Iterating Toward Openness



Introduction to Openness in Education, the 2013 Edition
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness, 2013/01/08

I'm not sure whether to call it a MOOC or an open course or what, but readers will be interested to know of the launch of David Wiley's latest iteration of "Introduction to Openness in Education", a staple since 2007. "The course is currently “full” in the Canvas Network. International interest looks strong (Go Iceland! Go Seychelles!)... However, since most of the course action really occurs on your blog, twitter, youtube, and delicious accounts (this is important: read why), you can still participate fully in the course even though you can’t register in Canvas. Just add your name and blog post to the same Google Form course participants are using, and you’ll get aggregated in the course RSS feed just like everyone else." One wonders, why use Canvas then? If there's an upper limit, that would seem to me to be broken.

Today: Total:142 [Comment] [Direct Link]
The Best OER Revise / Remix Ever?
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness, 2012/12/11

What I like most of this revise and remix project is the objective. As described by David Wiley: "I wanted my students to gain hands on experience managing a project, I wanted them to feel the pressure of hitting deliverables, I wanted them to feel the nausea of having things fall through, I wanted them to learn to navigate managing people, and most of all I wanted them to feel the joy of completing a piece of work that blesses people lives." He wanted, in other words, to produce real world experience, because he knows that actually doing somethingis far more valuable that simply being told about doing something. That's the sort of thing open learning - with open resources - can produce. Sure, maybe his students produced "the best OER revise/remix ever," or maybe not. It's irrelevant. They learned in the best way possible - that's what's relevant.

Today: Total:88 [Comment] [Direct Link]
OER Quality Standards
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness, 2012/10/16

If we agree that the only measure of quality of an open educational resource (OER) is "Degree to which the OER facilitates student learning" the David Wiley's table makes sense. Otherwise, we might want to reconsider. For example, an OER might facilitate learning - but of information that is known to be false (or worse: propaganda). That is not "better". Moreover, the degree to which it is true, measured via a standard of precision, is also important. The relevance of the truth also matters. That is why such criteria as 'author qualifications' are used to evaluate OERs. Though I would agree, Wiley's straw man example - "an OER written by a top author that is 700 pages long and chock full or gorgeous artwork, simulations, and video?" - would certainly be a bad one. I have nothing against quality. But I don't think it is simply defined via a single metric.

Today: Total:145 [Comment] [Direct Link]
Degreed Beta
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness, 2012/09/20

This is an interesting experiment but I can't imagine it working outside the U.S. - "Degreed pulls your Education information from Facebook and prompts you to add more detail and confirm it. Degreed then makes a best guess about the classes you would have taken and builds out a generic transcript for you. (In a future version you’ll be able to both (1) refine the generic transcript by hand or (2) upload a transcript so that trained squirrels can refine your profile for you and mark it “verified”.) You can then add other informal courses (e.g., from Udacity), Mozilla open badges, etc. to fill out your profile."

Today: Total:82 [Comment] [Direct Link]
More on Badges and Assessment
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness, 2012/06/15

David Wiley follows up an earlier post on badges and assessment. Since direct measurement of what's in a person's brain is impossible, he argues, we stimulate external performances in order to provide evidence of learning. This evidence is then used in a number of ways, from allowing a person to performing a job, to enter graduate school (where you will produce more evidence) or skip some other assessment. A badge is a form of evidence. But it is manifestly not the activity that resulted in the evidence. Nor (therefore) is it directly the evidence of your learning. It is a pointer to the fact that some such evidence was, at some time, produced. "You see that a badge is a proxy for evidence, which evidence itself is a proxy for what a person 'actually knows or can do.';" It saves other people the effort of checking the evidence directly. Why is all this important? Wiley argues, "I hope that as a community we will commit to being agnostic with regard to (1) the activity, (2) the evidence, and (3) the judgment." I agree.

Today: Total:90 [Comment] [Direct Link]
Movies, TV Shows, Songs, and Textbooks
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness, 2012/05/29

David Wiley crunches the numbers and notices that textbooks are terribly out of step (a phenomenon that cannot last):

- Netflix – $7.99/month for access to 20,000 movies and TV shows

- Spotify – $9.99/month for access to 15 million songs

- CoirseSmart - $20.25/month ($121.49/180 days) for access to one biology textbook

"Go on… read that previous paragraph again. The math is correct, but it’s not right. Not in any moral sense of the word “right,” anyway."

Today: Total:79 [Comment] [Direct Link]
And So It Begins…
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness, 2012/05/18

As david Wiley reports Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is facing bankruptcy "as it faces a lagging textbook market due to drops in educational funding." And he asks, "Why are we surprised this bankruptcy is happening? Anyone who’s been paying attention isn’t. The shake up in educational publishing we’ve long anticipated is beginning… and students will be the benefactors." Of course, one bankruptcy isn't a trend. But my thinking is with Wiley's. It's the beginning of the end for these guys.

Today: Total:104 [Comment] [Direct Link]
Empowerment and Expertise
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness, 2012/05/15

I wrote about reducing our dependence on experts, David Wiley wondered what I meant, I responded, and David Wiley now mostly gets what I mean. Except for this: "There’s a traveling-back-in-time-to-kill-your-own-grandfather quality to this thinking... can we say that we never needed teachers in the first place after a teacher helps them develop their expertise?" There is not an undifferentiated whole called 'reaching'. I've explained this elsewhere. One way of teaching is to read to a person; another is to teach the person to read. What I am saying is that if you teach a person to read, you have eliminated the need for teachers to read to a person (except maybe some small part of teaching them to read that entails reading to the person). If you show people how to read a map, you don't need to give them directions - ever (except maybe that first day when you're telling them how to get to map class). You know, I really think that if we got the first few years right, we wouldn't need the remaining 14 years of so of formal education; we could manage with a much more flexible, creative and innovative approach.

Today: Total:95 [Comment] [Direct Link]
Openness and the Future of Assessment
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness, 2012/03/27

Sure, this is the data in, but what does the analysis loom like? David Wiley: "“Browser history as high stakes exam.” If an entity like ETS can establish predictive validity around different performance / behavior patterns and college completion or success, one can easily imagine submitting their usernames for Google Web History, Facebook, Twitter, Delicious, Blogs, Google Reader, YouTube, etc. IN PLACE OF taking a four hour high stakes exam like the ACT or GRE. Why make a high stakes decision based on a few hundred data points generated in one morning (when you could be sick, distracted, etc.) when you could get 1,000,000 data points generated over three years?" Slides. Today: Total:128 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Thoughts on Conducting Research in MOOCs
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness, 2012/03/06

More criticism of MOOCs because learning can't be evaluated in them like it can traditional courses. "This makes MOOCs almost completely immune to rigorous investigation with regard to how they function as a means of facilitating learning." Well - no. That's like saying you can't rigorously evaluate a transportation system because everybody's going to a different place - or no place in particular. So it may be better to ask - as Wiley does - "did engaging in a unique set of activities help this person reach the specific outcome(s) they were hoping to achieve when they enrolled in the MOOC?" But again - it's like nobody ever reads my work on knowledge. Asking for specific answers from fuzzy reality is like asking for restaurant recommendations from a raccoon - even if you get an answer, pretty much any sense has been lost in the translation. Today: Total:110 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Don’t Whine, Compete! Posted on February 18, 2012
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness, 2012/02/21

David Wiley makes a good point and it should be clearly understood. Right now, the battle between traditional publishers and open (or free) publishers is over the same product - plain textbooks distributed as text-plus-images. And publishers need to realize that if they truly offer a better product they should innovate and compete. After all, if people can produce something of equal quality for free (or almost nothing), then they shouldn't have to pay for it. Today: Total:77 [Comment] [Direct Link]

2017: RIP, OER?
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness, 2012/02/03

Before we get a little overly exuberant about the ascendence of OERs, writes David Wiley, we need to look at what's happening in the education technology space. "Can you name a single OER project that does assessment at all (and I don’t mean PDFs of quizzes)? Can you name one that does diagnostic assessment or handles mastery in any meaningful way? ... Open education currently has no response to the coming wave of diagnostic, adaptive products coming from the publishers." The crux, says Wiley, is that if it took $100 million to get to where we are in OER, how much will it take to get to that next level?

Of course, the skill set required to make OERs is completely different from the skill set required to make educational software. Thus were is virtually no overlap between the OER community and, say, projects like OSCATS (Open Source Computerized Adaptive Testing System), Concerto, or even the older IRT-Computerized Adaptive Testing, to name a few. So I think the work is being done in the community, but most such work, it forms its own community, and doesn't evolve out of an existing community. But I don't want to downplay Wiley's point - it is absolutely essential that we look at the next generation of opnline learning, and not merely at replicating textbooks online. Today: Total:113 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Apple, iBooks Author, and Open Textbooks: RIP K-12 Publishers as We Know Them
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness, 2012/01/31

David Wiley weighs in on the Apple iBooks announcement from the perspective of someone who has already dipped a toe (and both feet, and most of his body) into the world of online and open publishing. He describes the collapse of an entire industry in just a few paragraphs (which are so delicious they are worth reprinting in full):

"It’s fairly clear from the Jobs biography and the publishers’ behavior that the original plan was: (1) Apple would hire some rockstar PhDs who would write textbooks (2) Apple would own the textbooks, and (3) Apple would give away the books for free in order to sell more iPads.

"This apparently kindled a great fear in the publishers, who consequently agreed to create video- and multimedia-rich, moderately interactive textbooks and sell them for only $14.99.

Now, if video-based, multimedia-rich, interactive textbooks are only worth $14.99 to the big publishers, what are relatively static, text-based books with a few photos worth to them? Answer: The Apple event was the big publishers’ public announcement that they are ceding the traditional textbook market to OER creators and others." Today: Total:107 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Project Management for Instructional Designers
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness, 2011/12/23

David Wiley reports, "Students in our IPT 682: Project Management class put the finishing touches on their new online textbook, Project Management for Instructional Designers." The book is a revision and remix of an original published by Flat World Knowledge, Project Management from Simple to Complex written by Russell Darnall and John Preston. The students replaced the examples with those appropriate to instructional design, added video interviews, and created interactive, mastery-check assessments. Good stuff. That's how this open content thing is supposed to work. Today: Total:111 [Comment] [Direct Link]

On Friction and Sharing
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness, 2011/12/06

You need openness, but you also need friction. There is a 'sweet spot' to connectivity. I learned this first from Francesco Varela in 1992 or so, when he spoke at the University of Alberta hospital. But of course it's something we need to keep learning. As Mike Loukides writes, "To many people, Facebook's 'frictionless' sharing doesn’t enhance sharing; it makes sharing meaningless." Or to put the same point anbother way (relative to, say, my Google+ experience), to the sender it's "frictionless sharing", but to the receiver, it's "spam". Today: Total:109 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Openness + Analytics: Khan Academy Follows CMU OLI Toward Next-Gen OER
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness, 2011/11/17

David Wiley describes how learning analytics are being used to augment open educational resources. "I frequently describe openness and analytics as chocolate and peanut butter," he writes. "Both are tasty individually, but together their synergy is truly remarkable." In this article he summarizes the work by Khan Academy to integrate work researched at Carnegie Mellon. David Hu describes the process: "Conversations with the team led me to conceive of applying machine learning to predict the likelihood of getting the next problem correct, and use that as the basis for a new proficiency model. Basically, if we think you’re more than $t$% likely to get the next problem correct, for some threshold $t$, we’ll say you’re proficient" (note the long comment thread following this post). As Wiley summarizes, "Next generation OER, or whatever you want to call it, is not just about publication. It’s about continuous improvement – that little bundle of philosophies and approaches that has revolutionized just about every large-scale field of endeavor besides education." Today: Total:108 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Introduction to Openness in Education, Winter 2012
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness, 2011/11/16

David Wiley has a new open online course coming up starting in January. He writes, "Rather than teach the same Introduction to Open Education I’ve taught in the past, I’m going to expand out and teach Introduction to Openness in Education. While I’m going to include much more than just OER, I am going to restrict the topics covered to things directly applicable to education. This broader set of topics is what, to me, really constitutes Open Education. However, because people have somehow managed to conflate Open Education with OER, I’m going to try this new title." Today: Total:86 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Learning Analytics: Time Series Visualization
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness, 2011/10/31

Some simple learning analytics - David Wiley discusses and describes a tool that, as shown above, demonstrates the relationship between visits to the course site and grades. The results are pretty much what you would imagine. (It occurs to me that if such data were posted, there would be some student (there's always one) in the class who would visit the site over and over in hopes of obtaining a better grade, thus confusing a necessary condition with a sufficient one). Today: Total:78 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Walking the Virtuous Middle Way
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness, 2011/10/03

Pindham says, in the comments, "I truly wish I knew with whom Mr. Wiley is arguing." I agree; it seems to be he's argung with me, but I do not recognize my own - or anyone else's - words in his criticisms. So let me reiterate: allowing a person to manage their own learning does not prevent them from asking for directions, suggestions or advice, and it certainly does not preclude someone like me from offering it. What, then, do I oppose? The continual characterization of MOOCs as an environment in which no direction or advice is entertained or allowed. The MOOC motto is: we suggest, you decide. I think Wiley actually opposes the "you decide" part of it - because if he's had any experience with the way I conduct myself online, he cannot possibly think I eschew the "we suggest" part of it. I am a fountain of suggestions - what's the good of being educated and experienced otherwise? But you decide. Today: Total:116 [Comment] [Direct Link]

The Virtuous Middle Way
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness, 2011/09/30

David Wiley states his case (and takes a swipe at MOOCs en passant. "People can learn under situations whose structure is completely self-determined," he writes, "however, the purpose of the machinery of education is to improve the efficiency of the learning process... You can’t – with intellectual honestly – claim to oppose structure and disdain learning objectives on the one hand and then aggregate dozens of resources and technologies for students that will help them learn more about a certain topic (including tutorials on how to use them effectively!)." I would just love to see how he cashes out "efficiency" in this context - is it "most learning in least time?" or "biggest bang for smallest buck?" Or what? Moreover, how is it that selecting a bunch of resources presupposes a given learning objective. What's the formula for deducting a learning object from a set of materials? The best sets support many objectives. And that's the point - you can help people find their way around a city, or you can tell them where to go - and if you don't appreciate the difference between those, then you won't appreciate the difference between what we're doing and what Wiley wants us to think we're doing. Today: Total:157 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Mycorrhizal networks and learning
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness, 2011/07/26

David Wiley has posted a thoughtful and deep article on biological models of self-organization. The bulk of the paper is devoted to an examination of three forms of biological communities: mycorrhizal networks, transitory superorganisms, and stable superorganisms. From these Wiley derives "important principles of association that can be applied to group learning, and show how each of the three biological systems provide insights into three types of learning groups": communities of practice, activity groups, and Online Self-Organizing Social Structures (OSOSS). This is great work, persuasively argued, and thoughtfully written.

Of all three forms of organization, Wiley concludes, "There also has to be a legitimate need for the individuals to aggregate in order for associations to function mutualistically. This is important to bear in mind when designing learning activities involving group work. A legitimate need for group activity is essential for a successful outcome. In addition, they type of role taken on by members of the group must be considered. In transitory superorganisms, individuals specialize in function to solve a problem, whereas in stable superorganisms, members sharing a common environment bring in whatever resources they can find for the benefit of the community as a whole." Today: Total:118 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Clarifying My Feeling Toward MOOCs
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness, 2011/06/23

Updating the discussion on MOOCs following the Chronicle article earlier this week: David Wiley reponds to say he is not totally opposed to MOOCs, thinks they're a good idea, but would not recommend them for everyone. "Research has shown time and again that the less well prepared a person is academically, the more supportive structure they need as they begin their intellectual foray into the area." Maybe. But as George Siemens responds, "the process of clarifying confusion and disorientation - sensemaking and wayfinding in complex settings - is the learning." From my perspective, it's hard to see how a person can remain a novice their entire lives. At some point they need to graduate from being incapable of managing their own learning to being capable of it, and the sooner the better. If there is an argument for delaying this, and subjecting them to 15 years - or a lifetime - of scaffolding, I haven't heard it. Today: Total:113 [Comment] [Direct Link]

University Presidents on Irrelevance
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness, 2011/05/16

David Wiley mixes the results of a survey of 1,000 university presidents with some lessons from scripture to argue (reasonably) that there are, and will always will be, some wealthy elite colleges with well-prepared students that have nothing to worry about from new models of education, but that these institutions can have a powerful voice in effecting change. He also remarks, in passing, that "MOOCs and their like are not the answer to higher education's problems" because they require the best and most motivated students, not those who have never been, or who have been and failed. "Don't expect to see them displacing your local community or technical college any time soon." Except that - I would say - the less likely you are to need a specific degree or credential, the more likely a MOOC or MOOC-like approach is already being used to provide training and education. Meanwhile, in brighter news, these university presidents are beginning to see the writing on the wall. "We're staring fundamental change in the face," said Stephen R. Portch, a former chancellor of the University System of Georgia. "Our system is bankrupt, and we've got to have a new model." See also coverage from a new Pew Research Center survey on whether college is worth it. Today: Total:119 [Comment] [Direct Link]

OER, Toothbrushes, and Value
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness, 2011/03/01

David Wiley compares the distribution of OERs to the distribution of toothbrushes. "The analogy highlights the fact that each individual who encounters OER must still choose to engage in actions made possible by this increased capacity." Well maybe. Of course, a comprehensive evaluation program would cost more than the toothbrushes themselves, especially when you have to take into account the many other factors - fluoridation, sugar consumption, genetics - implicated in dental health. You don't have to evaluate everything you do. If the government wants to go evaluate the impact of something, let it focus on the improved economy, health or education it gets for new F35 fighter aircraft. Meanwhile, let OERs be like toothbrushes - we distribute them without a whole lot of fuss and overhead because (a) they're not harmful, (b) they're dirt cheap, and (c) we know that, if people use them, they will be helpful. Today: Total:132 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Openness, Socialism, and Capitalism
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness, 2011/01/27

David Wiley makes the argument that, in certain circumstances, open educational resources and open content are not socialism. Essentially, the argument is that it is central to the principle of capitalism that if you pay for something, you get that thing. In the case of academic content, people pay for it, but currently do not get it - the output is instead transferred to some third party who will in effect charge you again for that content. The adoption of an open resources policy changes that, so that taxpayers actually get what they pay for. So open resources and content function essentially to restore the fundamental principle of capitalism. The argument could use some refinement (we also pay for F-35 fighter jets, but we don't receive those either; they are instead handed over to the Air Force). And ultimately, I think it fails to show that open resources and content are not socialist, as socialism affirms that people should get what they pay for in government. But the point is sound, that open content and resources are not at heart a refutation of capitalism, or at least, a contractarian (as opposed to a libertarian) view of capitalism. Today: Total:76 [Comment] [Direct Link]

The OER Meal Deal
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness, 2010/11/25

David Wiley is having a crisis of openness faith because it turns out that licensing things openly doesn't produce any material benefit. Stephen Carson from MIT's OpenCourseWare wrote, "The costs… of openly licensing are actually the costs of licensing under any terms, including full copyright, and it wouldn't cost any less to do [MIT OCW under] full (C)." And as Wiley notes, none of the "lengthy, detailed list of benefits people receive from MIT OCW" is derived from the use of an open license. People could benefit just the same if the license were full copyright. I suggest (in the comments) that the main benefit is being able to copy the material. Mike Linksvayer says, "Freedom is free, or rather open does not equal open wallet, who knew!"

And Scott Leslie argues, "I for one have not been trying to argue that the open licenses aren't important, but that by putting ALL of the focus on them we overlook exactly this point – that making things open (in all senses of the word) as part of our actual teaching and learning process, and not simply as a 'publishing effort' (which the focus on 'open as only license' seems to promote) is the path to 'sustainability.'... The 'movement,' though, seems more stuck on using licenses as a way to have the 'resources' open but keep the rest of their business unchanged, to have their disruptive cake and eat it too, if you will." Exactly right. Today: Total:90 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Why Bother Being Open?
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness, 2010/11/23

David Wiley has long argued for the benefits of open (as distinct, he notes, from "free"). But he also argues the counterpoint pretty well. He lists a number of benefits identified from OpenCourseWare (the chart alone is worth the visit to this post) and notes, "The use of an open license in no way contributes to people realizing this very lengthy list of benefits or the benefits mentioned in the prose. Everyone one of these benefits would be realized by users even if MIT OCW were published under full copyright... Why are we investing so much in the use of open licenses if open licenses don't enable the benefits we care most about?" For me, it's all about making the content accessible. And accessible, to me, means mostly "non-commercial" and "protected from commercial enclosure". Today: Total:84 [Comment] [Direct Link]

No, Stephen…
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness, 2010/11/17

David Wiley disagrees with my recent post about Creative Commons. He agrees with me that "Creative Commons licenses are band-aids placed on a severely over-reaching and broken copyright system." But he doesn't agree that the effect of Creative Commons licenses is to preserve copyright. "This argument is just silly," he writes, "and is equivalent to saying that 'ultimately, the effect of band-aids is that people will keep having boo-boos.'" Today: Total:86 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Adoption as Linking: A Response to the Stephens
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness, 2010/10/29

There's a lot going on in David Wiley's response to myself and Stephen Carson. I can't attempt a full response here (and a full response isn't needed; we can deal with the issues bitwise over time). But the key argument turns on this conditional: "If linking is going to constitute the primary method of adopting OER, every penny spent on the process of openly licensing material for OCW or OER publication has been wasted."

But in reply:
- there are other benefits to open licensing, such as allowing file sharing, format shifting, and free access;
- it is indeed hard for me to see the value on spending hundreds of thousands of dollars 'openly licensing' educational content;
- my support for 'adoption by linking' does not entail students "successfully navigate a MOOC or something like one";
- the reason why I speak so negatively about the existing university system is that it is abundantly clear that they are not concerned about access.

I also wonder, when the United States is facing its own 40 percent cut to higher education budgets (and it will, oh it will) whether Wiley will be so inclined to depend the way universities have defined their missions and served the public. Today: Total:142 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Openness: From Sharing to Adopting
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness, 2010/10/21

The recent UNESCO discussion on open educational resources turned eventually to the question of adoption of OERs, and as David Wiley suggests in this post, raised the need for people to start adopting them. As Wiley says, "hose leaders who think of themselves as being on the cutting edge of the open education movement need to start walking the walk / becoming living examples / modeling the desired behavior of adopting others' OERs." He is locked into the idea of them being adopted by instructors and merged into course packages. But I still think he has the wrong model.

Here at OLDaily, I have been 'adopting' open educational resources for ten years, linking to a half dozen or so of them every week day, a total of some 16,000 in all. Thousands, hundreds of thousands, of people have used them. No, maybe not instructors. But who cares? Similarly, our Connectivist and PLENK courses have been using OERs, hundreds of them. No, we don't upload them and merge them into prefab course modules. Who needs the grief? We link to them and let learners use them directly. Change the model and you'll see there's no problem with the adoption of OERs at all. Today: Total:122 [Comment] [Direct Link]

OER Recommender Call for Feedback
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness, 2010/09/21

David Wiley passes on a request for feedback from Joel Duffin and Justin Ball of this OER Recommender. "How useful are the recommendations? How easy is it to include them in your site? How easy is it to style their appearance or control the collections from which recommendations are drawn? " Well, I can say one thing: I hate - just hate - search engines that convert my query for 'Downes' into a query for 'down'. Today: Total:89 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Lanier in the NYTM
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness, 2010/09/20

I thought Jaron Lanier's You Are Not A Gadget was quite good, but agree with David Wiley that his New York Times Magazine article is somewhat less so. The premise of his article is the same as in his book: "If we try to represent something digitally when we actually can't, we kill the romance and make some aspect of the human condition newly bland and absurd." But then he supposes that online learning is the representation of "artifacts of our past accomplishments," of "the transfer of the known between generations [being] digitized, analyzed, optimized and bottled or posted on Twitter." But that's not where the field is headed at all - at least, not this little corner of the field. Today: Total:95 [Comment] [Direct Link]

In response to Amy Kinsel
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness, 2010/08/31

Amy Kinsel responds to David Wiley's case for open education. "I know first-hand that education does not consist primarily of the transfer of information from books or professors to students," she writes. "Access to information alone does not equal education." That's why the teacher plays such an important role. "If I were responsible not for 25-30 students per online class but 60 or even 100 students, I would need to change how I teach. I could not assign analytical papers that I'd have to read and comment on, I could not field student questions, I could not read or reply individually to student posts, and I could not ask students to write essay exam questions that told me how well students understood important concepts and were able to apply critical thinking skills."

Wiley responds in this post. He agrees with Kinsel's premise. "Access to a wealth of content, information, books, articles, and other resources is a necessary – but not sufficient – condition for learning." But he notes, "What we must not overlook in this statement is that access to content is a necessary condition for learning." And he agrees there are limiting conditions to teaching online. "Amy and I agree that no faculty member can legally post student work in public. And we agree that students need to feel safe in order for them to engage substantively in conversations and other activities." But where he disagrees - and where I agree with him - is in the contention that only the teacher can be the locus of the analytical and reflective work essential for an education. "I explain to my students that discussions on the open internet can still be framed as formative, learning conversations and not as one's final opinion." Today: Total:104 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Large Collection of My Writings to Date
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness, 2010/07/29

David Wiley provides readers with a full summer of afternoon reading as most of his papers are now available. "My blog contains over 600 posts, but my longer writing typically goes to more academic outlets like journals. Thanks to the help of the amazing folks at BYU's Scholar's Archive (our institutional repository), much of my peer-reviewed work now has a stable home online, too. I've gathered up links to these peer-reviewed articles as well as whitepapers and other long pieces on a new page called Articles." Today: Total:98 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Openness, Radicalism, and Tolerance
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness,

David Wiley gets a hearty "hear hear!" from me for his call for tolerance in the open content community. He asks, "Why must we, the 'open' folks, be in the business of ideological purging like the politicians? If someone has gone out of their way to waive some of the rights guaranteed them under the law so that they can share their creative works – even if that action is to apply a relatively restrictive CC BY-NC-ND to their content – why aren't we praising that? Why aren't we encouraging and cultivating and nurturing that? Why are we instead decreeing from a pretended throne on high, 'Your licensing decision has been weighed in the balance, and has been found wanting. You are not deemed worthy.' Why the condescension? Why the closed-mindedness?" Today: Total:102 [Comment] [Direct Link]

MCPS, Pearson, and Missing an Opportunity
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness,

David Wiley is on point with his criticism of a public school division's sale of its curriculum to a publisher. "Montgomery County Public Schools' shortsighted decision to sell its nationally recognized and taxpayer-funded curriculum to an education publishing company (Re: Global firm to pay Montgomery, Md., schools millions for elementary curriculum; June 9, 2010) will only further exacerbate the education budget crises in the region and throughout the nation." Today: Total:104 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Improving OER Messaging: A Heresy
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness,

David Wiley want to "unify" the messaging around open educational resources (OERs). But he deftly skips over the parts that disunify us, asking (cryptically) "Why shouldn't our messaging in DC focus on the phrase 'public domain'?" when he knows that the answer is "because it elides the whole question of non-commercial licenses, in favour of abolishing them." For me, one of the realizations I had during a talk in Argentina that the concepts of free "gratis" and free "libre" cannot really be separated - that you don't have "libre" without "gratis" (which is what makes a poll tax so pernicious). My own messaging has been consistent and clear throughout, and is crystallized in a single, simple, slogan: Free Learning. Which makes me wonder why Wiley has been so consistently opposed to the concept over the years. Today: Total:106 [Comment] [Direct Link]

A Parody of the Future of Education
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness,

David Wiley offers this "very contrarian" view (that he doesn't really believe) of the future of education. The video is a contribution to Dave Cormier and George Siemens's request for visions of the future (two people who should "never be allowed to work together," he says, lest they lead to the end of the world). "This twisted view of the future of education is completely undesirable, and yet completely possible. What will you do to prevent it from happening?" Today: Total:113 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Open courseware an ‘opportunity' for education publishers
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness,

David Wiley points to the new US $500m OER initiative and notes they will be free for commercial reuse. "We now know that the resources created under the AGI funding will either be licensed CC BY or placed in the public domain. We know this because no CC licenses with SA or NC clauses live up to the promises made in the above statements. And the GFDL has been relegated to the realm of the OPL." Well, we'll see how this works out. The U.S. can provide content infrastructure (I agree with Wiley on this point, that content is infrastructure) free to citizens and corporations if it wants; we'll see how it reacts to what will be the natural impulse of the corporations to block access to the free stuff. Today: Total:105 [Comment] [Direct Link]

The OCWC Value Proposition
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness,

Open Courseware Consortium president Steve Carson responds to David Wiley's post. Included is a link to the orgqanization's strategic plan Call me jaded, but I don't think Wiley's opinion has changed - he posts the Value Proposition to Members" on his blog without comment (just to put things in perspective - for one year's worth of OCWC's $1 million annual budget I could produce OLDaily indefinitely into the future, until I died, by living off the interest (p.s. anybody willing to give me $1 million to do that should feel free to write)). Today: Total:125 [Comment] [Direct Link]

OCWC Raises $350k – Shouldn't I Be Happy?
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness,

David Wiley is wondering whether the Open CourseWare Consortium is good value for money. It just raised $350K from contributing universities. "I have to continue to ask myself... If the hundreds of hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on determining a governance structure, drawing up incorporation documents, establishing a board of directors and traveling to board meetings, forming subcommittees, setting definitions (that exclude projects like Connexions), etc., had instead been spent on publishing more OER, wouldn't the world be a better place?" Today: Total:111 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Johansen Dissertation on Sustainability of OCW Available
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness,

David Wiley says of this work, "is the first piece of empirical work I am aware of that demonstrates clearly that a distance learning program can simultaneously (1) provide a significant public good by publishing opencourseware and (2) be revenue positive while doing it." The dissertation reads like a dissertation, but it's well written, not too long, and has lots of pictures (making me think maybe I should get a PhD for this (how 'bout it David? I'll fly out there and defend it...)). Anyhow, all pettiness aside, congrats to Justin Johansen, who is full value for his newly minted degree. Today: Total:84 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Response to George on Openness
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness,

David Wiley responds to George Siemens's post (see below) calling for more radicalism for open education. It's a moderate response, reminding people to heed to the goals of education, and not the means. In this I agree - open education is not an end in itself, but part of the means by which we reach our goals of an education for all in a just and sharing society. And he argues that, therefore, "the ideal [of openness] needs to mean specific things in specific contexts in order for it to be applied usefully in those contexts." This is true as well - at the margins. But the examples cited by Siemens - Twitter, Blackboard, Facebook - aren't marginal cases, and claims that they are somehow 'open' in a way that is conducive to a free education in a just and sharing society somehow ring hollow. Today: Total:264 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Defining Open
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness,

My frustration with this post, in which David Wiley takes another stab at defining 'open' educational content, is that it refects a prosition that I would have thought untenable after our discussion in Vancouver last fall. But we'll get to see more of that. For now, the comments are where the interesting stuff is happening, with WikiEducator's Wayne Mackintosh bringing to bear the (comercially friendly) Free Cultural Works Definition and Stevan Harnad iterating that "Open Content is not what the global Open Access movement is seeking for their peer-reviewed research articles." My perspective is that each of these, and large swaths of Wiley's own position, represent efforts by corporations to own what we might call free and/or open content, and to make it not free. It's almost as though these authors all have a wilful suspension of belief regarding what corporations would do with content if they could. Today's newsletter ought to serve as a corrective. Today: Total:99 [Comment] [Direct Link]

When Innovation Gets Difficult
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness,

David Wiley comments on innovation in institutions. "Imposing your will on bits and bytes is "easy." Leading an established institution through the valley of the shadow of reform and up the opposite bank toward innovation is "hard." But it is absolutely critical work, and precious few people are in positions that afford them opportunities to provide this kind of leadership." My own take on the reason for this is that the process that select for "leaders" select people who precisely are not innovative. The greatest predictor for promotion in an organization is obedience. Creative thinkers are filtered out early in the process. That's why I still prefer to work outside the organizational framework - life is too short to spend trying to persuade people conditioned to conformity. Today: Total:92 [Comment] [Direct Link]

The LHC and Education
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness,

Educators use technology to try to improve education, but physicists use technology to try to c0ollect data, says David Wiley. Given that the use of technology hasn't really improved education (though it's had a big impact on access), perhaps it would be useful to help in the collection of data. "? After a recent tweet on this topic," he writes, "a number of colleagues accused me of having physics envy. Believe me, you don't have to wish you were a physicist to be disappointed by the quality of data educators have access to." Well perhaps. But would such data be of most use to students? Shouldn't we be devising ways for students to organize and track their own learning? Today: Total:100 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Come, now...
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness,

David Wiley responds to my comment on instructional design. "There are many parenthetical caveats in this statement, but it is still wrong." I state my position more clearly in the comments. Today: Total:99 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Feeling Out of Place
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness,

David Wiley expresses concern that the open education movement is becoming too radicalized. It is tempting to simply dismiss his extreme rhetoric ("people are rallying around and strapping bombs to their chests"?) but this is just the sort of overblown and misrepresentative reaction that made the words "liberal" and "socialism" taboo in the United States. So I don't take them lightly. Nor do I think we should attempt to institutionalize, to "find a way to begin to speak at the power table," as George Siemens suggests. I believe, and have since I began work on these issues in the early 1980s, that access to education is a fundamental right, and that a system that depends for its entire economic model on denying access to education is fundamentally flawed. Today: Total:89 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Opting Out Of Berne
David WileyDavid Wiley, Iterating Toward Opennessiterating toward openness,

David Wiley summarizes and discusses Dave Cormier, expressing a view with which I am in substantial agreement: "Dave finds himself in a quandry - in order to share things with others he first has to claim ownership in order to assert his legal right to share (via an open license). Most of the things we make' are really amalgams of so much that's come before, can we even rightly claim ownership? The current system forces us to if we want to share. The fact that so many of us use an open license so readily just shows how subservient we are to the copyright overlords, and perpetuates and strengthens the very system we believe is so horribly broken." Here is a video recording of Cormier's talk. Today: Total:102 [Comment] [Direct Link]

You Are Replaceable
David WileyDavid Wiley, iterating toward opennessiterating toward openness,

David Wiley observes that the point of a what works data base is that they believe "'well-designed and well-implemented randomized controlled trials discover methods that "work." For everyone. Period. That's the entire point of having a 'trusted source of scientific evidence for what works in education'." The problem with this view - and I certainly agree with Wiley here - is that is assumes "All "individual differences" are meaningless. There is nothing special or unique about you. You are a clone." Which is exactly the wrong way to think about humans. Today: Total:95 [Comment] [Direct Link]


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