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.
- New Book from AUPress – An Onli... — I was pleased to receive in the post a hard copy of a new book in the Issues in Distance Education book series, for which I continue to serve as the series editor. Now of course you can read all of the books in this series as they are available for download under Creative Commons [...]
- Qualitative Research Rebooted 2018 — For the past two months, I’ve been occupied with a qualitative study of teachers’ use of digital technology in Alberta Schools. The study is sponsored by the Alberta Teachers’ Association. It has been very useful for me to get down to actually doing a full scale qualitative study after years of teaching grad students research [...]
- More on Distance Education Journal Ra... — Both academics and administrators love to argue about the value (impact) of their academic work. The old adage of “Publish or Perish” still has currency. Despite the many distribution opportunities besides and beyond publishing in scholarly journals, the bean counters (myself included) love citation indexes. The basic idea is that the more your work is [...]
- What the FOLC is new in this article? — Sorry, but I couldn’t resist spoofing, in the post title, the unfortunate sound of the acronym for the “new” model proposed in this article. Now, I’ve got it out of the way and can only suggest that if this “divergent fork of the Community of Inquiry model” is to survive, it needs a new English [...]
- 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 [...]