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"What do open practices mean for my work?" asks Jeff Waistell

OER implications?

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Jeff Waistell
15 February 2013

"What do open practices mean for my work?"

  • Collapse the boundaries between my research and teaching: my reflections will be openly available online, accessible for student learning, while also being a formative repository of my thinking (prior to journal publications).
  • No longer limiting my knowledge-sharing to student groups of 25: my reflections are available to the world - a larger audience - but not just an audience - maybe I will get feedback and debate going with the people who read my OER.
  • Greater opportunities for collaboration with active others and passive others (whose OERs I use)
  • Marketing for my MBA programme, Department and University
  • A sustainability OER is particularly important for sharing with many others...we all share 1 it is in everyone's interests to share learning, debate, and action on sustainability.
  • Where will all this lead? All universities become open universities. Everyone becomes researchers. Everyone becomes teachers. Everyone becomes learners. Knowledge management comes into its own through OER: creating, sharing, storing, and re-using of knowledge is advanced through massive global participation. 
  • How will pedagogy change? Educators become facilitators of massive open education, where participants source, create, develop and share their knowledge through their own OERs.
  • Will OER spawn more open sharing of resources in other spheres, e.g. media, government, law, etc.?

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Tom Reeves
1:32am 17 February 2013

I am inspired by your list of implications of open practices for your work and higher education in general. Your ideas remind me one of the first books I read about education, Deschooling Society by Ivan Illich, back in 1971. Fresh out of the U.S. Army, that book (along with several others such as Summerhill: A Radical Approach to Child Rearing by A. S. Neill and Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire) inspired me to become a teacher.

Illich wrote: “Universal education through schooling is not feasible. It would be no more feasible if it were attempted by means of alternative institutions built on the style of present schools. Neither new attitudes of teachers toward their pupils nor the proliferation of educational hardware or software (in classroom or bedroom), nor finally the attempt to expand the pedagogue’s responsibility until it engulfs his pupils’ lifetimes will deliver universal education. The current search for new educational funnels must be reversed into the search for their institutional inverse: educational webs which heighten the opportunity for each one to transform each moment of his living into one of learning, sharing, and caring.” (Emphasis added)

Source of quote:

Jeff Waistell
12:13pm 18 February 2013

No doubt we will see an evolution of pedagogical practice and law (with the latter trailing behind the former), over time. In the meantime, we may have to default to seeing this material as ER, rather than OER. Openness is there in terms of accessibility, although not in terms of pedagogical re-usability.
Best regards,

Jeff Waistell
12:23pm 18 February 2013

Good comment, Tom, and thanks for your illuminating citation. In the sphere of massive online open learning, as in education generally, it is possible for institutions to totalise their presence and imperialise their approach into each person and community, invasively. The pedagogue can end up marshalling and policing, perhaps to the point of kettling, individual minds, with agendas and curricula, thus reverting back to the teacher/lecturer role. "A pedagogy of the oppressed", as you cite Freire. Instead, a facilitative role in education is about going to where the learners are, enabling their learning paths, and supporting them in locating, generating, storing, sharing, and re-using sources - and, critically, reminding them that OER are only OER; resources that are there to support learning but not to inhibit knowledge creation and free academic expression. Jef

Joanna Wild
3:32pm 19 February 2013

Hi Jeff,

I am also impressed by your list. Many good points you make in there. I also like the idea of “a formative repository of my thinking”

There is one comment in particular I would like to make. You say: "maybe I will get feedback and debate going with the people who read my OER."

From the interviews I conducted with academics who both share and reuse OER, it turns out that even the most enthusiastic OER users admit to not have this extra time needed to provide feedback on resources they used. Also, most academics don’t adapt (they do small tweaks, that’s it). This stands against mainy claims that are being made about OER, in particular how adapting, sharing back, and commenting on OER can lead to a better quality of materials.  

What do you think would it take for such a dialogue/debate around OER to take off? In the context of HE, of course. I would be great to hear your thoughs on that.

Jeff Waistell
3:41pm 19 February 2013

Joanna, I guess this is related to the poor status of teaching compared to research. In research, colleagues regularly provide feedback, e.g. at conferences, reviewing articles, etc. So the status of teaching needs to improve - or even extending the importance of research to embrace knowledge transfer also.

In the end, if such feedback does not come naturally, then it ought to be - and has to be - encouraged through rewards (e.g. badges, reputation online, etc.).

Additionally, it is about community. So if we just think of OER as a place to raid and download (e.g. as people may raid music and films through free downloads), well, Vikings are all we will ever be. But if community is nurtured online, a community that holds the OER, then feedback will come with that.

What do you and everyone think?

Best regards, Jeff

Ida Brandão
12:07pm 20 February 2013

Hi Tom,

We are again reviving some old references of modern school movement and so. Mass media and traditional education policies keep washing our heads with the competitiveness, the rankings, the exams. What about the pleasure for learning, for discovering, for sharing with peers? La classe promenade de Freinet and his «invariants» -

My progressive Minister has recovered exams in primary school. They are still convinced that one learns through exams. Awards for the best teacher, honers for the best pupil, the best, the best, the best...or the beast?

Since you refer alternative models of education, I've recently watched a 2:30 argentinian documentary (subtitles in english and other languages), which gathers the viewpoints of many educators informed by free and learner centred approaches.

Nothing new about these approaches (Montessory, free schools, modern school movement, etc) but they still remain exceptional - La Educación Prohibida/ The Forbidden Education -

Joanna Wild
6:25am 22 February 2013

Hi Jeff,

I agree with all the points you make. I think that the community aspect is a very important one. The problems is that often people talk about "building a community" - I don't think that's a good approach. I think that a better one is trying to provide tools and suppport for exsiting communities to surface and then gradually expand. This often comes back to local, subject-based communities. Teachers do share and use each others resources but they do it in very informal and ad hoc ways. I think that LORO - an OER repository for language teachers, which stated as a project at the OU, is a good example of how exsiting communities of shared needs and goals can surface and become open and inclusive. What seems to have contributed to the success of LORO is that teachers were included in and consulted on the process of building such a techinical solution from the very beginning. 



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