Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Open educational resources

Crossroads sign by Bill Owen
 The importance of our relationship with WikiEducator and the significance of open educational resources (OER) is really beginning to sink in. We are part of a vision and it rocks!

I attended a DEANZ web-conference (Elluminate) presentation by Wayne MacKintosh from the Commonwealth of Learning today - WikiEducator: DE reincarnated or new innovation? I realised after Wayne mentioned how Otago Polytechnic was a leader in OER in NZ, how far behind other organisations actually are in this area. The whole thing has taken on a life of its own since we started developing courses on WikiEd.

I agree with Wayne the structure of WikiEd does enhance asynchronous interaction. For one thing in the Designing for Flexible Learning course, participants can study self-paced using the course schedule as a guide, and they can leave each other messages in the Discussion (Talk) area. So far I haven't experienced many students using the wiki collaboratively though some participants in the Facilitating Online Communities did create pages for an assignment though I am not sure what will happen in the next iteration.

Wayne mentioned that social phenomenon of our time - Wikipedia - and how well it does in providing free access to the sum of our human knowledge - well it is the largest encyclopedia in the history of human kind. Well it is looking like WikiEd might be getting even bigger. Their strategy of access to free education for all countries by 2015 is phenomenal and worthy of our attention. He explained how community is pivotal - and involves content, capacity, connections;
sustainability is important for the OER project or they will fail.

Some stats
More than half of the registered users on WikiEd are over 50 yrs, and the majority are educators. Wayne's slide show has all the detail. A very interesting statistic - 12% of Wikied users are actively editing whereas in Wikipedia only 3% of the users are active editors - probably because more people access it than develop the articles. WikiEd is the first wiki platform to enable generation of pdf from wiki pages. There is also a facility to generate content cartridges of wiki pages for importation into LMS. And last but not least - Learning4content - is the largest wiki training initiative in the world.

WikiEd team
graphic designer
learning designer
critical reader
subject matter expert

A return to tradition
There are several levels of certification available following training:

It is possible to get certification loaded on your user page after having done the training; maybe I will work harder on getting this. One thing I do need to do is create a decent profile page. Leigh has been nagging me for ages to do this.

In the future, WikiEd is looking at developing the extra capability of exporting an IMS package. It enables direct import of content to LMS without creation of a cartridge. Not sure why this is necessary but I guess it will satisfy people who are unwilling to share and feel cheated if others use their content.

A school initiative is racking up the action: http://wikieducator.org/Handouts4Teachers. Another school example - http://wikieducator.org/Biology_in_elementary_schools. There is a big opportunity for us to work with schools in helping them develop content on wikiEd. I wonder if the push is still there to do this? Not being on Academic Board any more I don't hear about these things and the info is not filtering to us.

Utah state is going to create an open school - an OER handbook is being developed to help educators create OERs. Perhaps they could use some of the stuff we have developed on digital information literacy on the WikiEd platform and which we are using in the Digital Information Literacy project also located on WikiEd. ....so much to do and so little time.

It was a good presentation and although discussion was slow and had that halted factor due to the "push to talk" feature of Elluminate, I was glad I made the time to attend. It has motivated, mortified and made me petrified....will I ever get my thesis written?