GadaboutOne who walks aboutfrom place to placewithout proper businessImage source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/upnorthmemories/4256082501/in/photostream/Definition source: Legends of Americawords and phrases of the Old Westhttp://www.legendsofamerica.com/we-slang-g.html
TownspeopleIve found there is quite a lot of teaching materials freely available out there, which is great. But we just dont do it here, it’s never been done.Even what we were doing [with OER], that’s not happening any more. The University just doesn’t see it as a priority.Ideally wed like to produce packages that other people could use. But sometimes its challenge enough to get it to work in our own systems.There is still a perception in some parts ... that income will be generated from the development of e-learning content.
TownspeopleActually being able to adopt and adapt what has been used elsewhere ... can be fraught with difficulty because of subject matter experts not agreeing with each other.The University is geared up for full-time learners, not people who want something slightly different.We have our tried and tested ways of attracting applicants and [that department] is not interested in OERs produced by staffsome students have objected to the use of external content by ‘lazy lecturers’academic practice and the academic infrastructure – writing programme handbooks and specifications, all the stuff thats part of the day job – that closes off possibilities.
Townspeople• We are happy to share with people like us, if we can build a relationship• ‘sharing begins at home’ - it has to work for our people first• We’re trying to hang on to the people we need to survive• We don’t have the time, effort or expertise (to develop big OER or participate in communities of sharing little OER)• Student expectations: often more attached than staff to ‘the way things should be done’• OER benefit models only work in some parts of town• Open means something special here - open content is only one sign of what is happening
PioneersIt’s about us as a community sharing stuff – what’s the point in reinventing the wheel 7 times? It’s very unlikely any of us have created anything from scratch anyway.I think internationalisation too – that exchange of information and knowledge across cultures is easier [with OERs].The insight that [OER] gives you into different cultural ways of working is interesting in terms of staff development. Different pedagogic and national cultures are visible. And you can use that to help students ... to look at something different.Ive found it eye opening to see how broad the OER movement has become around the world, and just the scope of uptake of OER materials. Its an incredible area thats just being explored at the moment.Just recently this month they got in touch and wanted to share resources. If we can deal with them, we can deal with Scottish, then UK, then world freebies! Global benevolence!
PioneersSo OER allow us to continue that shift [in the balance of power], because learners sitting wherever... can access a range of resources suited to their own workplace. Its about democratising education.In 5-10 years time things will automatically be open. Books aren’t the way forward. Getting out a book is a bizarre thing for students to do.We need to be open to the possibility students might learn something we didnt expect.I was involved last year in some legacy projects, writing open learning resources for local authorities in areas where they were all going to be disbanded... so it was about capturing their expertise.Im really excited to find ways that its going to be used in organisations beyond the University
Pioneers• Beyond exchange to open release (the economy of the gift, more appropriate in an age of knowledge abundance)• A responsibility to learners and learning anywhere• Open release is a political and/or value-laden act e.g. democracy, public scholarship, inter-culturalism, saving minority/threatened knowledge• Digital technologies/media as inherently radicalising of knowledge e.g. around publishing models, accessibility• Recognising knowledge as incomplete, in process and in circulation
QuestionsHow do we open the town gates a little?What are the pathways between towns/through open country?How can the natives and the settlers learn from one another?How do we balance law and order (standards/ interoperability) with local freedoms and customs?How do we live a good life in this world and the world to come?
Opening the town gates (a little)Easily usable tools It’s got to be as easy as ‘right click, save’ (we need) tools that support download and management of resources e.g. Zotero, and the integration of JorumOpen with library catalogues.Building local know-how and confidence Now, instead of getting in the consultants or sending people off on training, we exchange and share. The information and digital literacy skills required by students to access and utilise OERs need to be addressed Cascading know-how through workshops, mentoringEnhanced quality (accessibility, re-usability) of educational content (??)Low hanging fruit Some types of content readily reused/released Some situations make open release the easier optionMaking closed systems more open If someone wants access we find a way of giving it to them VLE permissions, remote access, links to open repositories/open web
Pathways through open countrySharing expertise across town boundaries The success of the C-SAP project partly derives from a project team model constituted by locals who possess institutional knowledge and outsiders who bring experiences from the wider disciplinary context.Shared standards, frameworks and tools Some people really see themselves as part of a community of academics who are building and sharing, and some people dont. Were not going to crack the people who dont want to share and play, but for the people who have that ethos we need to meet their needs.Looking beyond academia The aim is to involve employers in producing [OER]. To expand from the academic base to not only learners out there but teachers out there in workplaces. "we [are] public institutions, housing public thinkers & dedicated to the education of society for the needs of society" (Malcolm Read, Alt-C11).
Implications (maybe)Benefits of OER may have little to do with the openness of the license (cf David Wiley)Big OER - it takes time and specialist expertise to develop for independent online learnersLittle OER - mainly for other teachers and highly self-directed learners i.e. more of a CoP approach - but then requires community features (and these too require time for participation and support)"we public institutions, housing public thinkers & dedicated to the education of society for the needs of society" (Malcolm Read) - we need people who are thinking about open scholarship big scale...but support for people who are doing it on a small scaleOpen content does not equal open learning (let alone open education) - C- SAP, ADM, LfW examples
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