Monday, November 29, 2010

Thesis seminar

I'll be teaching a thesis seminar next semester and plan on using Wikispaces for nearly the entire class.  I plan on having a series of live sessions (WiZiQ) and will use Engrade for maintaining grades for credit-seeking students attending the UAA.  Because the class is a Wiki, anyone can join, participate in the developing a thesis, provide feedback, and/or contribute to the design of the course.  Any comments or suggestions can be made here and are greatly appreciated!

As a side note, I tested Vokle this (very early) morning and this might also be used throughout the course as well.  However, I'm still looking for a third-party video capture solution so I can archive discussions; will see what I can find over the next few weeks.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Having fun and DIY learning

In response to Sylvia after a live session earlier today,

I would like to think of myself as a do-it-yourself (DIY) facilitator and coach - a bass player of a typical jazz group in 1957 (think groups with Miles Davis, John Coltrane, etc.). The "edupunk movement" I feel forces some to dichotomize formal and informal learning in how they relate to academic circles. I don't see it that way. Just as jazz music in the 50s incorporated many aspects of classical music, formal and informal learning can also “live as one”.

The topic of "edutainment" is certainly worth pursuing as long as activities remain "effective” and "engaging" (Wiggins and McTighe, 2005); that is, educative and entertaining. When you consider "edutainment" through an online, live session, the notions of teacher-talk time (TTT) – which also refers to moderator talk time – and student-talk time (STT) become important. If we agree that more STT is required, then one must consider how to motivate and assure that students will interact (e.g., will use writing controls, audio, and/or video); otherwise, students are just having fun but may not be learning a lot (i.e., learning that is educative). Note: the terms “teacher” and “student” can be substituted for “session moderator” and “attendees” respectively.

Differences in language proficiency, accessibility to technology, and experience interacting live with technology are all challenges moderators face when planning and implementing live, public sessions. Another challenge is limiting the moderator talk time and at the same time promoting interaction among all attendees through the implementation of an “edu-entertaining” activity. In my humble opinion, these issues are more important than simply talking about what a fun activity is. It’s more about the process of how to create a fun activity in a live, open space (i.e., "sharing our unique angles") than the product of the (fun) activity itself - the former being contextualized while the latter is not.

Friday, November 19, 2010

There's free, then there's free

Interesting, Giving Knowledge for Free is, well less than free. It's free in the sense that the work doesn't cost you anything, granted; but it appears that you need permission to reuse, remix, revise, and/or redistribute their work.

I understand there are degrees of openness, but the least someone could do if they are going to write an article, book, etc. about open educational resources is to make the work itself as open as possible (e.g., CC, CC-BY, etc.).

Thursday, November 18, 2010

OERs, copyright, and access to educational materials

This is in response to a discussion on OERs, copyright, and access to educational materials:

I would argue that contributing to OERs and earning a living are not necessarily diametrically opposite of each other. Consider the connections one might gain by adhering to open authorship as opposed to closed authorship. Granted, perhaps financial compensation from the published work would not exist but what about all the additional ways that a person might make money that would be as a result of connecting with someone through an OER. And what about the interactions that are created from the generation and ongoing development of an OER and the learning potential that this generates.

You ask, If everyone had to freely [give] away their knowledge because OER was the only option, would folks who need to earn a living through knowledge creation survive?

Well, I wonder how much close authorship really leads to "knowledge creation". In my humble opinion, "knowledge creation", or simply learning occurs to a greater degree when individuals interact with content (i.e., revise, reuse, remix, and/or redistribute) as opposed to creating content through closed authorship. The shelf-life of information these days is becoming shorter my the minute. I suspect that in the future, we will need more people who can teach, facilitate, and coach others how to revise, reuse, remix and/or redistribute content than people who can write a book (i.e., closed authorship).

Great discussion and certainly will be interesting to see how OERs bloom around the world going forward.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Openness versus being open and closed

This discussion made me reflect on the term openness in terms of degree.

Simply, everyone should have the freedom to use any type of license that is available - I typically refrain from judging which creative license is "better" than another.  Each type of license provides different degrees of openness and I don't see this changing anytime in the future (if ever); that is, an open educational resource under a Creative Commons License typically falls along an open and closed continuum.  There are many types of teaching and learning contexts that exist and it is unfair to generalize the importance of any particular type of license over any other.  When I see groups develop a licensing policy (that usually singles out one or a few acceptable licenses), I am quickly reminded of how my own learning is networked based (i.e., connective) as opposed to group based (i.e., collective).