Random Stuff That Matters



Etherpad + small groups in Skype, a new way of doing P2PU meetings
Stian HåklevStian Håklev, Random Stuff that MattersRandom Stuff that Matters, 2011/05/23

One thing we've found important in our open courses is the hosting of regular meetings online. Even if only a small percentage of people join the meetings, they provide continuity, presence, and a personal touch. But when you get into the hundreds or thousands of participants, the online meeting becomes unwieldy (and the technology gets pretty expensive). It's better to allow the larger group to break into smaller group meetings. In this post, Stian Haklev discusses a zero-cost way for people to enjoy the best of a hosted online meeting environment - Skype plus Etherpad. It's certainly an approach worth investigating (the main thing I want to add is to create some way to record and share at least the audio, if not video, of the breakouts). Today: Total:40 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Two metaphors for professors and course delivery, comparing North America and China
Stian HåklevStian Håklev, Random Stuff That MattersRandom Stuff that Matters, 2010/12/07

More comparisons between the Chinese and Western university system from Stian Håklev. This post looks at different models of university instruction, comparing the 'artist' model that defines some institutional models in the west, with the alternative 'artisan' model that defines many in the Chinese system. "An artisan is skilled at what he or she does, but it can be learnt. He or she may work alone or together with a group of people towards a well-defined goal. The most important aspect is that the final product is improvable, it can be tested and evaluated, and it can be improved upon." Today: Total:51 [Comment] [Direct Link]

How the world misunderstood the Chinese Top Level Courses Project
Stian HåklevStian Håklev, Random Stuff That MattersRandom Stuff that Matters, 2010/12/03

"How could the international community so thoroughly misunderstand what was going on in China for over 7 years?" asks Stian Håklev. I think it's pretty easy to misunderstand because it's not always easy to get information about China (and if anyone can point me to Chinese resources on ed tech and related topics, I'd be interested). Anyhow, Håklev uses this post to trace the myth that China's Top Level Courses Project (TLCP) was created by the China Open Resources for Education (CORE) consortium. "This information was not readily available. The Ministry of Education has webpages with information in English about the higher education system in China, but none of these mention the Top Level Courses Project. No official publication has ever been put out that introduces the Top Level Courses Project in English. In fact, it does not even have an official English translation, which has led to a multitude of different translations (China Quality OpenCourseWare, NPWDEC, Top-Quality Courses, etc). Although more than 3,000 academic papers have been published about aspects of this project in Chinese academic journals, until recently no significant paper had been published in English." Today: Total:43 [Comment] [Direct Link]

The impact of MIT's OpenCourseWare model on the Top Level Courses Project
Stian HåklevStian Håklev, Random Stuff That MattersRandom Stuff that Matters, 2010/12/02

More good stuff on China's Top Level Courses Project (TLCP). This post looks at the impact of MIT's OpenCourseWare and suggests that while TLCP is "not an imported model." It's true, argues the author, that OCW was intended to set as a new nromative ideal that "that all universities should digitize and open access to their course materials." But this norm does not apply to TLCP, for three reasons: TLCP courses do not use an open license; increased access to education is never mentioned in any TLCP documents; and there are very few examples of educators outside TLCP voluntarily sharing their products. All of that said, if OCW is viewed as a pragnatic reform, rather than one intended to set a norm, then the link between it and TLCP is easier to see. "Tan Feng (2008) believes that the Top Level Courses Project was China's response to the MIT project" and was implemented to serve the explosive growth of education during a period of massification in China. Today: Total:51 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Comparison of Chinese Top Level Courses with MIT OpenCourseWare
Stian HåklevStian Håklev, Random Stuff That MattersRandom Stuff that Matters, 2010/12/01

I am not even remotely qualified to compare MIT's OpenCourseWare with China's Top Level Courses Project, so this in-depth analysis is welcome indeed. The objectives of the two projects are very different; while there is no selection process for OpenCourseWare, "the Top Level Courses Project grows out of a long tradition of course evaluations and competitions to select excellent units, which would receive extra funding and act as examples for others." The focus is on transformative production, with the process of publishing online intended to support both improvements in the learning material and also skills development in the professors. Both projects promote sharing, but while OCW courses might not be suitable for distance learning 'out of the box', the Chinese courses are a much more complete package (and in this way, I guess, are more similar to the Open University's course offerings). See also: The Future of Chinese Top Level Courses. Today: Total:42 [Comment] [Direct Link]

MA thesis on Open Educational Resources in China released, watch it fly
Stian HåklevStian Håklev, Random Stuff That MattersRandom Stuff that Matters, 2010/09/16

Stian Håklev has posted his thesis on open educational resources (OERs) in China. The purpose of the thesis is to look at "China Quality OpenCourseWare", and thus "to look at this project, how had MIT inspired the Chinese, how had the Chinese changed the North-American idea to better fit their own context, and what could this tell us about the large-scale changes that Chinese higher education was undergoing at the moment?" It's interesting to note some of his reasons for not depending on the university repository to provide access to his thesis: "my thesis will not appear until after my convocation (in a few months), and will be limited to one officially formatted PDF (I hate reading double-spaced PDFs on my screen, and they don't play nice with Stanza). I get no statistics from who downloads it, nor any opportunity to interact with the readers." These reasons can be added to my own set of reasons I write this morning explaining why I prefer to put my resources on my own web site, and not an institutional repository. Today: Total:60 [Comment] [Direct Link]

CC Bait and Switch Update: e-Century responds
Stian HaklevStian Haklev, Random Stuff that MattersRandom Stuff that Matters,

I don't want to say "this is exactly what I meant," but, this is exactly what I meant!. And it's why I use the NC clause in Creative Commons. e-century reports: "One of the major reasons for this change was because some companies are trying to archive the articles published by us for pure commercial purpose – they will 'lock up' all those articles on their websites and ask readers to pay to access them. This is obviously not right, and against our intention to keep all articles openly accessible to all readers, no matter where they are archived." So, don't tell me any more that this won't happen. It does. Today: Total:86 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Links From the Talk Open Education Around the World
Stian HaklevStian Haklev, Random Stuff That MattersRandom Stuff that Matters,

This is a set of links associated with a talk on open education by Jim Slotta and Stian Haklev. The talk introduces (for me) the phrase "accidental OER", which seems to refer to thinks that are not 'repositories', properly so-called, and includes museum displays, digital libraries, open journals, and the like. The contrast is with "intentional OER", which includes initiatives such as OpenCourseWare. There's also discussion of open videos and open textbooks. Today: Total:58 [Comment] [Direct Link]

World'S Largest University Opens Almost ALL Its Materials!
StianStian, Random Stuff that MattersRandom Stuff that Matters,

This article coul do without the introduction, and should link directly to the eGyanKosh home page, so people have a starting point, but otherwise the repository of free materials is well described. I also agree with the criticisms - there is no need to force people to do a free login, and the materials should be licensed to allow reuse (at the very least, to liberate them from PDF). Today: Total:43 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Theoretical Frameworks for Researching OER
StianStian, Random Stuff That MattersRandom Stuff that Matters,

One line from this caught my eye: "Only theories provide transferability." Specifically, "theories are almost by definition applicable across contexts in that the validity of any theoretical principle is assessed precisely by how well it can account for the research findings in a variety of contexts." Well, it's one thing to say that theories are adjudged according to their wide applicability. But it does not follow that only theories provide transferability (from All A are B it does not follow that all B are A). The reason I raise this is that I have seen it asserted that academic work must be placed into a 'theoretical framework' as determined by 'the literature'. Which, to me, is justified only by mistaken reasoning such as we see here. Today: Total:35 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Peer2Peer University - Week 1
HoushuangHoushuang, Random Stuff That MattersRandom Stuff that Matters,

Summary coverage, with numerous links, on the newly launched Peer2Peer University. "The Peer 2 Peer University is an online community of open study groups for short university-level courses. Think of it as online book clubs for open educational resources. The P2PU helps you navigate the wealth of open education materials that are out there, creates small groups of motivated learners, and supports the design and facilitation of courses. Students and tutors get recognition for their work, and we are building pathways to formal credit as well." Today: Total:51 [Comment] [Direct Link]

OCWC Logan 08: News and Reflections
Stian HaklevStian Haklev, Random Stuff That MattersRandom Stuff that Matters,

The proponents o open learning are meeting in Logan, Utah, jut about now, and this is a set of reflections from that conference, including information from OpenCourseWare, Connexions, Open University of the Netherlands, iTines University, Universia, Japanese OCW, Johns Hopkins and Open University UK. Today: Total:56 [Comment] [Direct Link]


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