2007年12月8日星期六

OpenEd: Week 15

Blog your overall feelings about the course. On the content side, what did you learn? How will you use it after the class is over? What did we not cover that you realize now we really should have? On the process side, how could the class be better next time it's taught? What would you change? What would you keep? Is there anything we as a group can do after the course is over? (Stian Haklev)

Overall, I like this course. It is kind of special to experience learning by blogging. It is my first time to have this kind of class, without meeting teachers and students, but we read the ideas of students around the world through blog technology. It is interesting to read people who are not in the same place as where you stay, and get the responses from them sometime.

I learn more about open education through this class. In the first week we read regarding the right to education. I got a brief overview of the educational systems in different countries. The necessity of mandate education is also discussed. From the second weeks a serious of open-education related readings are provided. They help me have a better understand about the open education. The issues related to open education come from a variety of aspects, such as the motivation of sharing, the business model, the barrier of management of OER, the quality of OER, the sustainability of OER, different types of license, and their overlay, etc.

The links of five open education projects are good examples for us to know the current trend of OER movement. I am really with these websites which offer free learning materials. I find most of them have really high-quality learning materials. Audio, video, or interactive learning software are helpful for learners to engage in the learning processes. There are lots of meaningful and valuable materials are provided though this websites. It is beneficial for learners to have the opportunities to have free access to them without costing money. These free materials will bring more learning opportunities for people who live in poor areas if there are enough technologies offered for them to access these valuable learning materials.

Peer production is a model based on the idea of decentralization. Centralization provides explicit support, but the cost is expensive. On the contrary, decentralization allows more control over the courses, and explicit support is available through a group of participants. Decentralization is helpful for the sustainability of OER. Developing course contents by the modules is better for the long-term management of the websites.

I think the class covers most of important contents of OER. Reading other students’ blog is a good way for learning. Sometimes I couldn’t not grasp the main idea of the readings, what I did was to visit other blogs to see what had been posted, and read their postings. It really helped me to understand the main idea of the readings. In addition, by reading posting from other blogs, you could read some stories about the experiences of OER, and know the points of views of people from various places. Therefore, I think we can still keep the way for following students.

2007年12月1日星期六

OpenEd: Week 14

Greg talked about some issues about getting tenure in higher education. He indicated that “faculty will increasingly become more exclusive, wealthy and childless. These "virtues" will be taught to all new students who go through the education system and higher education will soon become even more of an ideological mass production factory than it already is.” The life for professors to get tenure is very struggling if the tenure is judged mainly based on publications or grants. It makes me think more about the academic life.

He also indicated that “Higher education becomes more open to change, allows more time for faculty publications and grants, gets more money, and tenure becomes open to more diverse values than just publications and grants. Teaching in higher education becomes more open to techniques besides lecture and powerpoint, allowing students to "trib" a lot more.” Yes, I agree with that open education will help the tenure and job problems. Listening to students and understanding their needs are more important than just delivering all the knowledge to them.

Jessie talked about what she thinks that the effect of open education on the education system of China. It is interesting to read her article about if open education can prevail over China. I learn the history of China, but as for what’s happening for education in China now, I might not know, and have never experiences the education there. From Jessie’s point of view, “she feels like it is too difficult to change the traditional system of higher education. We talked about words like democracy and open for years, but hard to move on.” Yes, I agree with what her points. Open education will probably be hard to move on if there are some factors intervened, such as politics, policy, etc. And I also agree that in Chinese culture, parents have much more control over their children, compared to America. Convince parents to accept the benefits from open education will be important, and usually they pay tuition for their children.

It is fun to read
Rob’s post. He had five predictions toward open education in the future. The first one is “we will have compatible versions of the GFDL and CC licenses by 2010,” second “as new collaboration and communication tools are created and distributed over the next 10-15 years, more virtual schools like WGU will pop up, and the jucos, tech schools, and for-profit institutions will embrace collaborative education methods.” Third “textbook industry will go away as we know it.” Fourth, “young professors will adopt new teaching methods that leverage student and alumni knowledge and information-gathering skills to develop their lesson plans, giving them more time to complete their research.” Fifth, “my children will not remember a time when you had to pay for long distance phone calls.” I am impressive those five predictions, and agree with what he said. It makes sense to me, and it shows us the possible life in future open education. The license issues of OER will be solved by make a policy which makes different license rules more compatible in some situations. The compatibility of licenses is very important because it happens when people want to gather different information or resources from various websites which are licensed differently. The textbook is an issue that happens now. As we know, people would not like to pay much for just textbooks. The textbook industry might be aware of this, and might discover some other tasks they can do in the future.

2007年11月25日星期日

OpenEd: Week 13

QUESTIONS: What will the future of higher education look like? What impact will the open education movement have? How will we get there from here? What will be the effects of open education movement upon K-12 education? (alessandro giorni) What will be the effects of open education movement upon high school education? (emanuela z.) What role can OERs play in developing countries? (Stian Haklev)

Due to the advent of technology and the emergence of the OER, there are more ways to achieve higher education. I imagine that people probably can get their degree through free materials besides entering to university the normal way. Courses in University are more flexible and broaden than course in K-12. Most of time, students in university not only read textbooks that are required for class, but they also have much more chances to look for other related learning materials.

Learning through free materials with high quality will be feasible in the future. However, there are still things that we need to deal with to make OER sustainable, such as licenses of OER, the mechanism to make sure the quality of OER, peer production, etc. Localization is also an important factor which influences the dissemination of OER. Languages, cultures, the availability of technology, and so on also have a great impact on the development of OER. For those people from poor areas, the access to technology will be a problem. If they are not provides enough technology facilities, those abundant online free materials might be useless to them. Besides, most websites are English-based, but not all learners are English-native speakers. Hence, extending the idea of OER and have local places to produce their own free materials based on their cultures, languages, etc. would be a better way to sustain the development of OER.

As for the effects of OER on K-12 education, I think it will be a trend in the future. OER will influence not only the learning ways of K-12 students, but also the teaching styles of instructors. Instructors are able to utilize more free learning materials based on their own needs to make their teaching more interesting and diverse. Some free interactive online materials provide students chances to operate some experiments and get feedbacks directly from the software. Problem-based learning environments will be able to be provided with the assistance of the interactive software. It helps students engage in the learning processes.

Similarly, high school education will be also influenced by OER movement, but I am not sure how much of the effect that OER brings to high school students in other countries besides USA because different countries have different education systems. In terms of my experiences, I think OER can make learning easier especially for math and science subjects. There are lots of equations or rules used in math or science. Usually, students may probably just memorize them and do not know the underlying meanings of those formula. Generally, teachers are hard to draw the picture that corresponds to the formula. If there are free materials that can show the results of the formula or equations, it will help students to understand abstract concepts more easily.

As for what role OER plays in the developing countries, I think OER can bring more learning opportunities for those people in poor areas. But before they access to those free materials, they need to have a basic technology facility and know how to use those technology. Even in the developing countries, the digital gap between cities and the suburbs is high. Students growing up in the city might know how to use since they are 3 or 4 years old, but students in the suburbs might get chances to know when they enter to elementary school or junior high school. Students in the city might have their own computer, but the students in poor areas might know what computer it without chances to have their own computers. Overall, I think OER bring lots of advantage to people in developing countries, but the availability of technology will be a great issue.

2007年11月18日星期日

OpenEd: Week 12

Jessie said that “I think the open educational resources and learning objects are very similar, leaning objects seems just a newer name of open educational resources in most cases as the time passed.” Yes, I agree that it seems a little hard to distinguish open educational resources from learning objects. In the definition of open educational resources, learning objects are mentioned. However, I think that compared to open educational resources learning objects are more limited for the present online learning environments.

Elisa compared the definition of learning objects from wikipedia, Wiley, and the UNESCO, and mentioned that “one can assume that open educational resources should include, among other things such as full courses, course materials, content modules, collections etc., learning objects as well.” I agree with her, and think that open educational resources bring a broader meaning than learning objects. As I indicated in Week 11 in my blog, learning objects have more limits than the open educational resources.

Elisa also indicated that “Openness, localization and technological improvements are the paths to follow for the future to solve the problems of the state of the art of learning objects.” The idea is great. Keeping learning objects open to users can make them more useful and help the sustainability. Localization makes learning objects more adaptive to people from different cultures.

Greg talked about Artificial Intelligence, and indicated that “the costs right now are too expensive to create such a system for the average instructional design group. When the cost of production is less than the value of what is created, then these systems will be a good idea.” I agree with what he said. If it costs too much to build an artificial intelligence system and doesn’t get many rewards when learning through it, then maybe we will consider another kind of training methods which utilize pieces of learning objects which cost much more less, and probably can bring more to learners.

Houshuang pointed out that “just plugging in quizzes and sections into your course is unlikely to generate a course that is very pedagogical or interesting, it will take reworking and refashioning either way - and the important part is lowering the barriers to reuse, whether those barriers are intellectual property, or file formats, or lack of easy tools.” I agree with him. It would be nice to have the chances to refashion learning objects based on the needs of instruction. Then the learning can be improved.

2007年11月11日星期日

OpenEd: Week 11

QUESTIONS: Some people believe that open educational resources "fix" many of the problems experienced by those who work with learning objects. Why do you think they would say this? Do you agree? Why or why not?

There are lots of different definitions for learning objects so far. Those definitions differ due to different purposes. Though there are dozens of definitions suggested, slight difference existing in them. Merrill prefers the term knowledge object, Gibbons prefers the instructional object, etc. Wiley suggests the definition that “any digital resource that can be reused to support learning.”

Learning objects can be used for quick instruction or incorporation into an online education curriculum. Learning objects that are digital, re-usable pieces of content can be used to accomplish a learning objective. A learning object could be a text document, a movie, a mp3, a picture or maybe even a website. Describing why something is a learning object and in what context a person might learn something from it will be important.

I agree that open educational resources fix some of the problems experienced by those who work with learning objects. I think people think that the concept of OER supplement the weak parts of learning objects, and make learning objects much more fit into the online learning environments we have today. As we understand, Open Educational Resources are defined as “technology enabled, open provision of educational resources for consultation, use and adaptation by a community of users for non-commercial purposes.” OER include learning objects such as lecture material, references and readings, simulations, experiments and demonstrations, as well as syllabi, curricula and teachers’ guides. From the definition we can find that learning objects are viewed as part of OER.

Learning objects have some weaknesses which do not fit the modern approaches to teaching and learning. As we know, the more context a learning object has, the more a learner can learn from it. However, the smaller learning objects are, the more likely it is that only humans will be able to assemble them into meaningful instruction. That is, the internal context of learning objects impact the way that they are used. The more specific the internal context of the object, the fewer instructional contexts into which it will fit. Decontextualizatio is one of the weaknesses behind learning objects. Wiley suggests the use of learning object use is better described a “contextualization.” Context should be taken account into learning because decontextualized educational resources does not produce a meaningful context for learning though it seems decontextualized learning objects work more well for economically sensibly. OER pays attention to the influences of cultural, historical, and institutional settings. Contextualiztion is embedded in the idea of OER, and it supplements the weak part of learning objects.

Usually, learning objects are used as content chunks or information containers. Wiley indicates that learning objects are just like a megaphone with large information, not mediator. It is useless for learning objects just to provide lots of information or knowledge. What more important during learning is how to use learning objects as semiotic tools that are able to mediate and shape learner actions. That is, learning resources can not be isolated from the online learning environments. Learning objects should not be used out of context, and should be part of mediational actions, just as OER pay attention to properly utilizing educational resources which satisfy the needs of learners and fit the context with a variety of cultures. Similarly, as the concept proposed by Wiley that “any digital resource that can be reused to mediate learning,” it is better for learning objects to be mediators.

Learning objects are designed for learners in independent use or learning. Little chance of communication or interaction is delivered. Learners are just like passive receivers of a large amount of information or knowledge, but don’t know how to grasp them efficiently or effectively. No worldview can be observed in this kind of the isolated learning processes which preclude learners from other learners. In contrast, OER emphasize the importance of collaborative learning, and it encourages interactive dialogues among learners. Under this ideal of OER, learners are not oppressive to accept any learning information provided by learning objects. Conversely, learners can understand how these learning objects make sense to them, and connect them to the life experiences during communication with other learners.

Copyright will be another vital issue for learning objects. OER are licensed with open-source-style licenses, such as Creative Commons licenses or GFDL. Under the concept of OER, each of millions of learning objects “everything from modules to textbooks to courses” is licensed with CC or GFDL. The use of learning objects will be aggregated or adapted by users without worrying about the license or transaction costs. So the idea of license of OER also fix the copyright problem that might happen in learning objects.

2007年11月4日星期日

OpenEd: Week 10

ASSIGNMENT: Catch your breath, read your classmates' blogs for Week 9, and post your interlinked thoughts on what everyone is saying.

I read some posts, and there are some ideas that attract me. I will write them as follows:
1.
Argomenti indicated the concept about globalization. I agree with that globalization is am important issue. It is vital to recognize the potentialities of people around the worlds. Globalization influences the development of OER. With the advent of technology, learners around the world who have the internet access are able to achieve a variety of learning resources, and create their own learning materials based on their own needs, or build on the learning objects that have been created by someone. People from different places can exchange ideas and work on the same learning materials collaboratively to make more wonderful learning stuff. Through online interaction and ideas from different persons, the construction of knowledge is underway.
2.
Greg indicated that most OER are from a rich and powerful places of the world because those rich places have the money and enough resources to create them. Those places are usually the creator of the OER, and it seems that they have a lot of influence on the direction of OER. However, we can not neglect the voices from the minorities. For instance, we need not only to listen to the voices from teachers, we also need to listen to the voices from students. Though teachers are the one who can decide the teaching style, the learning results of students may reflect if this kind of teaching method works. The voices from students can not be neglected even though they are not the policy makers. Similarly, people who use OER may come from different countries with different cultures. People may have different needs for OER. Localization would probably be the way to satisfy different needs of users from different worlds.
3.

Elisa pointed out that Lessig thinks that the extrems of "all rights reserved" and "no rights reserved" are disruptive of creativity. The most proper way will be the idea "some rights reserves" of the Creative Commons with which both rights of authoers and users are safeguarded. From my point of view, I also think "some rights reserved" would be proper for both authors and users. But I don't think "no rights reserved" is that bad. I think it is ok if an author who just wants to create some useful contents beneficial for world, and he allows other people to modify, remix on what he creates, or use them even for business purpose. But probably most authors will not choose this way for their own works. They may want to keep some of rights of their works. If the contents are put in the public domain, then any user can do anything they like on the contents. They do not need to worry about if there are any restrictions for the use of the contents. It provides users more freedom on the utilization of free contents or materials.

2007年10月28日星期日

OpenEd: Week 9

QUESTIONS: What can the open education movement learn from the book you chose to read? Elaborate on at least three points. Which of the ideas presented in the book did you find hardest to believe or agree with? Why?

I choose the book “Coase's Penguin, or, Linux and The Nature of the Firm.” “Peer production” is an important concept which is addressed in this. I think peer production has a profound influence on open education movement, especially on the issue of sustainability. “Peer production” is a model which is better than market-based model or firm-based model because it allows larger groups of individuals to look for larger groups of resources in search of materials, projects, collaborations, and combination. Peer production relies on decentralized information gathering and exchange to reduce the uncertainty of participants. Just as the reading of last week indicates that the degree of decentralization will be a factor of long-term management for OER, peer production is a model which includes the idea of decentralization. Centralization provides explicit support, but the cost is expensive. On the contrary, decentralization allows more control over the courses, and explicit support is available through a group of participants. Unlike market or firm models, cooperation and coordination among participants are easier to be achieved in peer production model.

The granularity of the modules is important for maintain a project. When a project of any size is broken into little pieces, each of pieces can be independently performed by an individual in a short amount of time. It will be amazing if pooling the efforts of different people with different capabilities. A low-cost integration which consists of quality control over the models and a mechanism for integrating the contributions is necessary. Peer-production is a service-based model which utilizes volunteers who are willing to contribute their intelligence, knowledge, etc. Usually, the responsibility is among the group of participants.

Relevance, accreditation, distribution are three vital concepts in the book. Relevance and accreditation are complementary. and they put together users' understanding for a specified purpose. Relevance is subjective to individuals because individuals will map an utterance on the conceptual map for a purpose defined by them. Credibility can be examined by an objective measure that the individual adopts for purposes of evaluating a given utterance. Relevance and accreditation are just like gatekeepers of content quality. Participants will be assigned different tasks to judge the degree of the relevance and accreditation for contents. Take Slashdot, for example. Different kinds of Moderators are given different levels of power of content judgement. Rather than using full-time professional experts, moderators who just need to make trivial effort to any small judgements. The aggregation of small judgement equals to the result of judgement by experts, and the reducing of cost is apparent.
Peer production model can motivate behaviors better than markets or firms. Monetary rewards (M), intrinsic hedonic rewards (H), and social-psychological rewards (SP) are three types of rewards which affect the motivation of contributors. For OER, the value of monetary return will be small compared to the value of the hedonic and social-psychological rewards. Most volunteers make contribution to contents because of their personal interests, not money.

Granularity is a good way for peer production. A project can be broken down into smaller components. Each module is independent, and users can maximize their autonomy over the editing of contents. However, I am wondering if modularity can be applied to any kind subjects and if there is some pitfalls that it will bring. Take cookbooks, for example. It is good for users to add any contents for specific topics. Each cooking skill can be a unit, and users can be responsible for a small part to decrease the mistakes which probably will happen during editing. Each cooking skill is independent from each other, so we don't need to worry about the consistency of the contents. But what if there are a series of scientific concepts which will be edited in different units? Since each concept is related to each other, I wonder if each segment is consistent with each other. If related contents are not consistent, learners must feel confused during learning. Hence, to decrease this problem, participants who take charge of the consistency for some contents are necessary.