Nov 26, 2007

OpenEd week 15 - Wrap up.. reflections and future thoughts

Week 15: Wrap Up

Wow. What an experience. I thought I knew something about Open Education, having read a number of papers, and reading on my blogs on a daily basis. But this course surely has been a great learning experience. Thank you David for the initiative, and my fellow bloggers for the content and comments.

New Wiki

I have been thinking about improvements since the start of the course, which, by the way, seems ages ago.. Still, rather than summing up all the criticisms, reflections, and positive notes, I will sum up all the criticisms, reflections, and positive notes AND make a wikipage that will serve as running document for everyone's reflections on the course. It might also serve as platform for next year's course, community place, and start page for Open Education offsprings worldwide. I do not intend to make money of the site, it will be just as much your site as David's as mine. I just do not see the "Intro to Open Education" wiki by David Wiley as a place where we will expand this subject into greater detail. Besides, I think people are hesitant to change the content or structure of his site, because it's David's wiki with HIS courses. On the "new wiki" the barriers will be low, because it belongs to no-one. I also think that this course, or rather subject, deserves a wiki on its own. David's blog and wiki will of course be mentioned on the wiki.

Please link to this wiki in your own blogs, if you agree with the fact that we need a new space to collaborate. I was thinking of starting a Connexions course on Open Education, but I doubt whether that has the collaborative and social possibilities of a good wiki.

The rest of the post includes the overall feelings about the course. I will comment on the content side, and on the process side.

About the content

I have a number of issues that can be subject to discussion:

  • You can either provide content to students, or let them search for it themselves. I think the latter is not done sufficiently. For the introduction to a new concept, it is mandatory that some basic resources are pointed out, but it can be more fun to see the reflections by participants on other resources, and let people add their own resources to the course. Maybe it could be stimulated a bit more?
  • I must admit that the resources were absolutely great, but it would have been interesting to read some contrasting views.
  • Especially in the beginning, we (me including) produced rather similar posts summarizing the papers and not applying it to our own place and space. Maybe this is just the downside of an introductory course...?

About the process

Maybe even more important: the process of learning...

  • Alessandro, a while ago, criticized the course, because there was too little feedback/attention compared to his efforts. There are different solutions to this problem, and I will not state them all. It would be good to aggregate these experiences and ideas on the wiki. We have seen one solution implemented during the course, a great example of flexibility! Other, more formalized changes can be implemented as well, depending on your specific ideas. Maybe a special role can be reserved for experts, such as David Wiley or others.
  • I don't know is people are inclined to put more sociability in the course, but who knows..? I don't. A stronger emphasis on applying the concepts on your own personal (educational) environment. It would be interesting to have some tangible results of people introducing Open Education philosophies and ideas in their own context, or, for example, using this course or other open courses in their own educational settings.
  • Include people related to an existing OER initiative, and take that initiative as course object for a week, letting people use (and contribute) resources to that initiative, and reflect on it. This is very interesting for both the responsible actor, being able to collect valuable reflections on the project, and for the participants, being practical and possibly adding value to a real Open Education project. The initiative has to be open enough, so an MIT OCW would not be the right one I think.

There are probably a million things to think about now, but I have the feeling that if I have to put some effort on the "idea generating and supporting infrastructure", rather than the ideas themselves, because they will pop up in case they are cultivated. And that needs ground.

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