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.