The role of open educational resources in personal learning environments


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In this presentation, and in the Informal Discussion which followed, I looked at three major themes: personal learning environments, connectivism and open learning, and argued that each of these three needs the other two. For audio and video see

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  • Challenges of analyzing and visualizing participation on the course. When the course started, 846 had registered, which steadily increased to 1641 at the end of the course, as shown in Chart 2. People took part in the twice weekly meeting sessions that were hosted on Elluminate, once a week with an invited speaker and once as a discussion session amongst the group and facilitator(s). Actual presence at these synchronous sessions decreased over the weeks from 97 people in week two, when attendance was the highest, to 40 in the final week and there was a similar trend in the access of the recordings.   Global participation and multiple time zones influenced who were present and who accessed the Elluminate recordings. A high number of blog posts were generated related to the course (949) and an even higher number of Twitter contributions (3459). The #PLENK2010 identifier facilitated the easy aggregation of blog posts, links and Twitter messages produced by participants, which highlighted a wide number of resources and links back to participant ’s blogs and discussion forums, and thus connecting different areas of the course. Although the number of course registrations was high, an examination of contributions across weeks (i.e., Moodle discussions, blogs, Twitter posts marked with #PLENK2010 course tag, and participation in live Elluminate sessions) suggested that about 40-60 individuals on average contributed actively to the course on a regular basis by producing blog posts and discussion posts, while others’ visible participation rate was much lower.  
  •   The chart on the last slide shows the number of times people used particular tools but does not show how these interactions took place and we have been experimenting with several analytics tools , such as social network analysis tool SNAPP used as a bookmarklet to the browser. The activation of the SNAPP tool results in an online network visualization and the results of these interactions have been exported to both VNA (Edgelist format) and GraphML formats and used in the NetDraw tool to create network visualizations to understand the role that an actor plays in a particular discussion. The figure on the left shows that the facilitator is important (the red dot), but that there are other participants with a strong influence on the network through their connections with others. In addition, the second figure shows the relationship between some of the course topics of discussion.
  •   And the two images here show the connections of the people on PLENK while using Twitter . The one on the right represents, over a six week period, to what other communities people sent tweets. A #tag can be used as an identifyer of a particular subject, in this case a course, and as you can see PLENK participants also sent messages and links to these other #tag communities. It doesn ’t tell anything about the quality of the interactions, but it shows the connectedness. The image on the left shows Twitter communications within PLENK and it shows that some people are ‘information hubs’ while others did not communicate much.
  • The role of open educational resources in personal learning environments

    1. 1. The role of open educational resources in personal learning environments Stephen Downes Saratoga Springs April 29, 2011
    2. 2. Have Network, Will Travel 1996
    3. 3. One Laptop Per Child 2006
    4. 4. “ That's 40,000 books already delivered... ” 2016?
    5. 5. “ A spring of truth shall flow from it ” "It is a press, certainly, but a press from which shall flow in inexhaustible streams...Through it, God will spread His Word. A spring of truth shall flow from it: like a new star it shall scatter the darkness of ignorance, and cause a light heretofore unknown to shine amongst men"
    6. 6. Language, literacy, libraries Brampton Library tested an Early Literacy Workstation at its South Fletcher's Branch for a two-week period earlier this month. 2007 Revai Meeks, 6, and Easton Meeks, 3, read with their mother Erika Lee at the Belleville Public Library Jan. 20, 2011
    7. 7. The Idea of Open Learning... <ul><li>इंदिरा गाँधी राष्ट्रीय मुक्त विश्वविद्यालय </li></ul>
    8. 8. Phases of Openness?
    9. 9. Open Educational Resources
    10. 10. <ul><li>Content licenses </li></ul><ul><li>similar to open source - to protect the openness using existing law </li></ul>Open Educational Resources
    11. 11. <ul><li>Creative Commons </li></ul>Open Educational Resources The idea is to create a mid-range of licenses between Copyright and public domain - “some rights reserved”
    12. 12. <ul><li>GNU Free Documentation License </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>OpenEducational Resources <ul><li>Conditions: </li></ul><ul><li>attributions of authors </li></ul><ul><li>changes must be logged </li></ul><ul><li>share-alike </li></ul><ul><li>unmodified sections </li></ul><ul><li>no proprietary formats or DRM </li></ul>
    13. 13. <ul><li>Open Publication License http :// </li></ul>Open Educational Resources <ul><li>Attribution </li></ul><ul><li>Notification of modifications </li></ul><ul><li>No-derivatives clause allowed </li></ul> David Wiley
    14. 14. Open Courseware
    15. 15. <ul><li>MIT OpenCourseWare </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>Open Courseware * OCW is not an MIT education. * OCW does not grant degrees or certificates. * OCW does not provide access to MIT faculty. * Materials may not reflect entire content of the course.
    16. 16. <ul><li>Open Courseware Consortium </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>Open Courseware Blog -
    17. 17. <ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>Open Courseware Example - Collaborative Statistics Find resources - author resources CNXML
    18. 18. <ul><li> </li></ul>Open Courseware Created by IKSME - “ single point of access through which educators, students, and all learners can search, browse, evaluate, download, and discuss open educational resources (OER)” Includes review, tag features…
    19. 19. Open Courseware “ Unlike with commercial scan plans, there are no restrictions on public domain books scanned by OCA members. Users are not forced to use proprietary interfaces, and OCA scans are not hidden from rival search engines. Books scanned under the BLC initiative will be hosted by the Internet Archive…” Internet Archive: OurMedia:
    20. 20. <ul><li>OpenLearn </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>Open Courseware Provides complete Open University online courses Provides ways for participants to contribute as well as take courses
    21. 21. <ul><li>Intute </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>Open Courseware “ Intute is a free online service providing you with a database of hand selected Web resources for education and research.”
    22. 22. <ul><li>GLOBE </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>Open Courseware ARIADNE edna Online LORNET MERLOT NIME
    23. 23. The LMS Typified by Moodle, Sakai, Backboard, Saba… it’s the state of learning online today
    24. 24. The LMS Courses are structured as though they were books, linear flows of information, content
    25. 25. The LMS Students are evaluated by knowledge retained, assessments as quizzes and tests
    26. 26. The Idea of the PLE
    27. 27. Aggregation and Remixing
    28. 28. gRSShopper
    29. 29. The Connectivism Courses
    30. 30. The Connectivism Courses
    31. 31. The Connectivism Courses
    32. 32. Our Experience Kop and Fournier, Connecting the Dots, CIDER, 2011
    33. 33. Our Experience PLENK participation rates Kop and Fournier, Connecting the Dots, CIDER, 2011
    34. 34. Our Experience The complex network a facilitator's post generated Relationships between topics in a discussion in week 1 Kop and Fournier, Connecting the Dots, CIDER, 2011
    35. 35. <ul><li>Plenkers in Twitter </li></ul>Our Experience Tweets for a week: Tweets, retweets, replies Kop and Fournier, Connecting the Dots, CIDER, 2011
    36. 36. Our Experience #tags related to Twitter posts in the PLENK Daily - six weeks duration Twitter PLENK connections to hash-tag networks Kop and Fournier, Connecting the Dots, CIDER, 2011
    37. 37. Knowledge Transfer Image:
    38. 38. The Induction Model
    39. 39. The Induction Model
    40. 40. The Induction Model
    41. 41. The Induction Model
    42. 42. Connectivism Connectivism is the thesis that knowledge is formed through the creation of connections
    43. 43. Connectivism <ul><li>There is no curriculum, no theory, no body of knowledge </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(or, more accurately, the curriculum is the McGuffin) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The product is not the knowledge, it is the learner </li></ul><ul><li>It ’s not that there’s nothing to learn, it’s that it’s complex and needs to be navigated… </li></ul>
    44. 44. Connectivism The connectivist method: Aggregate…. Remix… Repurpose…. Feed Forward
    45. 45. <ul><li>Teachers are nodes, students are nodes </li></ul><ul><li>Both teaching and learning consists of sending and receiving communications to other nodes </li></ul>
    46. 46. <ul><li>Aggregate </li></ul><ul><li>Remix </li></ul><ul><li>Repurpose </li></ul><ul><li>Feed Forward </li></ul>
    47. 47. Learning as Immersion Image:
    48. 48. Learning as Immersion Image:
    49. 49. Constructionism Image:
    50. 50. Speaking in LOLcats
    51. 51. Speaking in LOLcats
    52. 52. Speaking in LOLcats
    53. 53. Languages of Learning Body language…
    54. 54. Languages of Learning Body language… Clothing, uniforms, flags, drapes…
    55. 55. Languages of Learning Maps, diagrams, graphics…
    56. 56. Languages of Learning Cave paintings…
    57. 57. Old Media, New Media Changing conceptions…
    58. 58. Old Media, New Media Conceptions Like: <ul><li>messages have a sender and a receiver </li></ul><ul><li>words get meaning from what they represent </li></ul><ul><li>truth is based on the real world </li></ul><ul><li>events have a cause, and causes can be known </li></ul><ul><li>science is based on forming and testing hypotheses </li></ul>These, taken together, constitute, a static, linear, coherent picture of the world, the world as though it were a book or library
    59. 59. OERs as Language , not Content <ul><li>We have to stop treating online resources – including educational materials - as though they were ‘ content ’ </li></ul><ul><li>The people who actually use them have moved far beyond that </li></ul><ul><li>These artifacts constitute a new language ; they are (if you will) the words is a large, complex, post-linguistic vocabulary </li></ul><ul><li>That ’ s why they need to be open </li></ul>
    60. 60. Understanding New Media Morris, Derrida and a little Lao Tzu We need this frame because if we aren ’t looking for these things, we just won’t see them. Syntax Cognition Semantics Context Pragmatics Change
    61. 61. Syntax Forms: archetypes? Platonic ideals? Rules: grammar = logical syntax Operations: procedures, motor skills Patterns: regularities, substitutivity (eggcorns, tropes) Similarities: Tversky - properties, etc Not just rules and grammar
    62. 62. Semantics Semantics - Sense and reference (connotation and denotation) - Interpretation (Eg. In probability, Carnap - logical space; Reichenbach - frequency; Ramsey - wagering / strength of belief) - Forms of association: Hebbian, contiguity, back-prop, Boltzmann - Decisions and decision theory: voting / consensus / emergence theories of truth / meaning / purpose / goal
    63. 63. Pragmatics <ul><li>Speech acts (J.L. Austin, Searle) assertives, directives, commissives, expressives, declarations (but also - harmful acts, harassment, etc) </li></ul><ul><li>Interrogation (Heidegger) and presupposition </li></ul><ul><li>Meaning (Wittgenstein - meaning is use) </li></ul>use, actions, impact
    64. 64. Cognition <ul><ul><li>description - X (definite description, allegory, metaphor) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>definition - X is Y (ostensive, lexical, logical (necess. & suff conds), family resemblance - but also, identity, personal identity, etc </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>argument - X therefore Y - inductive, deductive, abductive (but also: modal, probability (Bayesian), deontic (obligations), doxastic (belief), etc.) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>explanation - X because of Y (causal, statistical, chaotic/emergent) </li></ul></ul>reasoning, inference and explanation
    65. 65. Context <ul><li>- explanation (Hanson, van Fraassen, Heidegger) </li></ul><ul><li>- meaning (Quine); tense - range of possibilities </li></ul><ul><li>- vocabulary (Derrida); ontologies, logical space </li></ul><ul><li>Frames (Lakoff) and worldviews </li></ul>placement, environment
    66. 66. Change <ul><li>relation and connection: I Ching, logical relation </li></ul><ul><li>flow: Hegel - historicity, directionality; McLuhan - 4 things </li></ul><ul><li>- progression / logic -- games, for example: quiz&points, branch-and-tree, database </li></ul><ul><li>- scheduling - timetabling - events; activity theory / LaaN </li></ul>
    67. 67. 21 st Century Skills Languages The ‘ skills ’ described by Jenkins and others performance, simulation, appropriation, etc - are actually languages and should be understood in terms of these six dimensions
    68. 68. 21 st Century Language 21 st Century Languages Languages Elements Performance Simulation Appropriation Syntax Semantics Pragmatics Cognition Context Change
    69. 69. Example: Performance - Syntax Languages Elements Performance (the ability to adopt alternative identities for the purpose of improvisation and discovery) (subcategories?) Syntax: - Forms - Rules - Operations - Patterns - Similarities - Presentation acting, method acting - “ Know your lines ” etc - Stanislavski ’ s system (etc…) - Ritual Performance (etc.) - Comparing Tales (etc.)
    70. 70. Assessment and Analytics <ul><li>Big Data, Web of Data, Semantic Web, RSS, Geo, FOAF… </li></ul><ul><li>Mash-ups, APIs, the Cloud, Social Network </li></ul>It makes no sense to rely on quizzes and tests
    71. 71. Personal Knowledge <ul><li>Personal knowledge consists of neural connections, not facts and data </li></ul>We are using one of these To create one of these
    72. 72. Learning Outcomes <ul><li>Simple vs complex – text vs network </li></ul>“ Paris is the capital of France” vs
    73. 73. Learning Outcomes <ul><li>It is the difference between: </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Knowing’ that ‘Paris is the capital of France’ or even some sort of ‘knowing how’ (these are external definitions of this knowledge) and </li></ul><ul><li>What it feels like to have geographical knowledge; what it feels like to be a speaker of a language </li></ul>Learning a discipline is a total state and not a collection of specific states
    74. 74. Learning Outcomes <ul><li>Learning a discipline is a total state and not a collection of specific states </li></ul><ul><li>It is obtained through immersion in an environment rather than acquisition of particular entities </li></ul><ul><li>It is expressed functionally (can you perform ‘as a geographer’?) rather than cognitively (can you state ‘geography facts’ or do ‘geography tasks’?) </li></ul>
    75. 75. Learning Outcomes <ul><li>There are not specific bits of knowledge or competencies, but rather, personal capacities </li></ul>We recognize this By perfomance in this (more on this later)
    76. 76. Success Factors <ul><li>What sort of decentralized network will best support learning-as-growth? </li></ul>
    77. 77. Network Democracy Image:
    78. 78. Network Democracy
    79. 79. Diversity <ul><li>You need a mixture of materials – you cannot grow organically from carbon alone, or water alone </li></ul>
    80. 80. Openness <ul><li>Closed systems become stagnant </li></ul><ul><li>Raw materials are depleted </li></ul><ul><li>The system becomes clogged with the ‘ creative product ’ of its members </li></ul>
    81. 81. Autonomy <ul><li>The simple cloning of entities does not allow for progress or development </li></ul><ul><li>Each individual entity must manage its own grown in its own way </li></ul>
    82. 82. Interactivity <ul><li>A system cannot grow unless its parts interact – flowers need bees, cows need grain, beavers need trees </li></ul><ul><li>Growth is created not by accumulation but by flow , by constant activation and interaction </li></ul>
    83. 83. <ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Free Learning </li></ul>Stephen Downes