Cost: The adoption of Open Educational Resources can impact a range of financial and cost metrics for students and institutions.
Outcomes: Given the folk wisdom that “you get what you pay for,” some individuals and organizations worry that student learning will necessarily suffer when students use freely available, openly licensed resources instead of $200 textbooks.
Usage: The permissions provided by open licenses allow students to use OER in a range of novel ways – for example, updating a history textbook based on recent events. Likewise, the permissions provided by open licenses allow teachers to engage in new pedagogical practices.
Perceptions: What do faculty and students think about, and feel toward, Open Educational Resources?
More and more research is showing the positive effects that Open Text Books has. We are starting to reach the point that an instructor has to explain why he is using a commercial textbook.
Next year there are elections in the Netherlands and political parties are already publishing their programmes. Due to the strict policy (budget cuts) and smart investments, government deficit has been reduced significantly. That means that there is money to spend and the different parties are claiming their priorities.
One of the priorities for many parties is more money for hiring more teachers in higher education. Although the workload of many teachers is high, I have my doubts if this will solve the problem.
Education is changing in higher education. One of the important changes is the digitization in education. I hear many universities and colleges say that blended education will be the default. This means that education will be a mix between classroom teaching and online learning. This change means that the role of a teacher is changing, but also that more disciplines need to be involved to develop and run a course. Teaching has been a one man job for many centuries and I think it is time to rethink our perception on this
Education has become a complex balance between content, technology and pedagogy. It is very hard to find people that are subject matter expert, as well as tech-savvy as well as up-to-date on pedagogy (so no urban myths) and think about effective ways of examining learning outcomes - all at the same time. In addition, in most universities staff members also need to be researchers, grant experts, and (PhD) student supervisors. These are too many roles to ask of one person.
So we need to disperse these roles to a team of people, each with their own dedicated role and expertise.
In the last two years at TU Delft Extension School we have pushed that a teacher forms a course team to develop and run a course. The minimum for a course team is:
Instructional designer: expert on how to technically implement your course in your platform.
Copyright officer: to correctly use and reuse (open) content.
Data Analyst: lots of data is generated that can be analysed and used to improve the course experience.
Additional specialists for online labs, simulations, games, etc.
This approach has helped us to develop high quality online courses, but also lifted some of the burden from the shoulders of the teachers.
Conclusion: new perspective of teaching and support
Investing in extra teachers in higher education might seem like a proper way of spending extra budget. Investing in better course teams will have a much bigger effect to unburden teachers. Don’t invest in extra teachers, make existing teachers much more effective by properly supporting them. So better value for money!
This report is final outcomes and describes the framework they developed:
This Framework identifies 10 dimensions of open education, giving a rationale and descriptors for each. The goal is to promote transparency for collaboration and exchange of practices among higher education institutions. Without a framework, stakeholders could overlook important questions and could put effort into matters that need little further investment. It is a tool to be used mainly by higher education institutions, but it is also very relevant for EU policy makers and other types of educational institutions.
Opening up education is an item on the European agenda because of three reasons:
it can help to reduce or remove barriers to education (e.g. cost, geography, time, entry requirements).
it supports the modernisation of higher education in Europe, since contemporary open education is largely carried out via digital technologies.
it opens up the possibility of bridging non-formal and formal education.
The framework can be used on different levels:
at university management and decision makers for defining the overall strategy.
at those staff members of HE institutions who actually design educational strategy. It offers a framework which can help them think through critical questions, such as: why is open education important and what is it exactly? What benefits can an open education strategy bring to an institution, to students (and to others out there), to a region, country or to Europe as a whole?
at European level for relevant for policy makers since it can help them formulate policies to encourage institutions to open up education.
The OpenEdu framework consists of 10 dimensions for opening up education. It is a holistic view of open education which includes different areas where universities can be more open. Many experts (including me) were involved in the development and evaluation of the framework.
The 10 dimensions of the framework are divided into two categories: core dimensions and transversal dimensions. There are 6 core dimensions (access, content, pedagogy, recognition, collaboration and research) and 4 transversal dimensions (strategy, technology, quality and leadership). All dimensions are interrelated; the core dimensions are not more important than the transversal ones. Core dimensions represent the 'what' of open education and transversal dimensions indicate `how’ to achieve it.
Access in open education is the removal or lowering of economic, technological, geographical and institutional barriers which obstruct the doorway to knowledge. It grants permission to learners to engage with educational content, courses, programmes, communities of practice, networks and other types of knowledge sharing environments, media and activities in formal and non-formal education. It is also about enabling informal and independent learners to seek and get recognition of their learning.
Content in open education refers to materials for teaching and learning, and research outputs, which are free of charge and available to all.
Openness in pedagogy refers to the use of technologies to broaden pedagogical approaches and make the range of teaching and learning practices more transparent, sharable and visible.
Recognition in open education has two meanings: a) it is the process, usually carried out by an accredited institution, of issuing a certificate, diploma or title which has formal value; b) it is also the process of formally acknowledging and accepting credentials, such as a badge, a certificate, a diploma or title issued by a third-party institution. These credentials should attest that a set of learning outcomes (e.g. knowledge, know-how, skills and/or competences) achieved by an individual has been assessed by a competent body against a predefined standard.
Collaboration in open education is about connecting individuals and institutions by facilitating the exchange of practices and resources with a view to improving education. By collaborating around and through open educational practices, universities can move beyond the typical institutional collaboration patterns and engage individuals and communities to build a bridge between informal, non-formal and formal learning. It is a live and evolving practice which is shaped by individuals according to context, goals, resources and possibilities, contributing to the lowering of barriers to education. It is therefore a concept that must be as dynamic as its practice.
Openness in research is about removing barriers to access to data and research outputs, and also about broadening participation in research.
Strategy in open education is the creation of a unique and valuable position on openness, involving different sets of activities.
Technology in open education refers to technological infrastructures and software which facilitate opening up education in its different dimensions.
Quality in open education refers to the convergence of the 5 concepts of quality22 (efficacy, impact, availability, accuracy and excellence) with an institution's open education offer and opportunities.
Leadership in open education is the promotion of sustainable open education activities and initiatives via a transparent approach from both the top-down and the bottom-up. It paves the way to creating more openness by inspiring and empowering people.
The Open University (UK) has published an interesting report on MOOC research that was done at the OU from the start of the MOOCs in 2008 up until February of this year. The authors, Rebecca Fergason, Tim Coughlan, Christothea Herodotou, have searched the university’s Open Research Online (ORO) repository that use the word ‘MOOC’ in their title or abstract. Studies are divided thematically, and the report contains sections on the pedagogy of MOOCs, MOOCs and open education, MOOC retention and motivation, working together in MOOCs, MOOC assessment, accessibility, privacy and ethics, quality and other areas of MOOC research.
The report discusses 58 recommendations that have emerged from the research – each of which is linked to the research study that generated it. Some of these recommendations extend or reinforce what the University is already doing, some are very specific, and some are small scale. Overall, the research highlights ten priority areas for University activity.
MOOC priority areas
Influence the direction of open education globally
Develop and accredit learning journeys
Extend the relationship between learners and the OU
Make effective use of learning design
Make use of effective distance learning pedagogies
Reference Ferguson, Rebecca; Coughlan, Tim and Herodotou, Christothea (2016). MOOCS: What The Open University research tells us. Institute of Educational Technology, The Open University, Milton Keynes.
The annual conference of the Open Education Consortium (OEC) is next year in Cape Town 8 - 10 March.There is a special reason to have Cape Town as the venue in 2017 conference, since it marks the 10 year anniversary of the Cape Town Open Education Declaration. That is not the only milestone we will celebrate in 2017: 15 year anniversary of the term “Open Educational Resources” and the 5 year anniversary of the Paris OER Declaration. The conference is organised jointly with the University of Cape Town.
Call for papers
The call for papers is online and you can submit proposal until 17th of October 2016:
The theme of the Open Education Global 2017 Conference is Open for Participation. In keeping with this theme, we will not have formal conference tracks, rather, we welcome all proposals concerning taking an open approach in education. This includes formal and non-formal education; primary, secondary and higher education; open educational practices, projects, policies, research, collaborations and impact; open data, open access, open science, open organizations, open source software, etc. We are open to your ideas!
Again this year we are collaborating with Open Praxis. They will publish a selection of papers from the Open Education Global 2017 conference. Open Praxis is a peer-reviewed open access scholarly journal focusing on research and innovation in open, distance and flexible education, published by the International Council for Open and Distance Education – ICDE.
Open Education Awards
The Open Education Awards for Excellence will be presented during the conference. These awards recognize distinctive open education projects, technological innovations, notable open courses, and exemplary leaders in Open Education worldwide. We encourage you to participate in the awards process by nominating your favorite people, projects and ideas. Call for nominations will open on September 05, 2016. Learn more about the awards and make your nominations here.
As board member of the OEC I will certainly attend the conference and I hope to see many open education friends. Come join us in Cape Town International Convention Centre!
Drawing on eleven case studies, we examine why institutions are deploying learning analytics, and what the benefits are for learners. We also discuss the main data sources being drawn upon by institutions and the technical architecture required.
The emphasis of the report is on investigating the evidence for learning analytics: what impact is it having, and to what extent can the algorithms actually predict academic success? We also look at how institutions are carrying out interventions to attempt to retain students at risk, and provide better support for all students as they progress through their studies.
The report clearly defines 4 different contributions Learning Analytics can bring:
As a tool for quality assurance and quality improvement Learning Analytics can give lecturers much more insight in the effectiveness of their courses, information on improvements they can make and contribute to the quality assurance process.
As a tool for boosting retention rates Learning analytics can provide students with an opportunity to take control of their own learning, give them a better idea of their current performance in real-time and help them to make informed choices about what to study.
As a tool for assessing and acting upon differential outcomes among the student population Learning Analytics can provide valuable insights in making education more inclusive for minority groups.
As an enabler for the development and introduction of adaptive learning personalised learning delivered at scale, whereby students are directed to learning materials on the basis of their previous interactions with, and understanding of, related content and tasks.
I agree with the authors that learning analytics has the potential to transform the way we measure impact and outcomes in learning environments. The field of Learning Analytics is developing quickly, also driven by the research in MOOCs. Further investment in LA will lead to better outcomes for students, universities and wider society.
To tackle the challenges of providing top-level university education, Leiden University, Delft University of Technology and Erasmus University Rotterdam (LDE) have joined forces. Through this partnership three universities with complementary specializations create a world-class platform for educational research, innovation and training: the Centre for Education and Learning (CEL).
The LDE Centre for Education and Learning now seeks to appoint a Professor of Higher Education with a focus on teaching and learning processes in a digital environment. The Professor will be formally appointed at Delft University of Technology.
You will work closely with the online learning team of TU Delft, the Online Learning Lab of University of Leiden and project Online Onderwijs of Erasmus University Rotterdam.
First, the chair covers the whole domain of higher education and includes the scientific reflection on research and theory development in the broad field of higher education. Subareas of higher education research and theory development include 1) students and their study success, 2) teachers and their teaching success, 3) learning environments for on-campus, online and blended teaching and learning, 4) special topics such as assessment, internationalization, diversity, and educational policy, and 5) teaching and learning in individual disciplines.
Second, the chair has a focus on teaching and learning in a digital environment, for instance online and blended forms of education followed by data analytics of these learning processes. New knowledge is to be created in this relatively new field of research. The three LDE universities are among the forerunners in this field and consider it of the utmost importance that these innovations are as much evidence-based as possible. The chair holder can rely and build on existing expertise within CEL and its pillars in the individual universities. It is expected that the chair holder brings the various researchers together and promotes knowledge exchange and joint knowledge creation. The research will enable evidence-informed university policy making, evidence-informed development of new university teaching projects, evidence-informed continuous professional training of university teachers, and will ameliorate teaching and learning theory.
This week Erna, Marjan and me attend the yearly userconference of Desire 2 Learn (D2L Fusion). We signed the contract 3 weeks ago, so it was a good opportunity for us to get to know the D2L community and learn from other universities.
This year’s FUSION was in Washington DC and was attended by around a 1000 participants and 30 partners.
I have been to many product user conferences, such as Blackboard, Stellent, EdX, Coursera, but this one is ranked very high on ambiance, contact with staff and leadership. The European team of D2L organized extra activities for us and helped us set up meeting with other universities to talk about their experiences. We really felt welcomed in the D2L community.
One of the impressive sessions was the product update session. It was not just presenting new features, but based on a couple of scenarios live demo-ing how the scenario worked. Most of features that were presented are available right now or will be available in two weeks (no vaporware). I saw people turning on the new features on their ipads during the session. It is always risky to do live demos, but they even took it one step further and did it on three devices (laptop, tablet and mobile phone). They even used voice input. It all worked like a charm.
Important part of the product update is the new Daylight Experience. Watch this video to get an overview of this version:
One of the things that was missing in Brightspace was an integrated video solution. During the product update they announced that they have partnered up with YouSeeU. Per Augustus 4 there is a virtual classroom available inside the platform without additional costs. It can handle up to 100 participants, recordings are stored for 16 weeks and it includes dial-in for instructors.
Training and meetings
During the conference we had presentations and meeting with other universities that have made similar transition from other LMS to Brightspace. There were a lot of former Blackboard clients I have to say. But it was also interesting to talk to some of the first clients that are using the product for many years.
On Wednesday we had a full day of training in small groups. So plenty of time to hear from other universities as well. One of the things that our instructor will certainly like is this Course Adventure Pack. That really lines up with our tender were we said that the platform should be fun.
It was a good investment of our time and money. It really helped us to improve our migration plan and don’t make mistakes others have made. For me it also strengthened our choice for D2L as partner for our Collaboration & Learning Environment.
Today we reached a big milestone in our MOOC activities: one million enrollments! Just before Christmas of 2012 I was asked to start a small project to develop 4 MOOCs. On September 15th 2013 the first two DelftX MOOCs started on the edX platform. Now 3 years later we have developed 36 MOOCs (and more in the pipeline). I'm proud of the result and the impact this project has had.
With the development of the first courses we were figuring out the process on-the-go. This was trully an adventure, nowadays it is a fully organised and supported process. For most course teams it is a first time experience and if they listen to our advice and tips it will be a easy but still an intensive process. Off course not all course teams listen (they're academics) and that keeps us busy ;-). More than 80 lecturers have been involved in one or more MOOCs. And don't forget all those students that assisted the lecturers in developing the courses.
In these three years were we started with a small support team of 4 (Janine, Mark, Gijs and me) and have grown to the Extension School support team of more than 20 people. That group is not just supporting MOOCs but also OpenCourseWare, Professional Education, Online and blended education.
To celebrate this milestone we have created a infographics. You can download it from our website. The data of three years of MOOCs is impressive:
1M course enrollments by 699.014 learners from 229 countries aging between 8 and 94 (average age is 29). These learners have watched 13.824.919 minutes of video (26 year and 104 days). We have issued 28.739 certificates. Average pass rate for the verified certificates is 69% (highest 81,5%). More than 100k surveys were submitted. Our learners appreciate our MOOCs with a 8 (out of 10). Some courses even score above 9.
When you start an initiative it is always great to receive external recognising for your course. And we did:
The small MOOC project has been a tremendous success for TU Delft. The impact is much bigger than anticipated at the start. And we will continue to develop our MOOCs in quantity and quality. Below is an graphical view of the enrollments per course.
An interesting paper of George Veletsianos (Royal Roads University), Justin Reich (MIT), and Laura Pasquini (University of North Texas and Royal Roads University) was just published in the journal AERA Open (American Educational Research Association). The paper focuses on the activities of the learners in MOOC that can't be tracked in the tracking logs.
The authors interviewed 92 learners from around the world in different ages and gender. The learners participated in 4 MOOCs of HarvardX (they are aware that these learner might not be very representative). Their research findings reveiled three domains of the experience of the MOOC learners that you can't see in the tracking logs.
Some of the findings:
learners work at workstations that include not only computers but also notebooks, paper printouts, reference books, additional devices, and other people.
students’ online activities extend beyond the MOOC platform, to a variety of reference resources and online social networks that support student learning. Whereas many MOOCs are designed as a comprehensive learning experience, tudents appear to treat them as a single node in a broader network of learning opportunities.
MOOC learning takes place in a broader learner world. This world goes beyond workstations, MOOC platforms, and online spaces, and it is a world in which students negotiate for time across multiple competing commitments.
I agree with the authors we should be more aware of what the learners are doing outside the platform. I do question if the HarvardX MOOCs are a good representation of current MOOC course designs. I personnally have the feeling they are still content centered and not focus on the learning experience.
The Life Between Big Data Log Events. Learners’ Strategies to Overcome Challenges in MOOCs. George Veletsianos, Justin Reich, Laura A. Pasquini. AERA Open Jun 2016, 2 (3) 2332858416657002; DOI: 10.1177/2332858416657002