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EDTECH 597: Introduction to Openness was a new course added to the Master of Educational Technology program this summer. Dr. Fred Baker did an amazing job teaching this course.
This is a studio model course examining major areas of openness, the impact on education, and instructional design. Students will create and revise several project artifacts, and will interact heavily throughout the development cycle. Key elements include examining the centeredness of education, questioning what human-centered education might look like, and exploring openness in education through a human-centered design lens.
It’s always a bittersweet time when a course ends but this one is especially so as this was a transformative course for me. I came into this course with a very naive view of openness. My only exposure to openness was via open access medical journals which are looked down upon by the elitist academic establishment. I emerged from this course changed in how I will approach my teaching and publishing in the future.
What are the most important things that I learned?
- Open does not just mean free. Lots of stuff is free but not open.
- Open resources are all around us and we use them constantly in all aspects of life.
- Openness is variably defined but its 2 primary components are transparency (visibility and accessibility to all parts of something) and freedom (ability to do what you want to with something free of legal or technical barriers).
- Wiley’s 5 Rs are a useful way to explain open use (freedom) activities: reuse, revise, remix, redistribute, retain.
- We need to create more open educational resources (OER) and not just consume them.
- Open access journal articles are used & cited more than traditional journal articles. They are also cheaper to produce.
- Open scholarship: making courses open to the public, making course materials OER, publish in open access journals, use open tools like blogs, make research data open.
- There are 2 types of MOOCs: cMOOCs and xMOOCs. They vary greatly in their openness.
- Open access journal models: green (authors self-archive), gold (authors pay article processing fee).
- Design thinking and human-centered design principles.
How has my thinking changed? Why was it transformative?
Dr. Patricia Cranton defines transformative learning as. . . “an individual becomes aware of holding a limiting or distorted view. If the individual critically examines this view, opens herself to alternatives, and consequently changes the way she sees things, she has transformed some part of how she makes meaning out of the world.”
There are many aspects that have changed and it’s hard to express them all but I think I have fomented a greater sense of the implications of my view of learning as a social event. We maximize learning with and from each other. For knowledge to be socially constructed there must be sharing of ideas and resources. To share fully, things must be open.
Learning is a societal good. As such, everyone should be able to learn what they want, when they want, and how they want. We currently have too many barriers to learning. Open education ideas, open scholarship, and OERs can reduce these barriers.
What will I do differently in the future? How was I transformed?
If someone is transformed they change their beliefs and behaviors. My beliefs about the quality and benefits of open have changed. My beliefs about open scholarship have changed. Without realizing it I was already doing some open behaviors prior to this course. I regularly published my PowerPoint slides to SlideShare for anyone to use and made my teaching videos public on YouTube. What I didn’t do (and I will in the future) is to make sure I put a Creative Commons license on them that clearly allows for open use with attribution. I will also strive to make publications open access (when I can’t publish in an open access journal) and to publish in open access journals when possible. I will also encourage learners to publish materials they create in an open way.
So as I close out another chapter in my MET program I will always fondly look back on this course as one of the most important and enjoyable of my degree program. I learned a lot about the benefits and limitations of openness. I discovered a university that is open. I learned to use some new tools in creating course projects. I used witty comics to develop a comic about the differences between MOOCs and I created a HyperDoc to present a workshop on creating OERs. I learned about several open source tools to create and edit video, create and edit audio, and create and edit graphics. I learned about open access clip art and photo sources. I learned about sources of open access textbooks (and even used one for this course). I learned about human-centered design.
I am forever changed. Thank you Dr. Baker.