Open Education – The new definition of fair

“Why reinvent the wheel” when you have Open educational resources to help you and your learners?
Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that you may freely use and reuse at no cost. OER is a great concept with huge potential to support educational transformation. It is simply an educational resource that has a licence to share, reuse and sometimes adapt without having to ask permission from the copyright holder, You can find out more on how to do this on  creative commons.

There are already lots of free resources out there that teachers can use which will save time when designing courses, not only are they free, you can share your own and also collaborate with colleagues from all the universities in the world who are designing the same sort of courses on different open communities. For the students there are also virtual study groups where they can get support from each other on the same subjects  Open Study.
Obviously there is some trepidation from most about sharing hard work to the general public and I understand that this will take time to change in education but weren’t we the same when Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter bombarded our social lives? One of the most sharing teachers on the course KayOddone recommended this short post “Obvious to you. Amazing to others” by Derek Sivers for inspiration.

Alistair Creelman gives a lecture on Openess in education I can highly recommend it . He mentions open learning sites that you can use for OER:

and also a list of OER links – (as long as you give credits)

“What does the notion of resource-based learning mean, in essence? It means moving away from the traditional notion of the ‘talking teacher’ to communicate curriculum; a significant but varying proportion of communication between students and educators is not face to face but rather takes place through the use of different media as necessary. Importantly, the face-to-face contact that does take place typically does not involve simple transmission of knowledge from educator to student; instead it involves various forms of student support, for example, tutorials, peer group discussion, or practical work”. P11 Butcher, Neil A Basic Guide to Open Educational Resources (OER)

Here is also a list of search engines to help you search open educational resources.

Self-described “edtech fangirl & startup addict” Ope Bukola created this great Sharpie animation that shows the impact OER can have in other countries.


Moocs (Massive Open Online Courses)
There has been a bit of a wave here in Sweden over the past few years where universities are in the process of producing Mooc’s, there are project plans in place but there hasn’t been much time for communicating the benefits for faculty. One of the main benefits that I learned from ONL was by watching a video here by Lund university Marita Ljungkvist (project manager/educational researcher for Moocs at Lund) who explained the fundamentals of doing a Mooc but also mentioned how teachers can use different Mooc’s as course material in classes and can be really helpful when designing a flipped classroom.
She explained an example from a course where the teacher had the students take the Mooc first then they did individual and group work in the classroom, the average grade for this course before the flip was 65% when blended the result was 95%. The results are phenomenal, there are thousands of online courses that can be used for regular courses, all you have to do is ask their permission to reuse and they are normally quite happy to share.
In relation to the pedagogy of MOOCs, Glance, Forsey and Riley give an excellent table that explains some of their key benefits.

characterisitcs of Moocs pedagogical benefits

So on a final note after this learning curve which reached new heights, blended and flexible learning has taken on a new dimension.

References:

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A sustainable future with Flexible learning

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LicenseAttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by zbigphotography (1M+ views)

The education system is in need of a complete face-lift. We really have to start believing that there are students with different learning styles just as we know today in our every day lives that people have different cultures, religions and backgrounds.

Much of the heavy lifting will need to be done by governments reinvesting more money in higher education, as universities and colleges have already done much of what they can do to become cost-effective. In the view of many colleges and university presidents, the three main factors in higher education—cost, quality, and access—exist in what is called an iron triangle.

To improve the student success and throughput rates = flexible learning.

Dr Martha Cleveland Innes, Professor and Chair of Centre for Distance Education at Athabasca University and a guest professor at our university KTH (Royal Institute of technology) held a webinar on Flexible learning. Here are some of her reflections and experiences on how to move forward.

What does flexible learning look like?
“There is no commonly accepted meaning globally; rather flexibility is a wide range of responses to different situations, to different needs, underpinned by different discourses. Therefore, “flexibility” needs to be clearly defined and articulated institutionally, or it can lead to division, multiple contesting discourse and the duplication of efforts and resources…” (Jones & Walters, 2015: 65)

Flexible Learning in a Flexible Society
Boland H. G. (2005) “Whatever happened to postmodernism in higher education? No requiem in the new millennium” The Journal of Higher Education 76 (2): 121-150.

  1. The learner is empowered and can assist in the customisation of learning.
  2. Flexible learning needs to be wrapped around the students’ needs
  3. Flexible learning that can fit around students’ complex lives
  4. Flexible curriculum design with flexible assessment (offered through choice)
  5. Flexible admission criteria
  6. Flexible delivery options (on-line/on-campus; accelerating and decelerating)

At Athabasca University they are already one of the forerunners in using flexible learning in the classroom and have an open course called Learning to learn online
to help their teachers through this process, they even have instructional designers to help them with the course design to including flexible ideas, how fabulous is that? Something I believe all Universities need to invest in so the teachers can get up and running into flexible learning.

Some of the challenges she mentions in flexible learning were:

  • Getting faculty on board to Identify these new ways of teaching,
  • Lack of time to redesign courses
  • Leadership investment, we need to know about leadership so we are ready for the changes that are coming.
  • The need for Instructional designers

I like the way Jones, B., & Walters, S. (2015)  describe the delivery of learning in their article:

  • Pace, includes accelerated and decelerated programmes and degrees; learning part-time; arrangements that allow learners to ‘roll on/roll off’ (‘stop in/stop out’);
    Place, can relate to work-based learning with employer engagement; learning at home, on campus, while travelling or in any other place, often aided by technology which can enable the flexibility of learning across geographical boundaries and at convenient times.
  • Mode’ includes the use of learning technologies to enhance flexibility and enrich the quality of learning experiences, in blended or distance learning and in synchronous and asynchronous modes of learning (Tallantyne, 2012: 4; Gordon, 2014).

In a previous blog post on  Designing courses to facilitate meaningful learning I wrote here on how we need to think about what the Intended learning outcomes are and which teaching and learning activities we could use with technology enhanced learning. It was written last year but now after this ONL course I can see many more new ways of being flexible with IL’s & TLA’s.

References:

All together now… Collaborative Learning

Coming together is a beginning.DSC00991
Keeping together is progress.
Working together is success. (Henry Ford)

Collaborative learning, Communities of practice, Networking are all used as a way of specifying a group activity where the main outcome is to learn from each other. It is all very nice and the idea is quite fantastic with a lot of good research to back it up, which you can read in the references below. But there are certain factors that need to be addressed before we all go and implement this idea in the classrooms.

Collaborative learning takes many forms it could be when you are brainstorming an idea with your group, sharing your work to the group, writing together, taking part in social media discussions and group projects.

For it to be effective, there should be both “group goals” and “individual accountability” (Slavin, 1989). In a classroom situation the collaborative learning task must ensure that every group member has learnt something.
According to Vygotsky (1978) students can perform at higher intellectual levels in collaborative situations than when working individually and that group diversity can contribute positively to the learning process.

The benefits of collaborative learning

  • It deepens your understanding of a topic
  • Makes you proactive and a confident learner
  • Importantly, by engaging in discussion and taking responsibility for their learning, students are encouraged to become critical thinkers (Totten, Sills, Digby & Russ, 1989).
  • It has been consistently found that students who learn most are those who give and receive elaborated explanations about what they are learning and how they are learning it (Webb, 1985).
  • Research demonstrates that network-based collaboration may provide opportunities for more equality in group work than actual face-to-face group work (Cohen, 1994; Johnson,Johnson and Holubec, 1993; Kessler, 1992)
  • ICT tools – eg: Online discussions with various tools – students who might be shy at voicing their opinion face-to-face now have the opportunity to express themselves
  • Analysts of the future job market already speak of the need for future workers to be able to adapt to this type of work environments. By putting emphasis on teamwork through ICT tools, the students will learn to think creatively, to solve problems, and to make decisions as a team. Furthermore, they will be in control of technology and not slaves to it.

The College Preparatory School is making collaboration the driving force in their learning. This is a great example of how collaborative learning is already being used for deeper learning.

 

Students speak out on the negative side of Collaborative Learning
Here is an overview of what the students think about collaborative learning you can read more in depth on the site link but the major qualms were:

  • People need to go at different speeds
  • Someone may try to take over the group
  • Quiet people may not feel comfortable
  • Sometimes people just don’t get along
  • People may not pull their weight
  • It is not fair!
  • A concept may not be understood as well if a person doesn’t have to figure it out
  • The time spent talking about irrelevant topics is unbelievable

Personal responsibility

As part of the ONL course we are to work together in groups and collaborate on each topic. As it states above there are pros and cons to this form of learning and we are all going through them one by one. We decided from our online meeting to collaborate in a Google document by commenting on each other’s summaries of the articles we had divided up between us. We are to present our findings according to the PBL model to the other groups and give feedback to theirs. I have worked in both face-to-face groups and with purely online groups and still the same problems arise (see above on the negative side of Collaboration). So how are we to improve this form of learning? I believe, as Wenger, E. (2010) states in his very interesting Community of practice article, there is a personal responsibility that comes with social participation, given our limited resources of time, attention, and memory, we have to make decisions about how we participate in landscapes of practice. And this I believe is the crux of the matter.

Articles we collaborated on as group:

  • Brindley, J., Blaschke, L. M., & Walti, C. (2009). Creating effective collaborative learning groups in an online environment. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 10(3). Available here.
  • Wenger, E. (2010). Communities of practice and social learning systems: the career of a concept. In Social learning systems and communities of practice(pp. 179-198). Springer London. Available here.
  • Capdeferro, N., & Romero, M. (2012). Are online learners frustrated with collaborative learning experiences?. The International review of research in open and distance learning, 13(2), 26-44. Available here.

References:

  • *Constructing Knowledge Together (21-45). Extract from Telecollaborative Language Learning. A guidebook to moderating intercultural collaboration online. M. Dooly (ed.). (2008) Bern: Peter Lang
  • Gillies, R. (2014). Cooperative learning: Developments in research.International Journal of Educational Psychology, 3(2), 125–140.
  • Roseth, C. J., Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. T. (2008). Promoting early adolescents’ achievement and peer relationships: The effects of cooperative, competitive, and individualistic goal structures.Psychological Bulletin, 134(2), 223–269.
  • Slavin, R. E. (1995).Cooperative learning: Theory, research, and practice (2nd ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
  • Slavin, R. E. (2013). Classroom applications of cooperative learning. In S. Graham (Ed.),APA handbook of educational psychology. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
  • Webb, N. M. (2008). Learning in small groups. In T. L. Good (Ed.),21st century education: A reference handbook (pp. 203–211). Los Angeles: Sage

Digital Literacy and the digital me

As part of our #ONL161 course course we have been told to blog a post about our digital presence on Social Media, Here is my overview with the Xmind mindmap tool

Digital Me

Before I started working at KTH, I had been working with social media strategies for private companies for 8 years. I organised social media events and worked with the company’s online presence mainly for sales & marketing reasons increasing their online presence and online sales. When I started at KTH I was quite eager to use what I had learned from the private sector and put it to use for learning but soon realised that most of the teachers had little or no digital presence for their professional purposes.

As part of our group work we are working on Digital Literacy, I found it very interesting so decided to post on this area as well.
Several universities have started projects in Digital Literacy for both students and teachers. Coming from the private sector and in the role of employing new staff, I know how important it is for our social media natives to have a professional presence online.

All universities are confronting the same difficulties with digital literacy, so I believe we really need to start learning from each other.

So what does Digital Literacy mean?
Digital literacy is “The capability to use digital technology and knowing when and how to use it.” (Rubble, M. and Bailey, G.  (2007). Digital Citizenship in Schools. Eugene, OR: ISTE, p. 21)

The main issues that we need to cover are:

  • How do we inspire our teachers to do it?
  • How could we make digital literacy support sustainable
  • How can we make digital literacy a desire instead of just a couple of teachers being passionate about it?

Cornell University in Ithaca New York has created a great website with information about Digital Literacy this is an excerpt from their page:

“Digital literacy is an important topic because technology is changing faster than society is. The rules of appropriate behaviour in these digital contexts may be unknown or unknowable. Well-established concepts such as copyright, academic integrity, and privacy are now difficult to define, as their meanings are in flux”.

They have a FAQ page on using the Internet to research topics which I found a brilliant source for information.

A guide to help teachers in mapping out digital literacy with students
This video created by David White, researcher, University of Oxford uses the mapping process which is an output of  Jisc funded by ‘Digital Visitors and Residents’ project in collaboration between Jisc, Oxford, OCLC and the University of North Carolina, Charlotte.
“We need to understand learners personal digital literacies before ploughing into ‘supporting’ them” David White
Here is a great overview on how you can map it out with your students from David White

 

Developing digital literacies for working in a digital world
I love to listen to podcasts whilst on my journeys to and from places here is a radio program that was recorded for the Jisc project
http://jisconair.jiscinvolve.org/wp/2012/05/23/developing-digital-literacies-2/

“Universities and colleges have a responsibility to develop students into individuals who can thrive in an era of digital information and communication – those who are digitally literate are more likely to be economically secure. But it’s not just about employability – increasingly digital literacy is vital for learning itself”. From the radio program page.

Learning in the South East Quadrant

Well now I am completely involved….participating, collaborating and in the “learner managed learning environment” of the #ONL161 course  (a pedagogical course based on Problem-Based Learning adapted for online courses).
As I stated in my last blog post it was all a bit new and unstructured from what I am used to as a learner but I am not alone in this feeling as the review (see summary below) points out. So now (mainly for my own state of mind) I have re-structured my bookmarks, downloaded specific apps so I can collaborate on the fly and ready to determine the goals and outcomes of the course with my group of colleagues.

After reading the review on: Online learning: it is all about dialogue, involvement, support and control – research by Marion Coomey , John Stephenson, Ryerson Polytechnic University and Middlesex University, UK it gave me an overview of what it is that we are doing on this course. Here is just a short summary of the article as I thought it was very interesting.

One hundred research reports and journal articles were included in the review. Most were published in the period 1998-2000 and it’s focus was on benefits for learners. They based it on the 4 common features

  1. Dialogue
  2. Involvement
  3. Support
  4. Control

They then included these common features (they call it DISC) into a paradigm grid for online learning:

These are the four paradigms:

  • Teacher-controlled, specified learning activities;
  • Teacher-controlled, open-ended or strategic learning;
  • Learner-managed specified learning activities;
  • Learner-managed, open-ended or strategic learning.

paridgm

You can read more in the full article but I think you get the picture.

So now straight to the South East Quadrant (Learner managed)

As a learner on the course I am in control of the overall direction of the learning along side my colleagues in our PBL3 group, including learning outcomes and longer terms goals what a eureka moment that was! We discuss the topic, read articles and are in the process of structuring up our time together. When it comes to the DISC features we

Dialogue – Have Individual work & collaborative work and find external sources to help us on the way.
Involvement – We are totally involved in the learning activity and we relate our learning to our own personal, vocational and academic needs.
Support – We have a facilitator who is in the background, offering advice on procedures and resources.
Control – We determine the goals and outcomes and monitor our own progress.

Even though we are at the beginning of the course I am already totally bought into this way of learning, however here is some advice from the professionals:

Advice for the South-East quadrant learning environment

  • The role of the tutor, and the amount and level of tutor participation, should be clearly defined (Lewis and Vizcarro, 1998).
  • Embed prompts and other ways for students to interact with the content in order to make the thinking process clear (Henderson et al, 1998).
  • Provide synchronous events (along with asynchronous events) to maintain student enthusiasm and a ‘real time’ sense of participation (Mason, 1998).
  • Develop criteria for students to assess each others’ work (McConnell,1995).
  • Remember that ‘free for all’ open discussions do not usually work (Mason, 1998).
  • Provide guidelines and carefully designed questions (Beaudin, 1999).
  • Create a structure to make teams collaborate (solve problems through a 48 Teaching and Learning Online voting system; write collaborative assignments by dividing tasks into sections) (Marjanovic, 1999).
  • Beware that learners could become so involved in browsing that they might not be thinking about the learning related to specific subject matter (Ewing et al,1999).

References

  • Beaudin, B (1999) Keeping online asynchronous discussions on topic, Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 3 (2),
    http://www.aln.org/alnweb/journal/jaIn-vol3issue2.htm
  • Ewing, J M (1999) Enhancement of student learning online and offline, http://www.norcol.ac.uk/departments/educas/JimEwing/webversion/studentlearning/htm
  • Henderson, L, Putt, I, Ainge, D and Combes, G (1998) Comparison of students’ thinking processes when studying with WWW, IMM and text based materials, in The Virtual Campus: Trends for higher education and training, eds F Verdejo and G Davies, Chapman & Hall, New York.
  • Lewis, R and Vizcarro, C (1998) Collaboration between universities and enterprises in the Knowledge Age, in The Virtual Campus: Trends for higher education and training, eds F Verdejo and G Davies, Chapman & Hall, New York.
  • Marjanovic, O (1999) Learning and teaching in a synchronous collaborative environment, journal of Computer Assisted Learning,15, pp 129-38.
  • Mason, R (1998) Models of online courses, ALN Magazine, 2 (2),
    http://www.aln.org/alnweb/magazine/alnpaga.htm
    http://www.aln.org/alnweb/magazine/alnpaga.htm
  • McConnell, D (1995) Learning in Groups: Some experiences of online work,       Springer- Verlag, Berlin

 

Open Networked Learning

 

I have just started the course called ONL161 lots of activities in setting up the different tools to use during the course and trying to keep up with the mass of sudden gmail emails that I get ( have to remember to turn the notifications off) has given me all a bit of a headache and I am used to technology! They have given us 3 weeks to get it all together, join our groups decide when to meet online and write a reflection on our blog, phew….. which is highly appreciated.

My first reflection is that we are using Google for our collaboration/documents (with all our names, contact details and links to our blogs) which seems to me to be a bit dodgy as in Sweden The Personal Data Act (PUL for all you Swedes out there) is quite strict when using Google in the classroom and with Student data, in fact most IT departments in universities that I have been working for nearly have an epileptic fit when you mention the word that the teachers want to use Google in the classroom.

I have also worked on Social Media strategies/google SEO, Adwords in the private sector and know what Google is capable of with our data, thus my concern even more.

But after a bit of research online (obviously just media articles) one that I found today is about the new contracts that the Personal data act is being developed in collaboration with Google: (Only in Swedish I’m afraid) Datainspektion prövar nytt Google Apps-avtal

So times are moving on and even Swedish Education will be on the American bandwagon, hey maybe even Trump will be president and where will that leave us????

But without being too cynical, comes with several years of knowledge I’m afraid, and it is kind of my job as I am working with business solutions/Learning technologist at KTH) I can carry on with the learning 🙂

Now to be more positive….What is really interesting for me with this course is how quick we can all get started and network without having to procure a system (which can take up to 18 months) and that the learning is immediate. Really looking forward to new ideas on how we can create the perfect learning environment for our  Social Media Natives

See you all on the other side

 

 

History of Blended Learning

When I was trying to rebuild my qualifications after my son was born, not one for sitting around in the sand pits talking about nappies, I took a course in Digital Pedagogy. The course was created in collaboration with a Finnish University and was a vocational degree (which was a form of post-secondary education designed to meet current competence needs in working life) and was organised in close collaboration with companies.

I had 2 industry placements during the course in Elearning companies and was sure that this would be my next career move, alas, the dot com crash arrived just as I graduated and the Elearning companies that I had worked for could offer me no work.

When I saw this article from elearning Industry newsletter:
http://elearningindustry.com/history-of-blended-learning I realised that not a lot has happened in the university I am working in and all the other universities in Sweden for the past 15 years.

  • 1840’s: First Distance Course.
    Sir Isaac Pitman launches the first distance education course.
    Pitman sent shorthand texts to his students via mailed postcards and they were required to send them back to be graded and corrected. Even though computers and mobile devices weren’t involved, and wouldn’t even be invented for roughly a century, effective feedback and assessments were still an integral part of the process.
  • 1960’s & 1970’s: Mainframe Computer-Based Training.
    It was the first time that training could be deployed to countless workers within an organisation without having to rely on printed materials and face-to-face instruction.
  • 1970’s to 1980’s: TV-Based Technology to Support Live Training.
    At this stage in the blended learning timeline, companies began using video networks to train their employees. Learners were able to communicate with their peers, watch the instructor on TV, and even address any questions or concerns sending them by mail.
  • 1980’s & 1990’s: CD-ROM Training and Rise of LMS.
    As technology evolved, so did blended training strategies and applications. Schools and organizations began using CD-ROMs to deliver more interactive learning experiences, This is also when the first learning management systems (LMS) were introduced, though they didn’t offer the same functionality as the solutions available today.
  • 1998: First Generation of Web-Based Instruction.
    Computers were no longer just for organisations and the wealthy few, but for the masses. More and more households began purchasing personal computers for their families to enjoy, other than having to distribute CD-ROMs to learners, organisations could simply upload material, eLearning assessments, and assignments via the web, and learners could access them with a click of a mouse button.
  • 2000 until today: Blended Learning Integration.
    Technology is rapidly changing and an increasing number oKONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAf organisations and private learning institutions are beginning to see the benefits of a blended learning approach. Gradually, the union between face-to-face instruction and technology-based learning is producing new and creative ways to enrich the
    educational experience and make learning fun, exciting, and even more beneficial.

 

The revolution had started 15 years ago; blended learning or “Hybrid Learning” is what they call it today, will I believe be the defining education philosophy for the next 20 years as well, because blended learning helps student to achieve deep learning and to be better learners.
Reference:
[Gar04] D.R. Garrrison, and H. Kanuka, “Blended learning: Uncovering its transformative potential in higher education”, The Internet and Higher Education, 7(2), 2004, pp 95—105.