Elevation gain

Week 4: Open Ed MOOC + signals from the network

I’m writing this post at high elevation. I’m in the mountains of Colorado after spending the week at the WCET conference. In addition to my very important role as sole Canadian representative present, I spent my time listening and trying to translate differences between the American and Canadian education systems.

This post is a mash-up of ideas that have been floating around the network for #OpenAccessWeek and #OpenEdMOOC and have combined with some of the conversations I had at WCET.

There are two undercurrents:

The textbook: I’ve heard it won’t be with us for long.

The end of the textbook narrative has been coming primarily from brilliant educators who believe everyone should put 100% of their creative effort into teaching. These people can make the case for a mash-up of openly licensed materials in their sleep and it sounds so right. I think it is.

But, I’m also hearing from administrators and others who are working hard to get the idea of openly licensed materials into the culture of their institution. For them, the open textbook is the gateway to the larger culture shift. Even if an educator adopts an open textbook it is likely they will still want their students to have a print option. Digital itself is still a bridge too far for some.

As we heard in Week 4 of #OpenEdMOOC, it takes a couple of cycles to fully understand the pedagogical affordances of open. You need to experience the process of iterating and sharing before you have your Bodhi moment. Before you can see the space beyond free.

‘point break rip bodhi’ by Rollan Budi, September 21, 2010

In the meantime, we need to build infrastructure that allows educators to easily find, adapt and retain OER. That infrastructure needs to allow for discovery and adaptation of open textbooks, course materials, modules, streaming video, course outlines – anything that aids teaching.

Commercialization: several zones of the network have expressed concern over commercialization of publicly funded resources.

Jenni Hayman articulated this concern through an analysis of the Cengage announcement.

Geoff Cain chose the otherwise routine commute video as his setting to ask the big question: why is CC-BY the gold standard of open licensing?

It is going to be increasingly important that we support our educators to choose the open license that works best for them. Especially if they are coming to open for the first time. I have been returning to the “How to Destroy Open Ed” live notes from the #OpenEd17 Ethics workshop. There are so many interesting ideas captured here. A few of my favourites to close this post:

How do we ensure that Open Ed is not open?

  • Have commercial publishers who already create open educational resource additives (that have a cost) take over the creation and sale of OER altogether.
  • Not empower teachers/teaching & learning
  • Engage in double-speak where my work is “not really open” because it is not available for a corporation to sell (CC-by-nc)

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