most efficient for sustainable social development (Richtera & McPherson, 2012, p215).

all best wishes

paul

Andrade, A., Ehlers, U., Caine, A., Carneiro, R., Conole, G., Kairamo, A., & Holmberg, C. (2011). Beyond OER : Shifting focus to open educational practices (OPAL Report 2011). Essen : Due-Publico. Retrieved from http://duepublico.uni-duisburg-essen.de/servlets/DerivateServlet/Derivate-25907/OPALReport2011-Beyond-OER.pdf

Richtera, T., & McPherson, M. (2012). Open educational resources: education for the world ? Distance Education, 33 (2), 201219.

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OER are Balloons

Dear Folks,

I am using the metaphor of a balloon… what metaphors do you use ?

Using the metaphor of an OER as a balloon, though sometimes filled with good teaching – not just hot air (and difficult to see the difference from the outside without good metadata labelling), we can illustrate the OER localisation processes.

Especially in large classes where the teacher cannot logistically initiate the better intrinsic motivations to learn, then extrinsic rewards can be attached to the balloons. This is done at the intermediate-level of the teacher-reuser who pulls down a balloon from above in the repository and adapts it for a course to send down to the masses of student end-users below. The teacher adds extrinsic rewards such as a decorative Badge or paper Certificate of Completion (occasionally the offer of a take-away credit token to use in some degree or diploma course). Giving extrinsic rewards is illustrated here by the teacher attaching dollar-bills to each balloon to incentivise enrolment.

You can see my colourful illustrations at http://www.open-ed.net/oer-quality/localisation.ppt ~enjoy !

with best wishes

paul

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Any Needs Analysis on the Horizon ?

Dear Folks,

If we are to learn from the Reusable Learning Objects [RLO] movement, then some Needs Analysis should be done on the needs of OER reusers in their contexts. The learning objects movement is criticised by Geser (2012) as being industrialist with its concept of context-free lego-brick one-size-fits-all. The argument here is that such bland context-free RLO units are not relevant to the students’ needs – probably because of their context-free design. This is despite calls for end-user Needs Analysis eg by Woo, Gosper, Gibbs, Hand, Kerr & Rich (2004, p.1)  “In fact, lack of [RLO] uptake is commonly experienced and it can be partly attributed to the neglect of user concerns. The end users of these systems have rarely been identified, and seldom given a chance to speak about their needs and concerns.” and they blame the top-down approach used for getting RLO to be adopted. Woo et al (2004, p.9) call for “more research [to] be carried out to understand the different needs of users from different education sectors and different cultures”. Perhaps we need to involve the student end-users in OER ownership, and in OER creation and co-creation ?

Your input ?

paul

Geser, G. (Ed.) (2012). Open educational practices and resources. Salzburg, Austria : Open Learning Content Observatory Services (OLCOS). Retrieved from http://www.olcos.org/cms/upload/docs/olcos_roadmap.pdf

Woo, K., Gosper, M., Gibbs, D., Hand, T., Kerr, S., & Rich, D. (2004). User perspectives on learning object systems. Australasian World Wide Web Conference 2004 – AusWeb04 Papers. Retrieved February 28, 2013, from http://ausweb.scu.edu.au/aw04/papers/refereed/woo/paper.html

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Pride and Identity

Dear Folks,

Teachers have self-autonomy inside a classroom, provided they meet external and internal regulations on curriculum coverage. Both of these are lost delivering OER and MOOC. What can be lost too are the sense of pride in creating own teaching methods and materials, imbuing learning, and the sense of identity in using ones own handcrafted resources. Reusing OER created elsewhere may lead to different teacher characteristics bringing in new as-yet-unseen types into the teaching profession. Taking away the not-invented-here barrier against uptake may open up Pandora’s Box.

What is your opinion?

paul

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Improved ? Learning

Dear Folks,

There seem to be popular calls for OER to not only deliver good quality of learning, but also improved quality. This is much like the definition of ‘open’ by Ross Paul (1993, p.116) who defined it as meaning more open than before or more open than alternatives. When we talk about quality OER, do we want to imply better quality than alternatives ?

Certainly Quality Improvement implies better than before http://oerquality.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/quality-not-static/

However, we could live with OER producing learning equivalent to that achieved without using OER eg by a teacher with a textbook. Indeed we could argue that OER producing weaker quality is acceptable. If the novelty and fun can improve uptake by those out-of-education or with school-phobia, then the achieved quality of learning can be ‘better than before‘. We cannot use a single set of quality guidelines over all contexts. Learning by its very nature is an individual highly-localised achievement, and quality must have context-based definitions for each local context.

That said, a full set of quality criteria will best cater to everyone – and each person can decide what works best in his or her own situation.

with all best wishes

paul

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