Blogging about OER, OCW, Blackboard, Mobile, Social Media and other interesting stuff
This conference will focus on the opportunities and characteristics for European cooperation on MOOCs. Authors of selected position papers will present their views, next to the first results of the survey “Benchmarking MOOC strategies in Europe”.
I'm one of the authors to present my paper I have written with my colleagues Timo Kos and Martijn Ouwehand.
In the paper we have posted two clear recommendations for the European Commission:
1. Don’t try to regulate the MOOC development
The MOOC development is still in an infant stage. Every university is currently looking at what it will mean for them and what consequences it will have. At this moment it is too early to regulate the MOOC world. This is all about innovation! Governments should be de-regulating the education world, so there is more space for innovation and step into the open and online world.
2. Think global, act local
Education is becoming a globalized market. Focusing too much on the European situation will mean that you loose the connection with the rest of the world. So be aware of the global developments and help universities to position themselves in it. So think global, but act local!
Below is our full paper to download.
OER Research Hub has released it first dissemination report, The ‘OER Evidence Report 2013-2014′ brings together a range of evidence around the research hypotheses of the product and provides an overview of the impact OER is having on a range of teaching and learning practices.
There is some interesting data in the report:
- 37.6% of educators and 55.7% of formal learners say that using OER improves student satisfaction
- 27.5% of educators and 31.9% of formal learners agree that OER use results in better test scores
- 79.4% of OER users adapt resources to fit their needs
- 79.5% of educators use OER to get new ideas and inspiration
- 88.4% of learners say that the opportunity to study at no cost influenced their decision to use OER
- 74.9% of informal learners use OER to have a learning experience
- Knowing where to find resources is one of the biggest challenges to using OER
- General knowledge of well-established OER repositories is low
- Only 5% of educators say they don’t share information about OER
- The more educators use OER, the more they are willing to share
- Only 12.4% of educators create resources and publish them on a Creative Commons license
- Videos are the most common type of OER used.
- Cost of and access to materials can have an effect on student retention
- 40.9% of all formal learners in our sample consider that OER have a positive impact in helping them complete their course of study
- 79.6% of formal students think they save money by using OER
- 31.5% of informal learners say that their interest in using OER is a chance to try university-level content before signing up for a paid-for course
- 31.3% say their use of OER influenced their decision to register for their current course.
- 83.2% of informal learners say they are more likely to take another free course or study a free open educational resource, and 24.2% say that they would go on to take a paid for course as a result of using OER
- Informal learners choose OER that are relevant to their particular needs, have a good description of learning objectives and outcomes, and are easy to download
- Only 15.5% of informal learners select OER with an open license allowing adaptation despite the fact that 84.7% say they adapt the resources they find to fit their needs
On my flight back from the US I watched the documentary Ivory Tower on the costs of higher education in the US. The documentary is made by CNN and gives a nice overview of what is going on in the US. Especially for non-US people it is interesting to watch. The movie has a 6,9 rating on IMDB.
Anyone who regularly follows higher education news in the US will see a series of familiar themes and stories:
- The skyrocketing of tuition and the declining state contributions to public higher education.
- College graduates not getting a job and their ridiculous amounts of student debt.
- The race among institutions of higher learning to have the biggest and the best facilities to attract more students.
- The lure of campus party life
- the promise of MOOCs.
This documentary combines all of these things together in a compelling and provocative visual way that makes contemporary issues in higher education a bit more interesting to follow than they might otherwise be.
Below is the trailer of the movie. I was broadcasted last week, I don't know if the full documentary will be published online.
Two weeks ago I attended the 8th EDEN Research workshop in Oxford (UK). EDEN is the European Distance and E-learning Network. I was invited as keynote speaker.
It was an interesting conference with good keynote speeches, interactive workshops and good conversations. Others (Sally Jordan, Antonio Texeira) have already written good blogposts, especially the official reporteur Tony Bates.
The organisation has also published the slides of the keynotes on slideshare. Below are the slides I used for my keynote:
As eLearning Developer you will be part of a team creating advanced eLearning modules that will be part of the new Delft Extension School. The Extension School delivers OpenCourseWare, MOOCs, blended and online education (bachelor and master level) to a worldwide audience. You will have considerable experience designing and developing online & blended education courses. In this role you will partner with the academic staff to create outstanding open and online courses. Your project management skills contribute to your success in this role as you will be responsible for managing multiple projects.
An important part of this job will that you will be responsible for promoting Open Education and the usage of Open Educational Resources by our faculty and staff. So I'm reaching out to the Open Education community to share this job opening to anyone who might be interested.
More information (and how to apply) can be found on this website. The deadline of applying is 28 november 2014. If you have any question, please send me a message via twitter, skype, email or via the form on this site.
The EU has a High Level Group on the Modernisation of Higher Education and they have written an report about new modes of learning and teaching in higher education.
The report starts with an introduction of EU comissioner Androulla Vassiliou. The most interesting part is that she emphasizes that all educational materials are published with an open license. It suprises me that the report itself is "© European Union, 2014". There is still some work to do!
The report itself has 15 recommendations:
- The European Commission should support Member States in developing and implementing comprehensive national frameworks for diversifying provision and integrating new modes of learning and teaching across the higher education system. It should promote mutual learning on key aspects including skills development, infrastructures, legal frameworks, quality assurance, and funding, in particular by exploiting the potential of the Erasmus+ programme.
- The European Commission should prioritise support to higher education institutions under the Erasmus+ programme to enhance digital capacity and mainstream new modes of learning and teaching within the institution. Erasmus+ funding should also be made available to promote experimental partnering with specialist service providers.
- The integration of digital technologies and pedagogies should form an integral element of higher education institutions’ strategies for teaching and learning. Clear goals and objectives should be defined and necessary organisational support structures (such as the European Academy of Teaching and Learning) established to drive implementation.
- National authorities should facilitate the development of a national competency framework for digital skills. This should be integrated into national professional development frameworks for higher education teachers.
- All staff teaching in higher education institutions should receive training in relevant digital technologies and pedagogies as part of initial training and continuous professional development.
- National funding frameworks should create incentives, especially in the context of new forms of performance-based funding, for higher education institutions to open up education, develop more flexible modes of delivery and diversify their student population.
- National authorities should introduce dedicated funding to support efforts to integrate new modes of learning and teaching across higher education provision. Funding should encourage collaborative responses to infrastructural needs, pedagogical training and programme delivery.
- National and regional authorities should utilise opportunities under the European Structural and Investment Funds programme to support the development of necessary supporting infrastructures, technologies and repositories.
- Public authorities should develop guidelines for ensuring quality in open and online learning, and to promote excellence in the use of ICT in higher education provision.
- The European Commission should support cross-border initiatives to develop quality standards for open and online learning under the Erasmus+ programme.
- Higher education institutions should ensure that quality assurance arrangements apply to all forms of credit-awarding provision in the institution. Institutions should use the quality assurance system to monitor retention rates and inform the development of appropriate supports.
- The European Commission and national authorities should encourage and incentivise higher education providers to award and recognise credits under the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System for all forms of online courses. The current revision of the ECTS Guide should incorporate these principles.
- Governments and higher education institutions should work towards full open access of educational resources. In public tenders open licences should be a mandatory condition, so that content can be altered, reproduced and used elsewhere. In publicly (co-)funded educational resources, the drive should be to make materials as widely available as possible.
- Member States should ensure that legal frameworks allow higher education institutions to collect and analyse learning data. The full and informed consent of students must be a requirement and the data should only be used for educational purposes.
- Online platforms should inform users about their privacy and data protection policy in a clear and understandable way. Individuals should always have the choice to anonymise their data.
I think these recommendation are clear and useful. They are not only directed at the European Commission, but also for national governments.
On Friday I was invited to attend the SURF edubloggers meetup. Every now and than SURF invited some of the Dutch edubloggers to inform them about new developments. This time the meeting was about the community cloud and specifically SURFdrive.
Many students and staff use cloud services, such as Dropbox, Google Drive, box.net, and Microsoft OneDrive. They use this because it is very easy to use, they can access it via any device (also when off-campus), it is free and get more storage than their campus account.
The downside is that these cloud services are all offered by commercial companies that are based in the US. They not necessarly comply with our Dutch laws and university policies on privacy, security, legal protection, and ownership of data.
An alternative for the public cloud is the private cloud. But you don't have the economies of scale of the public cloud: higher data price and not as easy to share files with other users. Also, not all educational institutions have the expertise to set this up.
The community cloud is the best of both worlds. You have the federated login and good value for money of the public cloud and the privacy and security of the private cloud. The first community cloud services SURF is introducing is SURFdrive. This is an alternative for Dropbox.
With SURFdrive you can store your personal files in a safe and trusted cloud environment that is developed by SURF on behalf of the Dutch higher education and research. The data will always be stored inside the Netherlands and will never be offered or sold to third parties.
SURFdrive offers 100 GB of space to its users, for sharing and storing files documents, photo's, video's. University employees can login to SURFdrive with their institutional account, so no additional usernames and passwords are needed. You can also access your files anytime, anywhere from your smartphone, tablet or laptop.
There are sync tools available for Windows, Apple and Linux and mobile apps for iOS and Android (no Windows Phone).
SURFdrive complies to the "juridische normenkader cloud services" with regards to privacy, security and availability.
Students will be able to buy an account via SURFspot for around 18 euros per year.
SURFdrive is based on the software of ownCloud. OwnCloud is available as open-source and als paid services. There is a overbooking of 20* (on average they expect the user to use 5GB). SURF needs 30,000 users for break-even, but the expect to get above the 100,000 users. On Friday there were less than 2,000 users (116 TU Delft users), but most institutions haven't started with the marketing.
I think this is a very good development of SURF to start with community cloud services and SURFdrive is a very good first product. I use it since 1,5 week and works as smoothly as Dropbox. I would everyone advice to use it, certainly if you are aware of the risks of using public cloud software.
Afgelopen week heeft de Tweede Kamercommissie voor onderwijs een aantal vragen (13-17) gesteld naar aanleiding van het scienceguide artikel over onze pre-university calculus mooc. Hoewel het natuurlijk een hele eer is als we met zo'n initiatief door de politiek worden opgemerkt, zie je ook dat ze vragen gaan stellen op basis van halve informatie. Hieronder een toelichting, die het een en ander verduidelijkt.
De TU Delft ontwikkelt de Pre-University Calculus MOOC in het kader van het edX High School Initiative: 26 gratis online cursussen (MOOC’s) over uiteenlopende onderwerpen die deelnemers wereldwijd voorbereiden op een vervolgstudie. Dit initiatief richt zich op diverse vakgebieden; de TU Delft neemt de cursus Wiskunde voor haar rekening.
Bij veel bèta-opleidingen wereldwijd vinden studenten de wiskunde vaak pittig, bijvoorbeeld omdat het tempo een stuk hoger ligt dan ze gewend zijn. Met deze cursus willen wij hen helpen om voor aanvang van hun studie een goed beeld te krijgen van wat wiskunde aan een universitaire opleiding is, daar plezier in te krijgen en er optimaal op voorbereid te zijn. Dat kan ook de drempel richting bèta-en techniekopleidingen verlagen.
Hoewel de cursus dus niet specifiek wordt ontwikkeld voor Nederlandse studenten, denken we dat het ook voor hen nuttig kan zijn. De cursus kan hen helpen om een beter inzicht te krijgen in wiskunde waardoor ze het vak met meer plezier zullen volgen. Als ze de MOOC gebruiken om de elementaire wiskunde die ze nodig hebben nog even op te halen voor het collegejaar begint, zullen ze in veel gevallen een vlottere start kunnen maken met hun universitaire studie.
De cursus start in de zomer van 2015. Op dit moment hebben zich al zo’n 1500 deelnemers uit 113 landen aangemeld voor de cursus. De meeste van hen komen uit de VS en India. Uit Nederland zijn er nu zo’n 70 inschrijvingen; waarschijnlijk zijn dat voor een groot deel TU-medewerkers en wiskunde docenten.
From January 2015, TU Delft will be offering online Professional Education courses. These professional education courses can be followed worldwide and are intended for people who already have several years of work experience and who want to continue their education alongside their work. Together with MIT Sloan School of Management and Rice University, TU Delft is one of the first institutions to offer these ProfEd courses on EdX. The first ProfEd course is ‘Economics of Cybersecurity’.
Many of our partner universities currently offer professional education—online, on campus or on-site at corporations—in a variety of subject areas. Corporations have approached edX and our partners looking for specialized courses to arm their employees with knowledge necessary to stay at the forefront of their industries.
Our partners will now be able to bring their professional education to a broader learner base for significantly less cost to both employers and their employees. EdX professional education will enable organizations and universities to leverage the edX platform and use our cutting-edge technology to deliver courses to help advance professionals’ careers, increase workplace effectiveness and maintain professional credentialing at a lower price for organizations and individuals.
From executive and continuing education to corporate and management training, edX professional education covers a wide variety of disciplines. Subject areas will include leadership, IT, business, education, engineering, communications, energy, big data and more.
This is a next step in the development of the TU Delft Extension School. We are working on expanding our portfolio for online courses.
The first course we opened up is the course on Cybersecurity. This course is not focusing on the technical part of cybersecurity, but more on the economics:
EconSec101x offers a broad view of the field through lectures and exercises on empirical data that can apply to both early career professionals as well as senior technical managers. After finishing this course you will be able to apply economic analysis and data analytics. You will understand the role played by incentives on the adoption and effectiveness of security mechanisms, and on the design of technical, market-based, and regulatory solutions to different security threats.
Below is the introduction video of the course with professor Michel van Eeten.
D'Arcy Norman started an interesting discussion about the false binary of LMS vs. Open. Here are some interesting responses:
- Sheila MacNeill: Living with the VLE dictator
- Peter Reed: The VLE vs 'Whatever'
- Amber Thomas: Why VLEs aren’t evil
- Mike Caulfield: Reply to D’Arcy
- Phill Hill: LMS and Open: The false binary is based on past, not future markets
- George Kroner: The Nuances of LMS vs. Open
In the past I used to be responsible for the Blackboard system of our university. Since a couple of years I'm responsible for the Open Education activities of the university. So this is an discussion that interests me. So here my two cents.
First of all I strongly agree with D'Arcy about the false framing of VLE versus Open. I also think that this frame doesn't benefit either side.
Secondly, I agree that most LMSs (aka VLE) look the same and users have the same objections against them. Some of theme will always complain about the institutional systems their university offers. As Goerge Kroner writes "LMSs remain the most important components of online learning technology for the vast majority of higher education institutions, and LMSs are more open today than they’ve ever been (of course as long as institutions don’t lock them down)."
Thirdly, the educational world is changing. As Phill Hill has posted in his slides there are 4 reasons to consider:
- The world around the LMS has changed
- The concept of interoperability has changed
- Open Education and MOOCs
- Just now getting broad LMS adoption
According to Phil we are just now moving into new concept of Learning Platform. I agree with that and see this happening at my own university.
Fourthly, there isn't any Learning Platform out there. So as a university we have to a three options:
- Stick with Blackboard
- Switch over to another system that might become the Learning Platform we need
- Build it ourselves.
I don't believe in option 3 for a single university and I have seen many failures in doing this with multiple universities. So there are two options left. And that is what we are investigating at this moment.