Summary of Learning OLTD505 Open Educational Resources
In this course, I have explored the Open Education movement and investigated Open Educational Resources. I have looked at the concept of copyleft and have adopted the use of the Creative Commons licenses as a part of my teaching practise. I am sufficiently indoctrinated into the world of Massive Open Online Courses called MOOCS. My outlook on learning has changed into one of an active `Visible Learner` with the practise of blogging, tweeting and just recently, social bookmarking. Through this course, I have benefited from the contributions of others from within my cohort, my twitter community and the online learning network that is the World Wide Web. I am no longer hesitant to engage with my learning community by commenting on a blog, joining a CEET MEET, webinar or twitter feed or even enrolling in a MOOC!
Open Educational Resources are materials that you can freely access, use to remix and then share again. The key words here are OPEN and SHARE. The discussions that surround OER's center on how to evaluate their quality and sustainability. At what cost are they being created and who is paying for them? Issues also arise on ownership and copyright of remixed material. While these issues are worth addressing, the important facts remain: OER's are current, free and accessible to all.
My search continues for OER's I find useful for my teaching. OER repositories exist to assist you in finding materials that suit your educational needs. OER Commons, Open Educational Infokit, Ostrich Open Educational Resources, Curriki and Connexions are to name just a few. A few favorites I have used are TED- Ed and Google Art Project.
Resources that are available online for free to share and remix are protected with some restrictions. You may have heard the phrase ``copyleft`, which is a concept, not a community group, and it stands for using existing copyright laws to protect free use. The Creative Commons, on the other hand, is a community group and it provides licences for you to use on your documents, videos, artwork or photographs that are online. It does not replace copyright laws and it does not prevent copyright abuse either. But what the Creative Commons license does do is provide a copyright based on trust, access and sharing that is well suited for educational purposes.
The six Creative Commons licenses allow you to decide how you want to share your creations. A few examples are being able to choose to allow remix, reuse and even build commercially, as long as the work is attributed to you. You can choose to attribute work to you and reuse only on the same licensing terms. You can decide to allow reuse, even commercially, as long as your work is attributed to you and remains unchanged. Or, you can choose the most restrictive of all licenses, and allow your work to be downloaded and shared but it can’t be changed in anyway, or used commercially, and it must be credited to you.
I feel a sense of ethical professionalism knowing I am adhering to the Creative Commons licenses. Not only do I now search for licensed material to use, I also label my work with the proper licenses so others can use and share under my permissions. Through learning about the Creative Commons, I am now committed to share this knowledge with my students and establish it as a part of my online teaching practise.
A high point of this course for me was the synchronous class with Stephen Downes as our guest speaker on “Openness, OERS, and the future of MOOCS”. MOOCS stand for Massive Open Online Course. You may ask “What exactly is a MOOC?” I will supply you with Stephen Downe’s definition: it is massive in that has a design element built-in to support and encourage hundreds and up to thousands of one-on-one interpersonal relations; it is open in that it is run without cost or obligation with ways to share and reuse resources; it is Online meaning no particular part of the course is required at any particular physical location; and it is defined as a course by having a start and end date with a common theme set up by a progression of ordered events.
For me, the intriguing aspects of a MOOC are the opportunities for unforeseen discoveries and connections made with others that occur when ideas, concepts and content are remixed and shared through the MOOC community. My current search is for a project -based MOOC appropriate for high school students. I would love to introduce my students to this form of learning online.
This course has been transformational for me as a learner and as an educator. Even though I have changed my teaching practice dramatically over the last few years, starting with a switch to Inquiry-based learning in my classrooms, and this year, to running my first blended classroom, I had not shared my learning or contributed to the learning of anyone else outside of my own inner circle. It has not been until this year that I have begun a slow transition into becoming a “visual learner”. This course had me plummeting into the world of blogging, tweeting posting and consciously contributing, sharing and connecting to the learning of others.
Connecting with others with learning and sharing has rejuvenated my excitement for teaching with all the possibilities available for unique learning experiences to happen. I have one such experience to share with you.
Alec Couros provided examples of a collection of former student work for us to review leading up to our summary of learning presentations. One student had knocked my socks off with her learning project on light photography. I was so enthralled with her blog that I never made it past her name on that long list of student work. I wanted not only to meet her but I wanted her to inspire my students with her special effects in photography. I knew my students could learn from her blog and I had a plan to use her tutorials to not only teach my students, but also to use her work as an example of how they would investigate their own aspect of photography and document it for others to learn. An email was sent off and I waited anxiously to see if any response would come back to me.
My openness to connect with others for the sake of learning has turned into an amazing opportunity for my students and myself.
Cynthia Schultz not only agreed to be involved with our class, she also agreed to provide a video as a personal introduction to light photography for my students. Here is her video.
My excitement over connecting with Cynthia and corresponding with her on my future plans for my photography course was a huge thrill for me this week. My students this year have an “expert” coach for their light photography attempts. My students next year will be experimenting with light photography with Cynthia, then embarking on their own learning project to share back out to the world. In a sense, my students will be creating their own open educational resources!
All of this came about from a willingness to share, to connect with others online who are part of a network and to create something that will benefit others. I want to thank you, Alec, for sharing your projects and your student work with us. But most of all, I want to thank you for instilling in me the desire to be “visible, open, connected and actively participating in the learning of others”.