The BASE* is Up!

bielefeld-academic-search-engine-docs

The figure shows that over 100 million documents* (about 60% open access) were open through 5,000 content providers.The growth rates (22% for documents, 27% for content providers) are particularly impressive given the high pre-existing content rate.

In the article entitled “Dramatic Growth of Open Access” additional resources are mentioned such as: OECD iLibraryDirectory of Open Access BooksarXivsocArXivbioRxivRePECInternet Archive

* BASE: Bielefeld Academic Search Engine

**Currently in BASE: 103,458,284 Documents of 5,028 Content Sources

Image and Data available here

Who is Open Educator?

open-educators

Having established that open collaboration among educators brings quality and attractiveness to higher education Fabio Nascimbeni and Daniel Burgos seek to determine a framework that enhances openness among Universities. Despite the wide dissemination of open material -mostly through MOOCs-, Higher Institutions they say, are still reluctant to engage further. Nascimbeni and Burgos  focus on the role of the professors and teaching in matters of openness; it is the faculty they say that needs to change.

So, what they did was study the related literature and then sit together with Mackintosh, Mc Greal, Nerantzi, Teixeira and Weller and discuss on a potential conceptual framework. They came up with the following definition:

An Open Educator chooses to use open approaches, when possible and appropriate, with the aim to remove all unnecessary barriers to learning. He/she works through an open online identity and relies on online social networking to enrich and implement his/her work, understanding that collaboration bears a responsibility towards the work of others.

Their definition is further analyzed through the description of the Open Educators main activities:  sharing their ideas; sharing their educational content and teaching resources; fostering co-creation of knowledge by students; implementing open assessment practices.

The authors take this a step further and introduce a framework of self evaluation for educators (image on top). This table, they claim, will help educators determine their current position and relate themselves to develop accordingly in terms of openness. The three different educator profiles on the left column describe the three dominant trends; while the different qualities of openness in teaching on the right columns describe the activities they engage in accordingly.

Since not all educators engage in open practices in the same degree, the authors also describe a process of gradual transitioning from acquiring awareness to getting transformed into open educators.

First of all, I would like to say that I do like a good definition, but what I like even more is an good short and open definition. What the two authors came up with was a quasi page long text and even that wasn’t enough; they kept on explaining and analyzing it further. And the full identity of the Open Educator continues to elude them since at this point their research sample involves only a small percentage of active OEs. Their effort in my opinion is as futile as it is unnecessary; as long as educators are not educated to educate, any attempt to induce change will only be dealt with contempt. Traditional institutional figures can hardly grasp the meaning of transitioning from one point to the next, let alone giving up on their power of sharing knowledge on their own terms. That makes Open Educators the sole missionaries for change toward a new learning environment that treats all individuals as equals. And that is the only single lined definition I can come up with at this point.

Image available here

 

 

 

UNESCO Guides to OERs

unesco-oer

OER encapsulates a potential vision for educational systems globally wherein individual educators, and then increasingly entire departments and institutions, come together in common online spaces (which, like the most successful Internet phenomena, are not ‘owned’ by any one institutional or corporate interest) to start sharing the materials they have produced, in an effort ultimately to ensure that all the material which students need to complete their studies successfully can be accessed – legally – without any costs of licensing.

Full report available here

A MOOC on MOOCs

federica-mooc

An International Colloquium entitled: “The MOOC Identity” that took place in Napoli last summer, gave way to the creation of a MOOC now run by Federica EU*. Various personalities from all around the world -among which Stephen Downes, Rita Kop, Steven D. Krause and many more- express their views on the future perspectives of MOOCs. It has just started so, if anyone is interested there is still time to enroll. For more information press here

*Federica EU is the online platform of Federico II University of Napoli currently host to more that 300 online courses

Mapping in Education

2016-conference

In the 2016 discussion on the Future of OERs, MIT’s Karen E. Willcox and Luwen Huang discussed the complexities of navigating the “data-rich” world of online education.

In their paper entitled: “Mapping Unbundled Open Education Resources: Pathways Through the Chaos”, they introduced the Xoces project which catalogs, structures, and visualizes learning outcomes within a curriculum. By creating visual analogues they are trying to:

determine the nature of what is being mapped—for instance, which entities are defined as points, what relationships can be defined as “roads” or pathways between points, and what clusters or “suburbs” of points may exist.

A structured approach to educational mapping, the two authors claim, can offer a data driven future for open education, cartography being one major discipline that can help them to achieve this goal.

The FutuOER project was conceived of by Norman Bier and Brandon Muramatsu.

#GoOpen

go-open

#GoOpen is an initiative of the U.S. Department of Education, ASCD, and other nonprofits and companies that aims to create an open education ecosystem that makes learning materials, data, and educational opportunities available without restrictions imposed by copyright laws, access barriers, or exclusive proprietary systems that lack interoperability and limit the free exchange of information.

It is currently addressed to K-12 education with 14 districts committed to contributing to the creation of OERs. South, in his report on the establishment of GoOpen refers to the COW initiative as a point of reference to this endeavour; the initiative taken by three school districts (Ohio, Wisconsin and Vista Unified School District) to create a “standards-aligned, competency-based, inter-district, inter-state, interdisciplinary, collaborative, project-based social studies curriculum.”Their experience led to the belief that there is a high need for the creation of new open educational material in the form of OER as they were unable to retrieve anything ready that could constitute a content base for their course.

What South is wondering is the money and effort needed to implement this project. “The question is”, he says, “how quickly, how thoughtfully, how sustainably, and with how much rigor and support?” Michael Q. McShane, in his “Open Educational Resources” article in Education Next, asks the exact same question; for OERs, he claims, are free to use but not free to produce. What is more, McShane argues, the overwhelming number of emerging OERs might give untrained K-12 teachers a hard time choosing which one to pick, let alone modify this material to produce a new form.

Both McShane’s and South’s questions are completely natural in an ever-changing landscape where textbooks gradually lose their dominance to digital content and the traditional role of the teacher is at stake. But in my opinion, the OER movement is by definition seeking to engage the teachers and students more or -if you’d like- in a different way. It promotes them to active agents; it presupposes that the teacher will collect the material he/she wants to use and that he/she will spend more time designing his/her course. It presupposes that the student will benefit from this shift in the medium and resume a more active role in composing knowledge or connecting information.

So, despite OER production difficulties in funding and/or regulations, at the end of the day, all that remains is the grade of involvement of the teacher on one hand and the time he/she will spend planning a course and the student on the other and the time he/she will spend using these resources. And thus OERs are a key component to the real change in education. The teacher can choose from multiple sources how to address the content to the students. If the teachers accept OERs as a simple digitization of the traditional textbook, the innumerous benefits of open education will be lost.

 

References

  • #GoOpen official page available here
  • Joseph South, Office of Ed Tech, Why #GoOpen? Why now?, article available here
  • Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) information on the project #GoOpen available here
  • Michael Q. McShane, Open Educational Resources”, Education Next, WINTER 2017 / VOL. 17, NO. 1, available here

Image available here