I was thrilled by the invitation of IB. I was invited to speaks at the 2012 International Baccalaureate conference for the Africa, Europe and Middle East region, held in Madrid. It was simply a privilege to have the possibility to stand in front of several hundred teachers from all around the world who are eager to explore new ways of understanding education.
This multinational audience of educators was ready to accept the challenges that I presented. During my conversation with many of them I learned that several communities of teachers were already exploring a number of initiative focus on fostering a ‘culture of innovation’. It was also a good news for me to learn from the adoption of some teaching techniques that aim to develop skills for globalization within and beyond the formal learning environments.
Finally, I founded some connections between that vision and the EU Initiative on “Opening up Education” a public consultation that highlighted the importance of opening up content, learning and collaboration (pdf). The time will show if the new education strategy launched by the European Commission on November 2012 called Rethinking Education goes in a similar direction or not.
The term Open Educational Resources (OER) was coined in 2002 in discussions at the Forum on the Impact of Open Courseware UNESCO. It describes “the provision of educational resources on open license, enabled by information technologies and communication, for consultation, use and adaptation by a community of users with non-commercial purposes”.
In June 2012, Community OER and UNESCO celebrated 10 years in the area of Open World Congress of Educational Resources in Paris, where the Declaration REA Paris 2012 was formally adopted. This calls on governments around the world to establish the adoption of open licenses for sharing knowledge produced with public funds.
This trilingual Compendium (written in English, Spanish and Portuguese) aims to fill part of the need for institutionalized information, and aims to discuss in a clear, didactic and realistic way, the experiences of selected higher education institutions who have offered OER. This document provides a unique approach. It combines remarkable initiatives in the institutional development of REA in Higher Education institutions in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Spain with experiences from Higher Education institutions and universities from Brazil, Mexico, and Ecuador, which serve to enlighten the compendium with their innovative ideas and projects.
This document has been developed in close collaboration with experts, researchers and decision makers from more than 10 universities in order to provide a global perspective of the OER movement. Some of the more relevant trends identified in this study are exemplified by a broad range of initiatives, including: change in the organizational culture; flexible certification; new business models; middle term institutional strategy; incentives policy; use of non-commercial open source or self-develop platforms; focus on champions; decentralized – federated solutions; open standard, bibliometric criteria; search engine optimization; community building and peer-based collaboration; quality assurance; repurposing and licensing; and open publishing policies.
The cases included in this study are:
Unicycle OER Project, Leeds Metropolitan University (UK)
OpenER, Open Universiteit (Netherlands)
Openlearn, Open University (UK)
University of Alicante’s Open Knowledge Strategy (Spain)
We live in an exciting time. Digital technologies are becoming increasingly ubiquitous changing the centres and peripheries of knowledge production and consumption. Today it is essential to identify new learning perspectives enriched by distributed, open and collaborative communities. This talk will explore how to overcome the resistance to change in educational organizations based on key drivers in radical openness that can reshape the current education ecosystem. The idea is to discover remarkable open knowledge initiatives (i.e. open educational resources, massive online courses), new certification systems (i.e. open badges, peer assessment), new profiles (data broker, desing thinkers or digital curators); as well as distributed research networks. This presentation compile some of these trends and aims to open a dialogue of possible scenarios for education.
In the coming weeks I’ll meet a number of researchers who are working in ICT, learning and innovation from the University of Granada. In preparation, I’m compiling some resources and documentation that I hope will be useful for them. Here some early conclusion of resources that hope will be interesting for those who are exploring new frameworks and trends to understand the changing scenarios of education but particularly on learning and distributed knowledge practices. Please note that some of the resources enclosed linked a pdf.
Why Open Access matter? The society as a whole can benefit from accelerated research cycles (immediate access to findings) and new possibilities of (self/informal) learning. Researchers and educators who provide open licence educational/scientific materials gain visibility, recognition and expand their networks. Broader and more rapid access to scientific papers and data can make it easier for researchers and businesses to build on the findings of public-funded research. Publishers likewise also benefit from wider dissemination and higher journal citation impact factor of their articles.
For instance, the European Commission announced by 2014 all articles produced with funding from Horizon 2020 will have to be accessible:
articles will either immediately be made accessible online by the publisher (‘Gold’ open access) – up-front publication costs can be eligible for reimbursement by the European Commission; or
researchers will make their articles available through an open access repository no later than six months (12 months for articles in the fields of social sciences and humanities) after publication (‘Green’ open access).
Conversely, the promised benefits of Open Access for developing regions are not necessarily realistic. For instance, Open Society Foundations has made noteworthy contributions in a few developing countries (i.e. Brazil). Unfortunately these are rare exceptions and not the norm. Open content is insufficiently adopted by academic and educational organizations in these regions. Although there are particular ‘Open Educational Resources and Open Access’ [OER & OA] initiatives in developing countries, the immense majority are produced by individuals or institutions from developed nations and therefore not always sufficiently adapted to the circumstances of the target country. This imbalance is problematic.
Some of the key proxies to understand this growing divide are lack of social and cultural capital; geographical location (developing countries) and language barriers (non-English speaking communities). Moreover it is not possible to develop a culture of OER & OA if the inhibiting factors are not analysed with local stakeholders.
Open Society Foundations, for instance, has made noteworthy contributions in afewcountries developing (i.e. Brazil) unfortunately these are rare exceptions and not the norm. New efforts are needed in this field not only to enhance traditional north-south collaboration but also to foster ‘south-south’ cooperation. We welcome the existing OA initiatives [i.e. Global OER Graduate Network, OerAfrica.org or our OportUnidadProject.EU] but also we encourage supporters to contribute towards enabling the creation of new projects in this field.
Peter Suber prepared an Open Access Overview which include a great compilation of ideas in this field. Some of this benefits described by him need to be carefully reviewed by education senior manager and policy makers from developing regions. Let me highlight some of them here:
OA serves the interests of many groups.
Authors: OA gives them a worldwide audience larger than that of any subscription-based journal, no matter how prestigious or popular, and demonstrably increases the visibility and impact of their work.
Readers: OA gives them barrier-free access to the literature they need for their research, unconstrained by the budgets of the libraries where they may have access privileges. OA increases reader reach and retrieval power. OA also gives barrier-free access to the software they use in their research.
Teachers and students: OA puts rich and poor on an equal footing for these key resources and eliminates the need for payments or permissions to reproduce and distribute content.
Libraries: OA solves the pricing crisis for scholarly journals. It also solves what I’ve called the permission crisis. OA also serves library interests in other, indirect ways. Librarians want to help users find the information they need, regardless of the budget-enforced limits on the library’s own collection. Academic librarians want to help faculty increase their audience and impact, and help the university raise its research profile.
Universities: OA increases the visibility of their faculty and research, reduces their expenses for journals, and advances their mission to share knowledge.
Journals and publishers: OA makes their articles more visible, discoverable, retrievable, and useful. If a journal is OA, then it can use this superior visibility to attract submissions and advertising, not to mention readers and citations. If a subscription-based journal provides OA to some of its content (e.g. selected articles in each issue, all back issues after a certain period, etc.), then it can use its increased visibility to attract all the same benefits plus subscriptions. If a journal permits OA through postprint archiving, then it has an edge in attracting authors over journals that do not permit postprint archiving. Of course subscription-based journals and their publishers have countervailing interests as well and often resist or oppose OA. But it oversimplifies the situation to think that all their interests pull against OA.
Funding agencies: OA increases the return on their investment in research, making the results of the funded research more widely available, more discoverable, more retrievable, and more useful. When funding agencies disburse public funds, OA helps in a second way as well, by providing fundamental fairness to taxpayers or public access to the results of publicly-funded research.
Governments: As funders of research, governments benefit from OA in all the ways that funding agencies do (see previous entry). OA also promotes democracy by sharing non-classified government information as widely as possible.
Citizens: OA gives them access to peer-reviewed research, most of which is unavailable in public libraries, and gives them access to the research for which they have already paid through their taxes. But even those with no interest in reading this literature for themselves will benefit indirectly because researchers will benefit directly. OA accelerates not only research but the translation of research into new medicines, useful technologies, solved problems, and informed decisions that benefit everyone.
In a world driven by exponential accelerating technological and social change, globalization, and a push for more creative and context-driven innovations, how can we ensure the success of ourselves as individuals,communities, and the planet? This special issue of On the Horizon explores the converging future of learning,work and how we relate with each other in this emerging paradigm. Of particular importance are the emerging class of borderless “new workers”, “neo-nomads” (or knowmads):
[…] a nomadic knowledge worker – that is, a creative, imaginative, and innovative person who can work with almost anybody, anytime, and anywhere. Industrial society is giving way to knowledge and innovation work. Whereas industrialization required people to settle in one place to perform a very specific role or function, the jobs associated with knowledge and information workers have become much less specific in regard to task and place.
This issue aims to explore the role of education in developing and supporting such a “knowmad society”.
Suggested topics include (but are not limited to)
Roles of technology in human potential development for hyper-individualized creative and
The role of learning organizations in the creation of personal identity in post-cultural society
Key skills and competencies development areas for knowmadic, new workers
The economics of education for knowmadic workers
Maximizing human potential development in a society embroiled in accelerating change
Managing chaos and uncertainty in post-industrial careers
Redesigning and reformatting conceptualizations of space and “place” to attend to needs of knowmadic
learners and workers
New economics and comparative dimensions of knowmadic workers globally
What new worker parallels are emerging in other working classes (i.e. blue collar workers)?
Submissions of title and 250-word proposal due: July 1, 2012
Notice of acceptance: July 13, 2012
Papers due: December 1, 2012
Review result notification: January 15, 2013
Submit a paper
Submissions to this special issue of On the Horizon should be sent to the guest editor at John Moravec firstname.lastname@example.org
General questions to:
Tom P. Abeles, editor
On the Horizon
More information, including full author guidelines, is available at: www.emeraldinsight.com/oth.htm
The first time that I hear about the MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses, video) I thought that it was a crazy idea (I didn’t liked at all). It sounded to me as using the Internet instead of television to broadcast educational contents without caring who, where and how to learn. But after exploring with more details the ideas of Siemens (in discussion with Howard Rheingold) I could understood the rationale behind that.
It is widely acknowledged that the relationship between contents, availability, consumption and learning has been changing significantly in the last years (discussed two weeks ago in Cambridge). Nearly ten years after the creation of the OCW in MIT, now (May, 2011) Harvard and MIT have announced a new ambitious initiative (which will cost $60-Million), called edX: it will host online courses from both institutions free of charge. Since edX courses have the potential to reach hundreds of thousands of students, the edX platform will not receive university credit, although they could earn certificates.
What is the main difference between this new initiative and the previous OCW?
Simultaneously, other educational initiatives have develop interesting practices, such as Khan Academy with millions of students, educators and self-learners using its videos. TED-Ed inspired in Khan also is doing a truly outstanding contribution in this area. Regarding new ways of assessing the learning experience, something recently discusses in an OECD summit, there are interesting initiative to learn from, such as P2P University or University of the People.
Loads of videos and new assessment methodologies are some of the ingredients that feed these changing educational practices. Very little time after the open course was offered by Stanford, MIT announced a new initiative: MITx, which in addition of providing the educational contents for free online, will implement a new system of qualification. Not based on academic degrees but on specific courses certification.
“This certificate will indicate that you earned it from MITx’s pilot course. In this prototype version, MITx will not require that you be tested in a testing center or otherwise have your identity certified in order to receive this certificate” [MITx].
Certainly behind this initiative there are a whole new sets of business models that will be required to explore with details. This new approach seems to be particularly suitable for those professionals who are aiming to re-skilling or keep updated (as well as competitive in a global labour market).
All these disruptive practices came meanwhile there is increasing interest in a creative (and probably very easy to adopt) initiative called Flipped Classroom: Where videos take the place of direct instruction, allowing students to get individual time in class to work with their teacher on key learning activities. Lectures are taken at home or somewhere else (using mobile phones or laptops) and face-to-face classes are used to discuss and promote hands-on learning experience base on the contents previously watched [see video bellow].
Now is still to be seen the middle and long terms implications of all these innovations. Also it will be interesting to see how other world-class higher institutions behave in this scenario. What are the learning implications of all these initiatives? Is open (and more flexible) education just a hype or it will really change Higher Education for ever ?
OportUnidad is an action-research project supported by the European Commission under the EuropeAid ALFA III programme with the aim of promoting the adoption of Open Educational Practices (OEP) in Latin America. The OportUnidad project will explore the adoption of strategies and channels that embrace the principles of openness and reusability within the context of educational institutions. It will foster the adoption of open educational practices (OEP), and open educational resources (OER) in Latin America as a bottom-up approach to develop a common Higher Education Area in the region.
In the Latin American region, there are still plenty of opportunities to facilitate openness and the sharing of educational content. As part of the project, 60 Latin American higher education organisations will be selected to participate as OportUnidad Fellows. Benefits to the fellow institutions will include assistance in developing open educational practices, online training, and the design of an institutional Open Educational Practices agenda.
How to Join the Network
Latin American universities and other Higher Education entities interested in becoming OportUnidad Fellow Organisations are invited to complete a self-nomination form (versions available in English, Spanish and Portuguese).
On the occasion of this year’s Open Education Week, the Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, one of the OportUnidad partner institutions, will be organising a webinar to present the project and answer any questions from representatives of organisations interested in becoming OportUnidad fellow organisations.
The webinar will take place online on 6 March 2012 (16.00-17.00 GMT). Participation is free. The presentation will be held in English, but questions may be answered in Spanish if requested by attendants.
For more information about the project, see the OportUnidad website.
Partners and Support
OportUnidad is led by a group of universities from both Latin America and Europe. The Latin American partners are the Universidade Federal Fluminense (Brazil) (Candidate Partner), the Universidad Estatal a Distancia (Costa Rica), the Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja (Ecuador), the Fundación Uvirtual (Bolivia), the Universidad Virtual del Tecnológico de Monterrey (Mexico), the Universidad de la Empresa (Uruguay) and the Universidad Inca Garcilaso de la Vega (Peru). The European partners are the Università degli Studi Guglielmo Marconi (Italy) (Project Coordinator), the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Spain), the Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa (Portugal) and the University of Oxford (UK).
OpportUnidad is supported by the European Commission under the EuropeAid ALFA III programme. ALFA is a programme of cooperation between Higher Education Institutions of the European Union and Latin America. ALFA III retains the original objective of the previous phases of the ALFA Programme, that is, to promote Higher Education in Latin America as a means to contribute to the economic and social development of the region.
The first public activity that we will have is representing the OportUnidad consortium in the next Open Education Week. The idea is to explain the main phases and expected results in an open webminar. If you would like learn more about this initiative, feel free to join our webminar.
The Open Education Week will take place from 5th to 10th of March online (www.openeducationweek.org) and in local events around the world. The objective of this Open Education Week is to raise awareness of the open education movement and OER in order to explore the benefits of free and open sharing in educational materials.
Our OportUnidad webinar will take place online during the 6th of March 2012 – 16.00-17.00 UTC (please see below your local times).
Please fill the self-nomination survey if you want to participate in the OportUnidad project
Local times for the OportUnidad webinar on the 6th of March are provided:
Monterrey, Mexico, San Jose, Costa Rica: 10.00 – 11.00 AM
Quito, Ecuador; Lima, Peru; Medellin, Colombia: 11.00 – 12.00 AM
Santa Cruz, Bolivia: 12.00 – 13.00 AM
Montevideo, Uruguay; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: 2.00 – 3.00 PM
Porto, Portugal; Oxford, United Kingdom: 4.00 – 5.00 PM
Barcelona, Spain; Rome, Italy: 5.00 – 6.00 PM
What is going to happen in the webminar? After the presentation of the project, there will be time for Q&A and more importantly, we will open a call for those Latin-American universities which would like to be part of the Oportunidad network. Stay tuned: @cristobalcobo.
Ehlers (2011) suggest that the Open Educational Practices (OEP) is seen is as a second phase of this open educational resources (OEP) movement, where organizations such as the International Council for Open and Distance Education, remarks the importance to “promote innovative pedagogical models, and respect and empower learners as co-producers on their lifelong learning path. OEP address the whole OER governance community: policy makers, managers and administrators of organizations, educational professionals and learners” (ICDE, n.d.).
The “Open Educational Quality Initiative” network defines OEP as “set of activities around instructional design and implementation of events and processes intended to support learning. They also include the creation, use and repurposing of Open Educational Resources (OER) and their adaptation to the contextual setting”. (Andrade et al., 2011:13). In addition, the Open e-Learning Content Observatory Services asserts ”priority must be given to open educational practices that involve students in active, constructive engagement with content, tools and services in the learning process, and promote learners’ self-management” (Geser, 2007: 37).
There are notorious OEP initiatives, such as massive open online course (http://mooc.ca); Khan Academy (www.khanacademy.org) or “peer to peer” education (http://p2pu.org). Here are summarized two initiatives that can be associated with OEP. These living examples, which are still under continuous development, suggest disruptive practices of education associated with two renowned institutions: University of Stanford and MIT.
1) U. of Stanford: Late in 2011 the New York Times announced a free online course Online Introduction to Artificial Intelligence offered by Peter Norvig and Sebastian Thrun in the University of Stanford (Markoff 2011). The course was a success and got the attention and interest of thousands of individuals around the world (https://www.ai-class.com). According to Thrun this course taught 160,000 students over 40 languages; and graduated over 23,000 students from 190 countries (http://robots.stanford.edu). Today this unprecedented experience is evolving toward a new initiative called Udacity (udacity.com). Its goal is to offer online courses that are both high quality and low-cost. Udacity aims to connect “teachers to hundreds of thousands of students in almost every country on Earth” and those students who complete a course will receive a certificate signed by the instructors.
2) MIT: The MIT, regarded as a “game changer“, announced an online, open-source, largely free educational platform that will allow users outside of MIT earn certificates for completing Institute-caliber courses online. The initiative dubbed as MITx pushed MIT’s educational reach beyond campus borders in a way the current OCW cannot. It is envisioned as a laboratory to experiment with online learning techniques, while collecting data from a large user base. So far the principal difference between MITx and its own OCW is a reconfiguration of course credentials where the new system will asks users to complete exams and assignments online. Students would be graded automatically. That open possibilities based on individual credentials rather than entire degrees. Also, its distinctive aspect in relation to the traditional “distance-education” is that students will be asked to solve problems in a freer, creative way, without step-by-step guidance. MIT is preparing a fee structure for individual courses and groups of courses. The aim is to make credentialing highly affordable. Plasmeier, who works in this project adds, “We shouldn’t be afraid of researching new methods to see if there is something better than the standard lecture-based classes”. (Solomon, 2012 and MIT’s News Office, 2011). More in The Chronicle and David Wiley’s blog.
So far, some of the ideas linked with the OEP are labelled as “innovative pedagogical models”; “practices associated with the creation”, “disrupting the traditional role of the university in society”, “new approaches to assessment, accreditation and collaborative learning” which match particularly well with the innovation-rhetoric. However, the examples provided are still “under construction” and it will be necessary to follow up their evolution in order to see if they either become an improvement of the existing technology-based practices (“incremental innovation”) or they represent a breaking point in education (“radical innovation”).