OpenCourseWare is Here. ICDE World Conference


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The OpenCourseWare movement is here. For instance, more than 200 institutions have joined the OpenCourseWare Consortium (OCWC) and they now offer over 8,200 courses worldwide in many languages. The start to the movement provided by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and MIT has now spawned both an expansion of the MIT model and many variations of it. From the beginning, the goal of the OCW movement has been worldwide learning and sharing of content. It now faces new challenges; among them is the challenge of moving from open courses to learning pathways of larger scale, including open degrees. The premise of sharing knowledge from the developed world to developing countries remains an attractive prospect, one which engages the leaders of the movement. Yet, barriers are ever more clear. You will learn of the current state of the OCW movement, its challenges, and its potential. Learn also how to become involved in this movement.

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  • The OpenCourseWare (OCW) movement has achieved “lift off.” The movement began in 2000 when the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), supported by funding from organizations including the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, decided to offer undergraduate- and graduate-level MIT courses and materials on a free and easily accessible Web site under Creative Commons licenses. This startling decision, coinciding with the e-learning “gold rush” money-making mentality that animated so many businesses and universities at the time, gained media attention and admiration from educators and self-learners around the world.MIT’s example spawned the OpenCourseWare Consortium (OCWC) which currently has over 200 members offering about 9000 courses.
  • However the performance of the OCWC is not the lone example of the “lift-off” phenomena. For instance, the inventory of video course materials on iTunes is growing rapidly as well.
  • As more universities have joined the movement and offered open courses, variations from the “MIT model” have begun to emerge. MIT’s courses were almost exclusively created for MIT students, predominantly at the undergraduate level. The structure and completeness of the individual MIT courses show considerable variation—some are rather brief expressions of syllabi and resources, while others are highly designed and richly resourced productions. The original and still predominant MIT stance is the posting of OCW courses and materials without prospect of support or accompanying services.
  • Other universities have departed from the MIT model in several ways. The most common variation is the “translation model,” whereby already posted material from one university is simply translated into another language (Mandarin, for example) and then posted by another university. The University of California, Irvine (UCI), the first West Coast university to join the OCWC, experimented with several departures from the MIT model. Its first OCW offerings were directed at working adults seeking continuing education, not degree-seekers. It offered visitors to its OCW courses the opportunity to learn more or enroll in instructor-led, for-credit courses, related to the OCW content. The UCI model, supported by funding from extra-mural sponsors, created OCW specifically designed for targeted audiences such as California public school teachers seeking help in passing state examinations for single-subject science and mathematics credentials.Yet another model, presented by UC Berkeley, offers OCW in the form of the unedited video-capture of lectures, available for viewing on the Berkeley OCW Web site and YouTube.
  • The OCW movement is organically related to other “open” movements. As with any new development, the nomenclature and vocabulary describing the complex of activities are not yet clear, so here is a definition and description of the relationship of several emerging domains in the “open space.” Open Source. The word “open” in this context was first applied to software that became freely available—often produced, developed, maintained, and improved by communities of users and developers. The OCW movement not only had its philosophical origins in the open source movement, but also depended upon open source products for its advancement. Open Knowledge. The broadest, most high-minded expression of openness might be called “open knowledge.” Its goal is that the entire sum of human knowledge should be available to everyone, any place, any time, for free. Knowledge, the ability to understand the world and to behave in an effective way, is gained through experience and the learning process. Open Content. This process starts with content and material such as books, articles, videos, and simulation. Therefore, open knowledge begins with open content. Amazing advances are being made in the availability and distribution of open content. For example, Google represents one large piece of the open environment, by providing millions of instantly available content instances, including content gained from digitizing huge libraries of printed material.Open Educational Resources (OER). But content alone is not often sufficient to achieve knowledge – it has to be placed in a learning context. And that brings us to the open educational resources (OER) movement. OER are content that is specifically designed to be used in the learning process. For instance, a journal article is simply content, but that same article accompanied by a set of questions for the reader to answer is OER. A book is content, while a textbook is OER. By this definition, OCW is both OER and consists of OER. As such, OCW is one link up on the food chain toward knowledge. OER is the more granular expression, while OCW aims to organize information and provide it in discrete learning modules. Open Textbooks. Spurred by the high cost of textbooks, the open textbook movement is advancing rapidly, progressing so far as to threaten the textbook publishing industry. OCW is related to open textbooks to the extent that the trend in the growth of OCW is based on content from open textbooks. Most importantly, open textbooks and OCW are merging. As open textbooks progress from the simple publishing of, say, an out-of-print textbook, to an example of OER with more features such as learner feedback and supplementary learning materials and resources, they begin to look increasingly like OCW.OCW. OCW is the logical compilation of OER into course sized blocks combined with a narrative thread. Open Degrees. The open degrees movement is the next logical step beyond OCW. It is possible that a specified collection of OCW could constitute a full degree curriculum, but the step between OCW and open degrees is a substantial one, involving the assessment of student learning and some form of institutional validation. A more immediate and realistic variant of the open degree movement, called “OCW-in,” will be discussed later in this paper.
  • A significant barrier to openness is called “discoverability”—the ability for users to find the appropriate open material they want. Currently this barrier is being addressed in three ways. First we have the general search through web browsers such as Google. One can refine one’s search by adding in the CC license as part of the search parameters. There are also searches now available and being developed which search in a more focused way on parts of the open spectrum such as OCW. You see a list of these on the screen.Specialized search engines are making open resources easier to find. There are two types: those that actually crawl the internet looking for CC licensed materials. (Google Advanced Search); and those that search for RDF descriptions of OCW content or aggregate RSS feeds. OCWC, OERCommons, Creative Commons search, and OCWC Course Finder are all doing this.
  • Open content is increasing rapidly. Specific collections of open material that have been developed. This slide presents a large, but by no means exhaustive list. For instance, the CSU Center for Distributed Learning developed MERLOT and it has now expanded. The University of Georgia System, Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, University of North Carolina System, and the California State University System created an informal consortium representing almost one hundred campuses serving over 900,000 students and over 47,000 faculty.Connexions is a learning object repository of over 6,314 reusable items sponsored by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The Maxfield Foundation, and individual sponsors.Research and Corporate Support includes: The National Science Foundation Partnership for Innovation Program, National Instruments, and the Hewlett-Packard Corporation, George R. Brown Endowment for Undergraduate Education, The CLASS Foundation with university support from Rice University.
  • Finally we have university websites with significant collections. I have listed UCI on this page just for your reference—compared with the others we have a relatively small collection of about 20 open courses now.
  • There are some clear trends in the use of OCW and also some barriers to more effective use of OCW are becoming clear.
  • A significant issue in these early stages of the OCW movement has to do with what is called “discoverability”—the ability of potential users to discover the content and format of OCW. While an increasing portion of OCW is becoming discoverable through search engines such as Google, these universal searches are often obscured by intervening search engine attributes, such as non-open or proprietary material, making it difficult to isolate a subject within the OCW universe from the mass of material offered with restrictions or not related to the teaching/learning process. For OCW to gain greater exposure, it is useful for OCW producers to “spread it around” through the republishing process. UCI has posted its OCW to several sites including the Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching (MERLOT), Rice University’s Connexions repository, and on the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) learning Web site. UCI has also posted several courses in Portuguese created by an OCWC institutional member from Brazil, Fundacão Getulio Vargas (FGV). Republication helps institutions identify and adopt material focused on their own constituencies, at little to no cost.
  • OCW-in is an expression referring to the situation in which institutions consume OCW rather than produce it, by including OCW courses or materials into their existing courses. As more high-quality open material becomes available, the more compelling is its use in instructor-led classes. In higher education, course authoring is largely left up to faculty, most of whom have little training in instructional design. Now, as well-designed open material is available, the course authoring function can become more efficient. OCW-in, however, has not caught on in developed countries. Most universities and faculty in developed countries cling to the “not-invented-here” bias, because locating the desired high-quality material remains an obstacle. Another challenge has often been referred to as the “context” problem. Because learning is so highly contextualized, inserting material created for another context into a particular course can be complicated. The educational background and purposes of MIT students in one course are quite different from, say, California community college students in a similar course.
  • The wider use of OCW-in is dependent on several features not yet available. First, the discoverability feature needs to be enhanced. Second, user friendly course authoring tools need to be developed so that the downloading and incorporation of OCW into institutionally-supported course development processes can be implemented. In fact, some innovations supporting OCW-in are currently under experimentation.
  • For example, Tecnológico de Monterrey, a private and highly respected Mexican university, has created the “Knowledge Hub” where OCW material can be deposited into a database. Tecnológico de Monterrey provides incentives to faculty members who search for, review, and download useful OER and OCW material into the database. Learning objects within this hub are tagged with subject matter descriptors and rated by faculty as to quality and usefulness.
  • Credit for OCW learners is a trend related to OCW-in and to the open degree movement. This notion requires the intervention of some institution or organization to evaluate and record student learning. The most logical capacities for this type of intervention reside in the so-called “degree completion” institutions, such as Excelsior University (formerly Regents College of NY) and Thomas Edison State University. These institutions have had experience in evaluating credit and learning from diverse sources. They have also developed mechanisms for recording academic credit and granting degrees based on learning assessment. While very few OCW courses are created at a design level high enough to be considered self-paced courses, there is no barrier, other than some form of student authentication, which would prohibit the entire teaching/learning/assessment process to take place in an open manner.
  • Counter positioned to, but also curiously compatible with the trend of credit for OCW, is the formation of informal learning communities built around OCW. The rise of national and international online social networking has prompted the formation of communities around many interests, including common learning goals. This trend is clearly apparent to organizations such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and MySpace, from which efforts are emerging to support learning communities. The not-for-profit world is also recognizing the importance of informal communities, which are emerging from students in formal education who keep in touch with their classmates after their course has ended to continue their association. It is likely that these learning communities may evolve into the OCW for credit realm as students seek recognition for their learning projects.
  • As MIT began posting its first open courses at the forefront of the OCW movement, there was the hope that the open knowledge and pedagogical wealth created in developed countries would somehow positively affect the educational systems of developing countries. With the posting of free courses online, great promise for such sharing seemed to grow. Indeed, developing countries were among the first “translators” of OCW material, and “mirror OCW Web sites” were developed in countries where access to the World Wide Web was either too slow or too costly. However, the barriers to sharing quickly became apparent. First, as included in the OCW-in description above, there was the “context” problem—MIT courses, for instance, were developed in quite a different context than would be appropriate in, say, Vietnam. Second, even the simple translation from one language to another, let alone the issue of “localizing” the material, proved to be quite expensive. Third, a backlash called “academic colonialism” developed when western (or northern hemisphere) content and pedagogy seemed to be impinging on local cultural and national values. And, the flow of material seemed to be one way—i.e. the giving countries seemed uninterested in receiving materials from the receiving countries.
  • In Brazil, we see what might be called the institution-initiated model. FGV, perhaps the largest non-profit supplier of online education in Brazil, is now seeking government support for an ambitious project to help the K-12 educational system. FGV joined the OCWC just last year after a mutual sharing of OCW with UCI. UCI’s extensive OCW professional development content in science and mathematics for California teachers is a program being considered as a possible addition to the material already shared between the two institutions. Another candidate for sharing is the extensive inventory of high school courses available through the National Repository of Online Courses (NROC), produced by the University of California (UC) and the Monterey Institute for Technology and Education (MITE). Obviously, government sponsorship and acceptance are crucial in this kind of sharing, particularly where national systems have clearly established curricular standards and requirements.
  • FGV received a large press exposure by offering “free” courses online. This demonstrates the power of OCW to reach people and motivate them to learn.
  • Within a few days of the first article announcing the FGV offering, the response was overwhelming both on FGV’s site and on UCI’s. Since its inception in May 2008 FGV has received ____ visits to its site and UCI has received nearly 35,000 to FGV courses.
  • Introducing an innovation based on requests from viewers of the FGV site, FGV offered viewers the opportunity to get a “certificate” of completion by taking a self-proctored test at the end of the course. To date 74,000 users have received the certificate.
  • Vietnam presents a more advanced undertaking which might be labeled the national infrastructure model. Launched in 2005 as a joint undertaking by the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET), the Vietnam Education Foundation (VEF), VietNamNet-VASC (a for-profit supplier of Internet services), and MIT, the Vietnam Open Course Ware (VOCW) project now offers 217 courses, consisting of over 1,100 content modules delivered through an infrastructure comprised of three national technology centers and more than 14 universities. Despite this good start, there remain some significant hurdles to overcome, including resistance from some established institutions and, in some places, faculty unprepared to teach the content as it is presented. In Vietnam the government has adopted an OCW strategy as central to gaining its goals.
  • Over the last three years, with government support, Vietnam has shown significant progress.
  • Now, with this experience, Vietnam is stepping back a bit it assess its planning. The initial assumptions upon which the plan was based required some adjustments. Cleary, simply making MIT OCW available was not of sufficient use to address the problems Vietnam faced. Here are the main reasons students in Vietnam could not really benefit from the MIT material.
  • Note this issue. This is a reference to the fact that across national systems there are differences in academic cultures. In the case of Vietnam, the judgment is thatto become competitive in a global economy, some major reforms need to be implemented, that the behavior and attitudes of both students and instructors need to be altered in significant ways. OCW is seen, by some, to be one of the cornerstones of that reform.
  • The reform must focus on improving teaching methods (to, for instance, include more student engagement), update curricula (incorporating the latest research and scholarship), and standardizing teaching materials.
  • After this promising beginning Vietnam faces some challenges.
  • The OCW is clearly making a transition form a resource that is used primarily by individuals to one which is being used by institutions and even national governments to improve higher education.
  • OpenCourseWare is Here. ICDE World Conference

    1. 1. OpenCourseWare is Here T h e 2 3 rd I C D E W o r l d C o n f e r e n c e o n Open and Distance Learning Maastricht, The Netherlands June 7 – 10, 2009 BY GARY W. MATKIN, PH.D. DEAN, CONTINUING EDUCATION
    2. 2. The OCW Movement Has Achieved Lift Off Nearly 200 institutional members in the OCWC Approximately 9,000 courses posted Over 130 million creative commons licenses issued
    3. 3. 45 Universities on iTunes University
    4. 4. Visitors by Role Other 5% Educators 15% Self learners Students 50% 30%
    5. 5. Traffic by Region 18.1% 41.8% 21.0% 4.9% 8.4% 1.4% Visits Since Region Visits % 10/1/03 4.4% North America 19,586,175 41.8 East Asia/Pacific 9,818,810 21.0 Europe/Central 8,470,908 18.1 Asia South Asia 3,917,728 8.4 MENA 2,297,341 4.9 Latin America/ 2,076,902 4.4 Caribbean Sub-Sah. Africa 661,193 1.4 TOTAL VISITS 46,829,057
    6. 6. Traffic by Region 18.1% 41.8% 21.0% 8.4% 4.9% 1.4% 4.4% Mirror sites — Approx. 209 around the globe
    7. 7. Traffic by Country – Feb 09 Country Visits Country Visits 1 United States 537,249 11 France 17,301 2 India 112,261 12 Turkey 15,823 3 China 95,417 13 Italy 12,130 4 South Korea 59,246 14 Japan 11,703 5 Canada 39,063 15 Australia 11,369 6 United Kingdom 35,506 16 Spain 10,896 7 Iran 29,685 17 Egypt 10,079 8 Brazil 24,341 18 Mexico 9,764 9 Germany 21,851 19 Singapore 9,045 10 Pakistan 17,755 20 Romania 9,040
    8. 8. The MIT Model  Exclusively created for MIT students, primarily undergraduate  Courses show considerable variation  From syllabi and resources  To Highly designed courses  No services offered to students
    9. 9. Evolving Models  Translation Model  The UCI Model  Courses directed at working professionals or underserved audiences  The UC Berkeley Model  Unedited video-capture lectures
    10. 10. Related Open Movements  Open Source  Open Knowledge  Open Content  Open Educational Resources (OER)  Open Textbooks  Open CourseWare (OCW)  Open Degrees
    11. 11. Search Engines  Those that crawl the Internet looking for CC licensed materials  Google Advanced Search   Those that search for descriptions of OCW content or RSS feeds  OCW Consortium (OCWC) and Course Finder   Creative Commons search   OERCommons 
    12. 12. Collections and Repositories  Wikipedia  Wikiversity  Connexions (Rice University)  MERLOT  Knowledge Hub  Flicker CC  UNESCO  Internet Archive  iTunes  You Tube
    13. 13. University Websites with Large Collections  MIT  Open University  United Nations University  UC Irvine
    14. 14. Emerging Trends & Barriers Republishing OCW OCW-in Credit For OCW OCW and Informal Learning
    15. 15. Republishing OCW  Once OCW has been offered online, it becomes available to be posted on other similar Web sites  Barrier  Discoverability
    16. 16. OCW-in  Institutions consume OCW rather than just produce it, by including OCW courses or materials into their existing courses  Barriers:  Slow up-take of wide-scale use of OCW, especially in developing countries  “Not invented here” bias  The “context problem”
    17. 17.  To be effective, OCW must be “localized” and sometimes translated for another audience OCW-in  Translation and localization requires local capacity, including technology, trained Slow Up-take human resources, funding of Wide Scale  Local capacity must be linked to the institutional infrastructure to satisfy and the needs of the local audience Organized  Must utilize local delivery systems and resources to support the expanded use of Use of OCW the material  It is clear that the simple existence of free and open material is necessary but not sufficient for wide scale adoption and use
    18. 18. OCW-in OCW and Course Development
    19. 19. Credit for OCW  Related to OCW-in and Open Degree Movements  Institutional intervention required  Barrier  Student authentication
    20. 20. OCW and Informal Learning  Trend spurred by from national and international social networking  Result is the development of learning communities
    22. 22.  Partnership for OCW and academic Institution- programs  Sharing and republishing of OCW Initiated content Model  Translation and “localizing” of content The FGV developed in U.S., adapted to Brazilian experience Case Study  Sharing of content from Southern hemisphere to Northern 6/4/2009
    23. 23.  Innovation from Brazil which might be adopted elsewhere to intensify use Institution- of OCW Initiated  Institutional benefits gained from PR Model and OCWC membership  Benefits from OCW that can accrue to The FGV academic programs in terms of Case Study exposure and traffic
    24. 24. Huge Results  450,000+ visits to FGV  20,000 visits in 1st ten OCW site since launch days of course “Live” date  Of 20,000 visits to UCI OCW site  16,000 from Brazil  4,000 from United States  CURRENTLY, Over 46,000 visitors have come to the UCI from the FGV site
    25. 25. FGV Innovation  “Completion” certificate issued to learners who have registered and completed each of the course modules  Over 74,000 users have made their way through an entire course and are not just “hits” or “unique visitors”
    26. 26.  In Vietnam, the government has National adopted an OCW strategy that is Infrastructure central to accomplishing it higher Model education goals The Case of Vietnam
    27. 27. The Case of Vietnam  Developed sample course materials  Built a robust infrastructure  Adopted Rice Connexions software  Developed 24 sample courses  Created an alliance of 28 leading institutions  Developed 1100 learning modules and 217 courses from existing OCW
    28. 28. The Case of Vietnam  Students in Vietnam could not use MIT OCW – Different educational backgrounds of Vietnam students – English skills not good enough – Teaching and learning methods of Vietnamese faculty and students are different – Syllabi and reference materials were not available
    29. 29. The Case of Vietnam  Teaching and learning methods of Vietnamese faculty and students are different
    30. 30. The Case of Vietnam  Improving teaching methods  Updating curricula  Standardizing of teaching materials
    31. 31. The Case of Vietnam ─ Next Steps  Content Development and evaluation  Community building  System Maintenance and development  Integration of all elements into a force for needed change
    32. 32. Gary W. Matkin, Ph.D. Dean, Continuing Education Download Presentation at h t t p : / / w w w . s l i d e s h a r e . ne t / g a r y m a t k i n