Tag Archives: Open Education Resources

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

Create and Share Your Own Images

One of the many tasks involved in preparing content for delivery is locating and selecting appropriate images. Whether you are writing a blog post or developing a full academic course, images (drawings, photographs, charts, etc.) help tell a story, help to get the message across.

Where do you find images?

You may be lucky enough to have a graphic artist in-house or maybe a subscription to a stock images resource. But if you’re on a budget, you may be looking for other options – images that are available online with no fee for use. Creative Commons (CC) licenses are a popular way for photographers to make their work available for you to use. Here are a couple of ways to search for CC licensed images: Flickr and the Creative Commons search page.

Do you have images to share?

If you are interested in contributing, you can do so by creating your own online account and making your photos available – searchable and clearly labeled with your intent for their use. One option is @DailyShoot:

The Daily Shoot is a simple daily routine to motivate and inspire you to practice your photography, and share your results! It’s not a contest and there are no prizes. It’s simply about encouraging you to pick up your camera and make photographs.

Everyday @Dailyshoot tweets an assignment – an idea, a topic, to focus your efforts. You tweet a link to your photo for that assignment that includes the day’s hashtag, and it is linked to the site. For more about how it works, check out The Daily Shoot. If you post one photo per day you would end up with 365 contributions by the end of the year (next year, that is)! Even one per week would result in a gallery of 52. As a consumer of CC licensed images, now I can contribute to the pool.

Most of The Daily Shoot participants don’t post every day, but a couple do. You can browse their past photos on the site. It’s also interesting to see the differences and similarities in approach to each day’s assignment. As an example, take a look at 12/26/10 – “What fuels your creative process?”

I heard about this project at a conference in September and have wanted to give it a try ever since. Armed with a brand new camera (thanks, Adam!) I just started yesterday. I’ll be contributing via my Flickr stream.

Are you already sharing your images? If so, please let us know where! If not, consider joining in.

Image credit: gywst

Update! (12/3/11) The Daily Shoot decided to cease operations several months ago, but fortunately the organizers made their list of of prompts available via Google Docs: Daily Shoot Assignments. I managed to complete 150 assignments in the past year and have now maxed out my free Flickr account. While I consider upgrading to “Pro” I’m looking for a new source of prompts….any ideas? Please share them here!

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/

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

Reviewing Open Education Resources

This post includes my notes after reviewing online course materials available through the MIT Open Course Ware and Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative.

MIT OCW http://ocw.mit.edu/

The courses I reviewed on this site all had similar patterns of presentation and components. All had a basic syllabus, course calendar (module list), and reading list. Unique features of each are listed below. Each course also offers a form for users to provide feedback and a link to FAQs to help the user with issues such as downloading zipped files. You can subscribe to an RSS feed of updates to the course list. MIT also encourages donations directly, through related Amazon purchases, and through corporate sponsorship. Overall, the courses reviewed offer solid materials an instructor or course developer might use ‘as is’, but more likely as a foundation to be augmented and tweaked for use in a specific context. The courses are often F2F courses, so there are some blanks to fill in when using these materials for an online course.

  • Managerial Psychology 15.301/15.310

The contributors of this course provide a rationale as to why the course was developed (feedback from corporate employers of MIT grads). The PDF lecture notes are PPT slides with enough detail to get something out of them without having to be present for the accompanying lecture. Detailed instructions are also provided for the course assignments.

  • Contemporary Literature 21L.488

This course is also available in Chinese – just click on the link. This course provides extensive guidelines and tips on writing skills in general and recommendations for specific assignments.

  • Dilemmas in Bio-medical Ethics 21A.216J / SP.622J / WGS.622J

The required readings in this course include a number of online documents and websites. Links are provided. The PDF lecture notes are brief and bullet format – not a lot to go on if you were new to this topic. Examples of past students’ work are includes with the detailed instructions for assignments.

  • Ancient Philosophy 24.200

This course is also available in “Persian” – just click the link. The syllabus here is limited, but the PDF lecture notes are more extensive than in the previous courses – 2-4 page narratives per session. This is a course I would like to go back and peruse. I can see where you might take a module out of this course for use in another (Plato for an Educational Foundations course). Detailed instructions are provides, as well as links to related resources available online.

  • Feminist Theory SP.601J / 17.006J / 17.007J / 24.237J

This was the most recently posted of the courses I reviewed (Spring 2008). Detailed discussion guides are provided that would be helpful for instructor and student. This course has a “Pedagogy” component in which the contributor provides her philosophy of teaching and rationale for instructional strategies included in this course.


Carnegie Mellon OLI http://www.cmu.edu/oli

The home page offers links to instructions for those who would like to teach one of these courses and those who would like to take one of these courses. How-to’s for instructors related to course design and course management are provides. There seem to be fewer unique courses than found at the MIT OCW site, but the courses found here are more detailed and ready to implement online. Materials within a course are already organized in a kind of LMS or a format that suggests an LMS with internal navigation and everything already in place. The “syllabus” is a site map for the course and offers the user a link to “test and configure your system”.

  • Modern Biology

This course has a statement that it is still in development, but they have posted what has been completed so far. Full course units are available with text, images, etc. This course also offers an interactive glossary and flash movies.

  • Empirical Research Methods

This was the newest of the CMU courses I reviewed (Spring 2009). It includes cross references to other CMU courses, i.e. “The following content comes from the OLI Introductory Statistics course. If you would like to explore Inference further, please refer to unit 5 of that course.” This course uses MiniTab requiring the user make that purchase and use that specific software for analysis.

  • Logic and Proofs

This course provides a Preface with embedded video presentations to give the user some background. A printable version is also available. A settings check makes sure you can view all the symbols included in this course as intended. A detailed, interactive users guide is included.

  • Physics with the Andes Workbench

Andes tutor software download is required for this course. Tips on learning to use Andes and related resources are provided. Demonstration videos help the user work through this content.

  • Elementary French 1

A “Before You Begin” section makes sure the prospective student is ready to take this course. It includes characteristics of a successful learner relative to this course, time expectations, etc. Interactive video is used in the units and modules. Links to online resources for students and for instructors are provided, including a Google Group for instructors. Unit pages also have roll over translation of key words.

Motivation for Open Education

Motivation in itself is an interesting topic. Why does anyone choose to do anything? The question here is why would one choose to participate in open education. There are a number of ways to think about this. I am approaching this entry in an attempt to answer the following: why would someone choose to contribute their educational materials, items and content he or she has created and/or collected, to the open educational resources movement?

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I do find some resistance among faculty to do this – to allow their course materials to be used in a way that might make them available to other instructors to teach the same class. The value in this scenario is placed on the materials, not on the instruction. The instruction however is critically important to the learning process. Who hasn’t been enrolled in that class where the subject matter was interesting, the materials engaging, but the experience overall unsatisfying due to the specific style, techniques, approach, etc. of the instructor? And the other extreme, when the material is not particularly interesting or engaging on its own, but is brought to life somehow by an amazing instructor.

I reviewed the following documents and invite you to take a look as well.

Possible Incentives to Participate in Open Education Initiatives

Participating in something larger than oneself.

  • Life in academia can be, well, isolated. The opportunity to add to a larger collaboration, a larger knowledge base, in intriguing and gets back to basics in a way – focusing on knowledge and learning, not on profitability and credit. Important to note I think that open resources often do credit the author. So this participation doesn’t have to be anonymous.

Actively staying current and connected.

  • Meeting the expectations of today’s tech-savvy students is part of this movement. Creating digital versions of materials that can be easily accessed and shared is an important step toward adding to the open educational resource collective.

  • Wiley (2006, p. 7). includes this great Deming quote: It is not necessary to change. Survival is not mandatory.” Making a change is a choice. One must make a lot of decisions regarding change – how to change, when to change, etc.These decisions exist when moving toward open education.

Engaging in the ultimate collaboration effort.

  • Joining an open education effort is in some way collaboration on a very large scale. Creating formats of your work that can be added to existing collections, databases, etc. means connecting your work to that which has come before and encouraging the expansion of your work to that which will come after.

Showing and telling.

  • We want to tell people about what we are doing, right? We want to show others in our field and out what we are involved in and how important it is. Contributing to open education resources is a way to disseminate work to a greater extent than an article or conference presentation might achieve. The goal is the same though, to inform others with the same or similar missions. Accessing others’ work in this way, in turn we might hope to be informed by what they have done.

Donating to a good cause

  • The UN Commission on Human Rights addresses, although not completely clearly, the right of everyone to education. Adding to open education resources could result in a teacher or school in some other part of the world (remote, impoverished, in conflict) accessing instructional materials not usually available, both in quantity and quality. Availability of such resources may even help students/learners who don’t have access to formal education, but may be able to access open educational materials in some other way.