Standing up for Little OER


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As part of OER week, I engaged in a debate with Patrick McAndrew about the benefits of institutional vs individual approaches to open education.

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  • Patrick has made a good case for Big OER. In fact when we think of OER, we tend to equate it with Big OER, and I want to push back at that assumption in this presentation
  • I’d also suggest that thinking about the size of OER chunks is a good way to address many of the other issues around Open education in general, so it’s a route into addressing some of these issues
  • Analogy with open access publishing – there are two suggested routes, Green which is self-archiving, so you publish in a journal, but get agreement to put your own copy online somewhere. Gold route makes journals open access, by the author paying for publication
  • There is some debate in the open access world as to whether one route is better than another – Stephen Harnad suggests Green is faster and surer, whereas others argue that Gold maintains a quality filter and makes access easy
  • So, what are the factors that have led to little OER?
  • Removal of permission, don’t need to ask someone to do some forms or research, or to publish something, or to try a different format, or adopt a different teaching approach
  • Big OER tends to be very intentional – it says this is what you will learn, this is the level, these are the learning outcomes, etc. That’s very useful at times, but I would argue it also goes against what has been really successful in terms of the internet
  • For a start it separates out what is learning content – it says this stuff is for learning and this isn’t. But you could argue that everything we produce is potentially an OER. We produce all these things and with not much effort we can make them shareable digital artefacts. And then they can be used in unpredictable ways. For example you might take a piece of software code that programmers have deemed aesthetically beautiful and analyse it in a poetry class. But big OER tends to work against this unpredictable use
  • Jonathan Zittrain says that the beauty of the internet is that it is a generative system,ie it is open and produces unpredictable outcomes.John Naughton calls it a machine for springing surprisesThe highly prescriptive nature of Big OER works against this
  • There are lots of issues around little OER though, which I’ll address
  • Firstly, the issue of time always comes up. How do people find the time to do all this stuff?I would suggest though that viewing it as an addition is the wrong way to think of it. It acts as a replacement for many current activities, which are often overly time consuming themselves. For example, having a good online network means you can disseminate work effectively, it saves time on research, maybe you don’t need to go to so many conferences to maintain a network, etcAlso, thinking back to that slide where I said everything was an OER, you can view it as almost frictionless – it doesn’t take much to turn these into open artefacts
  • Another big factor is that of recognition – why bother spending time with all this when it won’t be recognised by university or help with promotion.
  • QualityBut also big oer encourages a project based approach, where real power comes from the just share already approach.
  • Standing up for Little OER

    1. 1. Stand up for Little OER Martin Weller
    2. 2. GranularityBig and Little OER
    3. 3. Big LittleInstitutional Individualhigh reputation cheapgood teaching quality, web (2) nativelittle reversioning easily remixed andrequired reusedexpensive low production qualityoften not web native reputation ‘buyer beware’reuse limited distributed
    4. 4. The Green and Gold Route to OA
    5. 5. Is there a ‘better’ way? • Harnad - Green OA is ‘faster’ and ‘surer’
    6. 6. Factors leading to Little OER
    7. 7. Good tools
    8. 8. Publish yourself platforms
    9. 9. Power of networks
    10. 10. Removal of filters
    11. 11. Big OER is too intentional
    12. 12. Everything is OER Code Lectures/Teaching contentResearch papersDebate Ideas Conferences Data
    13. 13. Generative systems
    14. 14. Issues
    15. 15. Time
    16. 16. Recognition
    17. 17. Quality
    18. 18. Implicit message
    19. 19. So…• Is a hybrid approach best?• Is a hybrid approach possible?• How do you encourage Little OER?• Universities tend to projectise everything, so make it all big OER