Open Learning and Costs of Education


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A group project report prepared for EDDE 804 at Ed. D., Athabasca University, Canada in 2011

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  • Interesting. Have presented a session on peer leadership in CCK09, based on similar concepts of this complexity leadership theory. John Mak
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Open Learning and Costs of Education

  1. 1. OPEN LEARNING: LOWERING THE COST OF EDUCATION 1 Open Learning: Lowering the Cost of Education Angela Batsford, Jan Thiessen, Su Tuan Lulee Professor: Dr. Martha Cleveland-Innes Prepared for Assignment 2 Group Project EDDE 804: Leadership and Project Management in Distance Education Ed. D., Athabasca University March 10, 2011
  2. 2. OPEN LEARNING: LOWERING THE COST OF EDUCATION 2Introduction ................................................................................................................................................ 3Open Learning ............................................................................................................................................ 4Open Resources and Tools ....................................................................................................................... 5Complexity Leadership Theory ............................................................................................................... 7Adopting Complexity Leadership ........................................................................................................... 9Adopting Complexity Leadership Theory in Open Learning Contexts .......................................... 11Strategies for Leadership in Open Learning ........................................................................................ 13Case Examples of Open Learning at Three Levels .............................................................................. 13 International Case: UNESCO/COL. ............................................................................................... 14 Organizational/Institutional Case: Athabasca University.......................................................... 15 Grassroots Case: Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). ..................................................... 17Conclusion ................................................................................................................................................ 19References ................................................................................................................................................. 20
  3. 3. OPEN LEARNING: LOWERING THE COST OF EDUCATION 3 Open Learning: Lowering the Cost of EducationIntroduction Rising costs are a barrier to individuals who wish to access education, and arehampering institutions’ ability to provide affordable education. According to Lataif (2011), in2001 the cost of a four-year, public college education in the US was 18% of a middle-incomefamily’s annual income. By 2010 this figure had risen to 25%. The Delta Cost Project report(Wellman, 2008) describes the state of costs for post-secondary education in the US asincreasingly out of balance—between 1990 and 2002, the Higher Education Price Indexincreased at an average rate of 4.47% per year while the Consumer Price Index increased anaverage of only 3.4% per year. Figure 1 illustrates how tuition and fees for US colleges havebeen increasing since the 1980s.Figure 1: Average Annual Cost of Tuition and Fees for US Public Colleges, Adjusted forInflation (in 2009 dollars) (Simon & Banchero, 2010) The situation is similar in Canada. According to Industry Canada (2010), from 1982 to2002 the tuition fee component of Canada’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) grew an average of 8.1%per year, compared to 3% for the all-items CPI. In households that paid tuition fees in 2002,average spending for fees exceeded expenses for food (see Figure 2).
  4. 4. OPEN LEARNING: LOWERING THE COST OF EDUCATION 4Figure 2: Post-secondary Tuition Fees and Food, Average Household Expenditures perReporting Households, 1982-2002 (Industry Canada, 2010) Rising tuition costs are associated with increasing levels of student debt, and may alsobe a factor in the growing proportion of 25 to 29 year olds who still live with their parents—upfrom 12% in 1981 to 24% in 2001 (Industry Canada, 2010). In the US, if students are priced out offour-year institutions, this may impede the nation’s “ability to meet future workforce needs forbaccalaureate, master’s and professional degree holders” (Wellman, 2008, p. 41). Barriers thatprevent access to education also affect an individual’s employability. From 1990 to 2002,Industry Canada (2010) reports the creation of over 3 million net new jobs requiring post-secondary education—most of these (81.7%) full-time jobs. For the same period, there was a netjob loss of over 1 million jobs for workers without a high school diploma. Nearly 90% of thesewere full-time positions.Open Learning Open learning is one way to address the rising cost of education as well as the barriersand problems this creates for individuals, educators, and society. What is open learning? Whatopen learning strategies and tools hold promise as effective approaches? Open learning refers toa wide range of structures, tools, and strategies. The term is sometimes used to describe openadministration practices such as open admissions, removal of minimum age or residency
  5. 5. OPEN LEARNING: LOWERING THE COST OF EDUCATION 5requirements, and freedom from course prerequisites. Open learning can also include• courses that are flexibly designed to meet individual requirements, making use of learner-centred philosophy (Lewis & Spencer, 1986).• allowing learners to set their own time, place, and pace for studies (Calder & McCullum, 1998).• providing free teaching and learning resources; allowing users to reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute resources (Wiley, 2010).In our discussion of the problem of rising educational costs, we use the term open learning todescribe learning environments that use open educational resources (OERs) and open sourcesoftware to provide accessible learning opportunities for everyone. We propose that openlearning, in the form of OERs and supportive computer technologies, is a solution to rising costsin education. Theoretically, openness and sharing can spread the cost of educational resources,as well as learning applications and opportunities, across very large numbers of learners andeducational situations, thereby reducing overall costs.Open Resources and Tools The notion of shared resources for learning is not new—the term learning objectsemerged in the early 1990s to refer to “a digital resource that can be re-used to achieve a specificlearning outcome” (Ally, 2004, p. 87). A significant development occurred in 2001 when theMassachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) announced it would make the resources for mostof their courses freely available online. Since then, lines between development of learningobjects and open courseware initiatives have become blurred. The focus has shifted to theconcept of open educational resources defined as technology-enabled educational resources thatare openly available for consultation, use, and adaptation by users for non-commercialpurposes (UNESCO, 2002). According to Wiley (2010), open educational resources have four
  6. 6. OPEN LEARNING: LOWERING THE COST OF EDUCATION 6key characteristics.• Users can reuse OER content in its unaltered form (e.g., make a backup copy of the content).• Users can revise OER content to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language).• Users can remix OER content by combining original or revised content with other content to create something new (e.g., incorporate content into a mashup).• Users can redistribute OER content by sharing copies of the original content, the revisions, or the remixes with others (e.g., provide copies to friends).If educators wish, these four “Rs” can reduce the cost for developing learning materials.Increasingly, educators and learners have access to open educational resources with openlicenses that give users pre-defined rights to use and change the materials in various ways. Thenumber of repositories, projects, and providers continues to grow. The following is a partial list.• Open Learning Initiative (Carnegie Mellon)• Learning Space (British Open University)• Commonwealth of Learning (UNESCO)• MIT Open Courseware• Tufts Open courseware• MERLOT• Sofia (Foothill College)• Connexions (Connexions Consortium)• Wikiversity (Wikipedia)• London School of Business & Finance, Global MBA on FacebookThese organizations and initiatives have developed thousands of items, including learningmaterials, learning units, and full courses all available free for non-commercial use. OERs arebecoming more attractive to educational institutions that face rising costs, and increasingly
  7. 7. OPEN LEARNING: LOWERING THE COST OF EDUCATION 7restrictive and expensive copyright regulations. With the increased attention (in practice, inpolicy, and through new funding) OERs offer the promise of sharing and openness—a broaderresponse to the perennial problem of inefficiencies caused by reinventing the wheel. A recentannouncement from the US of a $2-billion federal grant program (Parry, 2011) has raised a stir,but how much of this funding will be spent on creating new OERs remains to be seen. Open learning resources rely on supportive computer technologies. The number offreely available open source technologies has increased rapidly during the past decade. Thefollowing tools are especially useful in improving the effectiveness of open learning.• Learning Management Systems such as Moodle and SAKAI• Video conferencing tools such as WizIQ that has been merged with Moodle• Concept mapping tools such as Cmap and VUE• Social learning tools such as blogs, wikis, bookmarking tools, e-portfolio, web- presentation, including Blogger, Google Docs, Diigo, Delicious, Mahara, SlideShare, Google Groups, and Netvibes• Visual tools such as ManyEyes and OECD Factbook• Learning analytics tools for dynamic network analysis and modeling such as SNAPP, Signals, and computational modeling tools for system dynamics modeling and data miningWith the right to use OERs and the support of open source learning and analysis tools, it isconceivable that open learning can provide low-cost solutions to the social problem ofincreasing cost in education—without sacrificing quality. What sorts of leadership do theopportunities of openness and the OER phenomenon call for?Complexity Leadership Theory Educators accustomed to managing resources and experiences for learners are beginningto see new opportunities offered by information technologies and rapid communication.However, the freedom of open learning calls for new approaches. If we see open learning
  8. 8. OPEN LEARNING: LOWERING THE COST OF EDUCATION 8educators as leaders, at once co-creators and users, what sort of leadership is needed for thissort of open system of development, sharing, and re-use? We propose that complexityleadership theory is most appropriate for describing the current and potential dynamic,interactive relationships in open learning networks. Complexity leadership theory is a framework that enables the learning, creative, andadaptive capacity of complex adaptive systems (CAS) within knowledge-producingorganizations or organizational units. It also describes conditions in which adaptive dynamicsemerge and generate creative and adaptive knowledge. Through complexity theory, leadershipis not limited to position and authority but is also an emergent, interactive dynamic thatproduces new patterns of behaviour or new modes of operation. Complexity leadership theoryfocuses on identifying and exploring the strategies and behaviours that foster organizationalsub-unit creativity, learning, and adaptability (Uhl-Bien, Marion, & McKelvey, 2007). Throughthe lens of complexity leadership theory, leadership is made up of the behaviours and resourceelements of interacting individuals, as members of communities come together in useful ways(Lichtenstein, Uhl-Bien, & Marion, 2006). As a complex adaptive system, open learning is different from traditional formallearning; open learning is usually informal, and flexible in terms of learning pace, time, andplace. Increasingly, open learning is delivered through social networked learning environments.CCK08, taught by George Siemens and Stephen Downes in 2008, is an example of a new type ofopen learning course. Over 2,300 people registered for this massive open online course (MOOC).Students came from over 10 countries, connecting and learning via technologies such as blogs,Skype, wikis, SecondLife, Facebook, and Google Reader. A MOOC includes hundreds ofinteractions every day, with dialogue occurring among the participant learners, serving to splicetogether information and social relations. In addition, the course structure requires thateducators give up full control of the learning process to allow more creativity from learners.There are no pre-determined learning paths and structures. While these conditions generate abit of chaos, Siemens (2010a) describes this as a networked course that has no centre.
  9. 9. OPEN LEARNING: LOWERING THE COST OF EDUCATION 9 Open learning is an emergent, interactive, dynamic, and complex system. As such,complexity leadership theory is an appropriate choice for examining how open learning canaddress the problem of rising costs in education. According to Uhl-Bien, et al. (2007),complexity leadership theory• addresses the nature of open learning: nonlinearly changeable, unpredictable in the long term, temporally based, and dynamic interaction.• allows us to develop a leadership perspective that extends beyond bureaucratic assumptions to add a view of leadership as a complex interactive dynamic through which adaptive outcomes emerge.• provides an overarching framework that describes the interplay of bureaucratic leadership (formal managerial roles) and complex adaptive systems (emergent, interactive, and dynamic).Adopting Complexity Leadership Complexity leadership theory assumes that real-world complex adaptive systems do notlend themselves to controlled experimentation. Figure 3 illustrates the four cyclic steps forapplying complexity leadership.Figure 3: Four Cyclic Steps for Applying Complexity Leadership Theory• Observation: Leadership begins with observing the network of interactions among heterogeneous individuals and rapidly changing environmental demands.
  10. 10. OPEN LEARNING: LOWERING THE COST OF EDUCATION 10• Data collection: From the perspective of complexity leadership theory, leadership events are not constructed by the actions of single individual (the leader). Leadership events emerge through interactions among agents over time. It is important to collect data from the context that shapes ideas, including networks of interaction, complex patterns of conflicting constraints, patterns of tension, interdependent relationships, rules of action, and direct as well as indirect feedback loops.• Analyzing mechanics for change: Complexity leadership theory assumes that there are causal relationships in the complex system. Leaders should systematically capture these relationships and interactions as data, and model the data in ways that highlight their longitudinal and relational qualities. This analysis step examines the mechanisms that emerge, including o resonance (i.e., correlated action) and aggregation of ideas. o catalytic behaviours that speed up or enable certain activities. o generation of both dynamically stable and unstable behaviours. o dissipation of built-up tension as phase transitions. o nonlinear change. o information flow and pattern formation. o accreting nodes (ideas that rapidly expand in importance and which accrete related ideas) (Lichtensein et al., 2006; Uhl-Bien et al., 2007).• Enabling leadership: With an understanding of the context and the mechanics of an open learning system, leaders (instructors or facilitators) can apply leadership by o creating a general structure of complex networks that facilitate effective interaction for forming new knowledge and creative ideas. o providing conditions that catalyze effective network interaction for information flow and connections. o fostering interdependency with rules that apply pressure to coordinate when conflicts, problems, or dilemmas arise (rule-enabled interdependency).
  11. 11. OPEN LEARNING: LOWERING THE COST OF EDUCATION 11 o promoting tension by heterogeneity through building atmosphere (structuring work groups) in which diversity is respected, and diverse ideas and perspectives on problems are tolerated. Tension can foster productive discussions and interaction.Adopting Complexity Leadership Theory in Open Learning Contexts Since there is so much data in a complex system, it is necessary to leverage computertechnologies. For example, visual tools and social network analysis applications can be used tocollect data and present it with easy-to-interpret diagrams (Lichtenstein et al., 2006; Uhl-Bien etal., 2007). Figure 4 illustrates how these four steps of applying complexity leadership theoryalign with the process of learning analytics as described by Siemens (2010b).Figure 4: Aligning Complexity Leadership and Learning Analytics (modified from Siemens,2010b) In the beginning of an open course, learners post their portfolio or a self-introduction tothe virtual learning environment. They welcome each other and the instructor encouragesparticipation. During this stage, the facilitator should observe the network interactions to
  12. 12. OPEN LEARNING: LOWERING THE COST OF EDUCATION 12understand the nature of the context. When the learning activities begin, the facilitator shouldthen collect data such as the relationships, conflicts, and tensions that occur among the learners.In the meantime, learners start to interact with learning materials and make connections withinformation that is meaningful to them. After a short initial period, the facilitator begins toanalyze the data collected in order to capture it in a systematic way and identify the mechanicssuch as• catalytic behaviors or interaction cues.• transformations taking place between stable and unstable dynamical behaviours.• non-linear changes taking place.• information flow around the network.• evident patterns of knowledge formation.• which nodes are accreting and how.With this understanding in mind, the facilitator applies appropriate leadership to fosterlearning.Figure 5: How Networks Change Figure 5 depicts how the shape of a social network changes. The diagram on the leftillustrates the interactions among participants in the initial stages of a MOOC. The network hasa simple shape, with few connections and many outliers. The diagram on the right depicts apoint later in the course. After a period of learning, the social network becomes thicker and
  13. 13. OPEN LEARNING: LOWERING THE COST OF EDUCATION 13begins to show patterns of interactive relationships. By analyzing the dynamical behaviours,their patterns, and the transforming mechanics, facilitators are able to make decisions aboutfurther and effective interventions. These activities—observing, collecting, analyzing,enabling—are the processes for applying complexity leadership in open learning.Strategies for Leadership in Open Learning The following are some specific strategies for ways to harness the potential ofcomplexity learning theory for creating open learning solutions (Hazy, 2010; Lichtensein et al.,2006).• Identify and shape the dynamical patterns and structures of learning models to predict and enact the best interactions.• Focus on how leadership may occur in any interaction.• Focus on managing and leading a learning community’s dynamic capabilities.• Encourage all members to be leaders within interactions (e.g., co-evaluation, self- organization).• Drive responsibility downward (e.g., self-organization, innovation).• Use tension to create adaptive change.• Leverage the capability of analytic tools to find actionable data for leadership.Case Examples of Open Learning at Three Levels Uhl-Bien et al. (2007) describe adaptive outputs at three hierarchical levels withincomplex adaptive systems. We chose three case examples—international, organizational, andgrassroots open learning scenarios—to align with the levels from Uhl-Bien et al. On the basis ofinterviews and literature study, we suggest the type of complexity leadership most evident ineach case, whether administrative, adaptive, or enabling (Uhl-Bien et al., 2007). We alsoconsider the extent to which each case example demonstrates the adaptive outputs suggestedby Uhl-Bien et al. Our goal is to examine open learning initiatives and complexity leadership
  14. 14. OPEN LEARNING: LOWERING THE COST OF EDUCATION 14strategies in the real world, and to explore how these might address the problem of increasingcosts of education. International Case: UNESCO/COL. To explore adaptive outputs and complexityleadership within the upper level of open learning as a complex adaptive system, we chose theinternational case of UNESCO/COL, and we interviewed Dr. Rory McGreal who was recentlyappointed Research Chair for Open Educational Resources (OERs). Our questions regardingopen learning at the international level dealt with• open learning and costs• provision of resources to for-profit and not-for-profit providers• OER partnerships• leadership• research opportunities. According to Dr. McGreal, OERs are increasing in number and quality. The general ideaof open resources is becoming more widely known across the world, and use is increasing ininformal learning settings. However, uptake of OERs in formal settings has been slow. Onebarrier is faculty attitudes of educational creationism which McGreal describes as the notion thatevery course and its resources must be created anew for each offering by each teacher. McGrealis clear that the UNESCO/COL initiative will not create an OER repository—the goal is to bringpeople together and support the creation, use, deployment, and reuse of OERs at institutional,national, and international levels. A related objective is to support the development of scaleablesystems to assess and accredit individuals’ informal learning taking place via OERs and otherresources. McGreal cites rising costs for using copyrighted material and the general increase incosts for learning resources as incentives for educators to use OERs. While one might expect to see the administrative form of complexity leadership in theUNESCO/COL efforts (e.g., hierarchy, alignment, control), our interview with Dr. McGrealsuggests the presence of enabling leadership. McGreal’s descriptions of enhancing connections
  15. 15. OPEN LEARNING: LOWERING THE COST OF EDUCATION 15and “bringing people together” suggests an emphasis on interactions and interdependence thatUhl-Bien et al. (2007) say are two of the three ways enabling leadership encourages complexnetworks. Enabling leadership also fosters tension through heterogeneity, respect for diversity,dissent, and divergent perspectives. The UNESCO/COL Chair’s team and partners representgeographic, cultural, and economic diversity, but it is too early to tell the extent to whichdissent and different perspectives will be nurtured. Within the framework of complexity leadership theory, Uhl-Bien et al. (2007) describethree sorts of adaptive outputs at the upper level represented by the UNESCO/COL case: a)emergent planning, b) resource acquisition, and c) strategic relationship with the environment.Emergent planning is described as flexible and organic, with broad strategic objectives(Mintzberg & McHugh, 1985); it is also characterized as flexible and empowering (Dibrell,Down, & Bull, 2007). McGreal describes the UNESCO/COL initiative as having broad strategicscope, and he implies flexibility in achieving objectives. He describes his leadership asfacilitative—to encourage processes and empower others to develop and use OERs as a meansto address local as well as mass education issues in cost-effective ways. The UNESCO/COLproject’s resource acquisition outputs will come from its focus on capacity building, andthrough giving OERs respectability as the MIT initiative did for open courseware. Finally, theproject will clearly have adaptive outputs related to strategic relationships with theenvironment, through its focus on networking, enhancing connections at institutional, national,and international levels, as well as collaboratively developing a map of the landscape of OERinitiatives worldwide. For more detail on leadership, costs of education, and other issues related to theUNESCO/COL initiative, review the recording of our interview with Dr. McGreal. Organizational/Institutional Case: Athabasca University. As an example of the middlehierarchical level, we chose the organizational case of Athabasca University. We interviewed Dr.Cindy Ives, Director of AU’s Centre for Learning Design and Development. (CLDD is
  16. 16. OPEN LEARNING: LOWERING THE COST OF EDUCATION 16responsible for course design, development, and production.) Our questions regarding openlearning at an organizational level dealt with• organizational strategy, policy, and practice (and their impacts)• leadership for change, innovation, and overcoming resistance• transforming to new models of teaching and learning• the role of research and evaluation• open learning and costs. Athabasca University demonstrates two broad categories of openness: openadministration (open enrolment, access, and absence of residency or prerequisite requirements)and institutional commitment to use open-source technology tools. In practice, the use of OERsin AU courses lags behind Athabasca’s policy commitments to open learning initiatives such asopen access publishing and membership in the OpenCourseWare Consortium. However,copyright legislation currently pending (which will increase fees for licensed materials) willlikely drive increased use of OERs. Dr. Ives points out that in theory, OERs can reduce costs, butin practice, customization adds costs. She believes that in the end, there may be little differencebetween using OERs and building resources from scratch, though use of OERs may be morecost-effective in the developing world. There is much we still don’t know about costs, and wedon’t yet have good data on where or how to achieve cost savings with OERs. For the most part, the AU case illustrates the type of complexity leadership that Uhl-Bienet al. (2007) call administrative leadership—planning and coordinating organizational activities.However, most decisions about pedagogy and degree of technology use are made by individualfaculty. Dr. Ives refers to the need for consultative leadership (e.g., providing infrastructure andsupport for experiments and pilots) which is evidence of enabling leadership, the type ofcomplexity leadership “that structures and enables conditions . . . to optimally address creativeproblem solving, adaptability, and learning” (Uhl-Bien, et al., 2007, p. 299, italics in original).Such enabling leadership serves to manage the rhythms between “top-down, hierarchicaldynamics and emergent complex adaptive systems” (Uhl-Bien et al. 2007, p. 306). Overall, in the
  17. 17. OPEN LEARNING: LOWERING THE COST OF EDUCATION 17Athabasca University case there is some evidence of the outputs Uhl-Bien et al. associate withthe middle level of complex adaptive systems, such as• focused planning—AU’s strategic planning specifies open-source software, participation in OER initiatives, mission explicit on openness (e.g., open admission, removal of barriers to access).• resource allocation—AU’s support for experiments and pilots, faculty development, policy initiatives, and infrastructure for change (e.g., stable technology, time, training). For more detail on open learning and complexity leadership at an organizational level,review the recording of our interview with Dr. Ives. Grassroots Case: Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Massive Open OnlineCourses (MOOCs) represent an open learning phenomenon designed to serve learners outsidethe confines of institutional structures. MOOCs are a bottom-up response to increasedcomplexity throughout society, in the form of “networked, holistic, and integrated models ofknowledge and learning” (Cormier & Siemens, 2010, p. 38). George Siemens and StephenDownes offered the first MOOC in 2008—25 participants paid fees and enrolled for credit, while2,300 others were not-for-credit participants. We explored blogs and articles on MOOCs as wellas MOOC transcripts for evidence of specific types of complexity leadership and adaptiveoutputs. The complex adaptive activity of MOOCs illustrates the distinction Lichenstein et al.(2006) draw between leaders, as individuals, and leadership as a “complex dynamic processthat emerges in the interactive ‘spaces between’ people and ideas” (p. 2). Indeed, MOOCsappear to represent what Uhl-Bien, Marion, and McKelvey (2008) refer to as adaptiveleadership, an “information emergence dynamic that occurs among interactive agents and is notan act of authority” (p. 198). Indeed, MOOCs are not “an act of an individual, but rather adynamic of interdependent agents” (Uhl-Bien et al. 2007, p. 307).
  18. 18. OPEN LEARNING: LOWERING THE COST OF EDUCATION 18 According to Uhl-Bien et al. (2007), at the lower levels of complex systems hierarchy, weare likely to see adaptive outputs such as a) knowledge development, b) innovation, and c)adaptation. The following references to aspects of MOOCs demonstrate these outputs.Knowledge developmentFrom Cormier and Siemens (2010)• There is interaction, access to debate, negotiation of knowledge rather than “stale cataloging of content” (p. 32).• Participants join in the research and discussion, and contribute to the development of knowledge in a field.• Learners develop the “skills, knowledge, and mindsets needed to participate in complex, ever-shifting real-world situations in which coming to know is as important as knowing” (p. 38, italics in original).From Greller (2011)• The density of a MOOC network facilitates participants’ pursuit of knowledge as resources are pooled simultaneously around a common task or theme.• MOOCs create connections that participants can take with them away and repurpose; this preserves and carries on the knowledge created.From Kop (2011)• Learners participate actively by aggregating resources, producing blogs and Twitter feeds, as well as sharing resources within and without the MOOC.Innovation• MOOCs represent innovation at several levels, including “how educators prepare to teach, how learners negotiate knowledge from the information they are encountering,
  19. 19. OPEN LEARNING: LOWERING THE COST OF EDUCATION 19 and how courses can have an impact on the broader field of study” (Cormier & Siemens, 2010, p. 32)Adaptation• MOOCs are “characterized by dynamic and non-linear interaction . . . small changes in one element can have large results and vice versa” (Osborn & Hunt, 2007, p. 320).• Participants “learn how to make the connections between a wide range of free content and core principles. . . . the role of the lecturer is not to deliver the content but to find it, structure it and help interpret it” (Weller, 2011). According Mackintosh (2011), the most recent MOOC was based solely on OERs, withmaterials developed collaboratively and openly across institutional boundaries. We may soonsee these sorts of courses incorporated into formal qualifications. Mackintosh predicts that 2011will see major leaps forward for the adoption of OERs in the mainstream, and MOOCS cantouch many learners in a very short period.Conclusion Open learning has long been promoted as a participatory and cost-effective model foreducation. Emerging information technologies and rapid communication are creating a vastarray of new opportunities, but they also present challenges. How do we move toward openlearning that is more than an imprecise phrase with a range of meanings, eluding definition(MacKenzie, Postgate, & Scupham, 1975)? How can open learning fulfill in real terms thetheoretical promise of local and mass education that is cost effective and affordable?Complexity leadership theory, as a framework to support the learning, creative, and adaptivecapacity of complex adaptive systems such as we find in education, can play a critical role. Aswell, we need to continue trying new methods and gather more evidence about teaching andlearning with OERs and other open learning strategies and tools. It is imperative that wecontinue exploring the sorts of leadership that will be effective for emerging forms of openlearning.
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