Week 2: Introduction to LeMill and Wikiversity

March 14, 2008

Of course, registering at Wikiversity was a piece of cake; then the fun began! It was sort of thrilling adjusting some capitalisation and punctuation in a section about grammar, but then I got bogged down in trying to navigate around the site. I have to say that the navigation wasn’t exactly intuitive; however, I have promised to give myself another chance now the work week is over and I have several hours until midnight! Now I have succeeded and writing my profile.

I haven’t succeeded in doing anything but the bare minimum and I am  not sure whether or not I’ll be able to locate it again but it’s there! The clock is ticking away and I don’t seem to be getting any closer to the goal of finding a project where people are working on some learning resource. Every now and then I find myself one a page that is full of technical terminology that throws me off. After wandering around I have found a group that I have decided to join. I am now a member of the The Deschooling of Society reading group and have put my name on their watch list. In fact, it’s a book that has been sitting on my bookshelf since it came out in 1971. I guess it’s time to read it! I am interested in seeing how the “watch list” works. And now I have discovered the user contribution page that I think will be very helpful in the future as I am having quite a bit of trouble keeping track of where I am.

I have started a page which I hope to fill with interesting development projects supported by IT. I still feel mainly frustrated and have reached my limit for today. There is still lots to explore and I must say that having a time limit has helped.

It is absolutely true that you have to “get your hands dirty”!

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Week 1: Blog Post 3 – Open Education Projects

March 6, 2008

Open University

OER and courses with fees are available at this wonderful site. The interface is laid out in a way that can be navigated easily. The only problem with the site is that there are incredibly many interesting ER that are themselves linked to more resources. I wanted to drop everything and start studying Latin or why not Art History again. Other features that were very impressive were: video conferences, on-line chats and a mind-mapping tool as well as other links.  

LeMill

It was a little harder to navigate here but that is perhaps because of the language aspect. The translation part of the site looked really interesting although I’m not sure how it works.  

Rice

After a huge disappoint when browsing through the music theory course (not a single sound file within hearing distance!) I found it difficult to appreciate this site. I don’t know how it compares to the Open University in quantity and to be fair I didn’t spend much time browsing but the impression I had wasn’t as good as the Open University. To be fair I have to admit that I didn’t have time to look more closely at the creating content section. 

MIT

This seems to be a site without frills offered and very straight forward. What a great resource. 

Wikiversity

This is my first visit here and I am overwhelmed by the number of tools available. 

Hmmm….Questions that arise are how can they be used? Actually, I don’t actually mean “how”, I mean under what conditions. Now I need to know more about the Creative Commons license. I also want to play a little with creating resources. What does GNU mean? I am experiencing a bit of frustration because I’d like to spend the rest of the night exploring all of these sites.

Week 1: Blog Post 2 – On Open Educational Resources: What they are and why do they matter

March 6, 2008

Reading Ilkka Tuomi’s report Open Educational Resources: What they are and why do they matter made me adjust my thinking regarding what  OER actually are and aroused some thoughts about the importance of defining terms, the consequences of the movement when it comes to economic structures, and the construction of knowledge.

In my context, upper secondary adult education, we have talked about “learning resources” and “learning objects” in reference to complete courses, to what we have called modules and to learning content in our bank of learning resources available non-exclusively on the web. Discussions have centred on types of digital media, accessibility and on content. Expanding the definition of OER to include the initiatives and projects presented in figure 5 created an important shift in my way of thinking which had previously been very narrow. One question that arose was whether or not it is important or relevant or even possible to make a distinction between “educational” and “learning”. The Internet community’s definition of resource mentioned in the report which defines the concept of “resource” as anything, – physical, digital or immaterial – that can be pointed to was useful. Resources do not have to be tangible. One reflection is that a lot has happened in the not so many years that have gone by since we discussed issues around our OER repository. The exciting possibilities to technically-challenged people, myself included, offered by web 2.0 tools is driving the movement forward at an even faster pace. The focus in the discourse about OER seems to be on “open”, which is where it should be.

This brings me to the subject of the levels of openness described in the report. The distinctions made between the three levels: access and accessibility to a resource (read the code); right and capability to enjoy the services generated by the resource (use the code); and the right and capability to modify, repackage, and add value to the resource (modify the code); are useful. However, I find it hard to understand the reasoning behind the following:

“If a learner has access to a resource that is open at this second level, one should get full benefits out of its use. For example, if an educational resource is used for acquiring formal educational degrees, if the resource is open at level II, the users should be able to gain formal degrees if they so choose.” (page 26)

If the interpretation of “enjoying the services” talked about in level II is that which is presented in the report one should talk about categories of openness instead of a hierarchy as there seems to be a qualitative difference.  A textbook is given as an example of a level II resource that can be used to pass a course. There seems to be a problem with logic. No one requires that “users should be able to gain formal degrees if they so choose” if they are using a textbook. Why should that be considered a “service” when it comes to digitial resources.    On the other hand if one interprets service in another way then the model works. I can’t help thinking that these level distinctions refer primarily to the technology.

The intimate relationship between the technology and content is another interesting issue and how these function in an economic world. It does indeed seem ironic that a proliferation of intellectual property rights is tending to inhibit access to information in areas where new knowledge has previously remained in the public domain. The larger issue of commercial and non-commercial products existing in the same market is also interesting.

UNESCO OER Presentation

Open Educational Resources: The Way Forward

Week 1: Blog Post 1- Rose Mary Eriksson

February 29, 2008
Rose

I am looking forward to participating in the Wikiversity OER Course. At present I am working in the Analysis Unit of a government authority (www.cfl.se ) that has been promoting the use of flexible learning in adult education. I have been working in the field of education since the 70s when I started working as an English teacher in Kenya. I worked for 20 years training Swedish development workers before my present employment. I have been involved in developing learning resources and in evaluating our oer repository, “Kursnvavet”.  In the next few months I will be unemployed. Our present government has decided that much of the promotion and development in the field of flexible learning should be the responsibility of the municipalities themselves instead of the central government. The future of our oer repository is still uclear as is my own!

In this course I hope to be able to get the competence (and the confidence) I need to be able to handle the web 2.0 tools that are available to everyone and continue working with the promotion of flexible learning in some way.

Hello world!

February 14, 2008