Tuesday, November 13, 2007

OpenED week 12: Comments

Last week, Elisa mentioned some important things that fall along the lines of what I said in my post. "one can assume that open educational resources should include, among other things such as full courses, course materials, content modules, collections etc., learning objects as well." And "m optimistic as for the future of learning objects. They have not died;"

Jennifer mentions, "Likely, in the process, elements were "fixed", but it is unclear to me if the desire to fix problems with learning objects led to the open education movement. Rather, it seems more likely that advances in technology and experiences with what is possible have helped to foster the changes in the characteristics between learning objects and open education." I agree that learning objects have evolved and that the purpose is what is important. People probably did not set out to fix learning objects, OERs were just the next inevitable iteration for those whose goal is to spread education. It was not, however, the next phase for those whose goal is to create automated instruction. I don't know what that next phase is (hopefully death).

I disagree with Jennifer's classification of old learning objects and the new open educational resources. I think that most definitions of learning objects never stuck them into the don't change, rigid and high cost column. That was done by opportunists on a small piece of what could be considered learning objects.

Jennifer also gives a great point that I totally agree with, "I'm not sure we have a good handle on either the extent of OER use (by teachers or learners) or the best ways to facilitate use of OERs by users. Further, I think there is a lot to be learned from an instructional design perspective about both open educational practices, as well as OERs as instructional content"

Catia mentions at the end of her post, "But let's not forget that quality is an element that cannot be forgotten - no matter what the approach might be." The discussion on quality is very important and multi-faceted. In my previous post I talked about this same issue of quality, Can open educational resources be made higher quality for everyone everywhere, or is localization the only answer?

Karen talks about the problem of engineers working on open educational resources, "The bottom line is that there is too much focus on structure, technology, and systems and not enough attention on learning, learners, and content." AMEN.

She also talks about a problem with OER that we have not yet looked at, "In informal interviews with several experts in this area, I have heard several times that the overriding problem with most OERs is that they are not reused much at all." I think that ease and knowledge for reuse is an important factor here.

Houshuang talks about the absence of lms's for this class, "this course being a good example, we don’t use Moodle or ATutor or similar software, and I am not sure if anyone thinks that our course would be enhanced by using them." I Agree. For a class presentation on open source Learning Management Systems, I discussed the idea of how lms's lock things down and that students cannot go back and view old courses at all. But I used this course and others taught by David Wiley as examples of courses that can be seen later and are open.

Jon talks a great deal about the bricks and mortar metaphor of learning objects. I like this metaphor too because it allows for what the user adds or the mortar. Jon gives some good insights about brick laying and how rocks can be very different from each other yet they can be placed together.

Speaking about my last weeks post, Jesse shares her opinion, "I do agree that localization is very important, but I think it is possible to make a piece of instruction effective in every culture because the world is getting flatter." Perhaps she is right and her perspective about China is valuable, but I would still like to see any studies done with this.

David Wiley
wants to make 2008 the year of open content. I say we begin with some lighthearted and creative mash-ups:


  1. Hi Greg, thanks for sharing ideas. You are right, we haven't found an effective piece of instruction could fit for all cultures in the world for now. But I think this is a good trend that many people like us are working on the innovation now and ideally one day everyone in the world is able to share some intructions. Maybe it is just what I hope to happen in the future.

  2. Jessie, I think that I hope something like that can happen in the future. I will be going to Hawaii and will be working with M. David Merrill from January to July. Maybe I can get some information from him about the use of first principles of instruction in different countries.