Saturday, November 11, 2017

Week 6. Unit of Work

The following contains two sections from a complete unit of work. The first section contains a reworked version of an Open Education resource for Otago Polytechnic. The second section is original work.

Section 1

Activity: What is Literacy?

(From Open Polytechnic course: Literacy and Numeracy for Learning, Module 1, CC License)

Requirements: Look at some definitions (see links) for literacy and create your own definition based on your understanding. Write the definition below, then share your definition on the class wiki.


  1. Read p. 7 of Te Kawai Ora report by the Maori Adult Literacy Reference Group in 2001 to the Hon. Tariana Turia (A summary of this can be found on thisisgraeme – link: Maori Literacy Definition from Te Kawai Ora Including Executive Summary)
  2. Workbase – Adult Literacy
  3. Education Development Centre – Why Does Literacy Matter?
  4. Queensland Govt – Literacy and Numeracy Fact Sheet


Section 2

Assessment: The Whakapapa of Literacy and Numeracy in New Zealand

Your first assessment deals with the historical development of literacy and numeracy in New Zealand. There are three readings below. These readings contain all the information you need, to understand the relevant, critical, historical events that have led to the current status of literacy and numeracy in New Zealand.
Read about these events carefully. For the purpose of the assessment, select a date that is important to you personally. It may be that you had a grandparent who was punished at school for speaking his/her own language, it could be that your family came from another country speaking a language other than English as your first language, it could be that your aunt was taught to read using phonetics at school, or it could be that you had a good friend who was part of a rural community using correspondence courses to learn school subjects. You need to select someone to help you. You will need to interview that special someone and answer questions like:

  • Could you please tell me about …?
  • What effect did … have on your literacy/numeracy?

  1.  thisisgraeme – History of Māori Literacy and Numeracy: Key events and initiatives
  2.  ACE - Fifty Years of Learning: A history of adult and community education in Aotearoa from the 1960s to the present day
  3. Tertiary Education Commission – Getting Results in Numeracy and Literacy

Some events you could consider (this is just a sample of events and they are not in chronological order!)

  • Draft Tertiary Education Strategy
  • More Than Words: The New Zealand Adult Literacy Strategy
  • The first school in New Zealand
  • The Native Schools Act
  • The first adult literacy scheme established in Hawke’s Bay
  • Te Whare Wānanga o Raukawa was set up
  • Pathways Awarua went online
  • The Adult Literacy Achievement Framework (ALAF) was developed
  • Employment training schemes included basic literacy skills
  • The first Correspondence School classes began
  • The Literacy and Numeracy for Adults Assessment was set up
  • The first kōhanga reo were established


  • Click on the Google Slides Link
  • Find your date on the Whakapapa Timeline
  • Check the date on the timeline – you may need to change it to show a month
  • Run the presentation
  • Click your event dot (N.B. only the little filled-in dots are links – large dots with a blank centre are time markers only!)
  • The dot will take you to the right slide – make sure you identify your slide number
  • Edit your slide
  • Check the date in the title is correct before you edit the slide!
  • You have three questions to answer about your event
  • There is room to add your video interview or voiced over presentation to the slide
  • Keep saving as you work – you do NOT want to lose your work
  • The interview requirements are listed below

If your date does not appear on the Timeline, please feel free to add a dot (N.B. if you add a dot, you must copy an empty slide from the end of the presentation and add it in chronological order. Then, you must also hyperlink the dot to the correct slide.) Dates on the Timeline are already linked to the correct slide.

Please note, if you feel confident with your level of digital skill, you can change the layout of your slide, as long as all the required elements are present.

*N.B. July 1997 has been done for you as an exemplar.
The video interview for July 1997 is also available on Youtube.

Interview requirements:

  • Find someone to interview who was personally involved in the event, knows about the event in detail from whanau or friends, or is very knowledgeable regarding the event.
  • Check the accuracy of the information before you publish your video/presentation.
  • The interview must not be shorter than two minutes or longer than six minutes.
  • You can use any media to create the video/presentation as long as we can hear the interviewee’s voice.
  • Make sure you have the permission of the person interviewed to use the video in a format that can be viewed by the general public.

Marking Criteria:
This assessment will either be marked Complete or Incomplete.
If you have excellent information, a good interview, and the presentation is professional, you can achieve a Merit.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand License.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Next Battle for Openness: Data, Algorithms, and Competency Mapping

I must admit to quite a remarkable change of heart after this week’s videos and readings. At the start of the week, I read “The Next Battle for Openness: Data, Algorithms, and Competency Mapping” and I had a moment’s panic! What do I know about any of those things? I may have a fairly good grasp of the science of learning, but I am only a novice instructional designer, and I know nothing whatsoever about being a data scientist or behavioural economist! However, I now understand so much more about learning analytics, and the collection and usage of learner data. I was introduced to the work of Candace Thielle and was blown away by her use of adaptive learning “long before it was cool”!
Stephen Downes, George Siemens, & David Wiley

I have followed the work of George Siemens and Stephen Downes for a number of years, and, since the start of this course, have a profound respect for David Wiley. I currently provide staff development. That is the work of the Tertiary Teaching Unit. My area of responsibility is that of elearning. I can imagine how incredibly valuable it would be to have a system that bundled up analytic information and translated the work of the underlying algorithms into real language that our lecturers could use and understand. I have worked with lecturers who have a profound knowledge of learning pedagogies and practices in some faculties, but I have also worked with lecturers holding multiple PhDs and/or years of work-place experience, in areas such as civil engineering and maritime logistics, who really have no understanding of learning pedagogy or practice. Many of these lecturers are faced with considerable barriers, including English as a second, third, or even fourth language.
My institution, Manukau Institute of Technology

Yes, the process of collecting learner information leading to efficient and facilitative learning environments, needs to be open. As Norman Bier (2017) indicated, “I think we are already in a world where data-driven approaches and materials are already being developed, adopted and embraced – by vendors, by schools, by foundations and by government. The future is already here”. Bier (2017) indicated that research has already shown lower costs, improved results, and the expedited understanding that leads to new pedagogy and innovative practice. Mention was made of ethical concerns. I appreciate these exist, but found so much that was impelling and inspiring, that I would rather leave the negative arguments for another discussion entirely.
Norman Bier

Bier (2017) warned against the learning analysis systems operating as business models offering subscription services. He saw this as counter-intuitive to the whole open movement. He cautioned about the urgency of openness in learning analytics as “proprietary solutions have made enormous inroads in claiming the data-driven space for their own”. He suggested full transparency to inform decision-making. He further suggested that transparency would facilitate the identification and remediation of biases introduced to the digital sphere by individual coders and developers. “And the transparency that’s inherent in the open approach is the best way that I know to ensure this work can happen” (Bier, 2017).
Candace Thiell

I was very grateful for watching the video recording of Candace Thiell and not just relying on the written article. Thiell was interviewed by EdSurge (2017) for the Thought Leader Interview Series when she was in attendance at the Arizona State University, plus Global Silicon Valley (ASU+GSV) Summit. GSV are a group of companies and entrepreneurs who are developing technology to transform the world of work and education. At 16 minutes, 30 seconds, the video includes a large segment that resonated with me (not in the article). She spoke about mindset and working with algorithms that used principles of mindset. As part of my PhD research, I have incorporated mindset analysis.

At Stanford, Thiell has worked with mindset guru, Carol Dweck. For an explanation of fixed versus growth mindsets, see the two, brief videos below.

Dweck’s growth mindset suggests that the brain is strengthened through struggle. Mindset interventions have been introduced into courseware. Before the introduction of complex problems, the courseware introduces “booster interventions” that educate the students on how the brain works. Data collected reveals that mindset intervention has led to students persisting for longer periods and achieving a greater amount of learning.

Another colleague of Thiell’s, Ryan Baker, has introduced affect detectors, picking up on the learner’s affectual condition. The introduction of timed mindset interventions when material is cognitively complex together with information on the affective state of the learner, seems to be a most effective, positive inclusion in to courseware. This is a most remarkable example of using the power of the algorithm to make a teaching decision.
Ryan Baker * affect detectors

It seems appropriate to end with some thoughts from Stephen Downes (2017) from The Next Battle for Openness. Downes always thinks outside of the box. He suggested that the challenges for openness may not be limited to the types of data but to the way that data will be used. He referred to George Orwell’s “thought crime” and whether we could be open with the way we think. He discussed the possibility of mind-to-mind direct communication. That is not such an outrageous suggestion. Back in 1982, when I was engaged in research into mutual hypnosis, I had evidence of telepathic communication under mutual hypnosis. So, how open will mind-to-mind communication be?
The future of communication? Open or not?

Downes speculated further about combining genetic and algorithmic data to end up with a hybrid human-machine language. Would this be open? Would it be ethical? Downes (2017) stated, “A lot of the issues of ethics and what it means to be a person and what it means to be a society are going to be challenged by the new possibilities of creating, manipulating, and sharing new kinds of information. And I think openness is going to be challenged by these things”. We really cannot conceive all the possibilities that we may face in the future. Whatever happens, progress in learning and education needs to be open, collegial, and shared, so that we can find solutions to problems that may yet arise, together.
Forward Woman Artifical Intelligence Robot

Friday, November 3, 2017

Research on OER Impact and Effectiveness

Most of the readings set for Week Five dealt with research into the use of OERs. A review was covered in a research shorts video from YouTube entitled A Review of the Effectiveness & Perceptions of Open Educational Resources as Compared to Textbooks (based on Hilton, J. (2016). Open educational resources and college textbook choices: A review of research on efficacy and perceptions. Educational Technology Research and Development, 64(4), 573-590) This review examined 16 empirical studies of courses where OERs had replaced traditional textbooks. The research studies focussed on either the learning objectives and success rates or on the perceptions of students and lecturers regarding OERs. Only one out of the 16 studies found a lower success rate for some students using OERs. The general consensus was that OER use was effective with higher test results and lower rates of failure and/or drop-out. It is noted that researchers appreciated the limitations of their studies and did not attribute direct causality in their conclusions.
Review of Hilton, 2016

The video narrative contained an instance of inaccurate reporting when it stated, “A sizable majority felt that OER were of better quality than traditional textbooks. About half said that they were of similar quality. And only a few thought that OER were inferior”. If you read the original report by Hilton (2016) the statistics are: 33% viewed OER positively, 50% saw OERs and traditional textbooks as of a similar quality, and 17% viewed OERs as inferior. There is no way you can call 33% “a sizable majority”, when a majority implies that it is over half! Still, the results do indicate that both lecturers and students were positive in their perceptions of OER: students valuing the “free” part of OERs, and lecturers appreciating the high quality and flexibility of OERs. My favourite question from Hilton (2016) has to be: “If the average college student spends approximately $1,000 per year on textbooks and yet performs scholastically no better than the student who utilizes free OER, what exactly is being purchased with that $1,000?” This is a question well worth considering.
What is being purchased with that $1,000?

Weller (2012) in a discussion of The openness-creativity cycle in education described the open scholar and the relationship between OERs and creativity. This article comes from the Open University (OU) in the UK. The mission statement from the OU is 'Open to people, places, methods and ideas'. The OU has long been renowned for its open access policies and has been the source of a lot of research into open access.
OU, 1969

Weller (2012) defined a number of related aspects of open education, but the one that was most meaningful to me was the open scholar. The open scholar combines the creation of digital artefacts with a socially oriented distribution network. The open scholar, in my opinion, represents the core of learning in terms of a connectivist pedagogy. I see myself as an open scholar. According to Weller (2012), the open scholar creates, uses, and contributes open content, self-archives, applies his/her own open research, shares, supports open learning initiatives, comments on others, publishes in open access journals, and builds networks. This is the direction in which I have been moving for almost a decade.
Lead educator of SLENZ - my workshop participants

Creativity is high in the list of characteristics of the open scholar. I consider the work I have done creative. I have open research data available on both virtual world projects in which I have taken a lead role. I was lead educator for the foundation build, part of the Second Life Education New Zealand (SLENZ) project. The initial results of this data are available at: Second Life Education in New Zealand: Evaluation Research Final Report The initial research for my literacy game, The Mythical World of Hīnātore, is available here: Literacy game in a virtual world Here are a few pictures of both builds. I have had very positive perceptions from both students and lecturers who have participated in my research. However, the research was not focussed on the aspect of openness but on either the gaming or simulation aspects of the builds. It would be interesting to look further into the impact both builds have made due to the fact they were both created using NZ 3.0 CC licensing. 
Koru SLENZ Foundation build
Literacy game, The Mythical World of Hīnātore

Having taught in an open entry foundation course for nearly a decade, I have always been interested in research into open entry, open access programmes. Dr Barry Hodges from the University of Newcastle in Australia reviewed research into open entry/open access courses (reported in a review I wrote (2017) in Mana Rangahau Issue 1). He concluded that the research evidence indicated that open entry/open access courses suffered from the challenge of four deficits: the challenge of achievement with high drop-out and low success rates; the challenge of academic standards, i.e. accepting failure or lowering standards; the challenge of student support – ““Opportunity without support is not access”; and, the challenge of multiple discourses, acknowledging students who are proficient in discourses other than the dominant. He suggested rejecting the deficit model and creating a dynamic university culture embodying a multiplicity of sub-cultures, each imbued with their own discourses, literacies, and processes.
Me surrounded by my wonderful students

The narrative approach to research must be as important as collecting a mass of statistics. It is incredibly difficult to indicate the effectiveness of an approach to education in terms of causality. There are so many factors that impact on our students and their learning. Switching to an OER may seem to make a positive difference to a group of students. But, it could also be attributed to the motivation of increased digital material and less reliance on the printed page. A number of my own students have conducted research into the use of little OERs (as opposed to big OERs – see Weller, 2012). Some have incorporated OER puzzles, games, and video content into their courses and found the students most receptive to the changes. However, perhaps the positive results obtained could be attributable to their own increased motivation and passion and how these characteristics have been passed on to the students. It is easier to identify causality when examining individual stories and how changes have impacted in particular cases. An interesting opportunity for research has been created by the new government in New Zealand, a result of the election held last month. Our new Prime Minster, Labour leader Jacinda Ardern, has promised that all new tertiary students will receive their first year of tertiary study for free (see the video link below).
Jacinda Ardern, NZ PM (for video link, click the photo)

I imagine a priority for the new Labour Government will be to prove, through research, the benefits of instituting this policy at a national level. However, I tend to be sceptical of politically inspired research and believe that individual institutions should look at the effects in terms of their own students. Stephen Downes, in his video, Research on OER Impact and Effectiveness, made a couple of very important points. He questioned the actual meaning of research and the meaning of impact. Stephen recommends that the information that is needed yet not done, is research into how open resources help society. Yes! OEEs should have a long-term impact on a person’s sense of personal worth and their value to society. In Stephen’s own words: “I see research on grades and graduation rates and course completions and crap like that. And I'm not interested in that. I'm interested in how open resources help society”. I am currently working on my PhD in education, examining the effectiveness of my own literacy game. I have already conducted extensive research using numbers and quantitative data. This has all indicated a positive perception of the game and how it has improved sentence structure and grammar in student’s formal writing. Now, I am looking at narrative, and how the game has personally impacted on select subjects, both short and long-term. The results I have obtained are interesting in that the qualitative data supports the quantitative data. My game may not be a very apt example of seeing something change society but I have seen a game change a mother-son relationship, a son’s progress at school, and a student’s decision-making processes in areas unrelated to the original written literacy in the game. 
Comments on the literacy game - looking back

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.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The 5R's, CC, and Open Licensing

Another challenging week of reading and video consumption. I had not realised how complicated issues of copyright and licenses with varying amounts of permissions could be. It is important information to be able to learn, remember, and use.

David Wiley’s presentation at LCCOER Defining OER was most illuminating. David used a lot of metaphor and examples and made the content so clear and entertaining. He spoke about education as sharing. In fact, he went as far as to say that “all the things that are actually truly educative about our work are all acts of sharing, full stop.” Yes, I agree 100%. That is what drew me to Open Education. Sharing is the key.

When competing my OER Evangelism video, I was impressed by Alby Fitisemanu also saying that education is not selfish… that education is sharing. It is so true. I have always loved teaching and I have always been a teacher surrounded by love. I truly have always loved my students. I have shared myself, shared my ideas, shared my insights, and been the recipient of so much knowledge that my students have shared with me. I have so many wonderful tributes from students. I will share two briefly. Selena mentioned I had, “unwavering support, passion and commitment to education, and to the students of South Auckland.” And Rebecca stated, “She has shown me how to be gentle towards others and myself and when I'm down, to brush myself off and get back on the horse and start again.”
Where's Wally? Or, should I say Where's Merle?

In New Zealand the Māori and Pasifika peoples have cultures of sharing, and, thankfully, this has had an impact on the beliefs and practices of educators. The most collaborative and sharing group of educators I have ever met, are those I have had the pleasure of working with in virtual worlds since 2008. My first presentation at my first conference was about the collaborative nature of virtual world education (eFest, 2009).
Meeting of the Virtual Worlds Working Group

David went on to tell the story of a beautiful land with meadows, flowers and bees that didn’t sting. Travel across this beautiful land was made possible by the invention on the automobile and roads. A law was passed that whatever “whiz-bang” gadget was used, it had to stay on the roads. With the exciting development of the airplane, the law to stay on the roads became stifling and unproductive. In this little analogy, copyright is the airplane of education. David highlighted the fact that all the powerful things the Internet makes possible are harnessed and even prohibited by copyright. David’s solution: “So the answer to how do we get this plane in the air is open educational resources.” It certainly makes sense.
Get this plane in the air with OER

The 5 R’s: retain, reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute (the permissions described by the Creative Commons license system – for more explanation see the previous post, dated 14th October, Understanding the Commons or check out the delightful little video from Creative Commons called Wanna Work Together). Retain is the most basic permission because if you do not have the resource in hand, you cannot reuse, revise, remix, or redistribute it!

The idea of faux-pen (fake open) was mentioned in David’s presentation. I love this term!!!!! It immediately brought to mind my first experiences using Canvas, at the start of this year. I had been a power user in BlackBoard for 16 years. At the end of 2016, with only a couple of month’s warning, the institution switched from BlackBoard to Canvas. In my first Canvas training session, I was elated seeing the long, long list of Apps that could be used in Canvas. I was going to have fun!!!

As the months went on, I discovered how few apps were really available! I even asked for a list of freely accessible apps, and after receiving a list of over a hundred, narrowed it down to 24 I wanted to investigate for the purposes of preparing my new course, Appreciation of eLearning Tools. After hours of disappointments, I found four that I could use. I had an equally frustrating time hunting down free online apps. They were free for a time and then required payment.

Stephen Downes mentioned another related problem with the CC Licensing system. The dichotomy of whether open can be commercial or whether it should be non-commercial. Could legal, commercial use of a CC Licensed product cause it to be labelled as faux-pen?

One of the most inspirational parts of David’s presentation was in his description of the 3 R’s relating to the adoption of an OE resource: replace, realign, and rethink. David used a delightful analogy of going to a buffet. A wide array of dishes is available. You know you like beef and broccoli, so you only eat the beef and broccoli. What a shame to not try the other available delicacies. To replace or substitute is fine, but there is more to a buffet than beef and broccoli.
Whi limit yourself to beef and broccoli?

Realign refers to making sure that whatever replacement you choose, satisfies the Learning Objectives of the course you are delivering. David suggests using the Learning Objectives or Learning Outcomes as the Table of Contents for an OE replacement text. David uses another analogy of selecting the furnishings in a living room. The objectives or outcomes are the items in the living room. As an educator, you can use the range of OERs available as a catalogue of possible furnishings. And then Rethink takes the OER adoption further into decisions based on Open Learning Pedagogies.
OERs online - your catalogue of furnishings

I was very motivated and excited to read about renewable assignments. I am busy preparing course material for a Certificate in Tertiary Teaching course in Creative Delivery. David’s ideas for the Kung Fu assignment, the student adapted and edited book on Project Management, and the idea of the project management certified professional certificate, to motivate students to collect their own exam preparation content in an OER, are all brilliant! Great ideas from a great mind!

Norman Bier, from Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative, spoke (very quickly) about One Superpower of OER. This superpower refers to the ability of OER to tackle the Gordian Knot, the seemingly intractable and complicated issue of institutional creation, use, and ownership. OER can provide a solution that addresses the needs of the educators, their institutions, and their legal departments and associated organisations.
Representing the Tertiary Teaching Unit

Saturday, October 21, 2017

OER Evangelism

This week we were charged with engaging in OER Evangelism on my campus. Well, I am not a very social person and generally keep to myself and my students. This week I went out of my way to be social! 😊 I made appointments with a number of Senior Lecturers and Management, including our Chief Executive, Gus Gilmore. It was an interesting experience. I interviewed really good people who truly believe in Open Education.

I must admit to a panic attack every time I was on my way to interview a member of the Executive! I felt my heart beat through my ears as I rounded the corner of C Block! But, our Chief Executive, Gus Gilmore, and the Director of External Relations, Stuart Middleton, were charming, helpful, and generous of their time and expertise. Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, our new Deputy Chief Executive Pasifika and former cabinet minister, made the trip to the offices of the Tertiary Teaching Unit, where I work! He was the epitome of kindness.

I even felt nervous interviewing people I know and love dearly! Our Kaiārahi Ako, Luana Te Hire, was no exception. But, what a wonderful and knowledgeable woman, with a huge heart of gold. Dr Clive Cornford, Associate Dean of the Faculty of Consumer Services and Melanie Wong, the Research Coordinator for our faculty, were welcoming and pleasant. We actually chatted far longer than I anticipated! I cannot miss mentioning Jo and Alby, my two workmates, and exceptional people in every way.

I must admit to leaving one interview in a rather emotional state. I was so touched by the things I heard from Stuart Middleton, our Director of External Relations. I wish I could have included the whole interview, but the video would have doubled in length. I had no idea what a pioneer he has been in New Zealand in Open Education. Winning a NZ Media Award, way back in 2002, speaks to the impact he has made on education and in our local community.

Well, I hope someone takes the time to go through my video. It is far from professional, but it comes from the heart. It allows you an insight into the beliefs and practices of a small institution in South Auckland, New Zealand, an area renowned for its mixed ethnic population and low socio-economic status. Needless to say, given the environment in which we live and work, Open Education is seen to be of vital importance.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Understanding the Commons

This week has been interesting yet challenging. Articles on copyright, the commons, and open access, seem so full of legalese and complicated reasoning. Neither are my strong points! Yet, because I believe in open access to education, I waded through the difficult concepts. I came away with a few pertinent points that have further persuaded me towards an open access perspective.

The Tragedy of the Commons seems like a tragic viewpoint! The Tragedy of the Commons is the argument that if a resource is shared and everyone has a right to use that resource, it will be overconsumed and ruined. David Bollier counter-argues that it is incorrect to assume that people cannot manage a shared resource fairly and for everyone's betterment. This seems so true of education. How could you possibly over-consume education? Open access to education would encourage the open interchange of ideas.

What then would happen if we moved towards open access to education? I believe we would have the opportunity to share in the development of knowledge, a more egalitarian distribution of information. As information/education is shared, it becomes more accessible. There are huge global problems that we will not be able to solve without research across disciplines, across institutional boundaries, and even across nations. Restrictions inhibit creativity and openness facilitates innovation.

In the YouTube video entitled How Does the Commons Work, it was stated clearly, “Bollier says that the people who argue that the commons is impossible to manage make the fundamental mistake of treating the commons as a thing with those selfish commons destroying people existing outside of it. But the commons isn't a thing, it's a process that involves everyone in the community working to share and distribute it fairly.”

While considering the idea of commoning, I reflected on my own experience with producing open access resources. I realised I actually did not understand a Creative Commons license well at all. I knew that the resources were open access, but my understanding did not stretch to what was or was not permitted by the licenses I had worked with! I did a little investigating. I learned a lot from a YouTube video from Video Magazine. This video is shown below. The example of Zac and his use of Kiri’s photo of a kiwi, was simple and clear.

I then decided to investigate my own resources to find out more about the type of CC license issued. Firstly, I looked into the Second Life Education NZ (SLENZ) Project. I checked out the Literature Review and found the license information.
SLENZ Literature Review

SLENZ Lit Review Copyright statement
I also examined the Milestone Reports and found the same thing.
Milestone Report Copyright statement
I even checked our resources inside Second Life and found the hover script above the builds with the same – Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0. 
The license information hovers above the packaged build in SL
The license information hovers above the packaged build in SL

So, what does that mean? Thanks to my research I found out anyone can share (copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format), or adapt (remix, transform, or build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially). These rights are given as long as the person who makes use of the resource provides attribution (i.e. appropriate credit, a link to the license, and indicates if any changes have been made). I think this is as it should be! I discovered that all my online resources had the exact same Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0.

My research report on my Kitely literacy game, The Mythical World of Hīnātore, is available on the Ako Aotearoa website. Once again, Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0. I love being instrumental in sharing my research, my knowledge, and my abilities.
Ako Licensing statement

The Mythical World of Hīnātore