Tuesday, November 26, 2013

eLearning 101: An Open Class for New Online Learners

Humboldt State University
Humboldt State University (Wikipedia)
Our new class is slowly taking shape. The course will be based on our old DE 101 (Distance Ed 101) which in turn was based on HIM 100 (a Health Information Management class where we introduced students to networked learning). It is also based on my experiences with CCK08 (the Connectivism and Connective Knowledge course facilitated by George Siemens and Stephen Downes) and DS 106 (Jim Groom's project-based digital storytelling class), both of which I think represent the best of the MOOC idea. I was calling our course a MOOC but I am absolutely disgusted with some of the online classes that are going under that name right now - I would not want to give my faculty the idea that we were following a model that didn't build in student support, or value engagement and interaction, and valued venture capital over learning. I believe that we can create an open course that uses the best of these classes, uses actual research into the needs of our students, and then help students learn to be independent, life-long learners, with a dynamic learning community that they can take with them through college and into their professional lives.

The structure of our course owes a lot to the excellent work of Humboldt State Universities instructional designers, like Riley Quarles who has developed the structure of the blogs for our Child Development program. Dan Fiore, another instructional designer I am working with, is putting together Wordpress and an open badge system.

The students for this course are new to online learning, but of the 1600 students who responded to our survey, 95% use Facebook. At the typical university that hosts MOOCs, there is a higher level of motivation and skill sets (Stanford for instance). What we know about this population is that we need to have modules on things like time management, online communication skills, motivation, study skills, and how to create a personal learning network. One of the key purposes of the course is to help the students figure out how to form online learning communities for academic and professional support. We do have a module called "LMS" (learning management system) and that is specific to our campus' installation of Moodle - other campuses could insert their LMS of choice there.

The MOOCs that I have participated in were made up mostly of grad students and education professionals. My work has mostly been in community colleges and state colleges, so the tools and skills we are teaching are different.

Where we are now:

1. We are using Wordpress. There will be a main course blog that will link all the topics of the course (which may be on pages or separate blogs). The facilitators will have blogs as will the students. The students will choose or create an assignment on the topic and post to their blog. This feed will be aggregated on the topic blogs.

2. We are using open badges. I know that motivation is an issue in online classes in our university system, and all the research I have read says that badges are one of the ways to address that issue. Plus, I want the students to have a

3. We are gathering data. We have sent out a survey to our students to see how they are accessing the web, where they are accessing it, and what tools they are already using. The course is based on previous courses and orientations I have created but each is different according to the needs of the student population. For instance, at Tacoma Community College, we had more students involved in virtual worlds like Ever Quest and Second Life. Humboldt State only had 6% of the respondents in online games.

4. Updating course materials. The course materials are from previous courses and orientations. All of the modules will be openly licensed with a CC-NC-SA license.

5. Getting out to the learning communities and asking people to help get out and push. I went to the Open Ed 13 conference to learn more about open badges and to meet more people who are teaching in MOOCs. I will be presenting on this at the DET/CHE conference in San Jose next week.

The illustration below is s rough sketch that is evolving - this is not meant to be a traditional hierarchical course but student driven: the student chooses which modules are important, the student chooses the assignments from the module (or creates one) and gets together online with students to complete the work.

I would love to talk to anyone who is working on a similar project. Feel free to email me or leave a comment. I will also post updates and my presentation here as things take shape. 
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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Some Notes on Connectivism and Peer Review

A social network diagram
A social network diagram (Wikipedia)
I have been looking at social constructivism and the social generation of knowledge over the last week. I am interested in this line of thought because I feel that for us to really get a handle on what connectivism is, we have to be able to talk about it in the context of previous theories that talk about how we communicate and learn. Connectivism has to account for social constructivism because that is one of the prevailing theories about learning in the universities. According to Stephen Downes, "connectivism is the thesis that knowledge is distributed across a network of connections, and therefore that learning consists of the ability to construct and traverse those networks." Connectivism, if you are not yet familiar with it, is a learning theory proposed by Stephen Downes and George Siemens. It is important to note that even though this is a new theory, it is not particularly dependent on any technology: connectivism was not invented by the internet. The internet was invented because we are very interested in communicating and being connected, and connectivism is a useful theory that can describe how this happens. When I say that connectvism is nothing new, I am not saying that in a derogatory way, I mean that it is the natural evolution of our understanding of how we learn. In various postings in this blog, I have pointed out how throughout history spontaneous learning networks have arisen between groups and individuals. I am interested in in the development of communication and knowledge networks from the earliest mail routes to the "Republic of Letters," from the telegraph to the early dial-up networks, from the Minitel to the modern internet. There is a lot of concern out there about whether or not connectivism is a learning theory or not. I find this issue ironic and kind of amusing. Well, it is about learning, so that is settled. How can it not be a theory? According to Merriam-Webster, a theory is "an idea or set of ideas meant to explain facts or events" and "an idea that is suggested or presented as possibly true that is not known or proven to be true" and finally, the third definition "the general principles or ideas that relate to a subject." So yes, it is a theory, the real question is whether or not it is a strong or weak theory, or does it account for the facts? Can we make predictions with this theory? Does it explain what happened before? The irony is that the same mechanisms that educators are going to use test whether or not it is a useful theory are the same mechanisms connectivism describes, for instance, peer review.

Brent Renalli has in interesting paper called "A Pre-history of Peer Review: Religious Blueprints from the Hartlib Cycle." In it, I ran into my old friend John Cominus (1592-1670), the author of one of the first illustrated textbooks for children. He was also an early proponent of universal education, visual learning, and going beyond rote memorization in schools. All of these ideas, like connectivism, are still considered "new" and controversial in many universities - any instructional designer can tell you stories about that! I didn't go looking for Cominus, but in my research into education, I keep running into him. In a typical paper on peer review, authors tend to credit the Royal Society with its invention, but it was already a well-established system in Europe and elsewhere to ensure religious orthodoxy as a mechanism of censure. "Peer review" is generally not a good way to get new ideas out.

Connectivism has gone through its modern "Republic of Letters" stage via the blogs. Downes and Siemens both have used the blogs to write books, essays, and propose ideas. Educators in turn have responded for and against on their respective blogs - and continue to do so. And now, Siemens has published in a more formal and traditional manner with peer reviewed journals such as MERLOT's Journal of Online Learning and Teaching. Other education researchers are publishing articles about connectivism such as Dorothy Kropf in the European Journal of Open, Distance, and Elearning. Thus far, the ideas around connectivism have had more exposure and peer review than Einstein's theory of relativity had in 1905 (the "Annus Mirabilis" papers) when only Max Plank and Wilhelm Wien had read them before publication in Annalen der Physik. I wonder if the theory of connectivism could have come out of the traditional institutions. I think these ideas had to have been born in the very media the theory analyzes. In many ways, the theory flies in the face of all the accepted theories in education (behavioralism, cognitivism, and the many shades of constructivism) and probably would not have gained traction. I have seen papers get rejected from journals because there are not enough researchers publishing about idea X in refereed journals. We have to expect that. Universities rarely innovate - that is left to the lonely patent clerks of the world. Universities are where ideas go to fossilize and become the established order. Connectivism needed the internet, blogs, and Twitter to take shape.
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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

New Google Classes for Educators

English: This is Juniper Hall at Humboldt Stat...
Juniper Hall at HSU. (Wikipedia)
Even though most of what I work with here on this blog is open education resources, I often post what is happening at Google because the college I work for, Humboldt State University, made the wise choice of outsourcing their email to Google. There are so many reasons why this is such a good idea for small to medium-sized universities: reduce cost of servers and infrastructure; Google is better at redundant digital back-ups and storage and data security than we are; they include many software programs that run in the cloud that we could not afford to buy, develop, or maintain - the list goes on. Many of the students are already using Gmail, Google Drive, Google Sites and Hangouts, etc. On top of that, Google  also offer free training for instructors.

They are offering five new, free self-paced courses to introduce teachers to Google Apps: Internet 101, Google Apps for Education Overview, Gmail for Educators, Google Drive for Educators, Chrome and Chromebooks for Education:

Learn how Google apps and other web tools can help you meet your teaching and learning goals. Your educator peers have created a set of self-paced online courses to help you learn when it's convenient for you. Review videos, toolkits, and reflection questions to build your skills and confidence in using the right technology to meet students' needs for today and the future.

My one beef with them is that I would like Google to start paying more attention to ADA 508 compliance issues. In the past they rushed a lot of things out of the chute for education without paying attention to compliance. They seem to be attending to that now but I need to do more research on that.

If you have any opinions or insight on Google accessibility, feel free to post a comment or email me and I will include the info in a later post.
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Friday, November 15, 2013

Durbin, Franken Introduce Legislation to Help Make College Textbooks More Affordable

U.S. Senator Richard Durbin, of Illinois.
U.S. Senator Richard Durbin, Ill.
 The cost of new textbooks has increased 82%, three times faster than inflation, over the last decade.

[WASHINGTON, DC] – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Al Franken (D-MN) today introduced legislation designed to help students manage costs by making high quality textbooks easily accessible to students, professors and the public for free.  This bill, known as the Affordable College Textbook Act, would create a competitive grant program for institutions of higher education, working with professors and other organizations, to create and expand the use of textbooks that can be made available online and licensed under terms that grant the public the right to freely access, customize and distribute the material, also known as “open textbooks”.

“My home state of Illinois provides an example of how the bill I am introducing with Senator Franken can be successful,” said Durbin.  “Over three years ago, I worked to secure funding for the University of Illinois to complete an open textbook project.  The University, working with faculty, identified sustainability as the topic for the project and an area of study in need of such open resources. Since 2012, the textbook that was produced from this effort – Sustainability: A Comprehensive Foundation – has been in regular use at the University of Illinois campuses. The book has been used in a Massive Open Online Course that has been sampled by at least 60,000 students.  At least a dozen schools throughout the country have either contacted the University of Illinois about the text or are using it.  This bill can replicate and build on this success and help make the cost of attending college more affordable.”

“In the fight to make college more affordable and accessible for Minnesota families we can’t overlook the rising costs of textbooks,” said Franken. “I’m proud to introduce this bill with Senator Durbin because it will help provide cheaper alternatives to traditional textbooks and keep more money in students’ pockets where it belongs.”

Textbook costs are one of the most overlooked costs of going to college, but they can be substantial and can be a barrier to attaining a college education.  According to College Board, the average student budget for college books and supplies during the 2012-2013 academic year was $1,200.

“Students can’t afford to pay $250 for a single textbook. In fact, U.S. PIRG found that seven of ten current college students have skipped buying a textbook because it was too expensive. It’s clear that the current big-publisher system isn’t working for students, and needs to change,” said U.S. PIRG Higher Education Associate Ethan Senack.  “For students, the cost-saving potential of open textbooks is massive - around 80-100% compared to published textbooks. We thank Senators Durbin and Franken for championing this innovative solution to the high cost of textbooks.”

Today’s legislation expands on the 2008 Higher Education Opportunity Act which contained provisions from Durbin’s College Textbook Affordability Act that aimed to make more information available to students looking to manage college textbook costs.  Durbin introduced his bill after learning of troubling practices by the publishing industry to create new textbook editions with little new content to drive up costs and bundle additional and often unwanted materials to required texts at students’ expense.  The 2008 law required textbook publishers to disclose to faculty the cost of a textbooks to their students, required schools to publish textbook information in course catalogues when practicable, and required publishers to offer unbundled supplemental materials so students had choices.  The provisions took effect on July 1, 2010.

While a June 2013 GAO Report required by the law found that students had more information and publishers and schools were generally complying with the new disclosure requirements, it also found that the price of textbooks had continued to rise.

“Textbook prices are simply unaffordable and have become a barrier to academic success for too many students,” said Nicole Allen, Open Educational Resources Program Director for the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition.  “This bill would help more colleges leverage open educational resources to make higher education more affordable and accessible for all.”

“The dirty secret about textbooks is that they don't have to be so expensive given the rise of technology. Even worse, if you put textbook debt in larger context with student debt, the affordability of college is becoming less and less tenable, and, as a result, the American dream is becoming more difficult for the next generation to attain,” said Matthew Segal, co-founder of OurTime.org

The limited federal investment in the creation and expanded use of a set of high-quality, introductory level college textbooks outlined in the Affordable College Textbook Act can improve learning, access, and affordability for all college students.  Making high-quality open textbooks freely available to the general public can significantly lower college textbook costs and increase accessibility to higher education.  Open textbooks can also improve learning and teaching through course materials that are more flexible, adaptable, and accessible for professors.

Specifically, the Affordable College Textbook Act:
  • Creates a grant program to support pilot programs at colleges and universities to create and expand the use of open textbooks with priority for those programs that will achieve the highest savings for students;
  • Ensures that any open textbooks or educational materials created using program funds will be freely and easily accessible to the public;
  • Requires entities who receive funds to complete a report on the effectiveness of the program in achieving savings for students;
  • Improves existing requirements for publishers to make all textbooks and other educational materials available for sale individually rather than as a bundle; and
  • Requires the Government Accountability Office to report to Congress by 2017 with an update on the price trends of college textbooks.
The Durbin-Franken Affordable College Textbook Act is supported by the following organizations: U.S. PIRG, the Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition, American Association of Community Colleges, National Association of College Bookstores, National Association of Graduate and Professional Students, OUR TIME, Creative Commons and the OpenCourseWare Consortium.
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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

OER: SALSA - an open source syllabus builder

The open source, web-based SALSA (Styled & Accessible Learning Service Agreements) is a
syllabus authoring tool from Utah State University’s Center for Innovative Design & Instruction. It is based on the design of the PDF Syllabus Builder. No registration of any kind is required to use Salsa.

According to their website, Salsa generates a unique and random hyperlink for instructors. Instructors an bookmark or copy the hyperlink with the "My SALSA" button, and "use the hyperlink to return and edit their SALSA. Publish your SALSA to generate a new hyperlink to a "read-only" copy of your Salsa in PDF or HTML format."

I am interested in this because I think that this is another tool that can help instructors who have to work with learning outcomes to do it effectively and consistently. I prefer the kind of learning where the students decide what the outcomes might be around specific topics but even that kind of learning has a "meta-outcome" of being able to work with a group to develop course outcomes. And there are accrediting agencies that ask for them. SALSA uses Bloom's Taxonomy, built right into the tool, to help instructors author the outcomes.  I think it is helpful for students in a program to have some kind of consistency and connection of course outcomes with the class, the program, and the college.

This is also a way to get faculty and programs that need to work on student learning outcomes to see how they can be used in a practical way. If you have other tools for working with student learning outcomes, I would love an email or a note in the comments section.

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Thursday, November 07, 2013

Open Ed 13: The Avalanche That Hasn't Happened

This is an amazing piece of film that started the off today by David Kernohan. Totally
 punctures the hype in education with everything that has been declared "a game changer." 
Send this out! This is one of the most important take-aways from Open Ed 13.

And no, I did not think he was coming back when he left the room - I am just that thick :-)
 I am so glad he came back and answered questions.

Open Ed 13: Hacking the Syllabus in Saskatchewan

Official seal of Saskatoon
Official seal of Saskatoon
I met Jordan Epp this morning. I was looking for a place to sit down in the big hall early this morning and he was the only one still smiling while drinking the conference coffee - I had to meet him! How could you pass up such an undaunted spirit? Anyway, it was a great conversation, he is an instructional designer from the University of Saskatchewan and lives in Saskatoon, and he said something that has stuck with me all day. We were talking about open textbooks and how many students don't buy textbooks. He said that in their study of students they found students that did well in the course who did not buy the text book. They contacted the students and asked how they managed to do so well in the class without buying the textbook. One of them said that he took the outcomes from the assignment listed in the syllabus and copied them into Google. He chose the link that had the most matched words and just read articles on the internet.This hits me on two levels; first, the instructor is brilliant for having such well articulated outcomes for the assignments. That instructor knows what they are teaching. The second, is that the student is brilliant for understanding the purpose of the outcomes. This course would be low-hanging fruit for conversion to an OER-based course.

The process for converting a class to an open textbook class is to look at the course outcomes, see how the current textbook aligns with the outcomes and then either finding an open textbook that meets those outcomes or customising an open textbook with other open education resources to meet them. Sometimes this process starts with "what is a course outcome?"

Wouldn't it be great if this student does not have to play Sherlock Holmes and basically build his own textbook? A third thought would be - someone should keep an eye on that student, he will make a great teacher or instructional designer one day!

Jordan, here is that picture of the moose in Saskatoon.
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Open Ed 13: How to Make It Work for Faculty: A study of how Washington Community and Technical Colleges Use Oer

Boyoung Chae and Connie Broughton discuss the Open Course Library for Washington State's 
 Community and Technical Colleges.

"While new open educational resources are being continuously created, little data exists on how faculty in higher education actually use and perceive open educational resources, and more importantly what types of support faculty need to help them implement the open educational resources. After developing the Open Course Library, Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) conducted a study of how faculty at the 34 system colleges use OER. The purpose of the study is to investigate
  1. how and to what extent open educational resources are being used in the college classroom, 
  2. how faculty perceive open educational resources, 
  3. what type of support is needed to help faculty embrace the open educational resources.
In this study, a mixed-method design was used incorporating both quantitative and qualitative study methodologies. We began our study by developing an extensive survey in collaboration with two faculty unions of the community and technical colleges in the state of Washington. The survey was sent to all faculty in the system. Based on the survey results, we conducted a qualitative Delphi study. Delphi is a collective human intelligence process among experts, in this case, a focus group consisting of open educational resources experts in Washington CTC system. The group discussed what constitutes the best support system for faculty's use of open educational resources.
Based on the data collected from survey, and the consensus from the qualitative Delphi study, we created a conceptual framework that informs faculty's needs, use, expectations, and most importantly the types of support in using open educational resources.

This study will provide a roadmap for anyone who organizes the future professional development plan for open educational movement in higher education. It will remind the audiences of the most crucial aspect of building and promoting open educational resources: how to make it work for faculty."

Conducted a state-wide survey of WA community and technical college teachers, they got 730 responses and will follow up with phone interviews. 

83% of the faculty had heard of OER, and follow up questions showed that they understood what OER actually were. 67% previously searched for OER for their classes. 60% had used OER in their teaching practice.

Reasons for not adopting
  • Hard to find appropriate resources
  • No quality materials available
Conclusions from the survey was tha tth faculty needed and wanted more training and professional development activities.
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Open Ed 13: A Red Hat for OER: Lumen's Journey

Kim Thanos and David Wiley talk about their business, Lumen Learning.

"After a decade and $100M US in foundation funding, an incredible amount of high quality open educational resources exist which are only rarely used in formal settings. The situation feels very much like it did with open source software a decade ago. At the turn of the century, almost everyone had heard of open source and was interested in potentially saving money and improving the stability and quality of their technology offerings, but very few institutions had either the bravery or the capacity to run systems for which there was no formal training and no technical support. Red Hat stepped into this vast pool of curiosity and caution with training, technical support, and other services that put adopting Linux within the reach of a normal institution.

Lumen is trying to do exactly same thing – step into the deep pool of curiosity and caution around open educational resources with the faculty training, academic leadership consulting, technical and pedagogical support, learning analytics services, and other pieces necessary to put adopting OER within reach of a normal institution. In the past year we've worked with dozens of secondary and post-secondary institutions and learned many - sometimes painful - lessons.

In this presentation we'll review our first year of lessons learned, including what works, what not to do, and how our business model has evolved over our first year."

Their 90/10 goal is to lower the cost by 90% and increase success by 10%. Success = C or better.

The OER are free but they charge for their time to come in and support the OER roll-out. 

60% of students do not purchase a textbook at one time because of cost.
23% never buy textbooks. 

Lumen wants 100% of the students to have access to free, digital materials from day one. They decided to go with .com like Flatworld Knowledge. It is a company because "their is not enough diversity" in the OER landscape. Their model is like MoodleRooms or rSmart. This is the "sustainability" question. 

Candela OER Services from Open Learning provide training, best practices for implementation, online and phone support, analytics, LMS integration, long term access to course data. Providing services to help institutions adopt and implement.

  • Full math sequence
  • Full dev ed
  • Gen Ed and Business
  • 65 highest enrolled courses in Gen Ed and business
Perils of the Business Model
  • Transition from studetn budget to institutional budget
  • Our absolutes, no pay wall, no raping and pillaging
  • Our preferences - one time services as needed, but focus on sustained, supported improvements
  • What is the right bundle?er enrollment? Per course? Per bundle?
Pricing models
Per course 2000k
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Opening Up Assessment: Open tools and item banks

A Wikiversity Logo for Open Educational Resour...
"One of the defining characteristics of Open Education has been the widespread sharing of course materials from OpenCourseWare to Open Textbooks to more generally open educational resources (OERs). Unfortunately many OERs are primarily content or course materials and do not include sufficient quizzes or other activities that students can use to check for understanding and that instructors can use to track engagement and performance. Research shows that embedding assessments in texts increases student completion rates and learning. Open Assessment complements existing OER efforts with tools to allow instructors to embed assessments in any OER, and to create shared collections of assessment items.

MIT and Open Tapestry are developing tools and services to allow instructors and authors to embed assessments directly in any content (e.g., in any OpenCourseWare course) thereby providing a richer learning experience. And BYU will be developing validated item banks of open assessments that can be shared (which will be developed by domain experts and psychometricians). Our approach differs from current practice because existing tools require one of two things: either a system that presents both content and assessments together as part of a dedicated system or the the learner is required to leave the content to take an assessment in a separate quiz system breaking the flow of learning. To be able to embed an assessment of your choosing in any existing OER wherever it might be presented will be truly powerful.

This panel presentation will provide conference participants the opportunity to understand how to use the tools, existing and forthcoming open assessment item banks, and how to use open assessment in their OER content regardless of where it's located right away."


Content and assessment are always separate.  Typically, you look at content and then go out and take an assessment. This might not be the best way to learn.

These assessments can be embedded anywhere. Focusing on formative assessment. Self-check of their own understanding and eliminates issues around cheating. - there are self-assessments in the materials - a "hide the answer" approach.

Examples are in Saylor.org of static tests. OCW Scholar focuses on self-learners has .pdf questions.

OpenAssessments.com has each item with an embed code much like the embed code that you will find in YouTube.

It will import test questions using QTI format.

Integrated with Open Tapestry. http://opentapestry.com

Open Tapestry lets you edit versions of websites.

David Wiley talked about the creation of item banks. Faculty are sometimes loathe to adopt open textbooks because the commercial textbooks often come with testbanks. A Hewlett grant has funded the creation of openly licensed textbooks.
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Assessment and Accreditation of Learners using OER

Photo of Athabasca University
Photo of Athabasca University (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Rory McGreal of Athabasca University presents on assessment of OER and OER University.

"This paper examines existing and potential scalable approaches to formal assessment and accreditation to digital learning, comparing and contrasting such uses with more traditional approaches. Unbundling of services, so that assessment & accreditation are separate from teaching and support, makes OER much easier to implement and build upon. There is little requirement for physical space, so it can grow in a similar fashion as that of many Internet platforms. This of course makes OER much more scalable than physical institutions can compete with. While international or even national accreditation & assessment services are not currently widespread or easily accessible, developing a robust system that can service thousands or even hundreds of thousands of students could change the dynamic of access to post-secondary education. All of the technology is already available, such as payment systems, content management systems, and exam taking.

Lessons learned so far from key initiatives in this area are discussed, proposing tentative guidance for policy makers and various stakeholder groups in this area.
Currently, the greatest potential and demand for OER:
  • is in non-OECD countries;
  • at non-traditional institutions;
  • at institutions with PLAR models in place.
Breaking down institutional silos is still a major issue before a large-scale OER/PLAR/RPL system is in place. In terms of cost-effective and sustainable approaches to student support, peer-to-peer learning support models were considered to be the most effective, followed by support from retired academics or other volunteers, and the design of system to enable senior students or graduates to provide support for junior students.

As for the types of assessment methods that would most likely be used in the future recognition of prior learning via portfolio assessment and course-based portfolios were both considered appropriate, as well as automated online assessments.

The greatest barriers to participation in open assessment and accreditation practices identified were the lack of availability of committed staff members to support such activities, and the potential costs of redeveloping courses as open educational resources. Lack of support for OER-based courses from senior management was a significantly greater concern for participants from traditional education institutions than for those from institutions with open policies, and was perceived to be a more significant barrier within public than private institutions. These findings suggest that institutions that already have policies that support open assessment and accreditation practices will be able to easily align the implementation of collaborative OER courses with existing policies and processes.

The key institutional success factors for the provision of open assessment and accreditation services appear to be a strong support base within institutions ? both in terms of leadership and resources, and an existing culture of openness, including policies and practices around the creation and use of OERs, as well as policies that enable either open access or recognition of prior learning via credit transfer or PLAR. Institutions that are already characterized by these features are likely to be best placed for the implementation of assessment and accreditation of OER-based learning, and could provide models for other organizations"

Creating an OER University with 30 partnering colleges. 

Coursera owns what is in your head - you cannot use what you learned in Coursera to get accreditation elsewhere. Up until Coursera, we always owned what was in our heads.

OERU will give recognition for prior learning and challenge for credit.

They also do credit transfer. North America uses the three credit system. They use the bologna Process in Europe. It is problematic in most jurisdictions. Standards are lacking and the process is labor intensive.

Fear of change - the only ones not afraid of change are wet babies
Fear of losing students and therefore teaching jobs
Copyright issues
Concerns over work load 
Conflicts with commercial publishers and SIGs
Lack of committed faculty

The Paris Declaration on OERs has helped in Canada. The US has been leading in open research.

There is too much duplication in the OER movement. Stop talking about developing courses, start talking about reusing and adapting. 

Educators are afraid of the cost but the cost to continue as we are is more expensive.

OER Benefits
A culture of openness

We need to find ways to accredit OER learners and not leave it to the status quo.

Athabasca University had to create a "bear and cougar awareness" class because they needed it. 

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Global Open Textbook Projects: Pathways to Adoption

Open Textbook bill
Open Textbook bill (Photo credit: opensourceway)
"Mary Burgess of the BC Open Textbook Project will discuss how she and her team are working to produce 40 Open Textbooks on a restricted budget and tight timeline. She will describe their work engaging faculty and student groups across the British Columbia Post Secondary System, efforts to make adoption and reuse easier for those groups, and how adoptions are being tracked.

They have seven speakers and three minutes each!
Producing 40 open textbooks in BC - they have done a lot of work on adoptions
4 workshops - on basic Open textoboks
Month long workshops - visited faculty - 15 meetings in departments and met with student groups and college administrators. Working with Libraries as well.
They created an advisory committee.
They have worked wiht communications to do pressreleases

Cable Green of Creative Commons will discuss how open policies, like those in British Columbia and California, are ensuring publicly funded resources are openly licensed. He will describe the global opportunity for governments and projects to collaborate to maximize the quality and quantity of OER.

David Harris, Editor in Chief, for OpenStax College will introduce the lessons learned from OpenStax College. OpenStax College has a rapidly growing adoption base of more than 175 institutions. David will discuss the strategies required for taking OER into the mainstream and the emerging interest in localized OER content.

Creating an ecosystem model - partnering with other groups to provide supplementary content.
Built an extensive database of faculty for communication and adoption
They go to tradeshows, conferences, etc.
Using social networks - faulty testimonials
Earned media - public relations through papers and magazines
Fear motivates but hope sells

Megan Beckett, Content Coordinator for Open Textbooks at Siyavula Education, will discuss their unique position as the South African government has printed the Siyavula textbooks for the whole country, thus jump starting the adoption of open textbooks in the K-12 sector. Megan will also discuss some ideas about engaging the community in the development of open textbooks which in turn feeds back into their adoption and widespread use.

Content creation in South Africa
The textbooks are collaboratively authored and backed by the government. 10 copies of their resources in SA. For some, this will be the first textbooks they will have ever seen. All the textbooks are mobile friendly and available online.Also available in print.
David Ernst, Chief Information Officer, College of Education and Human Development, and Executive Director of the Open Academics project at the University of Minnesota, will discuss common barriers to open textbook adoption by faculty and how the Open Academics project is working to help overcome those barriers.

Faculty often do not understand th cost of textbooks, the nature of the problem. They created engagement strategies - I need to contact him about these efforts. Created a repository.

Ethan Senack of the Student Public Interest Research Groups will discuss how students and other members of the campus community can drive OER adoption and advocacy through grassroots efforts.

Training student activists on campuses with the open textbook tool kit
Hold events to attract attention to the issue
Bring student testimonials to administrators

Connie Broughton of the Washington Open Course Library will discuss the project recently completed in which 81 open courses were created, including many open textbooks. She will detail their efforts to increase and track adoption during the creation of the resources and following the completion of that phase of the project."

Money from Gates and Legislature - hired faculty, instructional designers, and librarians. The outcomes were to produce course materials for $30 or less.  They spent $1.5 mil and saved $5.5 mil.
They started a two week online course for finding open resources. Running surveys on faculty barriers to adoption. All CC by.
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Open Ed 13: OER and Solving th Textbook Crisis

Textbook Stack
Textbook Stack (Photo credit: greenasian)
"The average U.S. college student spends more than $1,000 per year on textbooks and supplies, a significant expense on top of already burdensome college costs. Textbook prices continue to soar four times faster than inflation, and many commonly-used texts cost over $200 a piece. The U.S. market is estimated at $8.8 billion, with just five publishers in control of the vast majority of sales.

Open textbooks and OER offer a compelling and common-sense solution to these challenges, and for the last six years, the Student PIRGs and other advocacy groups have worked to win support for OER through this lens.

The potential is huge: With today's rapidly changing student preferences, open textbooks could revolutionize the way textbooks are bought and sold - the full text is offered free online, low-cost hard copies can be sold in the bookstore, and a wide range of print and digital formats are available online. This virtually eliminates affordability concerns while enabling all students to have unfettered access to the text starting the first day of the course.

This session will provide a campaign update from the front lines of the textbook affordability front, focusing on how much progress OER has made as a solution. This will include the latest developments in the public debate around textbook costs, new research quantifying OER savings, analysis of how the publishers are responding, and specific recommendations for how audience members can join or further the cause."

Nicole Allen, OER Program Director, SPARC

I am excited to be at this presentation because when I first got involved with open textbooks and when Nicole worked for PIRGs I would call her up and ask LOTS of questions. She is an extremely helpful person.

SPARC is promoting open access to scholarly research but they are interested open textbooks as well.

The Problem
Student loan debt tops a trillion dollars. Default rates rise for the sixth year in a row. Students often run out of financial aide before

Average student budget for books is $1200 a year. for some students, this is the difference between going to school and dropping out.

Textbook prices are up 82% - 3 x the rate of inflation. It is an 8.8 billion $ market. A broken market model - the professor chooses for the student and companies set the price.

The most popular calculus textbook from Cengage is $250. The digital version of an Economics textbook is $144 and you only get it for 189 days. The printed textbook comes with a passcode that expires - this eliminates the used book market.

Rentals can save 61%

As prices continue to rise, the cheaper alternatives are also becoming expensive.

1 out of 3 students are using pirated textbooks online.
2 in 5 share textbooks, 7 in 10 undergrads forgoe bying a textbook because of cost. 

Open Textbooks
The savings are about 80%
Studies show that use of open textbooks are correlated with higher grades and retention rates.

What Needs to Happen
Textbooks need to be improved.
More support for adoption and more awareness.

Resources to fund development
Open licensing for grants as a requirement.
FDHA Policy (2004) is a great example of a college policy.

Campus Advocacy
Students need to be engaged
Libraries - SPARC is a library membership inst.
Faculty and administrators

Student PIRGs has created a faculty awareness toolkit.

University of Mass, Amherst Libraries have saved $750,000 in two years through their work on OER.
U of Minn has created an open textbook catalog and is creating a review process.
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Open ed 13: David Kernohan

Open Educational Resources - logo 7 variations
"David Kernohan is a Programme Manager for e-Learning at Jisc. He works on online and open education there, having managed a range of major initiatives including the Open Education Resources programme. He also has an expertise in English Higher Education policy and global HE trends, having previously worked for HEFCE as a policy analyst."

He showed a film that discussed the problems that occur when we turn education over to business leaders who have no expertise in education.  The current xMOOC model comes out of this.

The video is posted here:http://followersoftheapocalyp.se/opened13/
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Open Ed 13: Audrey Waters

"Audrey Watters is a journalist, a high school dropout, and a PhD dropout – though she did complete a Master’s degree in Folklore. As a freelancer writing about educational technology, her stories have appeared on NPR/KQED’s MindShift blog, in O’Reilly Radar, on Inside Higher Ed, in The School Library Journal, on ReadWriteWeb, and in the Edutopia blog."

The Education Apocalypse
 She said she was intimidated by following Gardner Campbell but felt that the bar was set lower by one of yesterday's presenters who never mentioned open education.

She opened with a quote from Yeats' "The Second Coming."
One of the dominate narratives of the education narrative is that we are in the End Times. She also quotes REM. She then discussed a televangelist's predictions of Judgement Day. It was a successful marketing campaign but not a good prediction.

She compared Kurzweil's vision of uploading our brains into computers with these visions and then referred to it as the "Rapture of the Nerds." (The Singularity=Rapture).

The End Times mythology permeates the discussions of education.

The founder of the Udacily predicts that there will only be 10 universites in the future.

The notion of "Disruptive Innovation" is also an apocalyptic myth. It is a truth, a sacred story that is unassailably true. "The Innovators Dilemma" is a sacred text. Everything gets labeled a disruptive innovation. Unexamined millenialism. The tech industry is a self-annointed disrupter.
The death of print, the web, the university, etc. We here this narrative in religious stories - there is the predictions of doom, end times, the destruction, then the heaven on earth.

The year 2000 had the apolcalypic myth of t Y2K bug. The year 2000 was a big year for End Times thining. If we believe that the world is about to end, how do we plan for education? Google's engineer believes in an apocalyptic vision of the Singularity. Others believe in Disruptive innovation.

Eschatology in computer error messages.

Harvard Business School's Clayton Christiansen discusses the "Church of New Finanace" - the high priests are the Business Professors like him. He gives an apocalyptic vision - education is doomed in public universities, private universities will be the salvation. It is inevitable - brick and mortar schools will be gone. He gives particular dates. It is about how to change business practices not how to change learning.

This is a move towards for-profit schools.

Why are we accepting these stories on faith? Why are we listening to these stories of education doom and salvation in the hands of tech and business instead of people?

[I think we believe gospels of Harvard Business School because we are a culture that values prestigious credentials rather than critical thinking.]
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Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Open Ed 13: Emancipating Learning: a Journey to MOOCs and Beyond

"Some may think that Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are a fad, but they are raising some interesting questions about the scalability, accessibility and quality of online learning, as well as new thoughts about the higher education landscape. While a number of institutions have started to offer MOOCs, many are still wondering if and how to participate, as well as how these learning experiences relate to other online teaching and learning plans.

Are your institutional leaders tasking you what finding out more and determining what they should do about MOOCs? Are you wondering if and how you should get started? Are you curious about what it is like to develop and facilitate a MOOC and if it's worth the effort? Whether you?ve run a MOOC or are considering running one, this participants on the panel will provide the perspective and journey of three institutions which have run one more MOOCs: Cuyahoga Community College; State University of New York; and University of Illinois Springfield; on their MOOC journey. They will share insights, best practices, pitfalls and research results.

- Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) recently became the first community college in the nation to launch a MOOC -- free online classes to help students of all ages, including high school students preparing for college readiness, middle-aged workers returning to college to prepare for a new career and to middle-school students working ahead at Pre-Algebra pass developmental math, also known as remedial math, before they enter college. This course was developed using an innovative design to improve student engagement. The MOOC leverages game mechanics to motivate students? progress through the course. Sandy Moses and Sasha Thackaberry will provide highlights of the design, development and delivery process, along with results of their data analysis into course activity and student performance.

- State University of New York (SUNY) is hosting an open community course on Open Educational Resources and members of the team who designed the course will discuss the collaborative project. The team includes SUNY faculty, librarians, and instructional designers from several campuses who worked on the creation of an open course on OER designed for SUNY faculty and staff. The project has been designed to build critical thinking skills needed for creating, selecting, and evaluating open educational resources in the context of the online environment

- University of Illinois Springfield held a MOOC entitled "The Emancipation Proclamation: What Came Before, How It Worked, and What Followed" in early 2013. This was the second MOOC offered by UIS, following the eduMOOC of Fall 2011. Ray Schroeder, Michele Gribbins, Carrie Levin and Emily Boles will share their experiences and lessons learned in developing and delivering the MOOCs. Discussions will range from the effectiveness of technologies and activities used in the two MOOCs to insights from students regarding their motivation for participating in the MOOCs."

Sasha Thackaberry: Their MOOC is an xMOOC. They are using Mozilla Open Badges and game mechanics - a low-risk failure factor - the students can take and retake tests.  MOOC data: 1372 enrolled, 809 participated, 147 successfully completed. Students had to complete a survey in order to get to the content. The survey gathered demographics and learning history.

Michelle Gribbens: Their second MOOC- it is on the Emancipation Proclamation. All of their problems were overcome by using Coursesites. I am interested in the Terms of Service from Blackboard which typically licenses all content. They used a lot of the Blaclboard tools in their courses. The MOOC was 8 weeks but she thinks that a 6 week MOOC would have been better. Most of the participants were over 50. sites.google.com/sites/openedmooc

opensuny.coursesites.com is an online course with a badge system.
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Open Ed 13: What Teach a MOOC? Are you crazy?

 Maria Andersen talks about her experiences with MOOCs.
Twitter: @busynessgirl
Email: busynessgirl@gmail.com

"If you've ever actually taught an online course, the thought of teaching a MOOC sounds like an absolutely crazy idea. It's hard to get past the idea that you might be multiplying all your ?online student? headaches by a factor of 100 or 1000. Well, those were my first thoughts about it too. However, what I learned was that teaching a MOOC has been the purest and most fun form of teaching and learning that I?ve ever done. Teaching a MOOC is a complete paradigm shift from traditional education in terms of the design, the assessment requirements, and the diversity of students. As the manager of courses for Canvas Network, we?ve learned a lot about how to design a good online course for students who struggle with English, span all the time zones in the world, and have very different learning goals. In this talk I will share my own teaching experiences and surprises and some of these design tips from our MOOC courses."

Designing a MOOC was a good exercise in gathering and curating OERs.

Got into teaching and started working for Canvas. She taught a Social Media class. She did this while designing courses for Canvas. Post MOOC thinking: don't make me go back to a regular class.

It is hard work.

Myth: "I've already got an online course for this. i can make it a MOOC easily."

Teaching a SPOC (small private online course) is like being the head of a neighborhood community; a MOOC is like managing a city.

There is a difference in the students: level of education - MOOC students tend to already have a college degree. The deadlines have to follow the global timelines

Motivations: typical college students are hostages; MOOC students are self-motivated experienced learners.

Time commitments are different.

Students often do not have access to scholarly journals. Use open access journals

MOOC - not for credit, large course, all open resources; resources must be provided in the class.
The teachers role is a curator to the millions of resources on the internet.

Assessments - low-stakes and another opportunity to learn. It no longer matters - the assessment should be there to drive the learning.

The activities should provide a way to engage the real world.
One assignment was to get 50 followers on Twitter. Get them to think about who they want to follow and why and then lead them to get followers. This assignment had no assessment attached to it other than the outcome of 50 followers.

Discussions are the most powerful learning tools in MOOCs.

Types of Discussions
Help Forums
Showcase Forums - Ask students to show something to the class
Conversation Forum - not all students use forums in MOOCs. Pick topics to engage people
IRL Sharing: Lessons learned

MOOC students want to spend fewer hours per week and commt to less weeks. This doesn't mean you teach a less rigorous version of the same course. It means you teach a different course. It may mean you teach three couirses.

She would go after the alumni with money - don't charge the students. "Going after remedial students is not the way to go."

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Open Ed 13: OERs Rule, MOOCs Drool: MOOCs and DistRibuted Open Online Learning

English: Blended learning methodology graphic
Michael Caulfield discussed how MOOCs are being used. 

"The "wrapped MOOC" has gained attention over the past year as a way to integrate MOOCs into traditional education. This presentation will present results of interviews with practitioners of this method to show that in practice most educators are not "wrapping" the cohort experience, but are instead using the MOOC as robust OER. This trend is discussed in terms of "distributed flip" and "distributed blend" models, as well as David Wiley's joking but correct observation that MOOCs are distraction from the potential of DROOL (DistRibuted Open Online Learning). Implications include a hidden but high demand for robust, course-level OER, and the possible desirability of approaching blended learning from the online experience "backwards", as opposed to the traditional model which emphasizes the online refitting of an existing or assumed face-to-face experience."

Caulfield is from WSU Vancouver
Twitter @holden
Web; http://hapgood.us/

 Examples of courseware evolution
Publisher resources, OLI (Carnegie Mellon, Stanford)
Kaleidoscope Project

There is a history behind MOOCs - it is a progression over time.

What do MOOCs provide above and beyond what blended learning provides?
It is the global community of students going through the work at the same time.
The mythology of the xMOOC is the affordances such as 24/7 peer assistance

What does use of MOOCs for blended look like?
Amy Collier and Helen Chen held wide-ranging interviews with students and teachers.
Not Synched
They found that the local cohort was not linked to the online cohort.
They were using the MOOC purely as a digital resource.
This was because of the differences between course and institutional schedules - professors needed more flexibility in scheduling.
It is difficult for instructors to not fall behind.
Not Conversing
Students were not really using the forums of the MOOC at all.
The students looked at the forums occasionally and only sometimes posted. These students were meeting face-to-face
[It sounds like the learning was not social or truly interactive. and why would you do something that were not assessed?]
Unaffiliated students who watched 75% of the videos viewed the forums 

Implications: do MOOCs Made Good Flip Materials
xMOOCs global classroom is not useful for blended learning - the students do not use the forums
The design of the course is mostly influenced by the global cohort
  Data not available
  Can't change schedule

Coursera is now working on decentralization.

Most instructors had gone through the MOOC before teaching it. That was a transformative experience for the teachers. 

Courseware is a big part of the future of education
A growing number of options exist for materials
When used in flips, MOOCs often function primarily as content
MOOCs can be used, but think carefully about benefits and downsides of centralization

A community college teacher expressed concern over xMOOC content as content divorced from the local context. I feel the same way about most commercial textbooks. 
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