Open Learning - Open the WorldThe nature of ‘openness’ in open learningDr Hamish MacleodThe University of EdinburghH.A.Macleod@ed.ac.uk
our Progamme • programme structure • two thirds taught courses • one third independent research disertation • part-time (some full-time) • distance participation; no residence requirement • fully online • professionals in post-compulsory education • higher & further education • continuing professional development • corporate training • [some for “schools sector”; both primary & secondary] • professional backgrounds • teachers • learning, library & information support • administration • international
numbers of students • ~ 130 people could presently be said to be “on” the programme • most are part-time • progressing at a rate of one course per semester • some slower; some faster • ~ 10 at any moment are University colleagues • “steady state” • recruiting ~ 60 per year in two intakes • expecting completion in 3 to 4 years • ~ 300 people have gone through the foundational course Introduction to digital environments for learning.
the teaching team • Charles Anderson • Siân Bayne • Marshall Dozier • Pete Evans • Rory Ewins • Tim Fawns • Jeff Haywood • Dai Hounsell • Fiona Littleton • Hamish Macleod • Clara O’Shea • Jen Ross • Phil Sheail • Christine Sinclair
what is the role of technology in support of education? • revolutionary • transformations • reactionary • preservation • ‘standards’ • ‘quality’ • re-creation • dependence on metaphor • we find it difficult to conceive of what we have not already seen ‘The pedagogy should lead the technology’
Glynis Cousin (2005) …. a much declared principle that the pedagogy must lead the technology. This principle has become something of a mantra to be recited gravely at any event that invites dissociation of traditional academic practices from geeky interference. It is also embodied in a number of e-learning strategy documents which insist that e-learning should be driven by pedagogical considerations rather than the demands of the technologies themselves. Cousin, G. (2005) Learning from cyberspace. In Ray Land & Siân Bayne Education in Cyberspace.
…. they neglect the fact that the medium is the pedagogy …. posit a division between humans and technology in which the later is neutral, and in the service of the former …. block our view of the full potential of computer technology for educational purposes. Cousin, G. (2005) Learning from cyberspace. In Ray Land & Siân Bayne Education in Cyberspace.
the Task / Artifact Cycle Carroll, J. M., W. A. Kellogg and M. B. Rosson (1991) The Task-Artifact Cycle in Carroll, J. M., Ed. (1991) Designing interaction : psychology at the human-computer interface. Cambridge series on human-computer interaction ; 4. Cambridge University Press.
Winston Churchill “First we shape our buildings, and afterwards, our buildings shape us” Marshall McLuhan “We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us”
“... tools are more than just something to make a task easier. They change your way of thinking, of approaching a task (and indeed the nature of the task itself), and can reap unimagined wider social changes. ….. Vygotsky called this ‘mediation’, and argued that tools (as well as other people) allow for the extension of human capabilities.” Adam Joinson(2002). Understanding the psychology of Internet behaviour : virtual worlds, real lives. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire ; New York, Palgrave Macmillan.
technology as retardant • microcomputers in the 1970s & 1980s • return to behaviourist ideas of “drill & practice” • virtual learning environments in 1990s & 2000s • focus on learning ‘content’ • lecture notes online • open educational resources • loss of focus on learning as process • focus on learning as knowledge transmission Technology makes certain things easy to do, and seduces us into believing that these easy things are the important things
An apparently extraordinary trend is emerging. Although learning resources are often considered as key intellectual property in a competitive higher education world, more and more institutions and individuals are sharing digital learning resources over the Internet openly and without cost, as open educational resources (OER). Giving Knowledge for Free; the emergence of open educational resources Report by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development
open learning • interest-guided • independent • flexible • what • when • at what rate • by what means / medium
the Open Educational Resource (OER) movement • number of examples • MIT Open Courseware Initiative • Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative • variety of forms • archives of campus-based activities and events • custom designed to support independent learning • different target audiences • teachers; to re-use in conventional courses • to supplement the studies of students on conventional courses • anyone wishing, independently, to learn in a given area
why are OER collections appearing? • an ideological commitment to openness • openness per se • generous invitation to re-use • because we can • enhancing access for the institutions own students • via YouTube, or iTunesU • promotion of good practice • within the institution • benchmarking across institutions • by analogy (misplaced?) with open research resources • assumes that the “target audience” will understand how to re-use • to forefront the quality and range of the institutions teaching • advertising • entrepreneurial vision • “something might just come of this” • to invite and facilitate collaborations
Ian Gilbert (2010) Why do I need a teacher when I've got Google? : the essential guide to the big issues for every 21st century teacher. London, Routledge. to help learners to - find knowledge; - understand how to find knowledge themselves; - recognise ‘good’ from ‘bad’ knowledge; - know what to do with it; - develop skills synthesis creation communication;
questions I am asked …. • if this course is online …….. • (why) does this course need a tutor? • why are the fees so high? • (that is, same as a campus-based course) • will you fill in the questionnaire, so that I can apply for government funding • why do you have admission criteria? • why do you not admit anyone? • (that is, why haven’t you given me a place?) • why is there a limit on the number of students you will admit? • why can I not start any time? • and why do you stop me ‘looking ahead’? • how do you know that this student has actually done this work? • why do you not have a “summer school” or something like that?
Any teacher who can be replaced by a computer deserves to be.David Thornburg
what do we need for learning to take place? • (surplus) time to devote • may involve significant sacrifice • learning resources / materials • motivation • intrinsic; interest in a topic • extrinsic; desire to obtain some advantage • a plan of action • situational understanding • dispositional understanding; self-knowledge & autonomy • active engagement with the learning resources • task, which demand problem solving and cognitive processing
“OCW Scholar courses are designed specifically for OCW's single largest audience: independent learners. These courses are substantially more complete than typical OCW courses, and include new custom-created content as well as materials repurposed from previously published courses.”
what is the teacher’s role • providing inspiration • explaining / conveying why the learner should be interested • ‘bootstrapping’ affective engagement • story telling • “modeling”; a reference point to aspire towards • guidance • diagnostic assessment; detecting the absence of relevant prior knowledge • guiding on personal, and professional development; “graduate attributes” • defining the curriculum • how a subject should be approached • how it should unfold • addressing ‘threshold concepts’ • what happens when the learner gets ‘stuck’ • setting of tasks for active learning • managing ‘the orchestration of experience’ for the learner • persuading learners to invest time • managing assessment • for learning (formative) • of learning (summative; leading to certification / qualification) • affirmation
I hear and I forgetI see and I rememberI do and I understand a Chinese Proverb; or a Greek Proverb; or something that somebody said once somewhere
I hear and I forget • instruction • transmission • exposition • delivery • reception • I see and I remember • demonstration • illustration • consumption (of media) • I do and I understand • exploration & discovery • creation • construction • participation • interaction • conversation
Seven Principles for Good Practice in Undergraduate Education • encourage contact between students and faculty • develop reciprocity and cooperation among students • encourages active learning • give prompt feedback • emphasize time on task • communicate high expectations • respect diverse talents and ways of learning. Arthur W. Chickering and Zelda F. Gamsonfrom The American Association for Higher Education Bulletin, March 1987
factors contributing to retention in online distance education • structure • not just access to resources used by campus-based learners • temporal structure, to aid self-monitoring • relationship with tutors • perception that help is available, even if it is not needed • relationship with peers • perception that others are depending on you • early experience of formative feedback • to provide evidence that one is “making the grade” • personal relevance
"Is there a class with this content?" …. the Web-based systems are organized around technology and content. …the clear expectation of the… designers of WebCT, is that I will ‘migrate’ all of my content… into the WebCT structure, and that, having done so, I will regard this imported content as a course (rather than, say, a course resource or supplement). Rose (2006) Rose, E. (2006) "Is there a class with this content?" WebCT and the limits of individualization. In M. Orey & V. J. McClendon & R. M. Branch (Eds.), Educational Media and Technology Yearbook (Vol. 31, pp. 139-152). Westport: Greenwood Publishing Group p 147
Education is what remains when we have forgotten all that we have been taught. George Savile, Marquis of Halifax (1633-1695)English statesman and author Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school. Albert Einstein Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten. B F Skinner
… knowledge is of two kinds We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it. Samuel Johnson cited by Neil Selwyn (2011) quoting from James Boswell’s ‘The Life of Samuel Johnson’ (1791)
Content isn't king. If I sent you to a desert island and gave you the choice of taking your friends or your movies, you'd choose your friends -- if you chose the movies, we'd call you a sociopath. Conversation is king. Content is just something to talk about. Cory Doctorow
access to resources – learning “content material” – is far from being the whole story, or indeed the largest part of that story
the need for tutors, and cohorts of students, interacting and co-depending, have not, and will not, go away