The Online Educator

New course has been launched by Open University and Futurelearn entitled “The Online Educator”. Course is led by Leigh-Anne Perryman and Martin Weller, will last 4 weeks and will be available for free until July 2.

Lumen Learning on personalized learning

LUMEN

The original typical high-level approach to personalization included:

  • building up an internal model of what a student knows and can do,
  • algorithmically interrogating that model, and
  • providing the learner with a unique set of learning experiences based on the system’s analysis of the student model

“but if a personalized approach is for the people”, says Wiley, “in the above mentioned model there is no active role for the learner in this “personalized” experience”.

“LL approach”, he continues, “still involves building up a model of what the student knows, but rather than presenting that model to a system to make decisions on the learner’s behalf, we present a view of the model directly to students and ask them to reflect on where they are and make decisions for themselves using that information. As part of our assessment strategy, which includes a good mix of human-graded and machine-graded assessments, students are asked to rate their level of confidence in each of their answers on machine-graded formative and summative assessments.”

Excerpts from David Wiley’s article entitled “Putting the ‘Person’ Back in Personalized Learning”, full article available here

Image available here

History of Open Education

open-education

  • Barth 1971: Open Education is used here to designate a general approach to teaching and learning which presumes the child’s right and competence to make important decisions; views the teacher more as a facilitator of learning than a transmitter of knowledge, and abundant alternatives and choice for students
  • Katz 1972: Open education movement is the commitment to humanistic values including self-determination, freedom of children and aesthetic appreciation.
  • Resnick 1972: while the open education movements and educational technology are often seen as mutually hostile, the challenge in education for the future is to find ways to develop the full range of each individual’s capacities
  • Paquette 1979: Open Pedagogy is not an assemble of pedagogical processes applied in a classroom that allow results as any other pedagogy. OP influences the way of thinking and acting, it is an innovative way to envisage the educational act (..) it is focused on the interaction that exists in a class between the students and the educational environment (…) it is founded a. on the respect of individual differences, b. on the individuals’ beliefs, c. on the indirect influence of the educator and d. on a natural process of apprenticeship
  • Paquette 1995: 3 sets of foundational values of open pedagogy, namely:  autonomy and interdependence; freedom and responsibility; democracy and participation.
  • Gremmo and Riley 1995: “Autonomous learning” has been shown to be a fruitful approach and one that impinges on every aspect of language learning theory and practice, in all parts of the world. However, one important lesson which has been learnt from this work is that self-directed learning schemes and resource centers have to be planned locally, taking into account specific institutional requirements and expectations, the particular characteristics of the learners and staff, including the socio-cultural constraints on learning practices. There is no universal model for setting up a self-directed learning scheme (…) One of the first “tailor-made” resource centres was established by CRAPEL at the University of Nancy (Riley and Zoppis, 1974; also in Riley, 1986)
  • Laura Gibbs and Stacy Zemke 2015: 1. open = agency — Learners are individuals and independent agents within the learning process. They are allowed to operate independently and explore with personal freedom./ 2. open = choice — Learners choose their own pace, their own direction, and their own connections./ 3. open = expansion — The learning network is an open-ended and ever-expanding network of nodes. Each node in the network represents is a connection, a possibility for learning. Everything in the network is a project./ 4. open = creativity — Openness translates to rich possibilities that inspire new perspectives and ideas./ 5. open = student-constructed — Learners take responsibility for their learning networks and are active participants in its planning and growth./ 6. open = open-ended problems — Learning design is focused less on specific outcomes or competencies than on process. It is about empowering learners to create real solutions to real problems./ 7. open: unmeasurable outcomes — Traditional outcome measurement implies the learning is static and closed./ 8. open = risk and goodness — Choosing often leads to unexpected and unpredictable results. While there is risk associated with the unknown, there is even greater reward and goodness.
  • Wiley 2015: open= free+permissions/ free and unfettered access, perpetual, irrevocable 5R permissions (retain, reuse, revise, remix, redistribute), open= democratizes innovation, permits innovation (…) open pedagogy: a set of things you can do when outcomes, assessments, and resources are open that you cannot do otherwise (…) openness facilitates the unexpected. 
  • Downes 2016: “In the case of personal learning, the role of the educational system is not to provide learning, it is to support learning. Meanwhile, the decisions about what to learn, how to learn, and where to learn are made outside the educational system, and principally, by the individual learners themselves”

 

References

Dr Vivien Rolfe, University of the West of England, Bristol UK. Open. But not for criticism? In Opened16 Conference, available here

Claude Paquette “Quelques fondements d’une pédagogie ouverte.” Québec français 36 (1979): 20–21. available here

MARIE-JOSI~ GREMMO and PHILIP RILEY , AUTONOMY, SELF-DIRECTION AND SELF ACCESS IN LANGUAGE TEACHING AND LEARNING: THE HISTORY OF AN IDEA, System, Vol. 23, No. 2, pp. 151-164, 1995 Elsevier Science Ltd Printed in Great Britain, available here

NEXTTHOUGHT, Laura Gibbs and Stacy Zemke, Eight Qualities of Open Pedagogy, available here

David Wiley, The Open Education Infrastructure, Keynote presentation for Open Apereo 2015, available here (Frischmann’s,  Von Hippel’s and Thierer’s work)

Downes 2016, Personal and Personalized Learning, available here 

Tannis Morgan, Open pedagogy and a very brief history of the concept, available here

Image available here

The Not-Yetness term.

Openness as transparency between students; communication between students and the outside world; interdependent relationships between educational institutions and external practices ( Dalsgaard and Thestrup). This paper asks if openness is a absolute positive.

The authors claim that:

  • a. the binary between open and closed is false: closed is associated with hierarchy and repression while openess represents creativity and innovation, a total liberation from the constraints of formal study (…) all forms of openess entail forms of closed-ness (Edwards), educators decide what forms of openess are justifiable pedagogically and ideologically.
  • b. the overemphasis on access homogenizes learners and contexts: not all individuals require simply access to content in order to learn; OER emphasis on replication presumes uniformity of learners (…) complexity reduction is problematic (McArthur)
  • c. open does not attend issues of power and inclusion: OERs could be reproducing asymmetric power relations between those who produce and those who passively assimilate the offerings (…) access is not enough unless it is seen in a context of social inclusion and justice

Not-Yetness is a response to dominant discourse of using technology in education: accepting risk and uncertainty of practices in flux while setting boundaries and looking for alternative modes of openness in digital education where there is an emphasis on the learners’ connections and not just content. Openness as a quality of relationship amongst students, teachers, technologies, texts and an unknown audience.

Example No 1: while wikis promote consensus around dominant voices, a federated wiki allows individuals to manage and control content, they resolve to multiple servers

Example No 2: blogging provokes an awareness of audience and voice but student bloggers rarely have the option to experiment with identity or set their own limits of exposure

Example No 3: exposing learning to an unknown and therefore unpredictable audience (the agents beyond the course) may lead students to making decisions based on the awareness of that audience.

 

References

Collier, A., Ross J. 2016. For whom, and for what? Not-yetness and thinking beyond
open content. Open Praxis, vol. 9 issue 1, January–March 2017, pp. 7–16 (ISSN 2304-070X), available here

Degreed

degreed

Degreed is a startup that aspires to become a credentials’ bank. It does so by trying to create a standardized assessment for skills no matter where the individuals got them. Only a year ago it was funded with a 21 million investment to fuel the continued growth of lifelong learning and skills’ measurement for companies and professionals. Degreed seeks to create a common language for grading.

In the log in process Degreed asks you to Use the Degreed free online platform to achieve your learning goals, whether your goal is to learn a new skill or polish an existing one. You then choose from a variety of themes the ones that appeal to you more and you begin attending related material offered to you in the platform. Degreed keeps track of any books, articles, videos or even courses you might read about or watch and accumulates the traces of this material to help you prove your competencies.

In this week’s Economist the article: The return of the MOOC: Established education providers v new contenders, introduces Degreed along with Pluralsight as two companies that are trying different ways to answer to the difficult task of assessing one’s capabilities. The author claims that as long any training gets recognized and accredited it is even more likely that more lifelong learners will receive a continuing education through MOOCs or any other form of adult learning.

Image available here

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