1       Earning formal academic credit through a citizen’s viral and OER learning                             What are the...
2    How can change be fostered? National policy has not                         Do mobile, hybrid and online learning pr...
3     position taking. Journal of Education Policy, 27 (6), pp.761-        refugees in the Australian labour Market”, in A...
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Earning formal academic credit through a citizen’s viral and OER learning (Ideas Paper)

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Earning formal academic credit through a citizen’s viral and OER learning
What are the implications for mobile, hybrid and online learning? Ideas paper presented at: eLmL 2013, The Fifth International Conference on Mobile, Hybrid, and Online Learning, February 24th to March 1st, 2013, Nice, France.

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Earning formal academic credit through a citizen’s viral and OER learning (Ideas Paper)

  1. 1. 1 Earning formal academic credit through a citizen’s viral and OER learning What are the implications for mobile, hybrid and online learning? Ideas paper presented at:eLmL 2013, The Fifth International Conference on Mobile, Hybrid, and Online Learning, February 24th to March 1st, 2013, Nice, France. See http://www.slideshare.net/MerilynChilds/e-lml1 for the accompanying ppt. presentation. Merilyn Childs Regine Wagner Flexible Learning Institute Flexible Learning Institute Charles Sturt University Charles Sturt University Albury, Australia Albury, Australia mchilds@csu.edu.au rwagner@csu.edu.au Abstract— The authors offer two simple propositions that participation. Some of this learning may occur within formalform the basis for a “speculative turn” concerning learning in learning spaces, whether institutional or not. Sense makingHigher Education in a digital age. The current growth of of viral learning is what takes place when recognition andmobile, hybrid and online learning spaces within Higher credit processes are offered to citizens when they enterEducation may provide access to new formal learning formal university studies.opportunities – but will fall short of their disruptive possibilitiesif substantial inroads are not made into the transformation of In this ideas paper we use the term “citizen” instead ofthe relationship between a citizens’ learning; and an the word “student” to generate a changed view of the personinstitution’s credentialing policies and practices. doing the learning. Others have referred to such persons as Keywords- viral learning; user-generated content; “OER learners” (for example, the OEUu c2011). “Student”Recognition of Prior Learning; disruptive technologies; positions a citizen as an enrolled member of an institution,assessment in Higher Education; mobile learning, OER practices and we want to challenge this view. Our focus is on citizens’ embedded, lived experiences across time, place and space. I. INTRODUCTION There has long been discussion about “informal learning” in 1 the adult education field. Increasingly, the quality and “Viral learning” is the term given by the authors to availability of free, online learning opportunities haslearning that has been achieved through student-directed exponentially improved, as has access to them. Such accesslearning in “viral learning spaces” (Childs & Wagner 2012). is unrecognizable when compared to the very limited accessIn our own work, we have thought about education at the previously enjoyed by workers during the early 20th centurynexus of work and learning, through the lens of RPL e.g. through the Workers Education Association (WEA) (see(Recognition of Prior Learning) (Childs, Wagner & Ingham Dymock 2001).2002) and workbased learning (Wagner, Childs & Despite broad transformational changes to citizens’Houlbrook 2001, Wagner, Childs & Constable 2004, Wagner learning opportunities, institutional change in Australia has& Childs 2006). We now transcend this nexus by thinking been slow. Ways of seeing “the student” and “learning”about user-generated, viral learning more generally. remain resistant to change. Citizens entering university Viral learning 2 is user-generated, and by adopting this undergraduate studies are often seen to be pre-service, or asterm we advocate a view of learning from a citizen’s children leaving high school. The statistics don’t support thisperspective. Viral learning is partially hypertextual, is self- view. User-generated learning (“informal learning”,perpetuating, distributed and networked, and is learning “experiential learning” or “personal learning”) has not yetencountered through life, work, formal studies and gained a strong foothold in learning design, curriculum or assessment practices. The research consistently indicates that1 recognition of prior learning is poor (Pitman 2012). Open “Viral learning” builds on Illich’s (1971) notion of “peer educational practices (Ehlers 2011) that value user-generatedmatching networks” and “learning webs”. learning remain marginal and distant from the core business2 “Viral learning” is not a substitute for “virtual learning” – the of learning, teaching and assessment. The idea that non-former is learning achieved by a citizen; the latter is a mode oflearning. Viral learning occurs through a citizen’s agency across institutional learning is of less value than institutionaltime and space, distributed learning spaces (Oblinger, 2006) and learning is out-of-place in a digital age characterized byutilizing resources such as OERs. personal, hybrid and mobile learning.
  2. 2. 2 How can change be fostered? National policy has not  Do mobile, hybrid and online learning practicesbeen successful; therefore we offer two propositions to sustain, or rethink traditional universityadvance thinking. According to philosophers Bryant et al practices and relationships?(2011, p.433), a “speculative turn” presents itself through  Do mobile, hybrid and online learning practices“daring speculations about the nature of reality itself”. In this enable OER practices?ideas paper, we want to propose the idea that Higher  Do mobile, hybrid and online learning practicesEducation is amidst a “speculative turn” in Higher Education enable citizen’s to access formal credit for user-via two propositions: generated, viral learning?  Proposition I- Quality learning can and will From the point of view of our two propositions, mobile, happen through the planned and accidental hybrid and online learning are tools used by a citizen to agency of citizens who may at some time create a nexus between their learning; and an institution’s become students. learning outcomes, assessments and credentials. The recently  Proposition II - The relationships that are established Open Education Resources University’s (OERu), possible between a citizen’s learning and commitment to “creating flexible pathways for OER learners universities can be substantially rethought as the to gain formal academic credit” (c2011), provides an basis for transformational change. example of new institutional thinking that enables, through outreach, mobility, online learning and flexibility, II. THE SPECULATIVE TURN recognition and assessment, a citizen’s complex life and Is this speculative turn, as defined by the two learning journeys.propositions, new? At other moments in history the role andaims of universities have been questioned. For example, in REFERENCESGermany during the reform period post-1968 the [1] Bernstein, B. 1996. Pedagogy, symbolic control and identity:introduction of project based and action learning curricula theory, research, critique. London, Taylor and Francis.advocated a transformed university (Frey, 1989, Soukup and [2] Bryant, L., Srnicek N., and Harman, G. The Speculative Turn: Continetal Materialism and Realism, 2011, Re-Press:Koch 1988). The nature of the institution was question Victoria, http://www.re-press.org/book-through the “Open Classroom” and “Schools Without Walls” files/OA_Version_Speculative_Turn_9780980668346.pdfmovements in the 1970s (Cuban 2004) and in heated debates [3] Childs M. and Wagner. R. 2011. “Beyond The Look – Viralregarding the relationship between working class knowledge Learning Spaces as Contemporary Learning Environments”.and education (see amongst many, Freire 1972, Bernstein In Physical and Virtual Learning Spaces in Higher1996). However, these changes failed to generate sustained Education: Concepts for the Modern Learning Environment. Ed (s): Keppell, MK, Souter K, Riddle M, pp.33-50, IGIinstitutional reforms. Global: USA. What makes the speculative turn different in the digital [4] Childs M. and Wagner, R. 2006. “Exclusionary narratives asage? The digital age has lead to the exponential proliferation barriers to the recognition of qualifications, skills andof high-quality open access learning opportunities on the one experience- a case of skilled migrants in Australia”, Studies inhand, and high-quality work-integrated formal and informal Continuing Education, vol.28, no.1, pp 49-62.learning opportunities on the other. High-quality learning [5] Childs, M., Ingham V., and Wagner R., 2002, “Recognition ofopportunities are no longer solely owned or promulgated by prior learning on the web - a case of Australian universities”,universities. Citizens (including OER learners) produce Australian Journal of Adult Learning, April, vol. 42, no. 1, pp.39-56.artifacts of depth and quality in distributed spaces, not just [6] Cubban, L. 2004. “The Open Classroom: were schools withoutformal learning spaces. walls just another fad?” Education Next, Spring, vol. 4, no. 2, pp.68-71. III. IMPLICATIONS FOR MOBILE, HYBRID AND ONLINE [7] Dymock, D. A Special and Distinctive Role in Adult Education. LEARNING 2001, Sydney: Allen & Unwin. This speculative turn has important implications for [8] Ehlers, U.D. (2011). Extending the territory: From openposing questions about mobile, hybrid and online learning. educational resources to open educational practices. JournalThese are often spoken of as enabling “learning anywhere, of Open, Flexible and Distance Learning 15(2)anytime” – but scratch below the surface and it often means [9] Freire, P. 1972. Pedagogy of the Oppressed, 1972, Harmondsworth: Penguin.providing a password protected Learning Management [10] Frey, K. Die Projektmethode. 1989, Weinheim: Belz.System (LMS) that a student can access, even when sitting ina café. Learning within the LMS may be unremarkable, and [11] Illich, I. 1971. Deschooling society, New York, Harper & Row.vary little from a traditional week-by-week, teacher-driven, [12] Oblinger, D.G. 2006. Space as a change agent. In D. G.content-based, essay-assessed program. If the end-game of a Oblinger (Ed.), Learning Spaces. EDUCAUSE e-book.mobile learning opportunity routinely and predictably Retrieved October 12,remains a 2,000 word essay; then something has gone wrong 2009 http://www.educause.edu/learningspacesch1.in the technological disruption. [13] Open Education Resources University, The following questions are useful as a means of http://wikieducator.org/OER_university/Homeinterrogating mobile, hybrid and online learning in the [14] Pitman T., & Vidonich, L. 2012. Recognition of prior learningcontext of the speculative turn: (RPL_ policy in Australian higher education: the dynamics of
  3. 3. 3 position taking. Journal of Education Policy, 27 (6), pp.761- refugees in the Australian labour Market”, in A Fair Go: 774. Some Issues of Social Justice in Australia, R. Leonard,[15] Soukup G and Koch R (Eds). Es kamen härtere Tage.1988 Common Ground Publishing, Altona, Vic, pp 147-156. Weinheim:Belz [17] Wagner, R., Childs M. and M. Houlbrook, “Workbased[16] Wagner, R., Childs M. and Constable J., 2004. “Oh lucky learning as critical social pedagogy”, Australian Journal of country, non-English speaking background migrants and Adult Learning, 2001, vol. 41, no. 3, pp. 314-333.

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