A Quick Look at the Future of OER
Stephen Downes, Mar 05, 2019, Open Education Week: 24-Hour Global CC Network Web-a-thon, Online, via Uberconference
This talk looks at the impact of new technologies – specifically, open data, cloud technologies, AI and distributed ledgers (blockchain) – on the future shape of OER – what they will look like, how they will be used, and what skills and knowledge will be needed to develop and use them.
My first reaction was to roll my eyes when I read the title of this paper, because the designation of 'award winning' professors is unscientific at best. I remained sceptical on reading about the "five different roles: facilitator, course designer, content manager, subject matter expert, and mentor," because I know there's a lot more than that. But persisting with it paid off as it turns out to be an interesting and thorough article. There's a good (though not comprehensive) list of competencies (table 4) and an emphasis on the need for quality online instructors to be strong online learners themselves. The authors write, "Our study emphasizes the need for instructors to maintain a strong willingness to learn and grow in their pedagogical and technology skills. This requires seeing oneself as a lifelong learner, allotting time to learn about online teaching and learning, staying abreast of the latest research, theories, and techniques of teaching online, experimenting with technologies, making mistakes and learning from them." Too true.
This study (16 page PDF) explores "the use of social network analysis (SNA) for investigating learning communities specifically, communities of practice (CoP) and community of inquiry (CoI) in higher education online learning (HEOL)." Enough three letter acronyms (TLA). The literature review is a decent if uninspired presentation of SNA and CoI (you'd think publications would find a way to just assume this and save authors from presenting the same summary in paper after paper). The paper selection is the usual unrepresentative sample from commercial publications. The authors find twn whole papers to study and conclude that there's "a very limited number of studies that bring together constructs from SNA and these community-based frameworks." That is probably not true, but how can you refute the search methodology? Image: Saqr, Nors and Nouri, 'Using social network analysis to understand online Problem-Based Learning and predict performance'.
Directly relevant to the talk I gave today (but not read until after I gave it, which figures) this article traces the evolution of scientific papers from dense texts to sequential illustrations (like this vivid reinterpretation of Watts and Strogatz's seminal Nature paper on network theory ) to interactive Jupyter notebooks. Of course, we could trace the same path in learning resources, as we transition from flat text to visual displays to interactive applications.
An English version of this paper is available (21 page PDF) and I thoroughly enjoyed this wide-ranging criticism of connectivism. At the core of the argument is the contention that connectivism dehumanizes education. Victor Pando writes, "The impact of ICT deconstructs some expectations placed upon them for the improvement of teaching-learning processes. This trend has been found little useful: the objectives, the concept, methods, organization, components of such processes avoid the role of the learner as a builder of their own learning or result in spontaneous processes of knowledge apprehension under undefined criteria and probably, a far cry from formal educational ideals."
Project 2021 was a sweeping effort by the University of Texas at Austin to modernize online learning offerings, including fractional credits and the Synchronous Open Online Course (SOOC), in order to extend reach and lower costs. What its designers didn't reckon with is the relentless immobility of the university bureaucracy. Project 2021 was shut down well before its target date, the victim of disappearing funding and changes in university priorities. This is a great inside-baseball article detailing the rise and fall of the project.
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Copyright 2019 Stephen Downes Contact: email@example.comThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.