OpenEd: Notes from week 8 readings

October 19, 2007, [MD]

Just sharing my personal notes taken while doing the readings. My answer to the reflection questions will be posted later this weekend.

On the Sustainability of Open Educational Resource Initiatives in Higher Education (Wiley, 20 pages)Open Educational Resources are defined as “technology-enabled, open provision of educational resources for consultation, use and adaptation by a community of users for non-commercial purposes”.


UNESCO - majority of users are teachers. reality - learners

sustainability?\ continue operations / achieving goals - ongoing ability to achieve its goals\ sustain production and sharing of open resources, then sustain use and reuse of OER\ content in easily reusable format\ sustainability is about incentives generally, not financial resources specifically\ this is why open licenses / share-alike and getting businesses involved is important\ sustainability and replicability are two different things

MIT - centralized, paid, comprehensive, millions of dollars. made commitment - but can anyone else replicate?

USU - smaller scale, much more volunteer/student involvement. still expensive (5000 / course). moresustainable / replicable.  <  / p >  < p > CNX − 0

different target groups: teachers/learners. teachers have pre-knowledge, can have skeletal outlines, example sets without solutions etc

no significant difference - thomas l. russell\ OER itself does not make material good, just available… would people have paid for MIT material? who? how much?

different kinds of reuse

enabling reuse means producing materials becomes more expensive - which is more important?

downes funding models: endowment, membership, donations, conversion, contributor-pay, sponsorship, institutional, governmental

dholakai: replacement, foundation, segmentation, voluntary support

wiley adds: the no cost model - if they already build them for the local students, one-click posting to the external web (sakai etc) but - copyrighted materials?

incentives for faculty to participate? often young faculty who are most knowledgeable/open to teaching, but they are in tenure-process, cannot focus on teaching… make production of OER part of tenure review (teaching portfolio). remove other obstacles to faculty involvement.

whole text is very focused on huge organizations and foundations - what about network-decentralized model. topic repositories instead of institution-based. commons-based peer production. wikiversity - not very useful now, but potential? rice

curious - only three works listed in references section, but many more works cited in text.

Models for Sustainable Open Educational Resources (Downes, 16 pages)\ widely varying definitions of “open”, including “affordable”, “accredited”??

consider software sustainability - will we be able to open files, run code, in the future?

run by volunteer staff - the incentives of volunteer staff are very different from those of paid staff

volunteer-driven open resource communities, two models: emergent model (reputation is natural outgrowth of human interactions, users are powerful and must be respected) and community model (need reputation mechanisms like Slashdot, users are tiny, have no power except in aggregate)

for volunteer created material, review is bottle neck. possible solutions: lenses (cnx), user commentary, branding, peer review, user communities.

rethink idea of OER - not something done for learners, but something learners do for themselves.

why do huge projects? that is the problem with sustainability. other people do things for you - slashdottet… do it yourself - bittorrent. decentralizing is more scalable, sustainable. the use of a learning resource becomes the production of another resource. steady stream of new inputs through volunteers, this does not represent not result of OER sustainability project, but the beginning of one

Advancing Sustainability of Open Educational Resources (Koohang and Harman, 10 pages)just a round-up of some thoughts, very little substance, not very useful.

Common Wisdom: Peer Production of Educational Materials Print version (Benkler, 32 pages)millions of people now have the hardware and software to create and distribute creative expressions around the world - unprecedented.

some things can more easily be produced peer-based - wikipedia, open directory (anyone ever use that?), others not - novel… do open textbooks or learning resources lend themselves to be peer produced?

(i’d argue he talks about two different ways of peer production, one is intentional - wikipedia, open directory, and the other non-intentional - google harvesting our collective intelligence through linkrank etc)

homogenization of the K12 textbook market in the US - Texas, California and Florida 50%, easier to produce one that fits all… allow “local tapestries to be woven into books”?

lack of IP content not at all only barrier to access to textbooks/education in developing countries, but it is ONE barrier

is peer-production necessary? just make a huge archive of individual contributions that are re-mixable, like initial example of finding lot’s of individual homepages about viking boats… what is needed is peer-based filtering and quality control.

more sophisticated material - immersive games and textbooks need more coordination

“motivation crowding-out” - adding more money doesn’t necessary help but can drive away volunteers

(volunteers will produce stuff) the long term threat of failure in the development of learning objects will therefore not come from lack of objects but from lack of search and integration functions. experience of peer production of relevance and accreditation offers various models for solutions.

integrating firms as collaborators - like RedHat in the Linux development process.

self-archiving by academics as creating a repository of learning objects.

to what extent are teachers highly trained and motivated, to put together unique learning packages from freely available material, and to what extent are they bureaucrats of the state, needing to be hand-held through pedagogical material and instructions created centrally?

Wikipedia a good example. But individual articles are “chunky”. Textbook should have “themes that run through”.

Wikipedia requires not only collaboration, but commitment from people to a specific, non-natural, writing style\ amazing that this can happen in a “community” that is so heterogenous and geographically dispersed, but yet social norms seem to hold.

Wikibooks - a lot less development than Wikipedia. Books largely authored by single authors.

Free High School Science Textbooks in South Africa, much more focused, controlled - more successful… Recruit volunteers, ask them to do specific things, assign schedules - many volunteers find workload to large, drop out.

Textbooks that look and feel like textbooks, and are acceptable by education departments, are not as “chunkable”as Wikipedia.

Granularity is crucial to the amount of people with the right skills, motivation and time will be available, but it is determined by the cost of integration of “chunks”.

The need for a coherent textbook is much larger at the K12 level where books are select district-wide… In university it is more open to individual selection by professors, perhaps only using parts of the book, mixing it up, etc.

Creating a 3D interactive educational “game”/ environment… look at Second Life: give people tools and they will build. Computing power - distributed, like SETI@Home.

Croquet - I have heard about this for years. Seems impressive, why are everyone talking about SL, and nobody about this one? Benkler says it will happen (not necessarily with this specific tool), and people will create and adapt in-world 3d objects, and use it for learning and experimentation.

additional reading:\

Beshear - open textbook project, students already pay 900\$/year for textbooks, have institutions get together to fund open textbooks. no need to focus on 2500 courses, 100 courses cover 75% of enrolment (huge first year courses etc).\ Stian

Stian Håklev October 19, 2007 Toronto, Canada
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