OERu as Game Changer

The Open Education Resource University: a game changer?

One development that could inject new life into the dual-mode model is the Open Education Resource (OER) University that is being explored by a group of public universities from several countries. Open Educational Resources may prove to be the most disruptive element of the impact of eLearning in higher education. How might they help to widen access, cut costs and give dual-mode provision new relevance?

Some institutions are already encouraging the use of OER to avoid each teacher having to re-invent the wheel for each course. For example, once academics at the Asia eUniversity have developed course curricula they do not create any original learning materials, but simply adapt good quality OER from the web to their needs. Similarly, Athabasca University will only approve development of a course once those proposing it have done a thorough search for relevant open material that can be re-purposed.

Some would go much further. In February 2011 New Zealand’s Open Education Resource Foundation convened a meeting to operationalize the concept of the Open Educational Resource University. The idea is that students find their own content as OER; get tutoring from a global network of volunteers; are assessed, for a fee, by a participating institution; and earn a credible credential. The concept has echoes of the University of London External System that innovated radically 150 years ago by declaring that all that mattered was performance in examinations, not how students acquired their knowledge.

Excerpted from Sir John Daniel of the Commonwealth of Learning’s article  in Open Learning, the journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning: special Issue on dual mode universities (Volume 27 2012, Issue 1 2012)

Angry Birds – again

Clearly I am connecting with Mindflash today on many levels. David Kelly has a great post on What Angry Birds can tell us about Instructional Design. If you only have 1 minute to skim his paragraph headings do so – I agree 100% – as evidence see my many posts and the fact that many colleagues roll their eyes as I have discussed gamification (game principles rather than simulations) one too many times over the last couple of years…

My earlier posts on this subject:
January 2011 –  Game theory applied to online
Gamification January 2012


BTW – assuming he’s not THIS David Kelly – although that would be awesome !

The instructor role in a FLIPPED class

I blogged about this a while back – how the instructor role can be reinvented, rather than threatened by effective application of technology and process.
I was, obviously, more focused on an online or hybrid class environment, but I believe the same applies to instructors who embrace, rather than run from, elements that allow them to focus on the “what’s really cool about teaching (and learning)…. insert discipline here
Ian Stewart’s post today references instructors who value class time so highly that they would not dream of doing drill and kill or lecturing to a passive audience.
He writes: “By focusing that valuable face-to-face classroom time on exercises that put the lessons learned during lectures into actual practice (doing the homework at school), instructors are supporting the part of the learning process (the “doing”) that students really retain. That is, since students learn the most by implementing theories they’ve learned into real-life work, it makes sense to use as much of your 50-minute in-person session on that as possible.”

My recent work at SNHU has been focused on what we’ve called transitional text that is going to help provide students with the guidance and hopefully some of the impetus to get them from OER resource #1 to #2 and #27, then back to take a self-check quiz or post an assignment. Interesting (flow-inducing) resources and the students’ own intrinsic motivation may get some of them down that path to success, but the main? challenge for online can, and indeed should, be how to convey that passion that a true scholar in the field has developed – how to ignite the fire, illustrate the end point, and viscerally engage the drowsing? student…

Stewart, in what is looking like a pact among Scottish-sounding ed-theorists, references Andrew Miller, who writes that a “flipped” classroom still requires instructors to demonstrate the value of their content, whether online or offline. “Just because I record something, or use a recorded material, does not mean that my students will want to watch, nor see the relevance in watching it,” he writes. ” … If the flipped classroom is truly to become innovative, then it must be paired with transparent and/or embedded reason[s] to know the content.”

Both these posts confirm for me that there is a great opportunity in “unbundling” the instructor role – allowing technology and online (peer-to-peer) communities to deal with some of the things that they can take off an instructor’s plate, allowing her/him the chance to get back to inspiring, motivating and Captain-my-captain-ing.

Stewart’s post here: In ‘Flipped’ Classroom, the Emphasis must be on support, not video”