Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Activity 8 Enhancement Strategies

Having reached week 10, I am stepping back and finishing what I started in week 8.... I always dreamt of being able to travel through time....

Escher’s Time - Saving by Light - on Flickr.

This week's focus is on enhancement strategies.
I will focus on this broadly as my current 'teaching' is limited to short skill workshops with small numbers of staff on campus and doesn't quite fit with the MOOC and Open Education model.

I really applaud the open education movement, but still wonder how it would be sustained as a global provision as a substitute to education through existing educators and educational establishments. How would the quality and credibility be affected if there were not the professors within higher/tertiary education, as used by, available to create these resources and provide peer review.


Will the open education world develop its own 'professors' and critical peers through Badges and online reputation alone? or will universities still be required to do this? and at what cost and whose expense?

I really like the structured approach of in their course delivery and that of the xMOOC (still getting my head around the cMOOC configuration).

As they are similarly structured to a 'traditional' higher education experience they may be more easily digested by academics seeking open content and students seeking to build their own learning experience.

Initial bullets: applicable aspects and challenges...
  • Motivation, we usually have a clear motivation for studying. The where and how are big factors in this. Choosing to study in an Open Education/ MOOC model may not suit all our learners. So I do hope we don't throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater.
  • Video delivery, I started doing this years ago (I don't record many of my own but enjoy the OERs of others. Academics where I work have been using slides, videotapes and DVDs for many years and are now moving to the digital version and are catching on to the rich resources on the internet and local creations which we stream. 
  • Digital media creation, this is something we are starting to do more of now. We slowly winning over academic staff to the idea that a video capture can be of value to the student in many ways. We just have to shake of the myth that face2face delivery is the only way. The biggest challenges have been cost for the equipment, servers, cameras etc, skill and time of the academic staff to create 'high quality' reusable digital media rather than live capture for one distribution.
  • Flipped teaching, I started doing this years ago but didn't know that was what it was called! Local interest is slowly growing. We have a few champions, who are an inspiration to others. 
  • Free access to books through digital devices. Fantastic and I already encourage this, I read lots of e and audio books through my smart phone (from my local lending library). Our limitation would be the licence provided by the publishing houses and student access to copyright content not published under CC BY. 
  • CC BY is great to show permission for content sharing and reuse. 
  • Peer reviewed resources add credibility and confidence to the courses.
  • Use of Professor consultants to develop course content (!adds speciality and credibility!) but as indicated earlier, at whose expense? 
  • Certificate of completion. Will this suffice in the professional workplace? Will it be possible for vocational professionals to become qualified entirely through Open Education? Is this the goal or are these the exceptions?


The final message in the video is that the MOOC is for those who are not the 'best of the best', those who are unlikely to get into the 'top universities'.

So it could/ probably is a great opportunity for students who unlikely or unable to get into the elite universities. But we should not sell them short. Traditionally students are paying many thousands $ £ for their 'university education', there is kudos in the experience, the student makes friends and builds networks with others which can be an asset to their work and career. All of which can be replicated, to some degree, in the virtual world.

Personally I believe the big challenge is its massivity and open aspect of the MOOC. As a student I want and need to have flexibility to study in my preferred way, this includes place and time, and I want and need to feel part of the cohort. When there are many thousands of learners and possibly only one member of the 'teaching' team I anticipate this would be a challenge.

I think the challenge here is for the Higher Education and employment community to value learning and skill development through non-traditional routes.
I believe we are still in an environment where employers of those in 'professional' roles require tangible validated evidence of learning. The certificate, degree, statement of professional competence. Will the Badge take over?