TOPIC 2: Openness and OPEN learning

So, here I am more than a month later. Been far too busy to do this course, but I am trying to power do some of it now. We’ll see how THAT goes.

Anyway, I’ve done two things today: 1) watched the 2nd webinar with Sara Mörtsell on the Wikipedia Education Program, Filter Bubbles and Creative Commons, and 2) read the article on “21st Century Skills: Problem Based Learning and the University of the Future”. Interesting stuff. Here are some thoughts.

Firstly, I had absolutely no idea about filter bubbles. What a rip off!!! But it explains when I am sitting with students and we search, they get different results than I do. I think that I want to read more about these Wikipedia Education Programs. I have a week of lectures and task seminars with students that are about quoting, paraphrasing, summarising, citing sources, works cited lists, source criticism, etc. Parts of this are hard to make into interesting tasks. However, I think if I was to incorporate some work with the students working with the Wikipedia Education Program, they would learn a lot about source criticism. And filter bubbles needs to be a part of that week! I still have very little understanding of what Creative Commons is, but I am getting a grasp on this. I didn’t know any of this weeks topics. I thought that the WWW was a totally open resource and that I could use anything on it as freely as I want, but with citation. I believed this because everyone seems to think so and be very protective about what they put out. I have not understood from Alister’s introduction video and the webinar if there are some kind of international laws guiding this copyrighted material vs CCs materials. If someone breaks this, are they fined? I assumed if it’s out there, its a free and open forum to take.

I like the idea of the Creative Commons, the openness, and the sharing. I did a quick search on one source (BC Open Textbooks in Canada, since I am from BC but not lived there for 24 years) and found it very limited material. However, although it might be hard to find a whole text book there, I think materials that can help lectures is going to be useful. I already saved for future use of some material and the reference information. However, I am not sure yet how to cite it. Something like this? CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 Some rights reserved by opentextbc.

Anyway, just searching and trying to learn how to cite this CC resource was an interesting task. It is time consuming, and I can imagine why teachers in a stress will skip and just borrow information. Therefore, this topic was an eye-opener for me, and I think I can start reviewing all my current lectures and making these changes. I know personally that I don’t mind if anyone borrows my work, but HOW do I publish it with a CC protection???

Secondly, this article about PBL, “21st Century Skills: Problem Based Learning and the University of the Future,” was enjoyably idealistic. I think most important was the need for students to be empowered and believe in their selves/hearts/being, in order to be able to use their knowledge/mind and their skills/actions. Only then can they be effective as agents of change in their lives (Kek and Hauiser, 2015, p. 410).  This idea is developed with the idea of “super complexity”, where we need students and graduates who enter the world able to handle the fluid nature of the super complex world. Thus, “adaptive expertise” is what we need from the new student, not the routine knowledge and skills of traditional university graduates (Kek and Hauiser, 2015, p. 411).

This adaptive student needs a new university, and that is certainly what this ONL162 course is about: creating new teachers and ways of teaching. I have tried already and with every semester to find new ways. However, it starts with first understanding the new student and the ways our students keep changing. I have to meet the students where they are as individuals. One example of this has been how incorporated the digital tools available to us in our classrooms, but also in our homework. Particularly, I have used a tool the Malmö University has called Kalture CaptureSpace Desktop Recorder and our media site, MahPlay. I have used this tool to capture my desktop and record when I am marking a student’s essay. As the student hears my voice and follows my typing notes and changes, they get a very personal meeting with me, recorded, that they can watch again and again, and can pause, etc. In their own time and space, they can take the time they need to understand my teaching in relation to their own production of text. It takes a little time the first recording of an essay, perhaps at least 30 to45 minutes per essay. However, the students get such clear guidelines and help this way that is so personal that they make very few errors with coming essays. The next essays have only taken 15 minutes to grade, and I am expecting the next 2 to take even less time.

Students have been so happy, so excited, and so grateful for this kind of feedback, as opposed to the a few marks on a paper version of their essay that most of my more traditional colleagues still do. I sit 6 hours every week in our Writing Centre; student come in with essays that they have failed or not done well on, and they don’t know why. It is no wonder, because when I look at what their professors have given them for comments, it is in the briefest form. These students have no idea how to improve or what is being asked of them. Each consecutive essay is as bad as the first.

The modern university needs to grab hold of the digital technologies, teachers must learn digital literacies, and we must see the students more than empty pots to fill with knowledge and skills. We must stop meeting the needs of only the students from a traditional academic background, and meet the needs of students from non-traditional environments: working class students, immigrant students, special needs students…

Students are individuals, and I believe these digital platforms can help us read the individuals.

Works Cited:

Horkoff, T. and McLean, S. [2015]. “Chapter 1. Introduction to Academic Writing“. Writing for Success, 1st Canadian Edition. Licensed under a Creative Commons, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0. Available at: https://opentextbc.ca/writingforsuccess/chapter/introduction-to-academic-writing/ (Accessed on 2016-11-22).

Kek, M.Y.C.A., and Huijser, H. (2015). “21st Century Skills: Problem Based Learning and the University of the Future”. Third 21st Century Academic Forum Conference. September 2015, Vol. 6, Nr. 1. Boston: Harvard.

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2 thoughts on “Falling behind… but moving forward

  1. Now, that’s a great post! First, an interesting alternative for a browser, https://duckduckgo.com/, supposed not to collect any of the stuff you do and thereby not giving you biased results to your searches. Compare a search you do in your “normal” browser and this one – will tell you about what google knows about you…
    Brilliant idea to share with your students not only what you mark in an essay but also how and why, and in a way they can (and most likely will!) go back to and keep as a reference!

    Liked by 1 person

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