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iterating toward openness



celebrating 20 years of open content and looking forward - pragmatism before zeal



Updated: 2018-02-25T05:32:31Z

 



How do we talk about “open” in the context of courseware?

2018-02-21T21:43:04Z

In an article from a few years ago, Michael Feldstein describes courseware as the combination of (1) content, (2) platform, and (3) design (see the graphic at the bottom of the article.) In another article, he includes examples of “courseware” ranging from Cengage MindTap and Pearson CourseConnect to Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative and Lumen’s Waymaker. Much … Continue reading How do we talk about “open” in the context of courseware?In an article from a few years ago, Michael Feldstein describes courseware as the combination of (1) content, (2) platform, and (3) design (see the graphic at the bottom of the article.) In another article, he includes examples of “courseware” ranging from Cengage MindTap and Pearson CourseConnect to Carnegie Mellon’s Open Learning Initiative and Lumen’s Waymaker. Much has happened in the courseware space since he wrote these articles, but Michael’s multi-part definition still provides a useful framework for thinking about how the idea of “open” pertains to the idea of “courseware”. We need help thinking about open in the context of courseware because the question, “Is [insert specific courseware offering] ‘open’?” is not a question we know how to answer today. And our inability to answer this question in a coherent way is causing some consternation among parts of the open education community right now. I will exclude design, the third component of Michael’s definition, from the discussion that follows and explain why at the end.* We know how to talk about the component parts of courseware with regard to open. When we ask whether or not content is open, we mean is it openly licensed (is it OER)? When we ask whether or not a software platform is open, we mean is it openly licensed (is it open source)? It is worth pausing to appreciate that content licensing and platform licensing are completely independent of one another. Putting All Rights Reserved content (e.g., from Pearson) in an open source platform (e.g., Moodle) does not convert it to OER – the content continues to be All Rights Reserved. Likewise, putting OER (e.g., from Lumen) in a proprietary platform (e.g., Blackboard) does not convert it to proprietary content – the content continues to be OER. Given that content and platform can be licensed independently but are combined in courseware, the specific question many are asking now is, “How do we talk about courseware that integrates open content into a proprietary platform?” We know how to talk about them separately – open content and proprietary platform – but how do we characterize the courseware as a whole with regard to “open”?  This question applies to CMU’s Open Learning Initiative and Lumen’s Waymaker, as well as more recent courseware offerings from commercial publishers that incorporate OER. (Unfortunately, the somewhat obvious phrase “open courseware” was equated with static content like PDFs in the popular imagination over a decade ago. Attempting to revive it here would only add to the confusion.) From a practical perspective, the best approach may actually be to not treat courseware as a single entity when we discuss it in the context of open. Given how hard it is just to help people understand what OER are, the prospects for getting faculty to think about open in the more nuanced way required by the interaction of content licensing and platform licensing seem poor. Perhaps our best, most pragmatic path forward is to help people understand that courseware is a combination of content and platform, and teach them to ask about the licensing of the content and the licensing of the platform separately. (Is the content OER? Is the platform open source?) For the time being, the majority of answers will be “the content is OER and the platform is proprietary”. I think there are four important implications of taking an approach that explicitly calls out the [...]



Open Doesn’t Guarantee Outcomes: It Creates Opportunity

2018-02-13T17:32:45Z

It’s a real compliment to be compared to John Perry Barlow, even if it’s because someone is claiming you’re both wrong in the same way. Nate’s post this week compares statements by JPB and me, and finds them both too simplistic in their optimism. He writes: To me, both cyberspace and OER are tools that I … Continue reading Open Doesn’t Guarantee Outcomes: It Creates OpportunityIt’s a real compliment to be compared to John Perry Barlow, even if it’s because someone is claiming you’re both wrong in the same way. Nate’s post this week compares statements by JPB and me, and finds them both too simplistic in their optimism. He writes: To me, both cyberspace and OER are tools that I think can be used to generate positive outcomes, but can also (very clearly I think) be used to generate outcomes I don’t support, like political polarization or business models that sell us back our experiences rather than proprietary content. While cyberspace and OER both have inherent structural characteristics, none of those characteristics guarantee any specific social outcome. To argue otherwise would require a kind of technological determinism, right? So in the same way I might look askance at the idea of cyberspace healing a fragmented society, I might also question whether an intensifying adoption of OER in commercial educational publishers is necessarily a good thing for education. The Internet might spread and OER may “win” (to paraphrase David), but neither necessarily guarantees the outcomes I want to see. Nate is absolutely right. Adopting an open approach does not guarantee the positive outcomes we want in education, in our society, or anywhere else. A few recent examples may help to prove this point, of which I am all too keenly aware: It wasn’t that long ago that we published a paper showing that OER print on demand can end up costing more than just buying commercial textbooks. (We should update that study for a world in which a printed OpenStax math textbook costs $58 and aligned online homework costs $23 from WebAssign or $30 from XYZ or $40 from Knewton.) Replacing your old textbook with OER does not guarantee that you save $100. It wasn’t that long ago that we published another paper showing that, even when you openly license learning materials and place them in a relatively easy to use editing environment, faculty engage in disappointingly little revise and remix activity.  Replacing your old textbook with OER does not guarantee localized, relevant teaching materials. It wasn’t that long ago that we saw the first good research demonstrating that OER adoption can have negative impacts on student learning, which now sits alongside several studies showing no difference in student learning when faculty adopt OER. Replacing your old textbook with OER does not guarantee better learning results for students. I could go on. Suffice it to say that there are countless ways OER creation, adoption, and maintenance can go wrong. In 20 years of working on open content projects ranging in size from my own small graduate classes to working with hundreds of faculty spread across the US in both grant-funded and fee-for-service partnerships, I’ve personally experienced most of the ways things can go wrong with OER (and published about many of them). Openly licensing educational resources provides no guarantees for student learning. To Nate’s point about the JPB quote, an open internet provides no guarantees for society. Generally speaking, open provides no guarantees whatsoever. That’s not what open does. Open creates opportunity. Open makes things possible. Open provides permissions and removes obstacles. Open creates opportunity. But I feel rather strongly that creating opportunity is not enough. I believe our collective two-fold task is to (1) advance the cause of open – the cause of creating greater opportunity – and (2) simultaneously work to ensure that people and organizations are able [...]



Thinking About Impact

2018-02-09T20:18:00Z

In the spirit of iterating toward openness, I’ve recently had the opportunity to revisit some of my earlier thinking about how to measure the impact of OER-related work. Some of this seemed interesting enough that I thought I would share. I have previously written about metrics I call the educational golden ratio and the OER … Continue reading Thinking About ImpactIn the spirit of iterating toward openness, I’ve recently had the opportunity to revisit some of my earlier thinking about how to measure the impact of OER-related work. Some of this seemed interesting enough that I thought I would share. I have previously written about metrics I call the educational golden ratio and the OER impact factor. These are ways of thinking about the learning-related return on investment students get from their purchases of learning materials. Here’s an example from the 2014 essay linked above: For example, beginning in 2011 [Lumen Learning] helped a college in the northeast move their College Algebra course away from a $180 MyMathLab bundle to an open textbook, open videos, and a hosted and supported version of MyOpenMath – an open source platform for providing online, interactive homework practice. In Spring Semester 2011, when every section of the course used the $180 bundle, 48.4% of students passed the course. In Fall Semester 2013, after all sections of the course had transitioned to the OER and open source practice system (which Lumen Learning hosts and supports for $5 per student, paid by institutions and not students, for institutions who don’t want to host it themselves), the percentage of students passing the course grew to 68.9%. So for a scenario like this one, the two ratios would be: Old model: rg = (48.4% pass rate) / ($180 required textbook cost) = 0.27 percent passing per required textbook dollar New model: rg = (68.9% pass rate) / ($5 required textbook cost) = 13.78 percent passing per required textbook dollar The golden ratio provides a simple, intuitive way to talk about the overall impact of an educational product. It also provides a similarly straightforward way to compare the overall impact of two products…. We can also calculate an “OER impact factor” which I’ll designate w (omega for open) – the overall effect of switching from publisher materials to OER – by dividing the golden ratio for OER by the golden ratio for the previously used publisher materials: w = 13.78 / 0.27 = 51.03 I think this would be an extremely interesting metric for open initiatives to explore and report. I discussed a similar issue – why we should think about the cost of materials in addition to thinking about the degree to which they support student learning – in a brief essay about how the FDA thinks about the difference between efficacy (which is measured in the lab) and effectiveness (which is measured in the real world). In that essay, I suggested that we should think of effectiveness as effectiveness = efficacy x affordability because when you can’t afford a textbook or online homework system (or a cancer treatment), it doesn’t matter how well it works in the lab. Its practical effect is to be perfectly ineffective. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, but I find my thinking moving beyond the “learning outcomes per dollar” impact of a set of learning materials and increasingly including thoughts about how you would measure the impact of a person or organization. As I reflect back on 20 years of work in open education, sincerely hoping to be blessed with another 20 years to work in the field, I guess it’s natural to ask questions about the kind and scale of impact one is having. Is this the kind of difference I want to be making? Am I making as much of a difference as I hoped to make? As I’ve tried to think about the simplest possible model for answering this question in my personal context (keep in mind that your context is different and you will want to develop a [...]



Repost: How I coined the term ‘open source’

2018-02-05T15:42:35Z

I’m not the only one celebrating the 20th anniversary of open source and open content this year. Over the weekend Christine Peterson published an essay on opensource.com describing the emergence of the ideas behind “open source software” and how she coined the name twenty years ago. Her essay is nice companion to the one I recently posted … Continue reading Repost: How I coined the term ‘open source’I’m not the only one celebrating the 20th anniversary of open source and open content this year. Over the weekend Christine Peterson published an essay on opensource.com describing the emergence of the ideas behind “open source software” and how she coined the name twenty years ago. Her essay is nice companion to the one I recently posted about the emergence of the ideas behind “open content” and how I coined that name a few months later in 1998. How I coined the term ‘open source’ by Christine Peterson, which I’ve reposted below, is licensed CC BY-SA. In a few days, on February 3, the 20th anniversary of the introduction of the term “open source software” is upon us. As open source software grows in popularity and powers some of the most robust and important innovations of our time, we reflect on its rise to prominence. I am the originator of the term “open source software” and came up with it while executive director at Foresight Institute. Not a software developer like the rest, I thank Linux programmer Todd Anderson for supporting the term and proposing it to the group. This is my account of how I came up with it, how it was proposed, and the subsequent reactions. Of course, there are a number of accounts of the coining of the term, for example by Eric Raymond and Richard Stallman, yet this is mine, written on January 2, 2006. It has never been published, until today. The introduction of the term “open source software” was a deliberate effort to make this field of endeavor more understandable to newcomers and to business, which was viewed as necessary to its spread to a broader community of users. The problem with the main earlier label, “free software,” was not its political connotations, but that—to newcomers—its seeming focus on price is distracting. A term was needed that focuses on the key issue of source code and that does not immediately confuse those new to the concept. The first term that came along at the right time and fulfilled these requirements was rapidly adopted: open source. This term had long been used in an “intelligence” (i.e., spying) context, but to my knowledge, use of the term with respect to software prior to 1998 has not been confirmed. The account below describes how the term open source software caught on and became the name of both an industry and a movement. Meetings on computer security In late 1997, weekly meetings were being held at Foresight Institute to discuss computer security. Foresight is a nonprofit think tank focused on nanotechnology and artificial intelligence, and software security is regarded as central to the reliability and security of both. We had identified free software as a promising approach to improving software security and reliability and were looking for ways to promote it. Interest in free software was starting to grow outside the programming community, and it was increasingly clear that an opportunity was coming to change the world. However, just how to do this was unclear, and we were groping for strategies. At these meetings, we discussed the need for a new term due to the confusion factor. The argument was as follows: those new to the term “free software” assume it is referring to the price. Oldtimers must then launch into an explanation, usually given as follows: “We mean free as in freedom, not free as in beer.” At this point, a discussion on software has turned into one about the price of an alcoholic beve[...]



Reflections on 20 Years of Open Content: Lessons from Open Source

2018-02-02T15:42:25Z

This essay is crossposted from the #OER18 website. 2018 marks the 20th anniversary of open content. I’ll be writing a range of essays this year reflecting on two decades of work toward opening the core intellectual infrastructure of education (textbooks and other educational materials, assessments, and outcomes / objectives / competency statements) in order to … Continue reading Reflections on 20 Years of Open Content: Lessons from Open SourceThis essay is crossposted from the #OER18 website. 2018 marks the 20th anniversary of open content. I’ll be writing a range of essays this year reflecting on two decades of work toward opening the core intellectual infrastructure of education (textbooks and other educational materials, assessments, and outcomes / objectives / competency statements) in order to increase access to and improve the effectiveness of education. This post, written as part of my agreement to keynote #OER18 later this spring, provides some historical context for the emergence of open content. I don’t make any claim to objectivity here – this history is written wholly from my personal point of view. You may have seen it differently. That is the nature of history. In late 1997 and early 1998, the free software movement had two problems that were impeding its growth. First, the way its proponents talked about free software came across as incredibly judgmental and holier-than-thou. ‘Free software is about freedom, perhaps humanity’s grandest ideal, and if you don’t support free software it’s because you don’t sufficiently love and appreciate freedom.’ If you didn’t support free software it was due to your personal moral shortcomings. The second obstacle standing in the way of the broad adoption of free software was the word “free”. Many free software advocates understood that without adoption and use by business and industry, free software would never live up to its transformative potential. However, the word “free” was extremely confusing and, in fact, downright scary to businesses. Confusion over the meaning of the word “free” (e.g., ‘if my company uses programs licensed as free software, does that mean I can’t charge customers?’) was the original fear, uncertainty, and doubt that kept companies from engaging in this work. In early 1998, a group of advocates got together for a strategy meeting to discuss how they could advance the cause of free software. The strategy they eventually agreed to adopt addressed both of the problems identified above. They would coin a new name – “open source software” – that would sidestep the confusion caused by the word “free”. They would focus their messaging on the pragmatic benefits of collaboration, peer review, and the other virtues of working with open source. And they would freely acknowledge that there were times when open sourcing your software wasn’t the best choice that could be made. In the mid 1990s I created what we would now call a small internet startup in Huntington, WV with several friends. We did everything from trainings on how to use the internet for journalists and other interested people in the community, to developing websites for people, companies, and cities, to home internet installations in partnership with a local ISP, to installing a dial-in server for the county school board so teachers could connect to the internet from home for free. I was a big fan of free software, if not a big fan of the movement. In 1996 we closed the company and I went to work for Marshall University, where I was completing my undergraduate degree in music, as its first webmaster. This is where I first started to imagine what the internet could do for education, first used the internet in my own teaching (as an adjunct in CS), and first understood the power of the nonrivalrous nature of digital resourc[...]



Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

2018-01-22T20:43:01Z

2018 is an important year for me professionally. I don’t know why anniversaries divisible by 5 with no remainder feel more important than others, but for some reason they do. I’m going to do some writing this year in which I reflect on some of these anniversaries. For me, 2018 marks: 25 years since I … Continue reading Time Flies When You’re Having Fun2018 is an important year for me professionally. I don’t know why anniversaries divisible by 5 with no remainder feel more important than others, but for some reason they do. I’m going to do some writing this year in which I reflect on some of these anniversaries. For me, 2018 marks: 25 years since I made my first webpage. 20 years since I started grad school. 20 years since I started blogging. 20 years since I coined the term “open content”, created the first open source style license for content (as opposed to software), and started advocating for open education. Later this week I’ll publish a longer post looking back at the first five years of this work, together with some lessons learned, as part of the lead up to my keynote at #OER18. 15 years since I founded the OpenEd Conference. 10 years since the publication of the Cape Town Declaration, which a couple dozen of us authored. See the new CPT+10 recommendations, to which I also contributed. Perhaps the thing that has surprised me most since I started reflecting on professional anniversaries divisible by 5 this year is that it’s 20 years since I started blogging. That makes me feel old. I had been online for several years before I started blogging. First at www.marshall.edu/~wiley6 in 1994, and insp.com (my very first internet startup, called InterSpec) in 1995, and at davidwiley.com after Elaine bought me the domain name for Christmas in 1996. (InterSpec even had a special page for people with Netscape 2.0 and Java!) I started writing and posting short essays as a way of advancing my own understanding and hopefully generating some discussion during my first year of grad school (1998). I manually added links to each essay to the front page of my personal website, wiley.byu.edu (then  wiley.ed.usu.edu after I graduated). I just had a good laugh re-reading my very first blog post. This rambling post explores the role of context in the reusability of learning objects and predates my formulation of the reusability paradox. It should win some kind of first-year grad student writing award, as it manages to mention Ted Nelson, fractals, nebulae, and standards-compliant metadata in three short pages. Two years later I would write my own rebuttal, titled Getting axiomatic about learning objects: In which it is demonstrated that the automated assembly of certain types of learning objects is not possible, and by-hand assembly of learning objects is legitimized. Ah… to be a student again. Parenthetically, remember when people had personal webpages? Here’s what the homepage of davidwiley.com looked like back in 1998. Remember image maps?!? The wiley.byu.edu homepage prominently featured this picture taken at a conference dinner (luau!) by Brandon Muramatsu, who managed to shut me up for just a moment by stuffing a napkin in my mouth. For some reason, we both thought this photo was hysterical. The homepage of wiley.ed.usu.edu back in 2001 shows I had fully entered my minimalist homepage phase by that point: Then Brian Lamb introduced me to the wonders of RSS and Movable Type. I used it for  blogging (at reusability.org/blogs/david/) for a few years until Movable Type changed their license: That’s when I moved to WordPress, importing all my old blog posts into a new WordPress site at opencontent.org/blog/. I’ve been blogging here ever since. That was 1267 blog posts ago. (The earlier writing from before my move to Movable Type is archived here.) I will never be able to express how grateful I am [...]



Launching the Creative Commons Certificate (Beta)

2018-01-08T16:36:41Z

Today is one of those liminal days when you come to the end of something you’ve worked on for what feels like forever, and it magically transforms into the beginning of something new, and you can still see both sides of it. We began work on the Creative Commons Certificates two years ago. Collectively, we’ve … Continue reading Launching the Creative Commons Certificate (Beta)Today is one of those liminal days when you come to the end of something you’ve worked on for what feels like forever, and it magically transforms into the beginning of something new, and you can still see both sides of it. We began work on the Creative Commons Certificates two years ago. Collectively, we’ve spent hundreds of hours, sometimes working face to face but most often working remotely, designing and redesigning everything from the course outcomes to the structure of the course content to the assessment approach to the underlying technology. We talked about the certificate at conferences and gathered feedback. We offered one day versions of individual units from the course as face to face workshops and gathered feedback. We went back and refined the designs, content, and assessments again. And again. And again. This morning, two years later, we kicked off the first official beta offering of the certification courses – a 25 person cohort in the Creative Commons Certificate for Educators course and another 25 person cohort in the Creative Commons Certificate for Librarians course. The courses are in beta, inasmuch as we know there are still improvements that need to be made. But the courses are also official, inasmuch as these 50 individuals are the first to have the opportunity to be formally certified. I’m both thrilled and terrified to be teaching both courses. None of this would have been possible without an incredible group of people. The core cert development team included Paul Stacey, Alan Levine, Kelsey Wiens, Kamil Sliwowski, Olga Belikov, Sarah Pearson, and me. Creative Commons staff also made important contributions to the work, including Eric Steuer, Jennie Rose Halperin, Cable Green, Rob Myers, Diane Peters, Timothy Vollmer, Jane Park, Claudio Ruiz, Mari Moreshead, and Ryan Merkley. Don’t get me wrong – there’s still plenty of work to do. We anticipate making many improvements to the courses between now and when they’re launched to the public at the CC Summit this April (2018). At that time we’ll also openly share all the course content under a CC BY license. But today, as students login to the course and begin posting introductions, I (and many others) feel a deep sense of satisfaction at achieving this milestone. Congratulations to everyone involved! [...]



OER, Capability, and Opportunity

2017-12-28T21:04:02Z

Stephen makes a great point in today’s OLDaily that I want to amplify and expand briefly here. Many of us believe that education is an incredibly powerful tool in the fight to increase equity, and this is a primary motivation for our participation in the open education movement. The shared core of the work we … Continue reading OER, Capability, and Opportunity

Stephen makes a great point in today’s OLDaily that I want to amplify and expand briefly here.

Many of us believe that education is an incredibly powerful tool in the fight to increase equity, and this is a primary motivation for our participation in the open education movement. The shared core of the work we do in open education is increasing access to educational opportunity – with the long-term goal of making access to that opportunity truly universal – by licensing educational resources in ways that make them free and 5R-able. That is, by creating, sharing, and improving OER.

However.

Providing people with access to opportunity does not magically make them capable of taking advantage of that opportunity. When you work three jobs and still fail to make ends meet, there is little time or energy left in your day to take advantage of educational opportunities – even when they are free and appropriately localized. When you are chronically ill and don’t have access to healthcare, there is little strength or energy left in your day to take advantage of educational opportunities – even when they are free and appropriately localized.

In general, without a stable basic needs floor to stand on you aren’t capable of benefitting from access to educational opportunity – including those opportunities made possible by our collective efforts in open education. And unfortunately, as long as basic needs problems persist, those whose basic needs are not being met will be essentially incapable of taking advantage of the opportunities created by OER, while those whose basic needs are being met will be capable of taking advantage of those opportunities. Consequently, while basic needs issues persist, OER will likely expand some of the gaps we intend for it to shrink. 

Does this mean we should stop working in open education? No! It means we need to work harder! But it also means that those of us whose work in open education is motivated by a desire to increase equity have common cause with those working on problems relating to homelessness, hunger, healthcare, and other basic needs issues. It means the people focused on basic needs issues are, among other things, working to increase people’s capacity to take advantage of the very opportunities we are working to create with OER. It means that when given the opportunity, we should support their work at the local, state, federal, and international levels. It means that we should also expect their support for our work when they have the opportunity to provide it. It means our community is much larger than we generally realize. It means that we’re in this together – and that “we” is many more hands and hearts and minds than we often appreciate. That’s a happy thought.

In 2018, as we continue the difficult but rewarding work of learning how to work together (“you can’t walk arm in arm without occasionally stepping on each others’ toes”), I look forward to strengthening existing friendships, making new friends, and making more progress toward our shared goals. I hope you do, too.




Improving the OpenEd Conference – Survey and Interview Highlights and Data

2017-12-18T22:18:49Z

Two months ago I invited people to respond to a survey regarding the Open Education Conference and how it can be improved. 2,237 people received the invitation by email, and more saw the invitation on Twitter and here on the blog. 139 people responded to the survey, meaning the response rate was (at most) 6.2%. 120 of those … Continue reading Improving the OpenEd Conference – Survey and Interview Highlights and DataTwo months ago I invited people to respond to a survey regarding the Open Education Conference and how it can be improved. 2,237 people received the invitation by email, and more saw the invitation on Twitter and here on the blog. 139 people responded to the survey, meaning the response rate was (at most) 6.2%. 120 of those respondents chose to license their survey responses cc0 and you can grab their responses here to read, analyze, and blog about. 35 people volunteered to have a phone or Skype conversation about OpenEd (with a new one coming in just last week). 24 replied to an email asking them to sign up for a time to talk. I’ve had 22 of those conversations so far and hope to have more of them. (I will not be sharing the detailed notes from these conversations.) I promised to share with the community what I learned from the surveys and interviews. I’ve studied all the survey responses now, and it is becoming clear that the conversations will be ongoing. Therefore I’ve decided to go ahead and share a synthesis of my notes in order to report back to the community as promised. I share this synthesis in order to reflect back what survey respondents and people I spoke with told me – not as a way of implying that I either agree or disagree with their comments and suggestions. As you will see below, there is a moderate amount of tension in the responses. Upon reflection, I think we should expect that from a community of this size. In fact, if we all agreed on everything that would be terrible for the growth, health, and sustainability of the movement. Most Common Topics The topics mentioned most often were: Cost, cost, cost. The conference is expensive. Virtual participation. Streaming some or all of the conference keynotes and sessions would enable more people to participate. Underrepresentation. There are not nearly enough students, adjuncts, K12 teachers, or people of color at the conference. Travel scholarships. Creating scholarships for students, adjuncts, K-12 teachers, and people of color would likely increase their attendance at the conference. Food. There’s a strong desire for there to be more food included in the cost of registration. Most Common Suggestions The suggestions that came up at least twice in the responses and conversations were: Include “Discussions” as a new presentation type Include “Poster Sessions” as a new presentation type. Maybe do these during the reception. Include longer “Workshops” as a new presentation type Include “Flipped Presentation” as a new presentation type, where people will have read beforehand and the session time is spent discussing and arguing. Include “Lightning talks” as a new presentation type. Maybe do these during the reception. Hold “Birds of a Feather” sessions during lunches, including discipline BOFs (e.g., math, English) and job function BOFs (instructional designers, faculty, librarians) Hold more “Intro to” sessions for newbies. Don’t gear the conference exclusively toward those that have been in the field for several years.  Potentially create a conference track focused on first-timers. Create a conference track on “Open in the Disciplines” where people talk about open education the context of their discipline Create a conference track on “What’s Wrong with Open Education” where people can be cr[...]



The Cost Trap, Concluding Thoughts

2017-11-17T21:46:57Z

Though I deeply enjoy my infrequent, often protracted conversations with Stephen – and find them deeply useful for clarifying and advancing my own thinking – I believe this one has just about run its course. Stephen has posted Four Conclusions on OERs he has drawn from our conversation. This will be my final post as … Continue reading The Cost Trap, Concluding ThoughtsThough I deeply enjoy my infrequent, often protracted conversations with Stephen – and find them deeply useful for clarifying and advancing my own thinking – I believe this one has just about run its course. Stephen has posted Four Conclusions on OERs he has drawn from our conversation. This will be my final post as well, and I’ll make only a few concluding points. One of the things I’ve learned through this discussion is that some might benefit from the inclusion of a brief disclaimer somewhere on my writing. Something like this, perhaps: Disclaimer My long term goals in advocating for OER are to (1) radically improve the quality of education as judged by learners and (2) radically improve access to education worldwide. However, the short-term goals I am currently pursuing as a step toward these longer term goals are to increase the effectiveness, affordability, and access to post-secondary education in the United States, particularly in the context of institutions that serve at-risk students. Please be aware that if your current goals with regard to OER differ from mine, one or more of the following statements may be either nonsensical or untrue in the context of your goals. Please also be aware that this does not make them nonsensical or untrue in the context of my goals.   Actually, I just added it to the bottom of the information in the right-hand column,  just below the licensing statement. Stephen writes, Wiley concludes, most of the disagreement (and occasional confusion) between Stephen and me is my desire to work within the context of existing formal educational institutions and his desire to work outside / around them. Yes. But also that really important bit about the goal of the OER movement and the other bit about endorsing a specific pedagogy. Let me start with “the goal” of the OER movement. The assumption that all the people participating in the global OER movement have a single goal strikes me as wrong. This is why, a few posts ago, I stated that “the question we must each ask ourselves is – what is the real goal of our OER advocacy?” Our advocacy. Not ‘what do you believe the “real goal” of the global OER movement should be?’ I then tried to reinforce the idea that, for each of us, the specific goal of our advocacy will be something individual to each us (“Personally, my goal is…”). Every time Stephen says “the goal” instead of “a goal” or “one of the goals” I find myself unable to agree. If, for example, instead of saying: the objective of providing access for all… [is] demonstrably the goal of the vast majority, if not all, people working in OER he would say: the objective of providing access for all… [is] demonstrably a goal of the vast majority, if not all, people working in OER then I could agree wholeheartedly and without reservation. Yes, increasing access is one of the goals the majority of people in the movement share. And yes, it is likely true that more people share this goal than any other. But that doesn’t make it “the goal” of the OER movement (unless you define membership in the movement as identifying “access to all” as “the goal” of the movement). People in the OER movement have many additional goals, and they aren’t always subordinate to the goal of access for all. I [...]