Sunday, October 29, 2017

Creating, Finding, and using OERs

The end of Week 4 already, and it has been a week of highs and lows. I started the week thinking a lot about last week’s readings and videos. A silly joke stuck in my mind. I tried out a new piece of software and created the joke at the same time. Well, it wasn’t the funniest, but it WAS great fun to create!
One of the courses I put together and teach is Appreciation of eLearning Tools, which is why I am always playing with software. I have worked for Manukau Institute of Technology for 17 years, but I have only been in my current position since February 2017. Since then I have revamped four courses in the Graduate Certificate in Applied eLearning, I have revamped a course in the old Certificate in Tertiary Teaching, and I am currently looking at creating content for two courses in the new NZ certificate in Tertiary Teaching. The one course is Creative Delivery. Finding OER resources is a perfect way to go!

I enjoyed reading David Wiley’s blog (May 2, 2017) On OER Enabled Pedagogy . He claimed that the “the terms “open pedagogy” and “open educational practices” are understood so differently by so many people that there is literally no hope of achieving a useful consensus about the meaning of either of these terms”. I have noticed this in the readings and in the interviews I conducted for my Week 3 video. The use of the term OER-enabled pedagogy seems to be a laudible solution. David defined OER-enabled pedagogy as “ the set of teaching and learning practices only possible or practical when you have permission to engage in the 5R activities”. This definition looks at the teaching and learning strategies using OER that are made possible through the use of OER and how these strategies impact on both learners and teachers. There is a simple logic underlying this pedagogical approach:

  • we learn by “doing” 4
  •  copyright limits what we can do, therefore, it limits the way we learn 4
  •  removing copyright opens up the possibilities and allows us to learn in new ways.
I also acknowledge the logic in the argument from Stephen Downes on Creating, Finding, and Using OERs . He discussed the background of Connectivism and his conversations with George Siemens. The similarity between the 5 Rs and the Connectivist model of learning with aggregation, remix, repurpose, and feed forward, is striking. Stephen argued that the underlying value and importance of OERs is not just in the realm of educational content. He suggested that instead of looking at OERs as merely educational content, we should be seeing them as conversations between learner and teacher, and between the learners themselves, with the ultimate goal of learning.

I have downloaded a copy of the book Open: The Philosophy and Practices that are Revolutionizing Education and Science
, edited by Robert Biswas-Diener and Rajiv Jhangiani. I have enjoyed the chapters of this book that I have read so far. The book’s introduction outlined some ideas on open access to education, something dear to my heart, As a foundation (bridging/enabling) educator for nearly ten years, teaching on a programme with open access, I have thought about these issues intensively. I attended a conference called Success and opportunity in Challenging Times (National Association of Enabling Educators of Australia, NAEEA 2015, held at Western Sydney University). I wrote a review of the discussion which centred on the reach of education, widening participation, and open access.
Western Sydney University, NAEEA, 2015
The book Open was of particular interest as the educators come from a background as researchers in psychology. Prior to qualifying as an educator at all levels of the curriculum, I was a qualified psychologist. I am very aware of the benefit of open research and open data in the area of psychology.
In the final chapter by Rajiv Jhangiani stated “The opposite of open is not closed; the opposite of open is broken”. He backed up his argument by referring to broken academic publishing practices, broken science protocols, and even “chips and cracks” in pedagogical beliefs. As he stated, “A great many educators continue to teach in a manner that assumes their principal role is that of content delivery, despite living in an age of unparalleled access to information” (p.268). He outlined the requirements for making open access, open science, open educational resources, and open pedagogy, the default practices in higher education.
Jhangiani used a delightful analogy, “The pencil metaphor” by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation (licensed under CC BY 4.0.) based an idea from a friend and mentor, a fellow member of the Virtual Worlds Working Group, Lindy Orwin. 
Pencil Metaphor

He stated that instead of approaching open evangelism as disparate factions, we should be united in a recognition and response to the wood (the audience), i.e. the mainstream who would follow open practice if it was required or they could see the benefits of doing so. I like to see myself as a sharp one, following the leaders, in this care George and David!

So, why do I mention lows for the week? One low stands out so clearly for me. If you want to find out what I did, check out my little video (a direct export from PowerPoint 2016, so nothing flash!) I cannot mention it again – if you want the facts, check out the video!

The highs? Well, using the information provided in the course material, I have been searching for resources using the links provided. What a wealth of material! I had not even realised that the Google Advanced Search would sort by usage rights. The OER Commons and the Creative Commons search – wonderful! My only problem now is selecting from the huge amount of OER resources available. I am so looking forward to the Week 6 challenge! I want to use, create, adapt, and contribute towards OER.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The 5R's, CC, and Open Licensing

Another challenging week of reading and video consumption. I had not realised how complicated issues of copyright and licenses with varying amounts of permissions could be. It is important information to be able to learn, remember, and use.

David Wiley’s presentation at LCCOER Defining OER was most illuminating. David used a lot of metaphor and examples and made the content so clear and entertaining. He spoke about education as sharing. In fact, he went as far as to say that “all the things that are actually truly educative about our work are all acts of sharing, full stop.” Yes, I agree 100%. That is what drew me to Open Education. Sharing is the key.

When competing my OER Evangelism video, I was impressed by Alby Fitisemanu also saying that education is not selfish… that education is sharing. It is so true. I have always loved teaching and I have always been a teacher surrounded by love. I truly have always loved my students. I have shared myself, shared my ideas, shared my insights, and been the recipient of so much knowledge that my students have shared with me. I have so many wonderful tributes from students. I will share two briefly. Selena mentioned I had, “unwavering support, passion and commitment to education, and to the students of South Auckland.” And Rebecca stated, “She has shown me how to be gentle towards others and myself and when I'm down, to brush myself off and get back on the horse and start again.”
Where's Wally? Or, should I say Where's Merle?

In New Zealand the Māori and Pasifika peoples have cultures of sharing, and, thankfully, this has had an impact on the beliefs and practices of educators. The most collaborative and sharing group of educators I have ever met, are those I have had the pleasure of working with in virtual worlds since 2008. My first presentation at my first conference was about the collaborative nature of virtual world education (eFest, 2009).
Meeting of the Virtual Worlds Working Group

David went on to tell the story of a beautiful land with meadows, flowers and bees that didn’t sting. Travel across this beautiful land was made possible by the invention on the automobile and roads. A law was passed that whatever “whiz-bang” gadget was used, it had to stay on the roads. With the exciting development of the airplane, the law to stay on the roads became stifling and unproductive. In this little analogy, copyright is the airplane of education. David highlighted the fact that all the powerful things the Internet makes possible are harnessed and even prohibited by copyright. David’s solution: “So the answer to how do we get this plane in the air is open educational resources.” It certainly makes sense.
Get this plane in the air with OER

The 5 R’s: retain, reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute (the permissions described by the Creative Commons license system – for more explanation see the previous post, dated 14th October, Understanding the Commons or check out the delightful little video from Creative Commons called Wanna Work Together). Retain is the most basic permission because if you do not have the resource in hand, you cannot reuse, revise, remix, or redistribute it!

The idea of faux-pen (fake open) was mentioned in David’s presentation. I love this term!!!!! It immediately brought to mind my first experiences using Canvas, at the start of this year. I had been a power user in BlackBoard for 16 years. At the end of 2016, with only a couple of month’s warning, the institution switched from BlackBoard to Canvas. In my first Canvas training session, I was elated seeing the long, long list of Apps that could be used in Canvas. I was going to have fun!!!

As the months went on, I discovered how few apps were really available! I even asked for a list of freely accessible apps, and after receiving a list of over a hundred, narrowed it down to 24 I wanted to investigate for the purposes of preparing my new course, Appreciation of eLearning Tools. After hours of disappointments, I found four that I could use. I had an equally frustrating time hunting down free online apps. They were free for a time and then required payment.

Stephen Downes mentioned another related problem with the CC Licensing system. The dichotomy of whether open can be commercial or whether it should be non-commercial. Could legal, commercial use of a CC Licensed product cause it to be labelled as faux-pen?

One of the most inspirational parts of David’s presentation was in his description of the 3 R’s relating to the adoption of an OE resource: replace, realign, and rethink. David used a delightful analogy of going to a buffet. A wide array of dishes is available. You know you like beef and broccoli, so you only eat the beef and broccoli. What a shame to not try the other available delicacies. To replace or substitute is fine, but there is more to a buffet than beef and broccoli.
Whi limit yourself to beef and broccoli?

Realign refers to making sure that whatever replacement you choose, satisfies the Learning Objectives of the course you are delivering. David suggests using the Learning Objectives or Learning Outcomes as the Table of Contents for an OE replacement text. David uses another analogy of selecting the furnishings in a living room. The objectives or outcomes are the items in the living room. As an educator, you can use the range of OERs available as a catalogue of possible furnishings. And then Rethink takes the OER adoption further into decisions based on Open Learning Pedagogies.
OERs online - your catalogue of furnishings

I was very motivated and excited to read about renewable assignments. I am busy preparing course material for a Certificate in Tertiary Teaching course in Creative Delivery. David’s ideas for the Kung Fu assignment, the student adapted and edited book on Project Management, and the idea of the project management certified professional certificate, to motivate students to collect their own exam preparation content in an OER, are all brilliant! Great ideas from a great mind!

Norman Bier, from Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative, spoke (very quickly) about One Superpower of OER. This superpower refers to the ability of OER to tackle the Gordian Knot, the seemingly intractable and complicated issue of institutional creation, use, and ownership. OER can provide a solution that addresses the needs of the educators, their institutions, and their legal departments and associated organisations.
Representing the Tertiary Teaching Unit

Saturday, October 21, 2017

OER Evangelism

This week we were charged with engaging in OER Evangelism on my campus. Well, I am not a very social person and generally keep to myself and my students. This week I went out of my way to be social! 😊 I made appointments with a number of Senior Lecturers and Management, including our Chief Executive, Gus Gilmore. It was an interesting experience. I interviewed really good people who truly believe in Open Education.

I must admit to a panic attack every time I was on my way to interview a member of the Executive! I felt my heart beat through my ears as I rounded the corner of C Block! But, our Chief Executive, Gus Gilmore, and the Director of External Relations, Stuart Middleton, were charming, helpful, and generous of their time and expertise. Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, our new Deputy Chief Executive Pasifika and former cabinet minister, made the trip to the offices of the Tertiary Teaching Unit, where I work! He was the epitome of kindness.

I even felt nervous interviewing people I know and love dearly! Our Kaiārahi Ako, Luana Te Hire, was no exception. But, what a wonderful and knowledgeable woman, with a huge heart of gold. Dr Clive Cornford, Associate Dean of the Faculty of Consumer Services and Melanie Wong, the Research Coordinator for our faculty, were welcoming and pleasant. We actually chatted far longer than I anticipated! I cannot miss mentioning Jo and Alby, my two workmates, and exceptional people in every way.

I must admit to leaving one interview in a rather emotional state. I was so touched by the things I heard from Stuart Middleton, our Director of External Relations. I wish I could have included the whole interview, but the video would have doubled in length. I had no idea what a pioneer he has been in New Zealand in Open Education. Winning a NZ Media Award, way back in 2002, speaks to the impact he has made on education and in our local community.

Well, I hope someone takes the time to go through my video. It is far from professional, but it comes from the heart. It allows you an insight into the beliefs and practices of a small institution in South Auckland, New Zealand, an area renowned for its mixed ethnic population and low socio-economic status. Needless to say, given the environment in which we live and work, Open Education is seen to be of vital importance.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Understanding the Commons

This week has been interesting yet challenging. Articles on copyright, the commons, and open access, seem so full of legalese and complicated reasoning. Neither are my strong points! Yet, because I believe in open access to education, I waded through the difficult concepts. I came away with a few pertinent points that have further persuaded me towards an open access perspective.

The Tragedy of the Commons seems like a tragic viewpoint! The Tragedy of the Commons is the argument that if a resource is shared and everyone has a right to use that resource, it will be overconsumed and ruined. David Bollier counter-argues that it is incorrect to assume that people cannot manage a shared resource fairly and for everyone's betterment. This seems so true of education. How could you possibly over-consume education? Open access to education would encourage the open interchange of ideas.

What then would happen if we moved towards open access to education? I believe we would have the opportunity to share in the development of knowledge, a more egalitarian distribution of information. As information/education is shared, it becomes more accessible. There are huge global problems that we will not be able to solve without research across disciplines, across institutional boundaries, and even across nations. Restrictions inhibit creativity and openness facilitates innovation.

In the YouTube video entitled How Does the Commons Work, it was stated clearly, “Bollier says that the people who argue that the commons is impossible to manage make the fundamental mistake of treating the commons as a thing with those selfish commons destroying people existing outside of it. But the commons isn't a thing, it's a process that involves everyone in the community working to share and distribute it fairly.”

While considering the idea of commoning, I reflected on my own experience with producing open access resources. I realised I actually did not understand a Creative Commons license well at all. I knew that the resources were open access, but my understanding did not stretch to what was or was not permitted by the licenses I had worked with! I did a little investigating. I learned a lot from a YouTube video from Video Magazine. This video is shown below. The example of Zac and his use of Kiri’s photo of a kiwi, was simple and clear.

I then decided to investigate my own resources to find out more about the type of CC license issued. Firstly, I looked into the Second Life Education NZ (SLENZ) Project. I checked out the Literature Review and found the license information.
SLENZ Literature Review

SLENZ Lit Review Copyright statement
I also examined the Milestone Reports and found the same thing.
Milestone Report Copyright statement
I even checked our resources inside Second Life and found the hover script above the builds with the same – Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0. 
The license information hovers above the packaged build in SL
The license information hovers above the packaged build in SL

So, what does that mean? Thanks to my research I found out anyone can share (copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format), or adapt (remix, transform, or build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially). These rights are given as long as the person who makes use of the resource provides attribution (i.e. appropriate credit, a link to the license, and indicates if any changes have been made). I think this is as it should be! I discovered that all my online resources had the exact same Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0.

My research report on my Kitely literacy game, The Mythical World of Hīnātore, is available on the Ako Aotearoa website. Once again, Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 3.0. I love being instrumental in sharing my research, my knowledge, and my abilities.
Ako Licensing statement

The Mythical World of Hīnātore

Sunday, October 8, 2017

An Introductory Reflection on Open Learning

This has been an interesting week. I have just started a new MOOC on an Introduction to Open Learning with George Siemens and David Wiley. My first challenge was to think about why Open Education matters. This video is my reflection on this topic.