Sunday, October 29, 2017

Creating, Finding, and using OERs

The end of Week 4 already, and it has been a week of highs and lows. I started the week thinking a lot about last week’s readings and videos. A silly joke stuck in my mind. I tried out a new piece of software and created the joke at the same time. Well, it wasn’t the funniest, but it WAS great fun to create!
One of the courses I put together and teach is Appreciation of eLearning Tools, which is why I am always playing with software. I have worked for Manukau Institute of Technology for 17 years, but I have only been in my current position since February 2017. Since then I have revamped four courses in the Graduate Certificate in Applied eLearning, I have revamped a course in the old Certificate in Tertiary Teaching, and I am currently looking at creating content for two courses in the new NZ certificate in Tertiary Teaching. The one course is Creative Delivery. Finding OER resources is a perfect way to go!

I enjoyed reading David Wiley’s blog (May 2, 2017) On OER Enabled Pedagogy . He claimed that the “the terms “open pedagogy” and “open educational practices” are understood so differently by so many people that there is literally no hope of achieving a useful consensus about the meaning of either of these terms”. I have noticed this in the readings and in the interviews I conducted for my Week 3 video. The use of the term OER-enabled pedagogy seems to be a laudible solution. David defined OER-enabled pedagogy as “ the set of teaching and learning practices only possible or practical when you have permission to engage in the 5R activities”. This definition looks at the teaching and learning strategies using OER that are made possible through the use of OER and how these strategies impact on both learners and teachers. There is a simple logic underlying this pedagogical approach:

  • we learn by “doing” 4
  •  copyright limits what we can do, therefore, it limits the way we learn 4
  •  removing copyright opens up the possibilities and allows us to learn in new ways.
I also acknowledge the logic in the argument from Stephen Downes on Creating, Finding, and Using OERs . He discussed the background of Connectivism and his conversations with George Siemens. The similarity between the 5 Rs and the Connectivist model of learning with aggregation, remix, repurpose, and feed forward, is striking. Stephen argued that the underlying value and importance of OERs is not just in the realm of educational content. He suggested that instead of looking at OERs as merely educational content, we should be seeing them as conversations between learner and teacher, and between the learners themselves, with the ultimate goal of learning.

I have downloaded a copy of the book Open: The Philosophy and Practices that are Revolutionizing Education and Science
, edited by Robert Biswas-Diener and Rajiv Jhangiani. I have enjoyed the chapters of this book that I have read so far. The book’s introduction outlined some ideas on open access to education, something dear to my heart, As a foundation (bridging/enabling) educator for nearly ten years, teaching on a programme with open access, I have thought about these issues intensively. I attended a conference called Success and opportunity in Challenging Times (National Association of Enabling Educators of Australia, NAEEA 2015, held at Western Sydney University). I wrote a review of the discussion which centred on the reach of education, widening participation, and open access.
Western Sydney University, NAEEA, 2015
The book Open was of particular interest as the educators come from a background as researchers in psychology. Prior to qualifying as an educator at all levels of the curriculum, I was a qualified psychologist. I am very aware of the benefit of open research and open data in the area of psychology.
In the final chapter by Rajiv Jhangiani stated “The opposite of open is not closed; the opposite of open is broken”. He backed up his argument by referring to broken academic publishing practices, broken science protocols, and even “chips and cracks” in pedagogical beliefs. As he stated, “A great many educators continue to teach in a manner that assumes their principal role is that of content delivery, despite living in an age of unparalleled access to information” (p.268). He outlined the requirements for making open access, open science, open educational resources, and open pedagogy, the default practices in higher education.
Jhangiani used a delightful analogy, “The pencil metaphor” by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation (licensed under CC BY 4.0.) based an idea from a friend and mentor, a fellow member of the Virtual Worlds Working Group, Lindy Orwin. 
Pencil Metaphor

He stated that instead of approaching open evangelism as disparate factions, we should be united in a recognition and response to the wood (the audience), i.e. the mainstream who would follow open practice if it was required or they could see the benefits of doing so. I like to see myself as a sharp one, following the leaders, in this care George and David!

So, why do I mention lows for the week? One low stands out so clearly for me. If you want to find out what I did, check out my little video (a direct export from PowerPoint 2016, so nothing flash!) I cannot mention it again – if you want the facts, check out the video!

The highs? Well, using the information provided in the course material, I have been searching for resources using the links provided. What a wealth of material! I had not even realised that the Google Advanced Search would sort by usage rights. The OER Commons and the Creative Commons search – wonderful! My only problem now is selecting from the huge amount of OER resources available. I am so looking forward to the Week 6 challenge! I want to use, create, adapt, and contribute towards OER.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed your post, Merle, especially the pencil metaphor. As I read Wiley's OER-enabled pedagogy, I actually began to question more how stakeholders can interpret the open education lexicon based on their own local contexts. For instance, "OER-enabled pedagogy" for me, ignores the iterative and reciprocal process between ideas, materials, and social relationships to the degree that is becomes both an OER-pedagogical association as well as a pedaogogical-OER association. And how relevant is this process if OERs only meet one out of the five Rs... or none at all. Can the pedagogical process remain open while the OER is not? Is more (5Rs) always better? #OpenEdMOOC