I want to take a moment to emphasize the value of faculty development in an open environment. Both OpenLearning17 and OpenLearning18 provided opportunities to explore open pedagogy “in the open.” They also created a space for connecting with other faculty members and administrators with an interest in open education. I value my time in both OL17 and OL18—the topics I’ve explored, the people I’ve met— and I look forward to future iterations!
Photo from pixabay.com
This week in OpenLearning18, I was reminded of how important it is to clearly indicate the meaning of “open.” I was also reminded that if open education and OERs are truly going to be transformative, then we must also continue to ask ourselves some important questions—what does it take to make courses and resources “open”? open to whom? accessible to whom? open in what way? accessible in what way? These and other questions are integral to ensuring the responsible implementation of OERs.
What am I looking forward to for OpenLearning18? Connections and conversations! These OpenLearning experiences are designed for network expansion, so participants can connect with each other and see their networks expand (Twitter followers, synched blogs and such). The connections provide opportunities to engage in critical conversations about open education: open in what way, open for whom, what are the benefits, what are the challenges, what are the implications, etc. These conversations can lead to more thoughtful engagement with and implementation of open educational resources (and open learning practices). I am looking forward to continuing to facilitate and participate in those exchanges!
I am so excited about OpenLearning18! There will be numerous opportunities to create and extend networks around open education, and this pre-cMOOC week is just the beginning of that process. There’s even a Twitter chat planned for this Thursday, 12-12:30 p.m.!
In Chapter 1 of Open & Integrative, Bass and Eynon note that many students are entering higher education with “uneven academic preparation,” with some of the students coming from “dysfunctional school systems” or other challenging circumstances. They go on to discuss the boon liberal education would be to those students with its emphasis on “critical thinking, problem solving, historical perspective, integrative learning.” As I reflected on passages from Chapter 1, I wondered–are higher education institutions really prepared to do this work?
So often, students from the backgrounds that Bass and Eynon describe are left to feel rudderless in a swiftly moving academic stream–and reminded over and over how their backgrounds or life challenges will make things more difficult for them or haven’t prepared them in any way. However, many of these students have already used critical thinking, problem solving, and the like before entering higher education institutions (sometimes before entering secondary institutions). Where are the spaces that help these students understand that they already possess some of the very skills that help people to be successful not only in college, but in life? Where are the appreciative approaches to educating students? Are the integrative approaches institutions use integrative across the experiences they will have (are having) in college, or do they also include integrating some of the very useful skills these students developed prior to attending the higher education institution? With technology, for example, were these students already using technology in integrative, open ways prior to their higher education experience? If so, how will institutions gather this information?
I really enjoyed the NMC video on digital literacy (University of Mary Washington panel participant mentioned digital fluency). The video led me to ask–where can faculty members go for professional development on digital literacy (or digital fluency)?
Maybe there is a MOOC for that—one that can discuss digital literacy in the context of our current society but also the meta-level understanding of how digital literacy works in the MOOC itself…a Meta-MOOC (sounds a little like a superhero)!
EdTech Nomad is a space to chat about educational technology in higher education.