Peer Observation of OER (Re-)Use Tita Beaven and Anna Comas-Quinn, The Open University, UK CALICO, Open Education: Resources and Design for Language Learning University of Notre Dame, 12-16 June 2012
Outline• A brief introduction to LORO and the OU context• Peer observation in a blended context• OER use and re-use
Languages at The Open University• English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Welsh & Chinese (beginners to advanced) to 10000+ language students• Blended approach: independent study using mixed media and support inc. face-to-face, synchronous and asynchronous online teaching• Course materials produced centrally, teaching support provided locally• Course developers and course directors: 45+ academics plus support staff• Teaching staff: 300+ part-time teachers
What was the problem?• Storing and managing resources for teaching (servers, the VLE…)• Finding out what others are doing• Avoid reinventing the wheel…(30-40 teachers might be delivering the same course in parallel)• Sharing resources produced by all colleagues
Languages Open Resources Online http://loro.open.ac.ukLORO is about:• ...making all teaching materials for all levels and languages available to all users,• …making OU tutorial materials available to the wider languages community,• …allowing users to share their own materials with the whole languages community,• …starting a change in the way we work (OER, access, transparency, quality).
What are OER?• Open educational resources are materials used to support education that may be freely accessed, reused, modified and shared by anyone.(Stephen Downes 2011)• The creator of the resource indicates that they are for public use and reuse through a Creative Commons license or similar
Teachers are using LORO…• To find resources for their teaching “I often also check what other teachers have done to teach the same topic or a similar structure”• To find inspiration and ideas “even if I don’t find anything I can use, it starts the ideas flowing in my head”• To standardise their practice and ensure comparability of the student experience “to make sure the contents covered in my own tutorial are similar to those used by the rest of the course team and tutors”
Benefits of using LORO• Increased confidence in one’s own practice “Seeing other work enables you to judge your own, and reassures you that you are doing the right thing”• Freedom to develop other aspects of one’s teaching practice “It gives us time and space to create some individual styles” “I can concentrate on how I will teach culture or how to teach through the asynchronous forum”
Benefits of using LORO• Value of feedback on one’s work “gives me an opportunity to gain useful feedback on the work I do”• … but there are constraints “peer comment should be extended, but the restraints of all our workloads make this a problem”• Increase quality of teaching materials “sharing the resources I have created with colleagues stimulates me to write very good materials, test them and improve them so that they can be used by someone else. LORO really pushes me to produce better materials”
Quantitative data• 1.5 million page views to date• 20,000 downloads in the last 6 months• over 1100 registered users• over 2500 resources• 900+ visitors a month from around the world (data from LORO inbuilt stats and Google analytics)
Success measuresLORO Project, Highly Commended in theLearning Contexts categoryOPAL Awards for Quality and Innovationthrough Open Educational Practices.
“the open is the enemy of the knowable” (Beetham, 2011)http://www.slideshare.net/SCORE/oer-impact-study-marion-manton-learning-from-oer-research-projects-19th-january-2012
Peer observation of teachingA ‘‘collaborative, developmental activity in whichprofessionals offer mutual support by observing each otherteach; explaining and discussing what was observed; sharingideas about teaching; gathering student feedback onteaching effectiveness; reflecting onunderstandings, feelings, actions and feedback and trying outnew ideas’’.(Bell, 2005, p. 3)
Used in different contexts for different purposes • as a developmental tool in the training of new teachers or in continuous professional development; • as a management tool for quality monitoring or evaluation of teachers by their line manager it can be felt to be uncomfortable, intrusive or to curtail academic freedom. In the context of continuous professional learning, then, some warn that POT should be designed to be “non-judgemental and developmental rather than evaluative and externally required” (Lomas and Nicholls, 2005, Hatzipanagos and Lygo‐Baker, 2006)
The developmental nature of POTFor Cosh (1998)observation is “aninvaluable form of staffdevelopment”, whichcan play an importantpart in ensuring thatteachers don’t become“isolated androutinized”, enablingteachers to gainexposure to otherteaching styles andapproaches.
POT in the context of blended teaching and learning?• POT needs to be extended to other media where teaching takes place• It should cover areas such as curriculum design, the creation of teaching materials, online teaching , and the whole range of what teachers do to support learners. (Hatzipanagos and Lygo- Baker 2006, Bennett and Barp, 2008 Swinglehurst et al, 2008).• In the context of the OU? In the context of LORO?
The 4 Rs• Reuse – make exact copies• Revise – make adaptations• Redistribute – share copies• Remix – combinations / mashups See http://creativecommons.org http://opencontent.org/blog/archives/tag/4rsBUT: little visible evidence of this
Use and reuse Use and reuse of resources from LORO in tutorials Resource used as is Additional wording before tutorial(student support) 19 Additional wording during 25 tutorial(student support) Added images/colours (slide design) Almost identical resource but changes to the activity 3 New resource based on existing OER in 1 LORO 3 New resource based on existing course resource not in LORO 3 Totally new resource 16 Reuse of own resource from another 13 setting (1) 1(1) These were all produced by the same teacher, although in the actual lesson she did not use most of them, and reflected afterwards that she had prepared too
Knowledge used by teachers when (re)using OER• subject knowledge• knowledge about the course and the students• technical knowledge, especially about Elluminate• pedagogic knowledge, both in language teaching and in teaching online via an audiographic system• emotional/affective knowledge• knowledge of other resources in LORO, etc.
If a tree falls in the forest and no one isaround to hear it, does it make a sound? Newbiggin Hall Scouts http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fallen_tree_-_geograph.org.uk_-_495932.jpg