Category Archives: Open Education

Getting started with eduMOOC 2011: Into the fray

I’m participating in the new eduMOOC: Online Learning Today…and Tomorrow,  which started on Monday. This is a Massive Open Online Class (MOOC) sponsored by the Center for Online Learning, Research and Service at the University of Illinois-Springfield (UIS). So far, well… I’m learning, listening, and looking for resources.

There’s a lot to do and read. There are study groups, discussion forums, weekly panel discussions, participant blog posts, Facebook and Moodle groups, and a host of other items to review. It seems with a group this big (2450+ people in 65 countries and counting) you can be a little selective – attend to the parts that make sense for you, seek out the resources that meet your needs and fit your interests.

The other MOOC members represent a wide range of roles in higher education and K-12 – senior leaders, administrators, faculty members, graduate students, tech specialists, advisors and counselors, and librarians. I am going at this from the perspective of an instructional designer and education writer/blogger – How is the MOOC structured and moderated? What technologies are involved? How are the logistics coordinated? What are the most popular topics? Where are people gathering and what are they discussing?

To help focus my efforts, I’m following another participant’s lead and going in search of (my own) learning objectives. Yes, these are loose and more designed to keep me going back to the site than anything else. I suppose a better phrase might be “learning and participation objectives:”

  • Attend the 8 panel discussions. (or review the recordings before the end of each week). These are panel discussions held in Elluminate, but broadcast on a UIS system that also streams the Twitter feed. Slides are provided as a PDF.
  • Try new technologies, tools, and techniques. So far I’ve posted my introduction using Google Sites discussion threads, and added my location to the Google participant map, both new to me. There is also a demo of etherpad going on.
  • Join a study group. With this many people it may make sense to find a sub-group. Hopefully one will center on instructional design…
  • Identify new resources in the form of blogs, twitter accounts, journals, and more. And add these to my PLN and Feedly.
  • Develop a list of specific ideas and concepts for further investigation, reading, and writing.
  • Exchange ideas and perspectives. So far I’ve already connected with another participant in New Zealand (Hello, @VirtualMV!) who has a cool wiki.
  • Add my voice to the mix, where I can and it makes sense to do so – hope to contribute and not just add to the fray. Began with a tweet during today’s panel discussion. Lots of description of the benefits and challenges of for-profit models, but it wasn’t apparent that anyone on the panel had worked at a for-profit. Assumptions, I think, are prevalent on both sides, for-profit and non-profit.
  • Spread the word with re-tweets, blog posts, bookmarks and the like.

Have you considered joining? There’s still time! There are also resources you might want to track, even if you decide not to register:

And in case you are wondering, “What’s a MOOC?” here’s a great explanation from Laura Pasquini.

Image credit: stock.xchng

Finding and Using Online Open Educational Resources

On June 22nd I’ll present a session titled Finding and Using Online Open Educational Resources (OER) to a group of online instructors as part of a professional development workshop series. The live presentation is to take place via Adobe Connect and the slides (with links to resources) are provided here via Slideshare.

My main objective with this presentation is to encourage faculty to seek out online content that has been made available for use in education and consider the pros/cons of adding OER to an academic course. The presentation introduces a  number of considerations for using this kind of content and I hope to spark some discussion about copyright and fair use.  This presentation also encourages instructors using open content to think about contributing their own content for others to use as well.

Do you have suggestions for sources of OER that you have used? Do you have any considerations regarding the challenges of incorporating OER into courses? Please reply with additional suggestions for us all. Thanks!

Media Literacy – Consumers and Contributors

This post is my reaction to Alec Couros’ presentation on 11/10 as part of eci831. The main topic was media literacy. Slides are online.

What is Media Literacy?

The world is full of people trying to sell us things – products, destinations, ideas, and messages. Much of it we don’t really need. We are subject to this every time we turn on the TV or radio, pick up a magazine or newspaper. Internet websites are no different. When you visit a website you are a potential consumer of whatever the creator or sponsor is trying to sell. The skill related to being able to decipher the sales pitch and make a decision about its worth is media literacy. Of course the Internet is more about interacting with the media, or can be, and that creates issues related to what you consume and contribute. Learning what you should and should not post and what is appropriate online behavior is also related to media literacy.

Can/Should Media Literacy be taught?

  • Teaching teachers. I worked on a course for pre-service teachers a few years ago and the content expert included a unit dedicated to media literacy. This seemed unusual to me at the time (note: my background is not K-12) but important for teacher candidates who would be moving on to positions of influence with students and reacting to issues related to internet access and censorship in school administrations. In hindsight, the students in that course would have probably been better served with a course that addressed media literacy throughout, not just in a specific unit.
  • My media literacy via TV. Couros’ presentation made me think about how I may/may not have learned media literacy prior to the age of the Internet. I grew up watching television. A lot of television. Not unlike the Internet, television was and is full of “good” and “bad”. Learning media literacy happened though the modeling and control of my parents, what they watched and wouldn’t let me watch. And perhaps also through the comments and lessons provided by my teachers and conversations with my friends and classmates, etc.
  • Knowing how it works. This presentation’s discussion reminded me of a general session with Andrew Keen at a recent conference. His approach was a little controversial with the audience – basically, kids don’t have knowledge or wisdom about the world-at-large. He gave the example of his son doing a Google search before making a purchase. When Keen asked his son which item he purchased and why, the son replied that he purchased the first one that came up on the result page since the one at the top must be the best. Did the son understand that the result page was the result of an algorithm and not a group of people rating the quality of the product? Keen supposed not, another issue of media literacy and the Internet – understanding how search engines work.

  • Online identity. As I watched Couros’ presentation I realized that I may live in an Internet bubble (a similar comment was made by a participant.) I don’t find myself exposed to offensive content, hate, racism, violence, porn, etc. on a regular or even occasional basis. We are all making choices about how we consume and contribute to Internet media. Perhaps this should be taught, or at least modeled in schools: creating, protecting, and maintaining your online identity. As a career counselor I used to encourage clients to consider what a future employer might find online and post accordingly. This might fall into the definition of media literacy. It may also be too conservative, to limiting to potential creativity and expression. Or maybe it depends on your career path. Your thoughts?

Other items to pass along:

photo credit: musha68000,  Flickr

The Origin and Intent of Copyrights

This week I attended a live event via Adobe Connect in which David Brin presented – Education and Today’s Economy.  This was part of KU Village’s 2009 online conference.

Mr. Brin was an enthusiastic speaker and while I was not previously aware of his work (fiction, non-fiction, sci-fi, and political commentary) I was intrigued by the information presented on Patents and Copyrights. He pointed out that the origin of Patents and Copyrights was to create a system that encouraged people to share their innovations with the rest of society (Benjamin Franklin, I think?)  An individual could register his or her work, benefit from it for a specified period of time, and then it would be available for anyone.

Over time, Patents and Copyrights have become ways to keep your innovations from being shared. They protect the innovator’s rights and through extensions can go on and on.

This has implications in education as we struggle with intellectual property definitions and policies and explore the possibilities of open resources. Encouraging people to share their innovations, in a more open way, is a movement in education with the ability to impact a lot of what we do as course designers, developers, and instructors. This is especially the case as we work with technologies that are changing the way we do things at such a fast pace.

For more information on…

Open licensing options  – check out Creative Commons licensing  creativecommons.org/ both for your own work and to find work others have decided to share.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office – visit http://www.uspto.gov/

U.S. Copyright Office – visit http://www.copyright.gov/

Introductions – Social Media and Open Education

As it turns out, I am two hours ahead of the University of Regina, so I chose to view the Elluminate session recording the following morning, instead of attending the live session. My first impressions were related to how well organized the whole course is, even for non-credit students. I saw announcements on Twitter and then was able to review a page in the course’s wikispace that included the slides, a written agenda/outline for the meeting, links to some of the tools that were mentioned, and assignments for the coming week.

How did it go?

I thought the instructor did a great job of addressing a pretty large group mot of whom were non-credit students. (There was a “for-credit only” student session the previous week.) Since I am not taking the course for credit, and there are no expectations for me, other than I should get what I can from the experience and share what I can along the way, it seems only right that the for-credit students have their own thing going on.

The session itself was well-run on Elluminate. There was another moderator, besides the instructor, there to continuously react to student questions in the chat and to provide all of us with URLs throughout as references for the many topics covered. A pretty great “intro session” as they go – no going down the list to ask where everyone was from, etc. (thank you). The course was outlined as far as the tools go and Alec provided his rationale for the course and vision for where we are going.

What did I learn?

There were some nifty things going on:

  • Tweetdeck – I had heard of it but not used it…. until putting my name on the roster for this course. Now I am truly addicted.
  • “The Back Channel” – all of the chatter, passing notes, off line (and maybe online) discussion going on behind the formal instruction.
  • The thought of a “Network Sherpa” leading the way (I like this eversomuch more than the digital native lingo).
  • Greasemonkey – what is this? It was mentioned several times. I need to investigate.
  • And…Wordle was used to display where everyone was from (thanks, again). Over 200 participants overall and 50 or so in the Elluminate session.

Why stick around?

There are a lot of talented, creative, passionate, and curious people in this group. I tend to lurk more than actually engage in this sort of thing, but perhaps I’ll be motivated to jump in a little deeper. The idea that Knowledge is a river, as opposed to a reservoir, was included in this presentation. It’s moving. We can’t take it all in at once. We are going to miss a lot, but we’ll find a lot, too – if we jump in.

I have some reading to do for next week…

Another Open, Open Education Course

I am going to try it again. I just signed up as a “non-credit student” in EC&I 831: Social Media & Open Education offered online by Dr. Alec Couros and the University of Regina.

The course runs from September 15th to December 8th, 2009, and the website invites us all to join in, even if it’s just to view the weekly lectures (live but recorded in Elluminate). Those of us just jumping in are also encouraged to post comments on other students’ blogs and respond to the weekly sessions on our own blogs. It was my (admittedly limited) participation in another open course, one offered by David Wiley through BYU, that required me to start this blog.

Except for the use of Elluminate, it looks like the majority of the course will be delivered via GoogleDocs, Delicious, YouTube, wikispaces, etc. The session topic information is already posted with the list of guest speakers – including George Siemens, Stephen Downes, and Dean Shareski.

One more thing, the Elluminate sessions will be on Tuesdays at 7pm… in Saskatchewan… I need to find a map.

See you there?

Creative Commons Licensing

Creative CommonsWith so many people already interested in providing and using open resources it is important I think that there is some type of organization to the movement. The non-profit group Creative Commons (CC) provides some leadership in this area, particularly in licensing of these resources. The CC website proclaims that the group is “dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright.”

While these various license types (there are more – these are just the “main” ones) seem to cover a lot of ground, there are still some areas left for interpretation. What kinds of materials can or should be licensed this way? CC recommends other options, such as Open Source Initiative, for open software licensing considerations.

Several other blogs have addressed the question of “how should I license my own original work?” The CC licenses provide some key issues to consider:

1) Commercial v. non-commercial – should others be allowed to offer the material for a fee?

2) Share alike – should others be required to make their versions and revisions of the original work available for yet others to revise?

3) Derivatives – should the original work be considered only as-is, as a whole, without changes or can the original work be modified or used in part?

Below is a summary of the primary types of licenses CC addresses. These get more restrictive as you move down the list.

Attribution (CC-BY)

This license type allows anyone to use your work in whole or in part as long as you are given credit in a way you specify. This material can be modified as well, as long as credit to the original author/creator is given. Commercial redistribution is okay.

Attribution – Share Alike (CC- BY, SA)

A little more restrictive, this license type has the same requirements as CC-BY, but adds the requirement that the new version of the work also be licensed this way, so that others may continue to use and share the material. Commercial redistribution is okay here, too.

Attribution – No Derivatives (CC-BY-ND)

This license type requires that the original be work be passed along in its original, complete form, with credit given to the original author/contributor. No modifications can be made. Commercial redistribution is still allowed.

Attribution – Non-commercial (CC-BY-NC)

This license prohibits commercial redistribution, allows for the original work to be modified or used in part, and requires the original author/contributor be acknowledged.

Attribution – Non-commercial, Share Alike (CC-BY-NC-SA)

Like CC-BY-NC, this license does not allow commercial versions be created. The original work can be modified and used in part. The original author/contributor must be given credit, and the resulting work must also be available under the same license, so that others may continue to use and share the material.

Attribution – Non-commercial, No Derivatives (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Original works with this type of licensing can be redistributed, non-commercially, in their complete and original form, with credit given to the author. No modifications can be made.

image credit: jorgeandresem, Flickr