#EduMOOC Openness

This is my first post relating to EduMOOC.

I watched Erik Duval’s video presentation on openness with interests.

Here are my takeaways and comments:

Erik’s approach towards openness in his University teaching relates to the use of social media and tools such as Blogs, Twitter, Facebook and Delicious etc.

His presentation relates to

Open Standards, Open Content, Open Learning, Open Attention, and also Open Research.

Erik’s adopted a strong intervention approach, as was suggested in his presentation, that he stressed that if the students didn’t blog, they failed.  I am not sure if such intervention provides enough choice for the students, as my experience is: learner autonomy always comes first in learning.  Throughout my past few years of teaching and learning using blogs, I realized that it is never easy to blog and share with the public.  Some students may even voice: Is blogging polluting the media?  I still think we need to be cautious when introducing blogging as a learning tool, especially when students are new to the media and Web 2.0 tools.  Adequate planning and explanation about the use of blogs and why and how blogs could be applied in course might ensure higher degree of success. Also, the use of blogs may appeal to some learners, but not to others, as revealed in our CCK08 and PLENK2010 research, and subsequent CCK and PLENK2010 observations and research.  As a blogger, I think it is also very difficult to be both creative and informative in blogging, where critical thinking  and curating skills are very important in the development of blog posts.

Should blogging be mandatory for students?  What are the policy and assessment criteria relating to the students’ blogging?  How would blogging be incorporated into part of the course or module?  What is the role of the instructors in the “teaching” or facilitation of blogging as a learning tool?

Erik mentioned that around 10% of his students continued to blog even after the course.  I think this is also the case of CCK08 experience and some of the open courses that I am aware of.  Why would those course participants continue their blogging journey?  What did they achieve with those blogging experience? This may be an interesting area to research.

There are a few interesting points:

- The use of Twitter and Facebook in his course.  I was quite amazed by his comments: If you don’t tweet it, you fail (he instructed his students that they must tweet).  I don’t think this would work with my students, and my style of teaching too, as I preferred giving options to students, especially where competency based training is still outcome and content focused.  Besides, students who haven’t got internet access would likely be dissatisfied with such an instruction and intervention.

- Difficulties in paying attention.  I like Erik’s question: What does it mean to pay attention?  Erik’s advice that students have to comment on each others’ blog may sound simple in principle, but could be difficult to implement.  Throughout our CCK courses, didn’t both instructors and participants urge everyone to comment actively in blogs?  What caused the low number of comments in blogging?  Were participants motivated to comment on other blogs?  Why/Why not?

- I also liked Erik’s presentation about Learning Analytics, where he showed how intervention could be made where necessary, on those students who didn’t participate actively, or who were at risks.  However, there are still many ethical and control issues relating to Learning Analytics as I have shared here and here. Here is LAK11 and Martin’s post on Learning Analytics.

- I think at the end of the learning program, one must relate the learning back to the achievement of personal goals, and consider the power of feedback loops as mentioned by Erik, and review the effectiveness and impact of such learning on individuals and the group.

I am not sure if such open learning would be welcomed by the “oriental learning” and competency based learning, where the content and outcomes are relatively more important as compared to the learning process.  I am also doubtful if openness could be assimilated into certain Asian education culture, where openness is still a taboo, in both higher education and research.

Here is one of my posts on open courses and Jenny’s post on openness. Openness is challenging but exciting, especially when people realized the benefits of sharing, contributing and receiving valuable ideas and information openly.

What are your experiences in openness?

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5 thoughts on “#EduMOOC Openness

  1. Many thanks for your comments!

    Just a quick clarification: my students are typically enrolled in my course as part of their formal university curriculum – that is a bit different from the typical MOOC context… For instance, they use twitter and blogs to report on assignments in project work. The course is optional, but if they decide to take the course, then reporting on their work is not optional: that is why they fail if they don’t tweet and blog…

    BTW, my reaction to Dan’s comments on my talk this week (http://erikduval.wordpress.com/2011/07/07/open-hong-kong/) briefly discusses the issue of cultural bias…

  2. Many thanks Erik for your insights. I am glad to learn about how the reporting of your students’ work is done, and your approach in the design and delivery of the course. What are the feedback of students relating to those who failed because they didn’t tweet and blog?
    As I was educated in Hong Kong (my MSc (Eng) from University of Hong Kong), I could anticipate that there would be a lot of challenges for the professors, administrators and students in the universities of Hong Kong, when social media and learning analytics are used in the course curriculum. Such challenges include a difference between teacher-centred education and learner-centred education and learning.
    Will read about the issue of cultural bias as suggested.

  3. Typically, they all blog: if they fail, it is because of the quality of what they blog, not because they didn’t do it. In that respect, it is like asking students to submit an assignment: typically, very few don’t turn it in. But some do turn something in that is below minimum quality standard.
    You’re so right about how this leads to more learner-centered education: but teacher-centered education seems a bit like an anomaly to me…

  4. Great to learn that your students have been blogging in the course. What rubrics have you used in the assessment of their blog posts/assignment? Did they peer or self assess their blogs? Would students be allowed to re-post in their blogs if they fail? It seems to me that your students’ blog posts were opened to public, is it?
    Thanks Erik again for your comments.

  5. Pingback: What is really revolutionizing education? Part 1 | Learner Weblog

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