Week 3: reflecting on open activities

In week 3, we asked you to engage in one or more open activities in your small group. Please use this area to reflect on your experiences, ask questions, comment on what others have said, etc.

Life is getting in the way for me, and I haven’t had time to do any new open practices this week. I may try to do so soon, but another option that I may take advantage of is to write about my experiences with an open practice I’ve engaged in in the past. Hopefully I can write about that in the next couple of days.

Others should feel free to do the same!

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I feel the same way - it’s been a little to crazy in life in general to do anything new on open practices. I am game for reflecting on a past open practice :smile:

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I have done a number of open practices in the past that I’d like to reflect on here, but I’ll start with one that I’d like advice/suggestions on.

This past summer I did two workshops on open education: one at my university and one at a conference on teaching philosophy. They were very similar:

  1. We started off talking a bit about what “open” might mean (I just kept it as simple as possible, giving some ideas and not getting into a huge debate b/c there wasn’t time!)
  2. Then we brainstormed what could count as open educational activities–anything anyone could think of
  3. We talked a bit about creative commons licenses, for those not familiar
  4. Then brainstormed in small groups benefits/drawbacks to engaging in one or more open educational activities.
  5. In one of them I also invited a panel of people doing open educational stuff at my university, to give a flavour of what kinds of things are being done.

If you are interested in seeing more about these workshops, the materials for the first one are here: http://wiki.ubc.ca/Sandbox:Teaching_and_Learning_in_the_Open and the second one here: http://blogs.ubc.ca/chendricks/2014/08/08/open-ed-aapt/

The one I did with at the conference on teaching philosophy went quite well, I thought. There were about 12 or so people there, and a few of them at least were fairly new to the whole idea. Several people said they didn’t know about CC licenses before this, so I’m glad they were able to learn that.

But the one at my institution went less well. Not because the people there weren’t great–they were. The problem was that the people who showed up were, for the most part, people who already knew a fair bit about openness and open education, so the workshop didn’t really fulfill the goal of introducing more people to the whole idea. If you look at what we did in the bullet point list above, the clear purpose of the workshop was to talk to those who aren’t that familiar with these topics and get them thinking about whether or not they might want to do some open educational stuff themselves.

I spoke with someone else who works on open ed at our institution, afterwards, and he said this is a pretty common problem. The issue is that you put together a workshop and people choose whether to go to that one or to something else (this one was during a week long series of workshops, so there were many to choose from). Even if it was the only thing offered in a week, people will only choose to come if they are interested. And if they don’t know what open education IS, or don’t have any particular reason to think it might be valuable for them, they won’t come.

So we were trying to think of ways to “market” workshops like these, if you will, so that we bring in open but that isn’t the main thing that we’re drawing people in with. My colleague suggested that we focus on something like engaging students with authentic assignments and improve their learning and writing, and then we say that one way to do this is through asking them to blog or do other writing openly. Or maybe we could entice people with talk of improving your assignments through collaboration, and talk about opening up your assignment instructions and inviting comments by others on social media (that one I just made up; maybe it’s a bad idea).

Generally, I’m looking for ways to talk about open while focusing on its benefits, drawing people in that way and saying hey, look, one way you can get these benefits is by opening up your work! Because if the title and description of the workshops are focused on “open,” that may not get very many new people.

This is relevant to this course as well. This is the second year we’ve run it, and in both years most of the people who are most active in it are ones who are already pretty familiar with openness. And yet, if you look at the course, it is geared in large part to people who are new to the idea, to introduce them to it. Of course, I love the fact that we’ve got lots of people familiar with openness in the course, because it leads to really interesting discussions! But I’d like to attract those not so familiar as well.

So I guess I’m looking for advice/suggestions on how to reach out to people who are new to all this, what sorts of things to focus on that might draw them into learning about openness?

@clhendricksbc I think it boils down to digital skills once again. Anyone participating here needs to know their way around “open learning” & is therefore familiar with OEP to some extent. As a science educator I try to open peoples eyes to the richness of information & experiences one can gain through OEP. Here’s a crazy “curiosity cabinet”, 18th Century natural sciences storytelling, a free, public domain image. Scientific inquiry in the homes of the Gentry began this way.

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That makes sense, Penny. We had a lot of people sign up for this course, and only a few actively participate (which is normal for this sort of thing of course), and perhaps part of the reason is unfamiliarity with platforms, and the pain of having to learn a new platform (Discourse). That’s what happens when you’re trying to focus on open source platforms as much as possible, and so don’t hold your discussions on the ones people are used to. Of course, we still use Twitter, and we used Google Hangouts b/c we were going to use an open source webinar platform hosted by someone else, but their license had expired. So complicated.

Love the image! And good idea to focus on the myriad of things one can find openly to help one in one’s work, including education. If I had to rely just on what I know or can write, or what my students have to buy, my courses would be MUCH less rich.

Christina you had me thinking as I was trying to sleep last night. Openness for me is about many things, but on reflection it’s the creative aspects (maybe I’ll go further & suggest affective aspects) which drives my interest. The connections, conversations, audio, video, images shared by people around the globe, learning opportunities etc, etc. Could you begin a course with the group creating an artefact created from images uploaded to a group site, or play a few rounds of 5 card flickr?
I enjoyed reading Martin Weller’s perspective on the Openness-Creativity cycle of OEP http://jime.open.ac.uk/jime/article/view/2012-02

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One of the articles on my huge pile of “to read” :smile: I am wondering if I will ever make a dent in it :wink:

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I appreciate your honesty (about life getting in the way)! For me, I’m up to my eyeballs with ‘open’ initiatives! I first became interested in open courses a number of years ago when I was teaching. The open courses were great resources not only for me but for my students. I’ve continued to dabble off and on with open courses throughout the years.

In my current position, last year I led an initiative to create and launch “Open Learning.” The Open Learning area provided users with free, open, self-paced college level courses. Because of the popularity, a number of things are happening this fall. First, we officially became Open College at Kaplan University (OC@KU). In addition, we are adding a challenge exam for each of the courses so that learners can test-out if they want earn college credit. We currently have 13 open courses. Then finally, later this fall, we are launching a degree whereby learners can integrate prior and open learning along side traditional courses.

For me, it’s exciting to be a part of the open movement. I think that ‘open’ allows the learner to be in more control of their learning - picking and choosing what and when they want to learn.

Sorry for jumping in the discussion late!

Hi! I was just checking out the Open College at Kaplan site, because I knew nothing about it. I’m not quite sure how it works, though; there seems to be a degree program in the Open College, but are the courses open to anyone and then they can decide to earn credit if they want (for an added cost, I’m assuming)? Just trying to get a sense of how it works!

Hi Penny:

So far behind…sorry for the delay in replying. The idea of starting a course with the participants creating an artifact is a good idea. It reminds me of the lip dub we did in ETMOOC. I wonder if doing something like that might help people feel more like part of a community that has some cohesion, early on? Community takes awhile to develop, usually, and if people don’t feel connected right away, they may not continue one. So finding a way to help connect people, help us all feel like we’re part of some larger thing together, is important.

Do you think that creating an artefact together might help with this?

Back when I first took over teaching the course INSDSG 619 (Design and Instruction of Online Learning), one of the things I wanted to rectify was this:

When I was a student, one of the things
that really irked me was not having access to a syllabus until the beginning of the semester started. Sure, many professors would say that the course is always under construction. being made better, and so on and so forth, thus the syllabus from a previous semester might not be valid any longer so they wouldn’t share it. They also didn’t always have the updated syllabus to share until pretty close to the semester. For someone who likes to plan in advance this didn’t really help with my studies (luckily the informal network of students sharing resources helped me out, and there were some professors that shared their syllabi early on).

When I started teaching I thought I would make my syllabus open for a few reasons:

  1. to assist students like I was, giving them an idea of what might be coming down the pike. Some things may change, but a wholesale reworking of the course is probably not coming (and at that point I would make syllabi temporarily inaccessible anyway to prevent confusion, until the new one was done)
  2. to encourage sharing among other instructors. I was hoping that by slapping a CC license on the syllabus others in the field would do so as well and we could cross-pollinate our courses, thus making them better.
  3. it’s just a syllabus, a roadmap to the course. Protecting a syllabus and claiming it’s your course’s “secret sauce” is really silly in my view. Content is important, however what you do with it, and how you facilitate the course, is ultimately much more valuable than the syllabus itself. You can take 2 people with the same syllabus and they can teach the course in two totally different ways.

Thus far I haven’t seen anyone use my syllabus as is (or at all), but I do get a lot of view on the syllabi I post each semester. I hope it’s having a positive effect out there :wink:

Our new site launches on 9/9 where you can find more info about the degree, ways to get credit for prior learning, and open resources. Yes, we currently have approx 14 open courses - available to anyone, anytime. Later in September, following the website launch, we are also launching challenge exams for each of the open courses. Yes, the challenge exam credit will initially only be guaranteed at KU. I’m working on agreements with three other colleges that also want to accept the credit. Hope this help!