OLTD 505 Week #5
Ok, so I’m going to be writing this blog post as if I am explaining these terms to my wife, as she is so often wondering exactly what it is that I’m doing in front of the computer at 9:00 on a Saturday morning. Here it goes….
This last Saturday we had a very special guest speaker by the name of Stephen Downes give us a presentation on OERS, MOOCS, and the future of these new educational developments. Stephen has been an early proponent on the benefits of using computers to enhance student learning, and writes on his blog about a variety of topics concerning technology and the future of online learning. Much of the session was collaborative, with Stephen soliciting the class for input on what we mean when talking about ideas such as “Open”, “Education” and “Resources”. It was an interesting exercise to unpack these terms, and look at the variety of responses that came from each participant’s personal connection to these ideas.
After this exercise we moved onto the task of exploring just what exactly an OER is. An OER (or Open Educational Resource) is a “freely accessible, openly licensed document and / or media that are useful for teaching, learning, educational assessment, and research purposes.” -( Wikipedia). The rights associated with an OER are dependent on the license that the creator has attached to their creation. The easiest way to licence your work is through the creative commons website. Creative commons is a “nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools” – (creativecommons.org). It offers a number of different licensing options for how creators might share their work. Below is a table that sums up the rights and restrictions that each license has.
Lets move on to MOOCs. MOOC stands for a “Massive Open Online Course”. Massive can be a relative term in this sense, but is meant to account for a number of participants outside the normal scope of a brick and mortar classroom model. Student enrollment can range from the hundreds, to the hundred thousands. MOOCS are still developing what they do and how they do it, but could all be loosely defined by focusing on the participation of large numbers of students through the web aided by forums and open educational resources. Moocs have also been evolving in how they deliver their content. xMOOCs are more instructor directed, with students engaging with short videos and tests provided by the instructor. In contrast, a cMOOC is much more open and provides more freedom for students to direct their learning and connect with, and build on the ideas of their classmates.