Openness- Is it an ideology or reality?

Is commercialization in conflict with the 4Rs(reuse, revise, redistribute, and remix)?  Most commercialized courses (MOOCs inclusive) require certain restrictions to access (may be for a free taster course that would be followed by the “main course” offered with a fee for service).

So, what may be defined as open and free is limited under those programs, and that could contradict with the 4Rs, especially with the free to re-use, redistribute or to remix, as these are forbidden.

Openness is at the heart of MOOCs, only that it may be semi-open, as a participant could enter the open door (register for free) with a MOOC, and use it personally, without any alteration of the course content.  In those MOOCs, there is no remix, re-sending out of part or all of the resources allowed.

David Wiley in his post says:

MOOCs are not openly licensed, and consequently will struggle with issues of quality and will never become part of the educational infrastructure that enables truly breakthrough advances. MOOCs get us one step closer to the goal, but we need to continue advocating for true openness in order to create the space in which those advances can happen.

I was puzzled when someone who re-posted the whole course of MITx as mentioned here by Audrey.  Was it “legal” for the learner(s) to “copy” and create the MOOCs based on the MOOCs created by the Higher Education Institutions?  Wasn’t it covered in the terms and conditions of re-use of that course offered by MITx?

Copying MOOCs content in whole or in part could be a grave concern for the MOOCs providers and the Higher Education Institutions offering the MOOCs, especially when other education providers or competitors exploit the opportunity to have them commercialized or privatized for their own purposes.

From an entrepreneur and venture capitalists point of view, that is against their original intention or purpose, as “profit” could be lost if such content or OERs are being distributed in other sites for free.  This could be analogous to the piracy allegations when commercial copyrighted DVD and videos are being copied by others, for re-selling or re-distribution for free.  Currently, there are lots of videos which may be copyrighted but they are “freely” posted on the Youtube or other sites.

Openness is also a state of mind (Mackness, 2012), for both professors who are practising open scholarship, and those participants in openly sharing their thoughts and learning in open spaces.  Would that be challenging if professors and learners are confining their discourse within closed learning platforms?  Learners are not supposed to openly post any of those learning resources or artifacts outside the platforms of MOOCs, due to the “copy-right” restrictions in uploading and downloading those artifacts, and that remix or redistribution of artifacts are also restricted, due to the terms and conditions of the openness criteria.

Would openness in Higher Education (through MOOCs) be at odds with the ideology of truly open especially when commercialization, monetization and commoditization of Higher Education is increasingly omnipresent?

I would explore more on this challenge on openness as the MOOCs evolve.

What is the most important lesson in MOOCs?

I think we are learning one of the most important lessons in the history of mankind: Openness in education, learning and research.

What do I mean by openness?

I would refer to:

  • Openness in education.
  • Open in free education.
  • Open in sharing and learning on vision, mission, ideas, values, ideals etc. with each others, each other institutions, communities, nations.
  • Openness in terms of re-aggregate, re-curate, re-use, re-mix, re-purpose, re-cycle, re-create, re-understand, re-educate, and re-learn everything that are once closed behind four walls, or closed doors.

To learn more about openness, see this paper (p40 – 52) on Open Research and Open Learning by Roy Williams and Jenny Mackness.  Thanks to Roy and Jenny for sharing their researches.  I think openness is one of the most important lessons that we could learn from MOOCs (both x and c MOOCs).

My share on openness in a previous post:

Openness in dialogue and conversation is the heart of “open education” where I conceived:

Finally, education and learning is not merely giving out the content, testing the students to see if they have got the right answers in assignments or examinations, though they may be important for course validation and institution accreditation.  It is about engaging people (both professors, educators, learners) to interact with each others, in the form of conversation, discourse, and to dialogue about the content, information, and learn about the implications and applications in study, at work, or in life.

Technology could be a powerful tool in the course of education and learning, in particular in MOOC, especially in the mediation of communication, or the facilitation of cooperation and collaboration, through wiki, Google Doc, or social media.

The current affordance of media and tools that are tailored to the learners need to be more effectively applied in the x MOOC, together with the “teaching, cognitive and social presence” for a transformation of education and learning.  Tools and media alone won’t change the world.  It’s the people, the leaders, the learners who work and learn, and converse together, that would change the world.

Openness, teaching and learning in MOOC

I have been thinking about the whole notion of openness, education – with open education and teaching, and its relationship with media, and DIY education with the Edupunk camp.

Jenny says in her post:

Open access and free courses in which all learners and teachers freely share their expertise is thought by followers of many MOOCs, particularly the original cMOOCs, as the means to democratize education (See Fred Garnett’s blog post for further thoughts about Building Democratic Learning).

To what extent is openness practised in MOOCs?

Sanjaya points out that some of these MOOCs are freely available, but they are not really open (see point 22).  Most do not promote use of Open Educational Resources, rather they believe in the copyright and patent regime.  Education is more about conversation and sharing.  It is an experience that one goes through exploration, interaction and collaboration.

In this The concept of openness behind c and x MOOCs 42-151-4-PB (1)

The concept of openness in which each of the formats stands has also a different meaning. In c-MOOCs the learner´s autonomy, peer-to-peer learning and social networking are emphasized.  x-MOOCs are based on a tutor-centric model that establishes a one-to-many relationship to reach massive numbers, as has been affirmed by Siemens (2012a):
The Coursera/EdX MOOCs adopt a traditional view of knowledge and learning. Instead of distributed knowledge networks, their MOOCs are based on a hub and spoke model: the faculty/knowledge at the centre and the learners are replicators or duplicators of knowledge.

There are merits and limitations when sharing openly in open space and social media.

Openness is both an attitude and practice embraced by individuals and scholars, and this relates to our virtual and online identity and scholarship.  Could one be exercising with professional judgment without compromising one’s integrity when openness is practiced in social networking?

There are issues relating to copyright and intellectual property.  As an amateur blogger, it is important to understand the principles of defamation, intellectual property infringement and privacy (see this on Blogging and other Social Media).  ”In theory, two authors could create identical works and each separately own copyright in the works they create provided they work wholely independently and do not copy each others’ work.”

In summary, there are merits, demerits and risks when sharing in social media, networks and in an open space, through blogging, twitter, Facebook, and Google + etc..  It is imperative to observe and beware of the protocols and limits in our posting of ideas or thoughts openly, especially when there are legal implications when our posts may be crossing the line, in breaching of copyrights, intellectual property, or defamation.

One could be accountable for what one has written, spoken or shared in social media, forums and blogs.  We could be subject to scrutiny by law in the same way as that in real life situation.

Openness in dialogue and conversation is the heart of “open education” where I conceived:

Finally, education and learning is not merely giving out the content, testing the students to see if they have got the right answers in assignments or examinations, though they may be important for course validation and institution accreditation.  It is about engaging people (both professors, educators, learners) to interact with each others, in the form of conversation, discourse, and to dialogue about the content, information, and learn about the implications and applications in study, at work, or in life.

Technology could be a powerful tool in the course of education and learning, in particular in MOOC, especially in the mediation of communication, or the facilitation of cooperation and collaboration, through wiki, Google Doc, or social media.

The current affordance of media and tools that are tailored to the learners need to be more effectively applied in the x MOOC, together with the “teaching, cognitive and social presence” for a transformation of education and learning.  Tools and media alone won’t change the world.  It’s the people, the leaders, the learners who work and learn, and converse together, that would change the world.

The response post  on moocs-and-elite-edupunk-way by Darren, where he says:

To me, there is very little difference between the “We can do things on our own, who needs institutions?!?” attitude of an Edupunk, and the “We can do things on our own, who needs everyone else?!?” attitude of most private schools. Both attitudes are elitist, and ultimately in both sibling camps, some people win while other people lose.

A truly open MOOCs would embrace people having their different ways of learning, the elitists, the edupunk, the c and x MOOCers and perhaps both the literate and illiterate people to learn together.

Is it a dog-eat-dog world, as the fight for an educated populace continues to be trounced from nearly every possible angle? (Darren, 2013)

It is true that we are witnessing a whole new “world” of MOOCs with MOOCs competing with other MOOCs.  Higher Education Institutions are adopting a strategy of inviting learners around the world to “try before you buy” with MOOCs in order to be ahead of the competition.

Every one is creating their own MOOCs, and with a new MOOC NOVOED http://novoed.com/ for free. What does it mean when every professor is competing for learners?

I have composed a Lord of the Ring post, whereas those who get the most learners would “survive” & thrive, it seems in these MOOCs. But who have been the pioneers in these MOOCs? Who are leading whom? I don’t know.

I think we are now involved in the gamification in education.  How about the concept of the LORD OF THE RING – or LORD OF THE MOOCs where alliance and partnership in the ring of MOOC keep evolving and emerging.  They who take reign rule and win it all!

#CFHE12 #Oped12 MOOCs emerging as Landscape of Change – Part 5 Questions & Openness with MOOC

This is a post that I drafted sometime ago.  I have decided to give it the finishing touch.

Questions and Openness with MOOCs

Role of Learning Facilitator (also in a MOOC)

Jenny in her post discusses the role of the learning facilitator.

  • Has your scope of work moved from cultivating walled gardens to supporting do-it-yourself landscapes?
  • Are you spending less time on convergent activities which create a sense of belonging, a sharing of common interests, and forging of mutual norms and more time on divergent activities in which individuals control their own learning choices, build their own personal networks and land for short periods of time in ad hoc gatherings?
  • Do you see these new developments as creating possibilities for your role or as putting you out of business?
  • What impact, if any do these shifts mean for the learning facilitator’s value, and marketing that value? 

There is a shift in the learning paradigm, from formal to informal learning, among educators and learners who have engaged and interacted in various media and networks, especially in the last decade.  Ubiquitous networks and technological affordances resulting from Web tools render such  engagement and interaction within a short space of time.

With a digital, open, networked approach we are witnessing a shift to abundance of content, and subsequently new economic models are being developed.  The shift to abundant content has a profound implications for education (Weller, 2011).

What technology has offered educators are affordance to reach others in social media and networks, and the means to cloud source and filter information, and aggregate artifacts that are useful for learning.  Aggregation, remixing, re-purposing and re-creating artifacts such as blog posts, or participation and collaboration in wiki writings and research have been made possible as a result of availability of the tools.

Educators as learning facilitator would likely be “role modelling” (as part of Stephen’s proposed pedagogy) in the networks and social spaces, in an open manner, using blog posts, Twitter postings, or FB/Google etc. as mediating and networking platforms to “share, support and facilitate” the learning.

I don’t see any hard and fast rules for such facilitation in the networks and communities of practice, though I often found those proposed strategies developed by Etienne Wenger extremely useful.

I think facilitation in COPs would need to be emergent in nature, and could take the form of engagement, sharing, interview, and conversation, rather than broadcasting of video lectures ONLY.

Would some of our colleagues or educators be out of the jobs as a consequence of MOOCs?   MOOC and you’re out of a job sounds pessimistic to me.

The changing landscape of MOOC

Conole’s slides powerfully illustrates how the changing landscape in a Web 2.0 world would impact on learning.  I reckon this applies to MOOCs (both xMOOCs and cMOOCs)

Not made in here syndrome in MOOCs

In response to Ana’s comments to my previous post:

Well said. “To say that rock star professors will become available to any villager is, again, a bandwagon cliche; villagers are usually more concerned with the rice growing in the paddies and how to feed their children.” That’s resonating.

You reminded me of the “Not made in here NMIH syndrome” when a particular technology (x MOOCs) is “exported” or “imported” into communities (villages), society and other nations.

Every MOOC provider wants to be recognized as the world leader in the field (the gold medalist). Besides, not all followers (other nations, communities) would like to be viewed as the “copiers” or just getting the Silver or Bronze medals in the field of education. Isn’t that a reality?

Colonialism in education with MOOCs

People need to be aware of the possible interpretation of colonialism of education, as it could impact on the traditions and cultural values of the communities involved. (I just noted that George also mentioned in the video below, though I have written the above more than a week ago).   This is a matter of interpretation, but could be an important factor in deciding whether they would like to join the bandwagon or not.

Education leaders of nations are accountable for their own nation’s education, and thus would prefer to have glocalization of education, on top of globalization of higher education.

Learners’ preference and autonomy in MOOCs

I shared Ana’s experiences about learners’ preferences in learning. Online learning could still be new to many educators and learners in some countries, though I don’t think I could generalize. There are both praises and criticisms in online education as the quality of “instruction” and “learning” do vary.

I do believe that we have a big difference even in the understanding and application of the xMOOC and cMOOC and that there may a “battle” ground on pedagogy – where a win-win strategy has yet to evolve. I know it is hard to pin down the pedagogy in xMOOCs though the pedagogy in cMOOCs is readily known.

Fundamental properties of Networks

The fundamental questions that relate to educators and learners in a world of MOOCs relate to the four fundamental properties of networks:

1. autonomy

2. diversity (of opinions in the networks)

3. openness

4. connectivity

Conversation on MOOCs

See this video on MOOCs

The conversation centered around some fundamental concepts about massive scale, and openness.  I think massive number of participants is just one part of the MOOC reflective of the demands for more “formal higher education courses with content and assessment” by many who might not have the opportunities to access them.

The affordance as mentioned by George relates to the affordance of technology (in this case MOOC) to people’s learning.

Openness in Learning

What may be unique with learning over the internet, with MOOCs in particular, relates to openness.

To what extent is openness important in online learning?  The openness seems to relate to one’s practice and habits, when engaging and interacting with artifacts, people, or networks.

How open is open in open education and learning?

What does it really mean to be an open learner, educator, scholar, or researcher?

Is openness at the heart of those learning in MOOCs?  Would people be more open when they are encouraged and supported in learning via open spaces?

Alec in this video interview elaborates on the importance of openness, connectivity and building cultures:

David Wiley shares in his post:

Openness and copyright

How about the copyright of artifacts and teaching and learning resources of xMOOCs?  Most MOOCs resources are only “open” to the registered participants, and they are copyrighted.   See this paper relating to copyright of MOOCs.

Openness and learning

I found that MOOCs open up the opportunities to raise more questions, and could help in gaining a better understanding about how and what we would learn through a complex and digital world of webs, networks and communities.

What you need to know about MOOCs?  The more I explore about why and how some people learn in a more “formal and xMOOCs” way, the more that I believe in the notion that transformation and revolution in Higher Education is still a long way ahead.  MOOCs are experiments that are yet to be proven as the FUTURE OF EDUCATION.

As George said, opening education to the world through MOOCs is wonderful.   I am full support of more open and free education, to anyone in the world. I have defined such open education though in a slightly different way, as it embraces not only formal education, but informal education and learning, including mentoring, coaching, social networking, and

The main concern is that I have with the existing MOOCs is: there is a HUGE PRICE to pay, when Higher Education is totally MOOCs, and people are thinking of the short term gain, like fame, revenues, profits, or business.

I don’t yet know the PRICE in exact term, as there is no way to measure how much MONEY we would have invested into MOOCs (in the hundreds of millions), and saved due to the MOOCs, only to find out that educators and learners are all expecting and looking for a CHEAPER AND MORE EFFECTIVE MODEL AND PLATFORM for their higher education and life long learning.

I have concluded here:

Finally, education and learning is not merely giving out the content, testing the students to see if they have got the right answers in assignments or examinations, though they may be important for course validation and institution accreditation.  It is about engaging people (both professors, educators, learners) to interact with each others, in the form of conversation, discourse, and to dialogue about the content, information, and learn about the implications and applications in study, at work, or in life.

Technology could be a powerful tool in the course of education and learning, in particular in MOOC, especially in the mediation of communication, or the facilitation of cooperation and collaboration, through wiki, Google Doc, or social media.

The current affordance of media and tools that are tailored to the learners need to be more effectively applied in the x MOOC, together with the “teaching, cognitive and social presence” for a transformation of education and learning.  Tools and media alone won’t change the world.  It’s the people, the leaders, the learners who work and learn, and converse together, that would change the world.

Those are the questions that I would like to ponder in my coming FINAL part of this series of MOOCs emerging as Landscape of Change.

I would like to end that with narratives of MOOCers – your stories in my final part.

Google image:

On our future education system

What would be an excellent education system be like in future?

Will online learning spell the end of universities?

Universities were once wary of giving away their courses online. At best, the videos took up server space and ate into a professor’s office hours; at worst, they diluted the Ivy League brand. Today, the calculus has changed. Enterprising academics are anxious to show off their research or take the stage in front of 10,000 students. Administrators, in turn, recognise that embracing the web doesn’t mar a university’s stature—instead, it shows visionary leadership, which translates into better fundraising. And honestly, when Harvard decides to play spades, what choice do you have but to follow suit?

This sounds both exciting but challenging, especially when the top universities are leading up the changes, whereas those others must have to follow suit, in order to catch up with the “power game” based on x MOOC.  Does it mean the demise of lots of universities who could not meet up those bench-marks and best practice?  Would there be winners for all?

How to sustain such MOOCs, with the present economic model?  In this Openness as counter narrative, Paul says:

Giroux (2003, p.183) continues stating that faculty “are now defined less through their scholarship than through their ability to secure funds and grants from foundations, corporations, and other external sources”.

Though it is possible to disagree with Giroux’s (2003, p.191) claim that higher education has sold out to the highest bidder in an attempt to “calibrate supply to demand”, but there is indisputable evidence of the increasing privatisation of higher education.

In this post relating to -Australia-should-not-follow-the-Asian-model-of-education-by Nicola

From my experience in Australia and East Asia, it is Australian students who have a far superior educational experience in which a wider range of subjects are taught and where the core business of learning goes beyond narrow test results.

To what extent is that the case?  I think we need more data to substantiate the claim.

I was further interested to learn:

The report maintains that “effective intervention begins with a deep analysis of learning”. Learning is the focus – yet all the examples of learning are solely related to the regurgitation of facts in a test. There are no references to being creative or showing the ability to work towards an agreed goal in a collaborative partnership.

I have been in situations where I have asked Asian students “what do you think?” And they reply “tell us what you think and we will think the same”. Is that really the mark of a gold star education system?

There are some “truths” reflected in this part of the post, in particular about rote learning that might have been emphasized in an education system which focuses on tests and examinations.  However, I don’t think tests and examinations are just testing the facts and knowledge.  In some cases it could be used to test the problem solving skills of students, within certain conditions, with particular subjects.  One could argue that problem solving could be taught.  So, would we still like to check if students have achieved certain mastery of problem solving through examinations?

It seems the main problems with the education system is too much focus on rote learning, and to some extent it relates to the testing of knowledge using the typical examinations ONLY.

If that is the case, would the x MOOCs with examinations as a way to determine content mastery also be falling into similar “trap”?  I have shared some of my views and those of others in this post.

As mentioned in other critiques about flipping classroom, the challenges we are facing in our education system is too much reliance on the mastery of content, and the traditional tests and examinations, as shared in my previous post, and insufficient attention to the critical thinking, problem solving and digital literacies, which should be addressed early in the high school, rather than in Higher Education.  I am not sure if there are overly bias on Khan Academy and flipping the classroom, as discussed in this post and this  post with video critique on KA, and that in flipping the solution.  However, it is important to see the pros and cons of each approaches – with flipping the classroom, and see what impact they have on our education system.

Viplav comments here:

At present, these initiatives are nothing more than extensions/combinations of the self paced elearning and instructor led virtual models, automated assessments in some cases, with the added spice of learners being able to collaborate online and being promoted by individual and institutional brands (acceptance) – hardly a disruption. In fact, the reason such flips will continue to attract students (even though a meagre percentage would actually certify), is because a brand pull exists or marketing dollars will be spent.

What might be possible solutions to our education system?  You are invited to share your solutions.

Postscript:

See this video.

A relevant paper on course evaluation.

The Future of Higher Education – the Pew Research Report

#Change11 #CCK12 Are there differences in sharing in open/closed space?

Here is my short response to Carmen’s comments on Jenny’s post.

As I have also worked with Jenny and Roy in the past, using a number of wikis, in our CCK08 research, I shared some of the views of Carmen. There are however, tacit knowledge that one may say never easily shared while in open and public space, but could be possible when one is learning in a chosen open-but-closed space. This involves trust, privacy and a sense of openness, where not everybody is comfortable with, when sharing with weak ties.

How about your views and experience?

John

#Change11 On openness – a response to learning in times of abundance

Is openness the solution to online education and learning?  I am still pondering on my previous post.   Learners cooperate or collaborate for all sorts of reasons, and some would still like to protect their “intellectual property”, so why/why not sharing?  Some learners would prefer to be individual, solitary or independent learners, like the visitors, rather than residents. I hope I could find more examples on students leveraging abundance for learning (may be in this MOOC and other MOOCs).  Openness is still up to interpretation, as “we” have revealed in our research in Blogs and Forum as Communication and Learning Tools, and The Ideals and Reality of participating in a MOOC.  Using OER for personal learning may be a common practice by some students who are used to online learning, but engaging and interacting with others through OER is still not that popular, as a mainstream practice, and so may be a myth.  There are issues on autonomy, openness, connectivity and diversity that need to be resolved, especially for the novices.  Even for veterans, there are still concerns related to the differences in opinions, academic perspectives and epistemology, that are often embedded in the discourse, and could lead to tensions, alienation, and distractions.

Photo: Flickr (Distracted reasons)

There seems to be many anomalies in educational practice, when learning with such times of abundance.  This requires lots of adjustment in the teaching and learning practice for educators and learners to work and learn together.  The subtle power inherent in online learning is also a challenge for many classroom educators and learners who may feel safer in a closed classroom environment.

What are some strategies and solutions to the above challenges?   That would be included in the next posts.

Postscript: This post on privacy is relevant to openness.  People are worrying their loss of online privacy.