Links from Open Ed 2013 Day 1

The OER Knowledge Cloud

The OER Knowledge Cloud is being updated regularly by professional librarians and by volunteers.

The Cloud data, whether that be journal articles (i.e. papers in periodicals), reports (e.g. government, industrial), books  or other items, is fully searchable. The items are freely extractable from the database and or linked to a relevant URL.

We are anticipating that Athabasca University Library will become a repository for all data that deals with Open Educational Resources and will be able to be the source of electronic copies of many references.

OER Evidence Hub.  This website gathers and publishes evidence about the impact of open educational resources (OER). It is maintained by the OER Research Hub project. The purpose is to help people understand the impact of open educational resources (OER).

The OER Exchange: A Craiglist-style list of OER

The Textbook Costs and Digital Learning Resources

eduCommons is a content management system designed specifically to support OpenCourseWare projects like Notre Dame OCW  OCW Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, OCW Universidad de Cantabria. eduCommons will help you develop and manage an open access collection of course materials. It is built around a workflow process that guides content developers through the process of publishing materials in an openly accessible format. Try eduCommons for yourself on our demo site, or visit our eduCommons Adopters page for dozens of examples of OCW sites powered by eduCommons.


Andrew Ng & George Siemens Keynotes #OpenEd13

Andrew Ng & George Siemens Keynotes #OpenEd13

Keynote Presentations

  1. The first keynote speaker was Andrew Ng from Coursera. We were asked to not tweet because we needed to preserve the bandwidth because he was presenting over Skype. Not being present at conference chilled people towards the presenter a little. The presentation seemed very much the standard Coursera pitch.
  2. One lesson around the #opened13 keynote is that bandwidth still matters for many learners and in many parts of the world.
  3. Today I learned Coursera owns what they put in my head. #opened13
  4. Beautiful irony from an African perspective at #opened13 – Andrew Ng’s keynote on Coursera and MOOCs suffers from bandwidth constraints.
  5. Silly me. I thought Coursera was going to engage with the #opened13 community. Instead, we get a standard pitch delivered over Skype.
  6. Interesting that a presentation where bandwidth is a problem still talks unironically about helping to educate all over the world #opened13
  7. Rory McGreal highlights clear gap between Coursera rhetoric and reality #opened13
  8. Why isn’t Coursera openly licensed? Ng says that its content creation costs too much money and that wouldn’t be sustainable #opened13 (sigh)
  9. Why can’t students use @Coursera materials to get credit from another institution? Umm, because money #opened13
  10. #opened13 Coursera founder shared the diversity of teaching and learning techniques in courses but improvement is always needed
  11. “What if we treat content as a byproduct of learning” and focus instead on the experience – @gsiemens #opened13
  12. Most MOOCs don’t prepare learners to create, generate, solve, innovate – @gsiemens #opened13
  13. I had been wondering why our 1st keynote was from Coursera! #opened13
  14. However Siemens did remind us during his talk that Coursera succeed in making MOOCs accessible and publicized.
  15. #opened13 Siemens notes that @OpenLearn was CC-BY, @FutureLearn protects copyright ‘to the fullest extent possible’ – why the change? £££
  16. I don’t care about losing to Coursera. A good guy bad guy narrative was useful and then I had my tenth birthday #opened13
  17. Siemens at #opened13: critiques Coursera for overlooking pedagogical foundations from Bandura, Vygotsky, and Engeström, among the others
  18. Surprised but then again not at the recall-regurgitate quizzes in Coursera examples we saw this morning #opened13
  19. Since coursera courses can’t be used for formal credit, are they the ebooks of education? You can buy, but you cant own or keep. #opened13
  20. Siemens compares education and intellectual property
    ownership to the creation of the steam engine. He spoke of the iterative and
    collaborative nature of innovation. It is rarely one person who can be credited
    for the creation of an artifact. I really agree that it is so rare that we have
    original thoughts. That is why it is said that we “stand on the shoulders of
    giants” as Google scholar reminds you every time you go to the site.

  21. As Rob Farrow recaps on his bog at OER
    Research Hub
    , MOOCs don’t prepare learners for the kinds of things that
    learners need to be able to do:  we need ‘stuff that stirs the soul’.
    (This is similar to the argument made Marcus
    and Farrow here.)

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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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Assessing performance in organizations

Performance criteria: Schneider and Scmitt in Brewerton, P. & Milward, L. (2001)”those behaviours at work that competent observers can agree constitute necessary standard of excellence to be achieved in order for the individual and the organization to both accomplish their goals.”

Most organizational research is concerned with performance, sometimes at the level of the group, but often at the level of the individual (123). Additioanlly every research question will come with assumptions. 

Ex from Table 8.1 Typical performance/outcome criteria at various levels of analysis 


Individual–sales achieved


Organizational–sales volume 

Critical Analysis 

  • Objectivity
  • Reliability/validity
  • Discrimiability
  • Accessibility 

Individual performance measure outcomes, such as typist speed are regarded as the most useful and least contaminated by error (125).

Rating effects

Halo: “occurs when the rater tends to give the same level of rating across all criteria”. 

Cultural tendency, severity, and leniency–the rater uses part of a rating scale due to a personal preference. 

Context–differences in individual ratings of employees when alone or in a group setting. 

Similar-to-me raters make judgements as to the similarity or dissimilarity of the person they are rating to themselves, and this affects the judgement of performance.  (128)

Brewerton, P. & Milward, L. (2001). Organizational Research Methods: A Guide for Students and Researchers. London: Sage.