I’m at the Open Education 2015 conference, and I am struck by the continuing focus on costs, and the absence of theorizing openness, (and by extension OER and open textbooks). Is this a problem? Reducing costs is of course important. There’s no question about it. But whether the absence of theory is a problem depends what we believe theory does. After hearing many talks start with statements akin to “we asked faculty to use open textbooks, but…” or “we hoped the institution would embrace openness because it reduced costs, but…”, I thought that it might be worthwhile to ask more why questions:
- Why do some faculty do and others do not adopt open textbooks?
- Why do some faculty revise OER?
- Why do some faculty choose to publish their work in closed journals?
Theorizing openness can help us answer many of these questions. Because openness does not exist in a vacuum. I think that a sociocultural theoretical framing of openness can help practitioners and researchers make better sense and use of openness. Here’s a quote from a recent paper that argues for and clarifies this framing:
“A sociocultural perspective on openness, open practices and open scholarship views these practices as being socially shaped, and the technologies used to enact openness as necessarily, if not always intentionally, embedding their developers’ worldviews, values, beliefs, and assumptions into their design and the activities they support and encourage. By recognizing that open practices are shaped by social, cultural, economic, and political factors, this perspective rejects the notion that such practices are deterministic and holds that, with adequate information and evidence, learners, instructors, and researchers have the agency to accept or reject any particular technology or practice or to find alternative uses for it that will better serve their needs.” (p. 202)
Veletsianos, G. (2015). A Case Study of Scholars’ Open and Sharing practices. Open Praxis 7(3), 199-209. http://openpraxis.org/index.php/OpenPraxis/article/view/206/168
Related: See this presentation by Royce Kimmons which argues the following:
“[O]penness is more than economy. The freedoms afforded by open practices have great promise for improving the pedagogy and professionalism in our educational institutions as educators are empowered to differentiate, collaborate, and innovate in ways that were impossible under non-open paradigms.”
We recently published a special issue for Educational Media International by asking authors to submit papers focusing on the following question: What is it like to learn and participate in MOOCs? This has now been published.
We developed this special issue to enhance our collective understanding of learner experiences and participation in MOOCs because the scholarly community still has an incomplete mosaic of students’ learning experiences with open online learning.
The following papers are included:
Editorial: Contributions to the mosaic describing learners’ experiences with open online learning (pdf)
George Veletsianos and Vrasidas Charalambos
Learning from MOOCs: a qualitative case study from the learners’ perspectives
Yeonjeong Park, Insung Jung and Thomas C. Reeves
A classroom at home: children and the lived world of MOOCs
Yin Yin, Catherine Adams, Erika Goble and Luis Francisco Vargas Madriz
What makes a cMOOC community endure? Multiple participant perspectives from diverse cMOOCs
Maha Bali, Maureen Crawford, Rhonda Jessen, Paul Signorelli and Mia Zamora
Fulfilling the promise: do MOOCs reach the educationally underserved?
Lorrie Schmid, Kim Manturuk, Ian Simpkins, Molly Goldwasser and Keith E. Whitfield
Examining learners’ perspective of taking a MOOC: reasons, excitement, and perception of usefulness
M. Liu, J. Kang and E. McKelroy
- Note: While the journal is not open access, a number of the authors above have self-archived copies of their paper, like I am doing above.
I just received the final covers for my upcoming book, Social Media in Academia: Networked Scholars (see below). More importantly though, some very kind people I admire have read the book and have written some very nice things about it:
“A timely and significant contribution to the field. Many books tend to take either an advocacy stance or dystopian view of technology in scholarship, but Veletsianos manages to take a critical perspective that is both grounded in theory and rooted in practical experience. For any academic interested in the impact of networked technology on teaching or research, this is highly recommended.”
–Martin Weller, Professor of Educational Technology at the Open University, UK
“Social Media in Academia is one of those rare books that every new assistant professor and doctoral student should read and take to heart. Establishing one’s public profile through networked scholarship is not a task to be undertaken casually, but one that requires mindfulness and discernment. Veletsianos provides invaluable guidance that all academics, but especially those just starting out, should heed.”
–Thomas C. Reeves, Professor Emeritus of Learning, Design, and Technology at the University of Georgia, USA
We are hosting a symposium on Openness, Digital Learning, and Networked Scholarship.
Please consider joining us (for free) by visiting the livestream page (http://livestream.com/royalroads/events/4446545)
November Tuesday 17th 2015, (10am- 3pm Pacific)
Organized by the School of Education and Technology & the Canada Research Chair in Innovative Learning & Technology
This symposium is intended to raise awareness about open educational resources, open pedagogy, and emerging approaches to digital learning. It provides a showcase for the work being done at Royal Roads University (RRU) and convenes open education practitioners and researchers.
In keeping with the RRU strategic mandate, this symposium builds on the work currently being done at RRU by our Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Innovative Learning and Technology and the School of Education and Technology (SET) to investigate promising innovations in educational technology. It is an opportunity to contribute back to the open community and further the developments in this area.
|10:00 – 10:05||First Nations Welcome||Asma-na-hi (Asma) Antoine|
|10:05 – 10:15||What makes RRU unique and a hotspot for innovation?||Steve Grundy|
|10:15 – 10:25||Introductions and context||George Veletsianos|
|What can Open be: Advances at the Provincial, National & International level||Mary Burgess|
|11:05 – 11:40
|For whom, for what? Not-yetness and challenging the “stuff” of open education||Amy Collier
|11:45 – 12:55||Break|
|1:00 – 1:30
|Creative Commons: Where are we now?||Paul Stacey|
|1:35 – 2:05
|Expansive Openness: Why Reducing Cost is Not Enough for Realizing the Full Benefits of OER||Royce Kimmons|
|2:15 – 2:45
|Panel Discussion: What can Open do?
* Each panelist to weigh in on panel topic and then open to the floor for questions
|Amy Collier; Jen Ross; Royce Kimmons; Center for Teaching and Learning; RRU Library; George Veletsianos|
|2:45 – 3:00||Wrap Up||Elizabeth Childs|
* Each session, excluding the panel will consist of a 20 minute presentation followed by a 10 minute Q&A
Mary Burgess is the executive director of BCCampus which supports the work of the B.C. post-secondary system in the areas of teaching, learning and educational technology. Prior to joining BCcampus in 2012, Mary Burgess was the Director of the Centre for Teaching and Educational Technologies at Royal Roads University where she started the University’s first open educational resources project. She is a career instructional designer and longtime advocate of OER.
Dr. Elizabeth Childs is an Associate Professor at Royal Roads University and the Program Head of the MA in Learning and Technology program. Her research interests include the design and implementation of flexible learning; online networked communities and, the professional development and support for learners and faculty in these emerging online learning environments.
Dr. Amy Collier is Associate Provost for Digital Learning at Middlebury College. She provides leadership in creating and sustaining a global learning community at Middlebury through the effective use of digital pedagogies and technologies. Amy studies how digital environments can foster emergence in teaching and learning.
Dr. Steve Grundy is vice-president academic and provost at Royal Roads University. He is responsible for the overall academic direction and quality of the university’s academic programs. He is particularly interested in the directions of post-secondary education, the evolution and development of online learning and new models of university governance and leadership.
Dr. Royce Kimmons is an Assistant Professor of Instructional Psychology and Technology at Brigham Young University where he studies technology integration in K-12/higher education, emergent technologies, open education, and social networks. He received his PhD from The University of Texas at Austin and formerly served as the Director of the Doceo Center for Innovation + Learning at the University of Idaho.
Dr Jen Ross is co-director of the Digital Education group at the University of Edinburgh, teacher and former programme director on the MSc in Digital Education, and co-creator of the E-learning and Digital Cultures MOOC and the manifesto for teaching online. Her research interests include online distance education, MOOCs, digital futures, reflective practices, and museum and gallery learning and engagement.
Paul Stacey is Associate Director of Global Learning at Creative Commons. Paul’s core expertise is in adult learning, educational technology, and open education. Prior to joining Creative Commons, Paul led Open Educational Resource (OER) and professional development initiatives across all the colleges and universities in British Columbia Canada
Dr. George Veletsianos holds a Canada Research Chair in Innovative Learning and Technology and is an Associate Professor at Royal Roads University. He has dedicated his research to understanding the practices and experiences of learners, educators, and scholars in emerging online settings such as online social networks and digital environments.