#change11 Openness Community

As promised in my previous post, here is the text to initiate the institutional Openness Community. It was originally intended as an email, hence the request to email me in response – but interested people can add comments, tweet me, or email me.

Openness Community

I am currently creating a community to work collectively on the concept of openness in education. The intention is to develop an Open Educational Practice (OEP) within the community that can then be shared more widely. However, this is not a theoretical exercise, I’m interested in putting this into practice to create new and use existing resources, working openly.

To achieve this vision we will need to examine areas including

  • the production of Open Educational Resources (OER) and Open Courseware (OCW),
  • how to produce material to open standards for re-use by others,
  • how we would want to license such material under a Creative Commons Licence,
  • examine what software and services to use for production and hosting,
  • how to re-use existing OER appropriately,
  • where and how to access open resources including open textbooks,
  • the sharing of useful generic and subject specific resources including the creation of resource directories,
  • defining appropriate quality controls for production and prior to consumption.

The community can start from the foundations of the work of

  • UNESCO Open Educational Resources,
  • The Cape Town Open Education Declaration,
  • The Open Courseware Consortium, and
  • Open Educational Quality Initiative (OPAL).

There are a number of toolkits, frameworks and publicity materials available that we can use to inform and develop our practice. In addition, there are some significant ongoing research projects including those funded by the JISC and HEA that we can draw upon, as well as various experts and advocates in the subject.

The intention is that this is a grassroots community, pulling together like-minded individuals to create something larger than its constituent parts and furthering the mutual interest of openness across the campus and, hopefully, beyond.

Some areas where I personally would like to see experimentation might include

  • development and delivery of a course that uses only Open Content and OER as an example of potential,
  • providing a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) within 12 months,
  • development of a peer reviewed Open Journal,
  • development and running of an Open Conference within 12 months,
  • producing an open textbook.

If you have a passion for, interest in, or useful practical knowledge of openness in education and would like to be involved in shaping the direction of this community, please drop me an email in the first instance. I will draw up a list of participants and convene an initial meeting and we will take things from there.

Kind regards
Mark Morley

#Change11 Openness Revelation

For years I’ve been enthralled by the concept of openness in education. I’ve written numerous blogposts:

I’ve developed an extensive bookmark collection over the past three years or so:

But being involved in the MOOC Change11 has prompted me to think about the whole topic in much more detail once again, particularly the David Wiley (post 1, 2, 3, 4) & Rory McGreal weeks.

I have written about the concerns I have in getting the message out onto a big enough stage quickly enough to prevent corruption or being usurped. However, (and thanks go once again to John here for introducing me to this) after seeing this video of Michael Nielson’s TED Talk, which has had a profound effect on me, and with the lack of responses I’m seeing from decision-makers, I am inspired to put out my messages straight into an open arena via this blog. Hopefully, it will mean that the ideas get taken forward and I will receive appropriate attributions, but it will certainly mean things happen faster from my perspective, which may mean less frustration for me though there could be more ‘fallout’ as a result.

Consequently, I’ll be posting in the next couple of days the text I developed to initiate an institutional Openness Community, and for which I haven’t received any satisfactory feedback.

Michael Nielson TEDTalk video:


David Wiley #change11 mooc week 5 – post 2

This week’s topic has inspired and energized me into revisiting notions I’ve had for a few years. Unfortunately, I’ve found that whenever I try to take them forward there is such inertia from within the institution that they never get off the ground or they falter shortly afterwards. One area that I have found particularly frustrating has been trying to get institutional buy-in to the development, production and use of Open Educational Resources (OERs). There just doesn’t seem to be the interest or passion at the top level. However, the efforts David has made and continues to make are inspiring.

David Wiley: iSummit ’08 Keynote Address from isummit 08 on Vimeo.

David wasn’t afraid to make mistakes, as he outlined in the video. I should also learn from my own past ‘failures’ (for example the disappointments expressed in my previous post) and use them as a springboard to try again and achieve more.

To this end I’ve decided to develop a grassroots community approach to openness within my institution. To achieve this I’ll need to put together a convincing argument that senior management will allow me to take forward. I wonder if members of MOOC Change11 will help me to develop this argument throughout this week (week 5)? Here are some potential questions I need answers to.

  • What points do you think would be useful to make? Are the following useful for a community to discuss?
    • What technologies would be appropriate for the community members to use to produce & host OERs?
    • How can we promote the use of Open Journals for publishing research?
    • How can the reuse of OERs be encouraged within the institution?
    • Can we aggregate appropriate subject specific open content as a community for within the institution and beyond?
    • How can we promote the sole use of open content and open textbooks within a course?
  • How can I convince management that a grassroots approach would be appropriate?
  • Would it be sustainable as a venture?
  • Would it have any direct benefits for the institution?

I look forward to any input or advice you can give. Many thanks.

David Wiley #change11 mooc week 5 – post 1


Due to a medical problem I’ve drifted in and out of MOOC Change 11 over the past two weeks. (It’s amazing how difficult it is to keep up with the continuous flow under those circumstances. As a result, I’m going to try a new tactic and do a thought dump for the beginning of David Wiley’s week. I’ll try and catch up with the work I’ve got in the tube for the previous weeks as and when I can.

I’ve been following the work of David for a while now (a few years). I remember back in April last year when he wrote about Sal Khan’s Khan Academy and his frustration about it not being open content, and over the next few days how this turned into a success story with Sal displaying a CC License on the Academy homepage and making all content freely available.

Looking back through associated links in my bookmarks, I’ve rediscovered some links which might be useful to fellow MOOC Change11 participants:

David’s TEDx talk in his blog article (that includes the text).

David’s opening to the 2009 Penn State Symposium for Teaching and Learning with Technology.

And so on, you get the idea. My Diigo bookmarks: http://www.diigo.com/user/markuos/%22david%20wiley%22

However, by reading through Davids MOOC Change11 post I’ve found out a whole lot more today.

One thing that particularly interested me was the OSOSS pdf on the Open Content website. Though it’s from back in 2002 when it was published David A. Wiley & Erin K Edwards, Quarterly Review of Distance Education, Vol 3(1), pp33-46, 2002, IAP, I still took relevance from it. In fact I wish I’d read it three or four years ago. At that time I had the idea for an institutional project to improve the digital literacy of our student population and get students participating in the sharing and using of more of the freely (as in beer) available online services (loosely termed web2.0) to enhance their learning processes. (A relevant blog post from that time.) The project was taken up by the institution, and I worked with a handful of students to get things up and running. The environment used for facilitating the community was a self hosted social collaboration environment, which was also newly rolled out within the institution (which possibly wasn’t good to get things started with). However, even though I put a great deal of effort into kick starting the concept, with the anticipation of stepping back once things were running successfully, I never saw the level of engagement or critical mass required to make it self-sustaining.

I’d be interested in your views on how this could have been more successful. I’ve seen a forum run by Howard Rheingold that didn’t really take off either. How do you get the required levels of engagement to develop a successful self-sustaining community? I’ve got other Open Education projects I’d like to develop along community lines, but want them to be more successful.

Link to the best, don’t recreate the same old stuff

I followed a link on a tweet today to Jeff Jarvis’ blog post and I’m so glad I did.

Sometimes you come across some work that strikes a chord with your own work or beliefs. This was one of those moments. In his TEDxNYED video Jeff talks about using the best resources that are available and simply linking to them, instead of reproducing them. It does mean reassessing what education is, what format it takes, after all if you can access some of the best lectures in the world online, for free, (as I wrote about here and here) what is the value of sitting through someone else delivering the same topic without any interaction?

I remember something I wrote in the Social Media Co-Lab forums:

Posted on: Fri, 11/14/2008 – 07:29 Following on from Free

I think we should be tapping into what others are providing without having to repackage the material into the ‘corporate identity’ of an institution. Doing so simple seems a waste of time and effort, and doesn’t necessarily reward (not financially speaking; more citing and recognition) the original author. If we are working towards a vast educational community approach to resources, I feel we should be finding (and passing on) the best examples of material already produced, and not necessarily recreating them.

For example, I was recently passed a link to a site where someone was creating screencasts of how to use various software. The individual had won an award for this site. Fair enough, what he’s created is a good resource now, all very uniform. But it doesn’t really align with my own philosophy. Why not just create a wiki linking to the best you can find of other people’s screencasts of how to use software? It may look more different and dirty but I’d say possibly it gets learners thinking about a few things: they see that not everything useful has to come from a recognised, uniform resource; they as learners can go out and find material and they need to evaluate its credibility; they themselves can produce material to share; they can be part of the bigger community (for example, by editing the wiki linking to all these resources).

Which received a response from Will Richardson (yes that Will Richardson):

Posted on: Fri, 11/14/2008 – 12:49 Rolling Your Own as Opposed to Rolling Others

(Or something like that…)

Just picking up on what Mark said above in terms of choosing between making yet another how to screencast or collecting the best of what’s out there and spending time reading and thinking rather than creating, I agree. I like the effects he cites in terms of

“they see that not everything useful has to come from a recognised, uniform resource; they as learners can go out and find material and they need to evaluate its credibility; they themselves can produce material to share; they can be part of the bigger community (for example, by editing the wiki linking to all these resources).”

Not that it totally relates here, but a while back on my blog I posted about the need to take photos of beautiful places we visit when we can gets tons of photos of those places already on Flickr with a CC license that would let us remix and reuse them. Now I know that I want pictures of my kids while they are actually snorkling in the Barrier Reef, etc. but I wonder sometimes why some have so much trouble with using what is already out there instead of re-creating it in yet another way.

It’s Friday, and I’m tired, so I hope that made some sense. Yes, we want our students to be creators and connectors, but we also don’t want them reinventing the wheel either.

Well, here’s Jeff’s video for you to watch yourself (watchout for the language).

Social Media Co-Lab was created by Howard Rheingold

Kahn Academy – DIY OER to Educate the World

Last Friday was an interesting day. I was tipped off by a colleague, Paul Leman, about the Kahn Academy when he sent me a link to Glen Moody’s blog post. At first sight the Kahn Academy looked like a fantastic resource, with 1000+ videos on various topic for students of all ages. But being one who never takes things on face value, I wanted to check things out and see what others were saying about this resource. That’s when I found David Wiley’s post which explained how there was no Creative Commons license attached to the content. I had a look and he seemed to be right. David had written to Sal Kahn the creator of the Kahn Academy previously, but he decided to drop him a further email. Then, as is evident from the comments David received on his post, everyone was immensely pleased to see that by the end of that day Sal had acted on David’s call and prominently displayed the CC license on the Kahn Academy homepage making it an OER for reuse, remixing, sharing, etc. I immediately embedded this video in my Daily Interests blog under the title Education for the World until I had time to write in more detail.

Now I have to take my hat off to Sal Kahn for a truly immense resource. What he has achieved with the Kahn Academy is nothing short of incredible. Single handedly generating instructional videos covering subjects including:

What a wealth of information. This has to be place in the category alongside Academic Earth and Udemy.

This story excites me on a number of levels. Perhaps one of the most significant is the difference anyone can make by openly publishing knowledge online to freely educate others. It’s an approach I’m trying to take myself to make a difference, however small; it is something that I passionately believe in. More power to anyone and everyone doing the same.

Next Generation Textbooks – Flexbooks

Sometimes you encounter something that changes your own mindset, the way you work, the way you want to do things. You want to get involved, to make this better. I’ve just come across one such idea.

The work of the CK-12 Foundations is mindblowingly excellent. Their mission is to create access to cheap textbooks both for the US and Worldwide. How will they achieve this? Well, they’re pioneering the ‘Flexbook‘, which is an open-content, web-based collaboration model where it’s possible to take Creative Commons Licensed content from one of the available standard text on the site and repurpose it for the learning experience required. This is achieved using the online software to extract chapters or sections from the text, mix it with your own content from a Word file for example, and package it together into a ‘book’ that can be exported to a pdf file for printing out and use with learners.

For cK-12’s much better explanation:

Screenshot of Flexbook site

This needs to be made to work in a much wider contexted. This template could be used throughout education. It’s brilliant. It works for both formal learning setting and individual, informal learning.