The notion of “open education”, whether it be in the context of large initiatives such as the OpenCourseWare Consortium or countless grassroots efforts, has been growing in prominence in higher education in British Columbia. Increasingly, instructors and students are asking how they can get involved with this movement, and what their institutions are doing to support this work. However, as anyone who has attempted to promote the development and reuse of “open educational resources” (OERs) has learned, there are many challenges to doing so, especially within institutional settings: intellectual property rights, community outreach and technical interoperability being just a few of them. Compounding these problems is the absence of resources that explain the issues to the wider community, or that provide a set of potential guidelines for those charged with establishing policy.
“Toward Open Education” is a BCcampus OPDF supported project (UBC, COTR, UVic, RRU) that strives to develop a set of resources addressing these questions, in a format that resembles an open course. In addition to presenting materials designed to promote the development and reach of open educational resources, the project will strive to engage educators and students across British Columbia (and hopefully beyond) in a process that models the core principles of the movement.
The desired outcome is a set of resources (case-studies, tutorials, background documents), structured as a course, focused on the elements of fostering open educational practice at Canadian institutions. Materials and discussion will take place on WordPress and MediaWiki platforms hosted by UBC-OLT.
Questions: does this approach make sense? Should it be modified? Are there risks we have not accounted for?
This is the part we could really use some feedback and input.
The core objective of the proposed "course" is to develop meaningful resources within the following provisional subject areas:
- Context of the open educational movement: the motivations, the major drivers, the major players, the divergent approaches
- Policy: intellectual property, faculty and instructor concerns and agreements, making the case within a wider administrative context, funding, staffing and sustainability models
- Instructional considerations: a survey of how open education is being conducted worldwide, establishing a balance between open content and student concerns for privacy of interactions and work, alternatives to content-based open courses. And what is the relationship between "teacher" and "student" in an open context?
- Technical considerations: sustainable development and hosting models, existing and potential toolsets, principles of content development to optimize reuse
Overarching question - how to provide useful frame for institutional change, while at the same time underlining the range of options available to individuals? (IE, we don't have to wait for an initiative to be more open.)
This project intends to model the reuse of existing content, including:
- The OER Handbook - http://wikieducator.org/OER_Handbook
- The OpenCourseWare Consortium Toolkit - http://www.ocwconsortium.org/share/toolkit.html
- Mozilla Open Education Course - https://wiki.mozilla.org/Education/EduCourse/Outline
- Connectivism Course - http://ltc.umanitoba.ca/wiki/Connectivism
- David Wiley's Intro to Open Education courses - http://opencontent.org/wiki/index.php?title=Intro_Open_Ed_Syllabus http://open.byu.edu/ipt692r-wiley/