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Building a global teaching profile:  Showcasing Open Educational Resources at the University of Cape Town

Building a global teaching profile: Showcasing Open Educational Resources at the University of Cape Town



Building a global teaching profile:   Showcasing Open Educational Resources at the University of Cape Town (UCT). ...

Building a global teaching profile:   Showcasing Open Educational Resources at the University of Cape Town (UCT).

Delivered November 18, 2009 at the Teaching with Technology Miniconference hosted by the Centre for Educational Technology at UCT.



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  • Welcome to all – My presentation titled “Building a global teaching profile” will touch on some of the global and institutional motivators driving the Open Educational Resources movement and then hone in on what it might mean for academics and look at some of the individual motivators. This presentation was created collaboratively with my colleagues Michelle Willmers and Cheryl Hodgkinson Williams and is shared using the Attribution – Share Alike Creative Commons license
  • Cheryl, Michelle and I are part of the OER UCT Project which is in the Centre for Educational Technology at UCT This project is funded by the Shuttleworth Foundation for a year and builds on a previous research project, OpeningScholarship The OER UCT Project aims to: Showcase the teaching efforts of UCT academics by encouraging the open publication of teaching and learning resources. Create a directory listing the UCT Collection of OER which will go live from February 2010 thereby offering new visibility for teaching materials and global individual profiling on international OER sites Share the lessons learned with those who are interested through a documented case study of an institutional process of moving towards OER.
  • I believe it is best to start with a definition of Open educational resources Open educational resources ( or OER) are educational materials (usually in digital form) that are shared freely and openly for anyone to use and under some type of license to re-purpose/ improve and redistribute The term OER was coined at a UNESCO forum in 2002. Other terms often used include open content, open educational content, open courseware, and open teaching.
  • We are going to first briefly touch on the social, technical, legal, and financial motivators that are enabling this global open movement
  • First of all – we have a change in philosophy Consider the Open Source Software movement which led the way in showcasing the value of collaboration, openness and the power in an ‘architecture of participation’ (O’Reilly 2003) This implies a free market of ideas, in which anyone can put forward a proposed solution to a problem; have it adopted, if at all, by acclamation and the organic spread of its usefulness. OS software offers important lessons to the OER movement. It shows that anyone can contribute to a particular project and do so constructively, however small the contribution may be. (Guedon, 2009) Some software projects will fail, but a failed project is never wasted because the result remains accessible and can be reused freely by another project. OER is based on the philosophical view of ‘knowledge as a collective social product which should become social property ‘(Prasad & Ambedkar cited in Downes 2007:1)
  • Previously copyright was binary: Either all rights retained or public domain Click However, the affordances of technology is changing our understanding and need for Copyright Now alternative licensing options such as Creative Commons provide a range of options allowing us to reserve some of our rights . In terms of openness – CC gives us a space to operate between all rights reserved and the public domain. Naturally, when you apply a restrictive clause your work becomes difficult for others to use or build on. Recall that b y default, you retain full copyright on any of your works. Even when sharing with colleagues in digital form an understanding of copyright is quite unclear. So if someone happens upon your work in their daily web searches they will not know exactly how they can use it.
  • Creative Commons is a self empowering license model which allows you to let others know what they can and can not do with your work. I would like to play this short video which embodies the CC philosophy After Creative Commons is a license which you can apply yourself and therefore makes it easy to designate what others can do with your online work. In a world where so many of our works are found in digital form – it makes sense to be aware of open license options.
  • Lets return to the global issues around OER – Now financial models for OER are still a matter of much debate. Various institutions are creatively adapting financial models to allow for openness – currently projects, such as ours are donor funded, but institutions will need to find a way to continue OER production after funding ends. The Open University has contributed funds from its marketing budget to help academics develop OER’s which in turn attract potential students to the university. It is worth noting that Foundations such as Hewlett are beginning to change their expectations of project outputs - donors are beginning to expect high degrees of information dissemination and sharing of funded projects. Personally, I like to imagine a world where sharing becomes the default action for the academic – open content is used from the start, and teaching materials become shared social objects. Educators contextualize or adapt existing learning materials found online and can then focus on pedagogy, context, and teaching.
  • Overall the biggest change is in advancing technologies The internet offers society the opportunity to provide access to a free or affordable education for all This is because sharing does not cost anything anymore– Now presumably cost alone, traditionally, was reason enough not to share We are all currently creating teaching materials in digital form for our classes – why not extend the reach of these materials by applying open licenses which protect some of our rights and offering them freely and openly on the internet? Your question now would certainly be - Why would I do that? I want to argue that in doing so you potentially create New channels for collaboration and feedback Opportunities to share your own and adopt others teaching materials Notably - Sharing builds networks and transforms our practice as the potential reach and impact of our work is extended
  • Now that we have spoken about some of the global changes – lets drill down to the institution and individual motivators. We believe that institutions of higher learning are responsible for the following: Universities are in the business to generate, archive, and disseminate knowledge. Universities may also benefit by saving time in developing new content, courses, and programs when new academics come to the institution. OER can provide Student Assistance and direction by helping potential students find interesting areas of study as well as casual electives. OER supports alumni by bringing them back to campus virtually whenever they desire or find the time to revisit material in their discipline OER allows us to Share Teaching Practices and Ideas which could potentially increase standards of teaching excellence. As this occurs, it helps instructors reflect on their teaching practices and their underlying philosophies of what makes for effective teaching. OER can be used to market specific courses, programs, and departments as well as the institution as a whole. This also increases the visibility of the institution and increases social responsiveness .
  • So let us look at some examples of how is OER is taking shape at institutions around the world? Prestigious and traditional institutions such as Yale, Harvard, and MIT are offering free course materials on open websites such as this one. The Open Yale project above now includes 25 courses from a broad range of introductory subjects. This of course does NOT mean that you can get a qualification from Yale by viewing their OER– these are merely the teaching resources, not the complete educational experience + qualification that Yale offers.
  • Across the globe a distance university, the Open University in the UK took a similar view and started making many of their courses available free of charge. What makes this so remarkable is that the business of the OU is in their materials. Moreover, they took a further step and actively encouraged independent learners from all over the world to edit the materials in the LabSpace and collaborate with others in publishing new versions of the learning materials to share with the world.
  • Now, in order to find the growing number of OER more easily a number of OER specific search sites have emerged including the OER Commons which aggregates course material from all of the institutions. This allows you to search across subjects and media types to find the best or most suitable material OER commons also makes it easy to compare and combine resources from leading institutions
  • We also see specialized search engines emerging which showcase certain types of content. Academic Earth aggregates academic videos from various institutions around the globe and allows viewers to pick their favourite lectures and speakers . Do you think this might lead to new forms of performance appraisals at these leading institutions?
  • Lets drill down and talk about what this means to us as academics in the information age. Why is this important? OER allows us to profile our teaching and pedagogical ideas online It also creates a record of our teaching material and leads to the development of teaching portfolios Having our material online may foster connections between other colleagues, departments and even other universities especially cross-disciplinary studies. People and communities tend to gather around content It can increase the impact of our teaching materials It may also extend the use of teaching materials to high school and life-long learners
  • Some OER materials have become so popular that academics have gained worldwide attention for their excellent teaching style. In many cases the video has even been re-appropriated to other classrooms and/or used to prompt discussion Since it is online it becomes a resource for students to watch outside of the classroom at any time.
  • One such example is Salman Khan - http://www.khanacademy.org/ Salman Khan has put over 1000 videos on the popular video sharing website YouTube - covering everything from basic arithmetic and algebra to differential equations, physics, chemistry, biology and finance. His lessons are considered to be easily understood by students new to the material and he has over 25000 subscribers to his video feed. As a result of his Youtube fame Khan was asked to help “make sense” of the Global Financial Crisis on CNN last year.
  • Stuart Lee from Oxford University used his own initiative to record and make available his lectures. This has more recently led to the widespread adoption of podcasting lectures at the university. Lee was wary of the potential drop in attendance at lectures but reported that in fact attendance remained constant. Students used the recordings when classes were missed (which can happen with students with busy schedules) The students also used the audio for more in depth note taking as well as being used by many students outside the institution. Lee states “Like any academic, I [was] keen to promote my subject as widely as possible” Since starting his initiative, Lee has received feedback from all over the world. http://podcasts.ox.ac.uk/ - http://users.ox.ac.uk/~stuart - http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=408300
  • This slide shows listings from the University of Pretoria repository page for Professor Jonathan Jansen. I am sure many of you are familiar with Prof Jansen in his new role as Vice Chancellor at the University of the Free State. As you can see, UPSpace lists research articles, media columns, radio and TV interviews, and speeches -- all of which promote the profile and visibility of their academics as well as the institution - even after staff have moved on . This collection illustrates how an academic's output (not only their published research articles) contribute towards building profile. It also serves as a valuable archiving space to preserve all this material.
  • What is happening here is that people are building profiles and identities around their online content. Have you searched for yourself online lately? With the increasing number of social networks, profiles and website entries online, it is becoming easier for academics to build an online presence. I believe that we should embrace openness by managing and maintaining our online personas by associating ourselves with the best quality online content. As an academic, creating OER is one method of doing this. I also believe that there is a tremendous opportunity to represent local knowledge on an international level – This is one of the key issues the OER UCT project hopes to address.
  • Now I am not trying to convince you all to go out and produce expensive and time consuming video to share on the web. Examples such as the Khan academy demonstrate the impact and potential reach of OER in the most extreme case. My argument is that it really does not take much to go open. Last month we did a Teaching with Technology session on open teaching her at UCT – I posted the presentation to a site which displays online presentations called slideshare using an open license and since then 146 people have viewed it – and 6 have downloaded it, presumably to adapt or adopt. Now I am on my way to building my own online profile and because of the license I chose people can freely use the materials and adapt it for their own needs – always attributing me (this is the magic of Creative Commons)
  • At the University of Cape Town a collection of open resources have emerged which are currently being shared on OER Commons. Because we have described them in depth they are easily ‘discoverable’ via search engines. Listing in OER Commons enables the resources to be discovered alongside other leading institution’s materials. Now I would like to talk about a few of the many resources that have come from UCT and what has motivated some of the authors.
  • Our first resource was Dr. Kevin Williams from the Centre for Higher Education Development. Kevin saw a void in the literature around tutoring in HE specifically in the South African context. Kevin decided to publish the book as OER as it satisfied his own ethical responsibility as he himself learned the most about tutoring from his own tutoring experience. Kevin says “I cant thank all the students and staff who taught me, but I can pass that on.” Interest has been expressed from publishers as well as other institutions to use the manual in their own contexts. Kevin has expressed a real need for statistics in identifying where and when his material gets accessed and used.
  • The Facilitating Online manual created by authors in the Centre for Educational Technology was created and made use of the first externally open VULA site Now, as this was developed in the Centre for Educational Technology it was bound to be open from the start ;)
  • Jean Paul van Belle from the Department of Information Sciences has published three resources; the NGO ICT e-Readiness Self Assessment Tool as well as: Two online textbooks - Office XP for Business and Discovering Information Systems An Exploratory Approach - both of which were written specifically for the South African context. Jean Paul has been a firm supporter of the Open Source software and Creative Commons licensing models for some time. He is happy to share his textbooks, specifically because he knows how difficult it can be for cash strapped students to buy expensive textbooks. JP has also received requests from other universities for permission to incorporate his text into other classrooms.
  • We stumbled upon open resources published by Ed Rybicki completely by accident. Ed took his own initiative and published his Introduction to Molecular Virology course online in 2007 – which technically makes him the first to publish an open resource at UCT. Ed’s material has since been used by various teachers and students at Universities in Brazil, Australia, and throughout South Africa. And has led to alliances with universities in the UK. Ed says - “I have benefited enormously from interaction with people who helped pioneer this sort of thing overseas; my presentation of material improved, and I added things like a blog to interact more immediately with students and interested parties.”
  • Our project is responsible for creating a directory to list and describe open educational resources here at UCT. Once we have this established, UCT academics will be able to list their online resources in the local directory – which will automatically lead to an entry in the OER Commons, OER Africa and other international content directories. We intend to build functionality which will allow the creator to track the use of their resources around the world through services such as google analytics. Key indicators such when my resource was accessed, from where, how did they find the resource, etc will become important and interesting statistics at the individual level as well as for the departments and the institution. The OER UCT Directory is scheduled to go live in February 2010.
  • Finally an example of OER which hits fairly close to home for us: Alec Couros had completed his phd and decided to share his dissertation with the world by publishing it openly online Since publishing that document has been viewed nearly 28000 times Because he used an open license and shared his work people knew that they could build upon and adapt the ideas and diagrams he created. One of his diagrams “The Networked Teacher” became somewhat of an internet senstion.
  • It was adapted for the Portuguese context
  • It was translated to Greek
  • It was again adapted and translated to Spanish
  • And finally it was adapted locally at the University of Cape Town for the South African context. What this diagram represents is the idea of an open scholar. The term ‘open scholar’ has started being used to indicate a new type of academic for whom ‘openness’ is the default approach. This academic is largely online, probably keeps a blog, makes all their presentations available via something like slideshare, engages with new resources such as YouTube, shares bookmarks in delicious, belongs to social networks such as ning or twitter and publishes some of their content in open access journals. There are powerful sentiments coming out lately in terms of education reform - The more powerful technology becomes and the more abundant information becomes, the more indispensable good teachers are The open scholar shares their teaching and learning material and knowledge of quality content and uses ideas from other OER’s around the world. Rather than spending a great deal of time designing their teaching materials (or tools) they can focus on pedagogy, context, and teaching. The key to all this is easy sharing and networking facilitated by open licensing and new technologies. The academic can increase their reach and visibility in the process.
  • I would like to end with the following quote: ‘ Today, a confluence of events is creating the perfect storm for significantly advancing education. With a growing inventory of openly available educational tools and resources, and with an increasingly engaged and connected community, transformative opportunities for education abound. The good news is that the emerging open education movement in higher education and beyond is beginning to change the way educators use, share, and improve educational resources and knowledge by making them open and freely available.’ (Iiyoshi & Kumar 2008:2)
  • At this stage we would like to open the floor to discussion around building an online personal profile.

Building a global teaching profile:  Showcasing Open Educational Resources at the University of Cape Town Building a global teaching profile: Showcasing Open Educational Resources at the University of Cape Town Presentation Transcript

  • Building a global teaching profile:   Showcasing Open Educational Resources at UCT Michael Paskevicius, Michelle Willmers & Cheryl Hodgkinson-Williams Teaching with Technology Mini Conference 18 November 2009 University of Cape Town
  • Who are we?
    • OER UCT Project at the Centre for Educational Technology at UCT
    • Funded by the Shuttleworth Foundation, building on a previous research project, OpeningScholarship
    • OER UCT aims to:
      • Audit potential OER at UCT
      • Showcase the teaching of UCT academics
      • Create a directory listing the UCT collection of OER which will go live from February 2010
      • Share lessons learned through a case study
  • What is OER?
    • Open educational resources (OER) are educational materials (usually digital) that are shared freely and openly for anyone to use and under some type of license to repurpose/ improve and redistribute.
  • What has enabled OER?
  • Change in Philosophy
    • The Open Source Software movement led the way in showcasing the value of openness and the ‘ architecture of participation ’ (O’Reilly 2003)
    • OER is based on the philosophical view of ‘knowledge as a collective social product and the desirability of making it a social property’ (Prasad & Ambedkar cited in Downes 2007:1)
  • Emergence of Alternative Licenses Copyright © Public domain
  • Creative Commons: Facilitating Sharing http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3rksT1q4eg
  • Financial Models
    • Donor funding – e.g. Hewlett Foundation
    • Marketing budget – e.g. Open University
    • Commission – e.g. MIT and Amazon
    • Endowment – e.g. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
    • Membership – e.g. Sakai Consortium
    • Government – e.g. UK £7.8 million grant
  • Affordances of the Internet
      • OER is premised on the ‘simple and powerful idea that the world’s knowledge is a public good and that technology in general and the World Wide Web in particular provides an extraordinary opportunity for everyone to share, use, and reuse knowledge’ (Hewlett Foundation)
  • Why now – institutionally?
    • Information Dissemination
    • Student Assistance
    • Supporting Alumni
    • Sharing Teaching Practices and Ideas
    • Program, Department, and Institutional Marketing
  • Why now – individually?
    • Profile teaching and pedagogical idea sharing
    • Create record of teaching for teaching portfolio
    • Foster connections between other colleagues, departments and even other universities (especially cross-disciplinary studies)
    • Increase impact of teaching materials
    • Extend use of teaching materials to high school learners and life-long learners
  • http://www.usnews.com/articles/education/online-education/2008/01/10/a-new-physics-superstar.html
  • Building Profiles
    • Top resources are identified by a natural selection process
    • Best resources are chosen by the online community
    • Opportunity to represent local knowledge on an international level
  • UCT Open Content
    • Kevin Williams
    • Higher & Adult Education Studies & Development Unit (HAESDU)
    • Guide For Tutors In Disciplines In The Humanities And Social Sciences
    • Published: March 26, 2009
    • Format: PDF
    • Link
  • UCT Open Content  
    • Tony Carr, Shaheeda Jaffer & Jeanne Smuts
    • Centre for Educational Technology (CET)
    • Facilitating Online
    • Published: May 6, 2009
    • Format: PDF + Companion website
    • Link
  • UCT Open Content
    • Jean-Paul van Belle
    • Department of Information Systems
    • NGO ICT and e-Readiness Self-Assessment Tool
    • Discovering Information Systems
    • Office XP for Business
    • Published: October 14, 2009
    • Format: PDF
    • Ngo Guide: Link Office XP: Link Info Sys: Link
  • UCT Open Content  
    • Ed Rybicki
    • Molecular and Cell Biology
    • Introduction to Molecular Virology
    • Published: 2007
    • Format: Website/HTML
    • Link
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/courosa/2922421696/
  • http:// veja.abril.com.br/imagem/professorantenado.jpg
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/stylianosm/3706684606/
  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/langwitches/3460307056/
  • Open Scholar
  • Conclusion
    • ‘ Today, a confluence of events is creating the perfect storm for significantly advancing education. With a growing inventory of openly available educational tools and resources, and with an increasingly engaged and connected community, transformative opportunities for education abound.
    • The good news is that the emerging open education movement in higher education and beyond is beginning to change the way educators use, share, and improve educational resources and knowledge by making them open and freely available .’ (Iiyoshi & Kumar 2008:2)
  • Questions for Reflection
    • Are you already building your global profile? Care to share your experiences?
    • What are your concerns regarding open scholarship?
    • What support would you like UCT to provide?
  • OER UCT Links
    • The OER UCT Project homepage http://www.cet.uct.ac.za/oer
    • Read the OER UCT project blog blogs.uct.ac.za/blog/oer-uct
    • Visit the OER UCT open Vula site vula.uct.ac.za/portal/site/openuct
  • References
    • Attwood, R (2009) Get it out in the open. Online: http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/story.asp?storycode=408300 24 September
    • Bonk, C. (2009) The World is Open for a Reason-Make that 30 Reasons! elearn Magazine, July 2, 2009. http://elearnmag.org/subpage.cfm?section=articles&article=85-1
    • Downes S (2007) Models for sustainable open educational resources. Interdisciplinary Journal of Knowledge and Learning Objects 3: 29-44.
    • Downes, S. (2009) Open Education: Projects and Potential. ECOO Richmond Hill Presented on November 12, 2009 http://www.downes.ca/cgi-bin/page.cgi?presentation=231
    • Iiyoshi, T & Kumar, MSV (Eds) (2008) Opening Up Education: The collective advancement of Education through Open Technology, Open Content, and Open Knowledge. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press.
    • O’Reilly, T (2003) The Architecture of Participation. Available online: http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/wlg/3017 (Checked 4 October 2009)
    • Yuan, L, MacNeill, S and Kraan W (2008). Open Educational Resources – Opportunities and Challenges for Higher Education. JISC CETIS. Available at http://wiki.cetis.ac.uk/images/0/0b/OER_Briefing_Paper.pdf [Accessed 4 February 2009].
  • This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 South Africa License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/za/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.