the enemy is us…

Introduction to Open Education
The Next Battle for Openness: Data, Algorithms, and Competency Mapping

There is an another issue that is impacting the perception of “openness”. EdX and Coursera MOOCs are equated with “openness”. If this is what you get with “open” then many people will fail to see how this is special. What participants in the this and most other “open” courses composed of Open Educational Resources (OERs) experience is little more than the digital version of a traditional college course. In this case, the videos are short 5-7 minutes with two white guys talking to each other and the camera – marginally better than the “stand and deliver” 20 minute videos in other MOOCs. Then there are some suggested readings, followed by reflection and discussion activities.

There is no access to any other participant “discussions” without first turning in your own. This isn’t social or “open” to most of us. How about allowing us access to that part of the “open” educational resources and a really powerful open learning experience. Yes, it is possible to end-run these gatekeeping mechanisms accessing some participants’ posts by searching for the hashtag on Twitter or Google search. This course has been very disappointing.

Other MOOC platforms are more open and inviting to sharing and collaboration among participants. FutureLearn, for example, encourages discussion and these are always open to all participants to read and comment on. And participants do. Learning from one another is as much a part of open education as are the inclusion of OERs.

The original MOOCs (before the term “mooc” was coined such as CCK08) were really open. They may have been too unstructured for some participants’ self-directed learning skills. However, the current format and presentation of “open” courses in this very structured “closed” format may well be a significant contributor to the continued struggle for “openness” to make much headway in general education.

David Wiley did talk about how OERs could be used to bring new and interesting learning experiences to a broad audience. For those whose only close encounters with OERs are in an EdX or Coursera MOOC, other than cost, there isn’t anything exciting or revolutionary about “open”. Unless or until “open” figures this out, they are no match for the marketing savvy and financial resources of the textbook and academic publishing industry.

edit… So I wrote up this response so I could “pay to play”. I submitted it as directed. Bingo!

Assess Peers (due in 23 hours, 26 minutes) – All available peer responses have been assessed. Check back later to see if more learners have submitted responses. You will receive your grade after you’ve completed all the steps for this problem and your peers have assessed your response. Your Grade: Not Completed

AND on the course front page:

This course is ending in 12 hours at Nov 12, 2017 07:00 EST.

After this date, course content will be archived.

So do the math… the assignment that I can’t do is required to access what I really want to see in the course – the thoughts and suggestions from other participants, is due after the course is closed. Great! Oh, and my submission is closed so I can’t edit it any add any of this important new learning experience.

I have still not had access to any “community” or “openness” or social value created through sharing that Stephen Downes says are important to the impact of open education. I am disappointed with the “closed” process and the significant technology barriers to even seeing who else was participating and what they had to say. Unless all the required activities were completed, there was no opportunity to interact or collaborate in shared and open learning.

Sadly, “openness” is doomed if this is the impression on others who have more influence than I do.

And I’m a huge fan of open learning and have been an advocate for OERs since the beginning. I have worked in organizations developing and promoting OERs and open education since the late 1990s. I am one of the original community advisory board members for I worked on some of the very first OERs that were published in the U.S.  I have been a subscriber to OLDaily forever. I was a participant in the original CCKs – the ultimate open education experience.


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