What Brian Lamb seems to confuse in this entry about the Open Education Resources, universities and information scarcity argument is that information (or more accurately a surfeit of data) available on the net does not equate to a surplus of quality learning content.
Quality learning content charts a path through complex issues, ideas and problems creating learning moments and activities. Early distance education theorists including Borje Holmberg wrote about “guided didactic interaction” by which he meant a style of writing, that engaged in simulated dialogue with the learner(s). This style is unlike the academic prose common in scholarly articles and the technical writing of advanced manuals, technical specifications and or popular press prose that is readily available on the net. It attempts to capture the personal motivation and excitement of the teacher to create the motivation often necessary to support learners through difficult content. Today, the learning conversations expand to simulations, games, web explorations, and even realtime and asynchronous conversations among learners. A skillful teacher creates these paths and simultaneously scaffolds learners new to the discipline and its associated discourse.
We do not have a surfeit of such learning content on the Net today. OERs are beginning to make a contribution to this effort. Properly licensed (read Creative Commons, with derivatives allowed) OER’s also allow other educators and learners to contextualize, mash, translate and republish this specialized content, thus creating an ever expanding and infinitely malleable resources. I write this note from Brazil where students regularly attend formal courses and engage in informal learning without the support of quality textbooks and the Net resources often bundled with these expensive textbooks. OERs offer the possibility of sharing not only the open access resource of research and scholarly content, but as well the expertise and passion of educators who are skilled at helping learners. We need more of these resources not constraints or misinformed criticism of the OER promise to increase access and public knowledge.
- Quality in Online Learning Presentati... — I was asked to do a video conferencing talk to a meeting of three Mexican Universities yesterday. They are attempting to come up with a common set of criteria to define and measure the quality of their online courses. Perhaps I was not the best person to ask, as I have very mixed feelings about [...]
- Our Spanish adventure — Unlike most of our voyages, this month I was accompanying my wife Susan on a trip to her conference. She registered in the 16 European Symposium on Suicide Prevention that took place this month in Oviedo, Spain. We took the opportunity to rent a car and bought a GPS with European maps (thank god!) and travelled [...]
- Downe’s great summary article, ... — The good news is that Stephen Downes has posted the full text from a chapter he wrote for New Models of Open and Distance Learning in Open Education: from OERs to MOOCs, Editors: Mohamed Jemni, Kinshuk, Mohamed Koutheair Khribi, 2016. This is good news for two reasons – the first is that the full Springer book [...]
- Order of Athabasca University — Yesterday at Convocation in Athabasca, I was deeply honoured by my former colleagues at Athabasca by being installed into the Order of Athabasca University. Most other members have been individuals from the community who have made exceptional contributions to the University. I was the first Faculty member (other than Dominique Abrioux, who also served as [...]
- Research–Practice Partnerships in Edu... — My Google Scholar alert notified me that one of my articles was cited in an as yet not publisher preprint in Educational Researcher. I don’t usually bother with articles hidden behind paywalls, but I was intrigued by the title: Coburn, C. E., & Penuel, W. R. (2016). Research–Practice Partnerships in Education: Outcomes, Dynamics, and Open [...]