2011 The Year of Open

2011 The Year of Open – GREAT post by Paul Stacey on his edtech blog..


“The “open” space is expanding. 2011 has been a watershed year with open gaining traction and acceptance.
Governments in Australia, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and the US have all adopted Creative Commons licenses to communicate broad reuse rights to the content, data, and educational materials they create. By doing so these national governments are seeking to:

  • promote creative and innovative activities, which will deliver social and economic benefits
  • make government more transparent and open in its activities, ensuring that the public are better informed about the work of the government and the public sector
  • enable more civic and democratic engagement through social enterprise and voluntary and community activities

Initial Flatworld pilot

This was an update from back in September when I reported out on the below:

“We are in VERY early days (some would say daze) with the Flatworld project. Three courses, ECO 201, ECO 202 and MKT 113 are piloting the Flatworld texts in EW2. It’s a tight squeeze time-wise but with the admin help of A. and her team, Associate Dean endorsement, and the Design team’s can-do attitude, we are moving well and I have seen, or heard of few issues thus far.

A quick check in with the advising team indicated that the fall pilot was going to reach over 300 online students. Going with Flatworld’s pricing of between zero and $45 (average spend = $20) means that we are saving the student body approximately $31,000 in one term. Given the projected growth and over 20 Flatworld materials matches (courses where they have a text that will work), that we will look to launch in the early 2012 terms, I would say conservatively this will amount to over $250,000 more in our students’ pockets than would otherwise have been the case.

A great start.”

Is Openness a Privilege Multiplier

An issue that is striking me as we continue our Innovation research here at SNHU is whether Open access is equitable to all. Wayne MackIntosh – the OERu lead has spoken of success as working for 1% of the 100 million who need access to higher education. A concern would be that this 1% are actually the privileged 1% and as Mike Caulfield (of Keene State College) writes on his excellent blog Hapgood:

On the online side, it’s worth confronting the openness as a privilege multiplier question now, rather than later. It’s comforting to think of these experiments as an addition to the current range of options available to students, and therefore existing outside the normal ethical space of college. The approach to OER so far has been well, it works for some people, and not for others — we don’t worry about the failures, we just headcount successes. It’s been education as bonus points, or worse, education as a Google product — hey, we gave it to you for free, if it doesn’t work for you, lump  it.

That was fine during the broad experimental period of Open Learning. As Open Learning becomes posited more and more as a broadly applicable solution, however, such nonchalance becomes more dangerous. Any system of education can “succeed” if student failure is seen purely a reflection on the student and not the learning design. But if Open Learning is pitched as a solution to the current economic crisis of higher education, we need to do whole a lot better than that.

I confess to having been living in the “this won’t work for everyone” mindset, but it will be of concern if, in attempting to serve the underserved, we create a new “1%” As we continue to connect with third parties and discuss their constituents’ needs, I hope that it’s something we will keep firmly in mind.


Game Theory – possible model to gain “Cloud Wisdom”

“Students with Questions” interact with the MATERIALS and with the COMMUNITY CLOUD to develop and demonstrate COMPETENCIES displayed through AUTHENTIC ASSESSMENT.

Advisors and alumni populate the CLOUD – online faculty assess alumni contribution and award “SNHU Creds”.
Alumni / other community members get – 5 “SNHU Creds” per “helpful” comment

Students are “granted” 60 questions per course – if they come in below that, they get SNHU question credit (see below)

Students who graduate (course or program) with questions remaining (think: Lives left) get SNHU question Credit
– $10 per question or partial credit towards subsequent courses – (think: retention element)
Students who clear competencies in ANY time frame get full academic credits (think: cleared Level x – Go to Next level)

Alumni responding to student issues get 5 SNHU Creds per response
Alumni who act as Graders get 20 SNHU Creds per assignment that they grade.

  • When an Alum accumulates 100 SNHU Creds (s)he can cash them in for $50 or 0.1 “retrain credits” – towards a future (free) course that will keep them current in their field. 0.1 x 30 (or 3000 Creds) = FREE 3-credit course.
  • When an Alum accumulates 10,000 Creds = guaranteed teaching appointment*.
    They have at this stage at least proven they are very responsive and can help students in the course(s).
    * If they meet department hiring guidelines 

  • Builds alumni community, allows them to give back, helps build faculty pool

Open LMS – Rationale

“Today’s learning, whether on the ground or online, tends to take place in fairly closed learning environments that are isolated form the real world. If the LMS begins to embrace the movement toward openness in education, it will begin to break down this artificial barrier, allowing knowledge and learning experiences to flow more easily across it. A secure but permeable LMS of this nature will facilitate regular interactions between students and experts from industry as well as peers from other cultures and societies. At the same time it will promote the use of Open Educational Resources (OER) as well as the dissemination of student-generated content for use by those outside the institution. And the integration of the LMS with electronic portfolios, particularly those that support structured assessment, will provide instructors with powerful tools to assess student learning in more authentic ways than traditional multiple-choice tests. We may be entering a new assessment era in which students will graduate not with a single-page transcript but a media-rich portfolio that provides direct evidence of their achievements.” – Josh Baron – Marist College