Learning Reflection 2

Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research materials in any medium that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others (Creative Commons)

I have done a lot of reflection on questions surrounding OER in the second half of this course. There are questions that have been a little difficult to have a straightforward answer to. For example I selected the Creative Commons definition as a favourite because I enjoyed the comprehensiveness of the interpretation. Yet whether open should require a licence  or not is still a question I don’t quite know what side I am on yet. 

In our readings I was excited to come across:

“Open textbooks will reduce the cost of study for learners. The Student Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) report that open textbooks can reduce the average amount spent by 80%.[2″

As the emerging attitudes around open textbooks will be a part of what I am looking at for my thesis. In my work experience the largest barrier to implementing open textbooks has been due to the very restrictive copyrights of some of the material from which we quote.  At the present time there is no way around this. However, because as we learned in this unit the cost of replicating educational materials in a digital environment means that once we have completed a transfer from all print based materials to a blended learning approach we will be able to offer lower costs to students. 

One of the things I have learned in this course is the flexibility of defining open education. 

I really enjoyed the comparison of adopting digital technologies to the ice harvesting industry:

“where harvested “natural” ice was replaced with “artificial” ice production.[4] In the late 1800s, the ice harvesting industry ranked with grain production as a major component of the gross domestic product in the United States, until it was replaced by electrical production of ice.”


A lot of people forget that we are constantly evolving out work and learning processes and they sky has yet to fall down. It’s the same panic you see parents expressing over their children’s music. New generations bring new innovation. 



Learning Reflection…Stream of Consciousness

What is open?

Open education must be free to access and it must be free to remix and reuse. As David Wiley says the 4R permissions of open are:

  1. Reuse – the right to reuse the content in its unaltered / verbatim form (e.g., make a backup copy of the content)

  2. Revise – the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language)

  3. Remix – the right to combine the original or revised content with other content to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)

  4. Redistribute – the right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend)

Before starting my job with in vocational training I had not given much thought as to the ways that other people learned. Even though post-secondary where I learned how to consider an audience in communications or how to decide on an angle to connect with people, I never gave much thought as to why or how we learned. I became aware very quickly of the ways that learning impact us not only as children but also in adult learning.

Learners often see only through their own scope of preference so if they prefer classroom they declare that the material cannot possibly be taught be print because it is too complicated; meanwhile, people that prefer print-based material make the same argument in reverse. Sometimes, it is difficult to see outside of our individual scope of understanding, but it is important to be aware that there are educators and learners that feel the exact opposite way. Material must be not merely fluid but vapour to allow for differing mindsets and abilities.

I learn in a very different way than most of the people who I develop learning for. I am very interested in Open Education for this reason. From my first exposure to the idea in residency, I have sought out more and more information. I believe in the democratization of education. I think education is the way to progress–especially where personal development is concerned. Shedding ignorance from the mind is a wonderful thing to behold. Teaching someone to think critically is the greatest gift you can ever give them.

The Desmond Tutu video was very inspiring. I admire the man and his work. “Freedom is an ongoing process and not an end in itself” is so true. He spoke well about the commodification of education and the ways in which our patent systems hinder rather than encourage progress. There was a This American Life episode that spoke about patent trolls as well that I really enjoyed. I believe patent laws, and copyright laws can serve as gatekeepers to knowledge and software that ought to be socially available.

Since I study in this area I am already exposed to a lot of the writers and journals around Open Education. I have found blogs have some of the richest and most current information around Open Education. The old-school peer review process does not work well when dealing with technological advances. Taking three years to publish an article means you are going to be talking about a technology that will be outdated or will have changed. Some of the sources I have come to read frequently are:

Open Licensing, as Stephen Downes has said, does save time and money for educators. The great thing about truly open material is the ability to remix to meet out needs. Rather than focusing on creation we can focus on improvement and in my experience that has previously been the area where we had the least time.

WikiEducator OCL4ed Course

Books on library shelves with man looking through.

Zaman Babu (Creative Commons Attribution)

Welcome! Although this was a pre-existing blog created during my residency for my Masters Program it was severely under-loved and I will enjoy focusing on it again in part through the OCL4ed Course. If you visit the About Me section on this blog you will notice there is a link to my more frequently-maintained blog, as well as links to other publications.

What did you think of the activity? Was it easy or hard?

SInce a blog frame existed already what I needed to do was change the theme and enable a few widgets

Share links to any additional resources you found useful in completing the tasks.

  • Creative Commons is Useful for finding pictures you may use on your blog.
  • WordPress has valuable information on how to set up your blog and work with widgets.

Provide tips for future learners who will be completing this activity. If you were to set up a new blog again, what would you do differently?

I’m pretty satisfied with my blog as is but I would encourage people to fine the right theme for what they would like to accomplish.

Can the Digital Humanities Be Decolonized?

Indigenous New England Literature

I was recently party to a debate, conducted mainly on blogs and Twitter, about an online journal’s decision to put a cluster of essays through an extra round of editing.  If that sounds arcane, it is, kind of; but readers of this blog should care about it, because it points to some very old problems in academia, which are showing up in the hot new field known as Digital Humanities (DH).  And DH is playing a bigger and bigger role in Native American literature and heritage preservation, whether that comes through the creation of large online archives (as at Yale), collaborations between academics and tribal communities (as in the Gibagadinamaagoom project), or the study of indigenous people’s use of computing tools in language revitalization.

To keep this as brief as possible: this past July, two up-and-coming young professors, Adeline Koh (Richard Stockton College) and Roopika Risam (Salem State…

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