Category Archives: BlogHub

Open Textbook for Intro to Philosophy

Drawing of a book with "open textbooks" on it, and arrows pointing out to people using the book in various contexts

Open Textbooks, by Giulia Forsythe on Flickr, licensed CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

 

After talking about it for a few years, I am finally able to start working on an open textbook for introduction to philosophy courses. There are a few of us working on it already, and we’re going to need all the help we can get…so this post is to introduce the project and talk about how others can get involved.

Open textbooks

First, what is an “open textbook”? The easiest way to think about it is that it is like any other textbook except in two crucial respects:

First, it is free of cost to students. There is no price tag. This comes with another implication: we are doing this for free ourselves. There is no publisher who is paying us to create the textbook, and there are no “royalties.” But frankly, I can’t imagine ever making much off of a textbook anyway (how many new textbooks are there a year, and how many actually make money? I don’t know but I am skeptical of it being terribly lucrative in philosophy).

Second, open textbooks have an “open license” that allows others to reuse, revise, remix it with other things and release new versions publicly for others to use, revise, etc. The most common open licenses for educational resources like this are Creative Commons licenses, which come in several versions. See this CC page for a general discussion of the licenses and different license types; the University of British Columbia Creative Commons Guide has further information, including a comparison chart. The license we will be using for this textbook is the most permissible of the CC licenses that require attribution of the original content creators: CC BY, which lets content be used and revised by anyone for any purpose as long as the original creators are attributed.

Why do this?

I can’t speak for others, but I myself have two main motivations, having to do with the two characteristics of open textbooks given above.

  • Saving students money
    • Textbooks are expensive, and getting more so as time goes by. There is a good deal of research on open textbooks that explains the costs to students and how this affects them not just financially but pedagogically (e.g., when they go without textbooks because they are too expensive, or choose what courses to take based on textbook costs). I am co-author on an article whose literature review details some of this literature; I’ll try to remember to link to it here when it comes out (it’s in press right now). Or you can check out this 2016 research review on open textbooks by John Hilton (open access), though it doesn’t have information on costs.
    • I also get frustrated that students are paying a lot of money and I might not be using the whole textbook. Which leads to…
  • Ability to revise the book
    • Only want to use Chapters 3 and 8? Great–delete the rest.
    • Want to add in some of your own interpretations, or change what you think might be misleading, or add in a graphic you have created that helps illustrate an idea? Excellent–go ahead and change what’s there.
    • Can’t understand why the textbook excerpted Mill’s On Liberty in a way that leaves out that crucial part? Put it in!
    • Dislike the example used to illustrate a point because it only speaks to a limited audience of students and may not make any sense to others? Change it!
    • etc.

Basically what an open textbook does is provide a starting point that you can adjust if needed…or not. You can use it as is, or you can make it fit your course or context better. I want to be involved in a project that provides this starting point for myself and others.

For some, creating educational resources that are used by others can be considered for merit, tenure and promotion. That is going to depend on your college or university context.

Rebus open textbooks

We are working with an organization called The Rebus Foundation, a Canadian non-profit that is made up of wonderful people who are doing great things with digital publishing and open textbooks. We are part of several open textbook projects that are creating new models for publishing open textbooks, through connecting people into a community to collaborate on shared projects.

The Rebus open textbook projects are all being discussed on the Rebus Community Forum. There you can see and contribute to multiple textbook projects. Each is going to need help in the form of reviewing and copyediting as well as writing, so even if you just want to contribute a little without writing anything, that’s possible too. All help is appreciated.

Some basic parameters

Please see this document for an explanation of some of the basic parameters of the intro to philosophy open textbook, some of the ideas of what, generally, it should be like and why. The following is copied and pasted from part of that document:

This Open Textbook “Introduction to Philosophy” should be, firstly, an accessible introduction to philosophy, suitable for college or university students taking a philosophy class for the first time.

As such, the book should:

  • cover a broad range of the fundamental ideas in philosophy
  • present these fundamental ideas in a clear and accessible way
  • focus (first) on presenting existing arguments, rather than making novel arguments

As an Open Textbook, this Introduction should be considered the starting point: a reasonably complete (eventually), and relatively accessible “map” of the important intellectual traditions of philosophy.

But it should also be considered a framework upon which further (open) explorations could easily be built, further sections or additional materials added, by a professor for a particular class, by students as part of course work, or by future contributors (or current contributors) to the project itself.

Note that there is a table of contents on that document; we are not saying nothing else could be there. That is what we have come up with at the moment. As new people are added to the project, new sections might be created.

The process

I am serving as the main editor for the whole thing, but mostly what that means is being the central organizer. I will be writing some parts, but this is a joint venture that will come to fruition from the work of many people. That way, no one person has to do a great deal of work but it can be spread out. We’re all doing this on a volunteer basis, after all.d

Here is a list of tasks for the book.

I will be the overall editor, but each section of the book (e.g., ethics, social and political, metaphysics, philosophy of mind) will have a section editor who is responsible for that section. That means helping to find people to write subsections, arranging for others to review/comment on what has been written, ensuring those texts are copyedited (by themselves or by volunteers), etc.

Here is a post describing what we are envisioning for section editors.

We have already started discussions on general topics to include in a textbook for introduction to philosophy courses, and we found that we were rather scattered…so we have decided to start by focusing in on two sections. I asked the group who would be willing to be section editors, and we came up with two volunteers:

Ethics section: editor George Matthews (see here for a discussion board devoted to that)

Aesthetics section: editor W. Scott Clifton (see here for a discussion board devoted to that)

So those are the two sections we’re making a push on at the moment, but I would also love to hear if anyone else would like to volunteer as a section editor.

How do I get involved?

Does this sound intriguing? Or even better, are you excited to get started? Here are your next steps:

  1. Join the Rebus Community!
  2. Peruse the conversations we’ve had so far on this textbook if you want, and add your thoughts. It’s a long thread, but you can skim it! Introduce yourself and what you’re interested in about this project.
  3. Add your name and interest area to our spreadsheet (go to the ‘people’ tab at the bottom)
  4. If you would be willing to write something for the Ethics or Aesthetics sections, we are particularly interested in hearing about that right now. You can go straight to the discussion threads for those:
  5. Email me if you have questions: c.hendricks@ubc.ca
  6. Spread the word!!

 

 

Does Open Pedagogy require OER?

I recently had the opportunity to attend a student showcase of Digital Humanities projects, put on by the Digital Pedagogy Network. The Digital Pedagogy Network is a collaborative project between the University of Victoria and Simon Fraser University.

The context of the event was to give Digital Humanities students an opportunity to showcase the DH projects they have been working on to fulfill the requirements of their various undergrad/graduate level DH programs at UVIC and SFU. I am grateful to SFU Digital Scholarship Librarian (and Whitecaps soccer fan) Rebecca Dowson for suggesting that I attend. I am very happy that I did.

First and foremost, the student projects are fantastic. These are students that are working hard to capture and preserve significant, but often overlooked, pieces of our cultural heritage, like the Fred Wah archives. Fred Wah is a Canadian writer and Parliamentary Poet Laureate. His online archive is a DH project by English student Deanna Fong. Then there is the Wosk–McDonald Aldine Collection a digital preservation project being worked on by DH students and made available on the open web which celebrates the work of Aldus Manutius, “the Renaissance’s most innovative scholarly publisher”. There is a curated digital exhibition that explores authorship and readership of Victorian-era pornography created by BA students Erin Huxley, Keirsten Mend, Donna Langille and Leah de Roy, and a cultural mapping exhibition of the legends that are included in E. Pauline Johnson’s 1911 text, Legends of Vancouver,  which is based on the narratives of Chief Joe Capilano of the Squamish nation (and which prompted a great discussion around the tensions involved with non-Indigenous people researching and mapping Indigenous territories).

All of these educational resources, created by students and available on the open web. But none openly licensed.

Which made me consider open pedagogy and the way in which open pedagogy is defined. Granted, that term “open pedagogy” is fairly new and evolving. My first exposure to the term was in a 2013 (was it really 4 years ago?) blog post from David Wiley where David defines open pedagogy as being directly connected to the (at the time) 4R permissions of OER (emphasis mine).

Open pedagogy is that set of teaching and learning practices only possible in the context of the free access and 4R permissions characteristic of open educational resources.

So, with that definition, the assignments that these students have done are not open pedagogy. While some of them do use open access resources (mostly public domain resources), none of the students have released their material with an open license, and, in fact, some resources are made available with full copyright and only under academic fair use policy.

But yet publicly available. On the open web. Students working on the open web, on meaningful projects.


But yet, not open pedagogy, at least by David’s definition.

Which made me wonder: is open pedagogy only possible if the work by a student meets the 5R open licensing criteria? Or is what makes open pedagogy open is that students are working in the open with their work on display to the world? Is that the defining feature of open pedagogy?

Don’t get me wrong. Encouraging students to release meaningful and significant work they do with an open license is the best possible outcome as it enables the widest possible distribution and application of their work. But if a student creates a meaningful piece of work and simply makes it open access on the web without actually assigning and open license to the work, does that make it a less meaningful and impactful open pedagogy experience?

To the students who created these projects, I would say the answer is no. In a Q&A I asked them to talk about working in the open and how they felt as students to have their work in the open and view-able to the world.  Their responses were that they felt it was important to have their work in the open; that they felt the work they were doing needed to be open and accessible to the wider world, and the world needed to know about this work. Not one said the reason they wanted their work open was to have it reflect favourably on them, or that it would look good as part of a digital resume/portfolio. They felt an urgency that their subject matter be made available to the broader pubic.  It mattered to them, and that motivated them. They wanted to do justice to their subject matter.

To me, this is open pedagogy. The motivation that it gives to students that what they do matters in the world. That they are contributing to something bigger and greater than themselves. That the work is meaningful. Yes, it would have an even greater impact if this work was released with an open license, but the fact that this work is not openly licensed doesn’t make it any less of an open pedagogy exercise to me.

As I was expressing this point on Twitter, Tannis  Morgan at the JIBC sent me a link to a wonderful blog post she wrote that made me realize that, despite having a French-Canadian last name, I should have paid closer attention to French class.  In the post, Tannis digs into the history of the term open pedagogy and finds traces of it in the linguistic culture wars of a 1979 Canada with Quebec educator named Claude Paquette.

Paquette outlines 3 sets of foundational values of open pedagogy, namely:  autonomy and interdependence; freedom and responsibility; democracy and participation.

In her post, Tannis wraps up with an astute observation

In other words, open pedagogy is currently a sort of proxy for the use and creation of open educational resources as opposed to being tied to a broader pedagogical objective.

Which begs the question; what is the broader pedagogical objective of open pedagogy? Does open pedagogy only exist when it is connected to the use and production of OER’s?

Addendum: After I wrote this, I realized that I had read an excellent 2014 interview with Tom Woodward in Campus Technology where Tom spoke at length about open pedagogy as a broad and holistic set of values and approaches.

Looking at open pedagogy as a general philosophy of openness (and connection) in all elements of the pedagogical process, while messy, provides some interesting possibilities. Open is a purposeful path towards connection and community. Open pedagogy could be considered as a blend of strategies, technologies, and networked communities that make the process and products of education more transparent, understandable, and available to all the people involved.

I think this holistic view of open pedagogy as a messy space where the values of openness inform teaching and learning practices is one that appeals to me.

Photo: BCOER Librarians by BCcampus_news CC-BY-SA

Adding Creative Commons licenses to Kaltura MediaSpace videos

I’ve been working on an internal BCcampus project to set up and configure Kaltura MediaSpace for our internal use. We have a number of use cases, not the least of which are providing a central hosting space for videos created as part of a grant associated with the BC Open Textbook Project. Since these videos will be openly licensed (as is everything we create at BCcampus), I want there to be a visible Creative Commons license with each video to let users know the terms of usage for each video.

Out of the box, MediaSpace has a lot of functionality, but the ability to apply a Creative Commons license to a video is not one of them. So, with a bit of consultation with my colleague (and knower of all Kaltura secrets) Jordi Hernandez at UBC, I was able to add a basic CC license field to the videos we host in Mediaspace.

It is actually a pretty straightforward 2 step process. First, you need to create custom metadata fields in the Kaltura Management Console (KMC), then you have to enable the fields in the Kaltura Mediaspace administration console.

I am using an OnPrem service of Kaltura. The MediaSpace instance I am working on is 5.38.07.

Create Custom Fields in the KMC

After logging into the KMC, I went to Settings > Custom Data. This is where I will set up the custom data scheme and define the CC licenses. Click Add New Schema to create a new Creative Commons Metadata Schema. Give your Schema a name, description and a system name. The system name should be one word and short. We want each video to be able to have their own CC license, so we want this metadata schema to apply to Entries and not Categories.

Once you have the Schema set up, you will want to add the actual licenses as field values. Choose Add field and enter in the different CC licenses that you want to make available to your users. These are the options they will see when they upload a new video, and what people who view the video will see on the screen associated with the video. I chose to make my list a Text Select List so that it would appear as a drop down menu for the person uploading the video.

One nice feature of the custom metadata schemas in Kaltura is that you can enable these items to be searched for in the built in search engine. So, with CC licensed material, someone could come to our video portal site and search for nothing but CC0 videos in our collection. I haven’t explored this fully yet, but it does seem to work at a granular level. Which is both good and bad. Good if you want to search for a specific type of CC licensed content in our collection, like a CC0 or CC-BY video. But not so great if you wanted to search for all CC licensed videos regardless of flavour.

Once that is done, the Schema is setup and we can now slip over to MediaSpace to apply it.

Add the custom fields to the upload form in MediaSpace

I logged into the MediaSpace admin console. The area we want to play in is called Customdata. It may appear with a line through it in your admin console. That just means that the module has not been activated.

Go into the Customdata module and make sure it is enabled. In the profileid field, you should be able to find the custom metadata schema that you just created in the KMC. Choose that. You can also make the field a required field and, if you wish, enable the showInSearchResults field to enable the search index.

 

That’s it. Save the changes and you now have added a custom CC license field to your videos. When someone uploads a video to MediaSpace, they will have an additional field in a dropdown menu that they can choose a CC license to apply to the video.

And, when people come to view the video in the MediaSpace site, they will see that the video is licensed with a Creative Commons license.

Now when we upload a video to our MediaSpace site, we can assign it a Creative Commons license that people can see.

Good first step

For me, this is a good first step that gives us the option to apply a visual marker to the video in MediaSpace. However, what would be great (and I am not sure that this can be done) would be to have that CC license metadata embedded in the page in the correct metadata format for CC licenses. This would ensure that it would be found in search engines when people search for CC licensed content.

The second improvement would be to somehow embed that CC license metadata right in the video so that if some were to take a copy of this video, the original license information would go along with the actual video when they downloaded it. Doubt that is possible, but that would be a great feature for organizations like ours that produce a lot of openly licensed content.

Finally, I think that it might be a good idea to add a visual bumper as part of the video that would spell out the CC license. It is what we currently do with our videos, and is good practice to help make it clear that the content is openly licensed.

Photo: CC Stickers by Kristina Alexanderson CC-BY

Open Network Learning at Royal Roads University

Next week I begin teaching a course in the Royal Roads MA in Learning & Technology (MALAT) program. The opportunity to teach in the program came up via George Veletsianos and the MALAT program head Elizabeth Childs.

This is a course that George usually teaches in the MALAT program, but George (and Elizabeth) are currently busy developing a new MALAT program at RRU.

Last week, I had the chance to see the new program when I attended a 2 day session at RRU with other associate faculty from both the MALAT program and the wider School of Education.

The new MALAT program at RRU is intriguing. Really intriguing. Theoretical foundations for the program emphasize open pedagogy and network learning.

Over the past 5 years, there has been extensive consultations with various stakeholder groups. The results are a graduate level education program that feels innovative, contemporary, and grounded in the reality of what it takes to learn in a digital, networked enabled world.

It’s a bold vision. Students in the program will take an active and participatory role with the wider education community. They will openly blog (on a newly set up WordPress network at Royal Roads) and develop a social media presence, using both of these tools as pedagogical springboards to take a deep dive into the world of open, networked learning.

Not to dismiss my own experiences as a MALAT grad and the program at the time I was a student (yes, I have all kinds of tendrils intertwined with RRU and this particular program), but there is a small part of me that is slightly remorseful that the timing for a program like this wasn’t quite right 8 years ago when I enrolled as a student. Blogging, using social media, developing a professional network, and using social media tools as personal learning tools is how I operate.

Needless to say, I am smitten with the vision for the program.

What has jazzed me the most in the days since the retreat is that my thinking has been re-energized. I have been jolted back to some of the past work I did on network learning and informal learning, much of which went into my Masters thesis. Things I haven’t thought or written about in years. I realize that I miss having the time and space that a graduate program provides to really think about this stuff; about how the Internet has changed the nature of informal learning, and how important it is to prepare learners with the skills and knowledge to truly become life-long learners.

I see it everyday in my kids as they digitally manouver between formal and informal learning situations. They follow their own interests and passions via YouTube videos and online courses. Beside the regular social stuff that teens and pre-teens do with friends, they do video hangouts with their friends to complete homework assignments. They get daily mobile prompts on their phones to complete micro-French lessons, and stay playfully motivated to keep ahead of their uncle on the leaderboard. They collaborate on school projects with their peers using web-based tools, conducting research online.

These are the types of learning activities I see pedagogically reflected in the new MALAT program that excites me. And I feel lucky to be part of the ride.

Photo: Open Teaching – Thinning the Walls – Revision #2 by Alec Couros CC-BY-NC-SA

Supporting what I use 2016 edition

Ok, time for my annual supporting what I use post. For those of you who have followed my blog for the past few years, you’ll know this is an annual event around the holiday season where I encourage you to financially support the free and open tools & services you use to help keep them free & open.

This whole annual supporting what I use series of posts goes back to a blog post that George Siemens wrote in 2012 where he singled out the important work that Audrey Watters brings to the EdTech community; work that, unlike many of us, is not underwritten or supported by an institution or company. Audrey is an independent agent, making a living off her writing, speaking and related events. This year, I’ve gone back to supporting Audrey with an ongoing monthly contribution that can hopefully help her concentrate on publishing important pieces, like her annual top EdTech Trends of the Year posts (essential EdTech reading). I encourage you to do the same.

In addition to supporting Audrey’s independent work, I am renewing my commitment to Open Media for their work in advocating for internet rights and freedoms in Canada. And, as this past year has shown us so clearly, more work needs to be done in the area of critical digital and media literacy, which is why MediaSmarts is also getting a donation from me.

Which brings me to my last choice, which is a bit different this year in that it is a business.

I’ve subscribed to a daily newspaper.

I have done this for a couple of reasons. First, in reaction to the recent election in the US (built on the back of Brexit in the UK) and the war on truth we are facing. Propaganda and misinforamtion have always been a staples in politics, but these recent results have shown that now, more than ever, I need to step up and support organizations committed to fair and accurate journalism, and (for me) that means a daily newspaper.

And I am getting a physical copy delivered to my home. This is part of the second (and perhaps less obvious) reason I am subscribing to a daily paper. For my kids. I want to have newspapers in the house that they can pick up and read.

As my kids get older, I am finding I have increasingly less control over their digital environments, and have to rely on the critical media and digital literacy skills they are developing to make good decisions about the media they consume. In a digital household where our media choices are often highly individual based on the devices we each have in front of us, there is little chance for serendipitous happenstance for my kids to discover information outside of their mediated filter bubble. It is something I worry about with digital books, too. As much as I love reading books electronically, there is something about not having my collection public on the bookshelf within my own home that reduces the random discoverability of topics and subjects to the other people in my house. Sure, there are plenty of ways for me to make my digital collections known, but my kids aren’t really cruising past my Goodreads account on a daily basis on the way to the breakfast table like they do our family bookshelf.

When I was a kid living in northern Alberta, the daily Edmonton Journal subscription was a critical part of my media diet for the simple fact that it was just left lying around in the house. Same goes for the books on my family bookshelf. I often read things that were outside of my normal areas of interest simply because I had proximity to books that I would not have picked myself. So, I want to have a general daily newspaper lying around the house that they can just pick up and read to both widen their horizons, and to help understand what good journalism looks like.

If you are interested in seeing what I have supported in the past (to perhaps give you some ideas of your own), you can read my previous posts here, here and here.

Image: Newspapers by Alan Foster CC-BY-NC-ND

 

Looking for Canadian Creative Commons projects

If you have been involved with the Creative Commons community, you will have no doubt run into Kelsey Wiens.

Kelsey was a Canadian ex-pat working in South Africa, and was deeply involved in Creative Commons South Africa. Kelsey was also the driving force behind Open Textbooks for Africa.

Earlier this year, Kelsey relocated from South Africa back to Canada and I have been working with her (and others, like CIPPIC) to reinvigorate interest in the Canadian Creative Commons affiliate. With Toronto hosting the 2017 Creative Commons Global Summit (mark the dates April 25-28, 2017), it would be great to have an energized local affiliate representing the host country.

There are some really interesting projects happening at Creative Commons these days, not the least of which is the CC Certification program that Alan Levine is working on with Paul Stacey. Paul is also co-authoring a book on open business models with Sarah Pearson.

One of the projects that Kelsey and I are working on is developing a map of open projects in Canada to try to get a better understanding as to where the pockets of openness are happening across the country. The CC Canada community is well represented by educators (especially post-secondary educators)  and we have a pretty good idea as to what some of the major open education projects that are happening across the country. But Creative Commons is much more than Open Educational Resources, and it is those other areas where we are trying to find pockets of openness.

So, if you are involved with a Canadian based Open Access, Open Data, Open Government, or Open Source Software project, please take a few seconds and connect with us by filling out this short form. I am especially interested in finding out about Canadian GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums) projects that might be using Creative Commons licenses.

Please feel free to share with your networks, and help us map Canadian open projects.

Photo: Creative Commons 10th anniversary by Timothy Vollmer CC-BY

Open puts the public in public education

Really encourage you to take a few minutes and watch Robin DeRosa’s great Ignite Talk DML2016 on open education.

In 5 short minutes (NO, DON’T CLAP I DON’T HAVE TIME!) she connects the various strands of open education (open access, open educational resources, and open pedagogy) to the broader societal mandate of our public institutions, which is to serve the public good. And while Robin is based in the US, the main thesis of her talk is applicable to anyone working in public education anywhere.

I don’t see how higher education can be relevant in the future without being even more open than we are today. We need to be more deeply engaged with the public; as educators, as researchers, as institutions designed to serve the public good. Open has to be both the default value and the default process by which we operate, or else we risk becoming alienated from the public whom we are here to serve, and risk adequately preparing our students to become fully engaged citizens.

Privacy in BC is more than just data sovereignty and the cloud

Some random thoughts and notes from the recent InfoSummit I attended. The Summit was put on by the non-profit BC Freedom and Information Privacy Association.

Among the presenters were KPU faculty Mike Larson and UBC legal counsel Paul Hancock. Both spoke on a number of issues, but the one that was most relevant to my work was the discussion on the BC-specific data sovereignty requirement which says that, unless you get consent, personal information collected by BC public bodies must reside on data servers stored in Canada.  In the BC higher education edtech space, this has made using cloud based services problematic for faculty who often have to get signed consent forms from students to use cloud services outside of Canada.

On this point, Mike and Paul were on opposite sides of the debate. Mike supported the requirement, and made the point that the requirement to get informed consent has a strong pedagogical function. When he asks his students to sign a consent form to use cloud-based services, it often kickstarts a conversation with them about privacy, data, security and user rights. Now, Mike does teach Criminology and law, so it feels like a natural fit to have this convo with his students, and I wonder if a, say, English prof or someone teaching trades would be prepared to have this conversation with their students. Or wether their students would even care to have this conversation, as important as it is to have. But still, it was refreshing to hear a faculty member speak about using BC’s informed consent requirement as a pedagogical device to start conversations about privacy in a digital age.

On the other hand (and probably closer to the reality of most faculty), the data sovereignty requirement and informed consent forms are real barriers for faculty who wish to incorporate other technologies into their teaching and learning.  UBC’s Paul Hancock believes that the data sovereignty requirement is much too broad, and he spoke about feeling handcuffed by the legislation when he speaks to instructors who want to use a teaching tool that fits their exact pedagogical goals, but is hosted in another country. For this instructor, Hancock has to advise them that they cannot use the technology unless they get the consent of the students. Getting consent may sound easy, but if you do have students who do not consent, then the instructor has to have an alternative activity or exercise ready for them that is FIPPA compliant. Now you have to start designing additional activities for these special exceptions, and I don’t know many faculty who have extra time on their hands to develop extra activities as a work-around to the legislation.

But it is not just the data sovereignty requirements that are presenting challenges to higher education institutions. Students are now asking institutions for access to the data collected about them within the technologies hosted on campus. Using a Freedom of Information request, UBC student Bryan Short has been trying to get a copy of the data collected about him by the UBC LMS (Blackboard, branded as UBC Connect at UBC). In a five-part blog post series, Bryan neatly and perceptively outlines his experiences trying to get access to learning analytics collected about him using a Freedom of Information request (and does a nice takedown of the LMS in general). Normally, when a public institution has been served with an FOI request, they have 30 days to comply. UBC was unable to comply and has now asked for an additional 30 days to gather the information. I wonder what kind of technical hoops UBC might be jumping thru to even extract this information from their LMS in a meaningful way.

Sadly, this whole process has made Bryan feel like he is a “meddling, bothersome nuisance” for doing something he has the legal right to do.

I don’t think this will be an isolated incident. As digital privacy becomes a bigger issue within our society, I suspect institutions will begin to see more and more of these kinds of requests from students like Bryan asking for access to their learning data, especially if that learning data is being used in anyway to conduct an assessment of the student. Which makes me wonder how many institutions in BC would be able to respond within 30 days to a student FOI request for the data collected about them in the LMS?

Photo: Eye I. By Thomas Tolkien CC-BY

Literature on open textbooks: COUP

[Updated Dec. 11, 2016]

I am working on a literature review for an article I and a couple of other people are writing about a survey about open textbooks in a course at UBC, and as part of that effort I created a table of some of the research literature on open textbooks. I thought it might be useful to others.

This table is based on the “COUP” framework explained by the Open Education Group (with whom I have an OER Research Fellowship at the moment): Cost, Outcomes, Use, and Perceptions. See here for an explanation of each element of this framework as it relates to research on open textbooks and other Open Educational Resources.

The Open Ed Group has a great list of literature using this framework, here: The Review Project. What I’m trying to do with this post is present at least some of that literature in way that clearly shows which articles connect to which aspects of the COUP framework. The Review Project, though, is updated more often!

The table is not an exhaustive list of literature; for one thing, it doesn’t include an article I found that is not open access (and I don’t have access to it):

Petrides, L., Jimes, C., Middleton‐Detzner, C., Walling, J., & Weiss, S. (2011). Open textbook adoption and use: implications for teachers and learners. Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning, 26(1), 39–49. http://doi.org/10.1080/02680513.2011.538563

I also only included studies that focused on open textbooks, specifically. There are other studies that talk about other OER in the Open Education Group’s Review Project.

Oh, and unfortunately the table doesn’t work on a mobile phone…I tried using a table plugin but it was messing up the format, and the table below is copied and pasted from a word processing doc, which doesn’t work on mobile. Boo.

Here is a MS Word version, though, that you could download and edit for your own purposes if you want!

There are probably other studies about open textbooks that I’m missing at the moment. Please add them in the comments!

Article Cost Out-
comes
Use Perce-ptions
Allen, G., Guzman-Alvarez, A., Smith, A., Gamage, A., Molinaro, M., & S. Larsen, D. (2015). Evaluating the effectiveness of the open-access ChemWiki resource as a replacement for traditional general chemistry textbooks. Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 16(4), 939–948. http://doi.org/10.1039/C5RP00084J X
Allen, I. E., & Seaman, J. (2016). Opening the Textbook: Open Education Resources in U.S. Higher Education, 2015-2016 (Babson Survey Research Group). Retrieved from http://onlinelearningsurvey.com/oer.html F
Allen, N., & Student PIRGs. (2010). A Cover to Cover Solution: How Open Textbooks are the Path to Textbook Affordability. Student PIRGs. Retrieved from http://www.studentpirgs.org/reports/cover-cover-solution X X
Belikov, O. M., & Bodily, R. (2016). Incentives and barriers to OER adoption: A qualitative analysis of faculty perceptions. Open Praxis, 8(3), 235–246. http://dx.doi.org/10.5944/openpraxis.8.3.308 X F
Bliss, T. J., Hilton, J., Wiley, D., & Thanos, K. (2013). The cost and quality of online open textbooks: Perceptions of community college faculty and students. First Monday, 18(1). Retrieved from http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/3972/3383 X S, F
Bliss, T. J., Robinson, T. J., Hilton, J., & Wiley, D. A. (2013). An OER COUP: College Teacher and Student Perceptions of Open Educational Resources. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 0(0). Retrieved from http://doi.org/10.5334/2013-04 X X X

S, F

 

California Open Educational Resources Council. (2016). White Paper: OER Adoption Study (April 1 2016). Retrieved from http://tinyurl.com/WPOERAdoption040116
 X  S, F
Feldstein, A., Martin, M., Hudson, A., Warren, K., Hilton III, J., & Wiley, D. (2012). Open Textbooks and Increased Student Access and Outcomes. European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning, 15(2). Retrieved from http://www.eurodl.org/index.php?p=archives&year=2012&halfyear=2&article=533 X X S
Fischer, L., Hilton III, J., Robinson, J., & Wiley, D. A. (2015). A multi-institutional study of the impact of open textbook adoption on the learning outcomes of post-secondary students – Springer. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 27(3), 159–172. http://doi.org/10.1007/s12528-015-9101-x X

Florida Virtual Campus. (2012). 2012 Florida Student Textbook Survey. Retrieved from https://florida.theorangegrove.org/og/items/10c0c9f5-fa58-2869-4fd9-af67fec26387/1/

Florida Virtual Campus. (2016). Student Textbook and Course Materials Survey. Retrieved from https://florida.theorangegrove.org/og/items/3a65c507-2510-42d7-814c-ffdefd394b6c/1/

X X S, F
Hilton, J. (2016). Open educational resources and college textbook choices: a review of research on efficacy and perceptions. Educational Technology Research and Development, 64(4), 573–590. http://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-016-9434-9 X S, F
Hilton III, J. L., Gaudet, D., Clark, P., Robinson, J., & Wiley, D. (2013). The adoption of open educational resources by one community college math department. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 14(4). Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/1523 X X S, F
Hilton, J., & Laman, C. (2012). One college’s use of an open psychology textbook. Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning, 27(3), 265–272. http://doi.org/10.1080/02680513.2012.716657 X
Hilton III, J. L., Robinson, T. J., Wiley, D., & Ackerman, J. D. (2014). Cost-savings achieved in two semesters through the adoption of open educational resources. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 15(2). Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/1700 X
Jhangiani, R., Pitt, R., Hendricks, C., Key, J., & Lalonde, C. (2016). Exploring Faculty Use of Open Educational Resources at BC Post-secondary Institutions. BCcampus. Retrieved from https://open.bccampus.ca/2016/01/18/new-study-exploring-faculty-use-of-oer-at-bc-institutions/ X F
Kimmons, R. (2015). OER Quality and Adaptation in K-12: Comparing Teacher Evaluations of Copyright-Restricted, Open, and Open/Adapted Textbooks. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 16(5). Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/2341 X F
Lindshield, B. L., & Adhikari, K. (2013). Online and Campus College Students Like Using an Open Educational Resource Instead of a Traditional Textbook. Journal of Online Teaching and Learning, 9(1). Retrieved from http://jolt.merlot.org/vol9no1/lindshield_0313.htm X

S

 

Pitt, R. (2015). Mainstreaming Open Textbooks: Educator Perspectives on the Impact of OpenStax College open textbooks. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 16(4). Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/2381 X X F
Robinson, T. J. (2015, May). The Effects of Open Educational Resource Adoption on Measures of Post-Secondary Student Success (Doctoral dissertation). Brigham Young University. Retrieved from http://pqdtopen.proquest.com/doc/1710437283.html?FMT=AI X
Robinson, T. J., Fischer, L., Wiley, D., & Hilton, J. (2014). The Impact of Open Textbooks on Secondary Science Learning Outcomes. Educational Researcher, 43(7), 341–351. http://doi.org/10.3102/0013189X14550275 X
Senack, E. (2015). Open Textbooks: The Billion Dollar Solution. The Student PIRGS. Retrieved from http://www.studentpirgs.org/reports/sp/open-textbooks-billion-dollar-solution X
Senack, E., & The Student PIRGs. (2014). Fixing the Broken Textbook Market | U.S. PIRG (pp. 1–18). Retrieved from http://www.uspirg.org/reports/usp/fixing-broken-textbook-market X

 

My first pull request

Crazy to think that, even though I have had a GitHub account for 5 years and have poked, played and forked things, I have never made a pull request and contributed something to another project until today.

I attribute that mostly to the fact that I stopped actually developing and writing code right around the same time as I signed up for a GitHub account, and the fact that it took me a long time to grok how GitHub works. Honestly, I am still not totally sure I understand how GitHub works, but after a great session with Paul Hibbitts at the Festival of Learning last week where I had a chance to dig into both Grav and GitHub, I finally feel like I can work around GitHub with some level of confidence. Enough that when I saw an opportunity to contribute to a project earlier today I thought, “I can help!”

The trigger was a tweet from the web annotation project Hypothes.is. I’ve been playing with Hypothes.is since hearing about the project from David Wiley a few years ago. It is maturing into a really great annotation system that has found some use among educators, including Robin DeRosa who is using Hypothes.is as an annotation tool on an open textbook she has published in PressBooks.

The tweet from Hypothes.is pointed me to a small project that Kris Shaffer is working on – a WordPress plugin that will allow you to aggregate your Hypothes.is annotations on a page or post on your WordPress site.

As Kris points out on his blog post about the plugin, there are some compelling use cases

I envision a number of possible uses for Hypothes.is Aggregator. As I write in my post on hypothes.is as a public research notebook, you can use this plugin to make a public research notebook on your WordPress site. Read something interesting, annotate it, and aggregate those annotations ? perhaps organized by topic ? on your domain. They will automatically update. Just set it and leave it alone.

I also see this as a tool for a class. Many instructors already use hypothes.is by assigning a reading that students will annotate together. Hyopthes.is Aggregator makes it easy to assign a topic, rather than a reading, and ask students to find their own readings on the web, annotate them, and tag them with the course tag. Then Hypothes.is Aggregator can collect all the annotations with the class tag in one place, so students and instructors can see and follow-up on each other’s annotations. Similar activities can be done by a collaborative research group or in an unconference session.

I went to his GitHub site, downloaded the plugin and fired it up. It worked (although the Cover theme I am using has done some funky formatting to it, which i need to adjust). But when I took a look at the GitHub site, I noticed that Kris had no README file on the Github site and the actual instructions on how to install and use the plugin were only on his blog post. Aha! A chance for me to actually contribute something to a project! So, I fired up my Atom editor, forked his repo and added a README.md file with instructions that i copied and pasted from his blog post on how to install and use the plugin.

So far so good. Now to figure out how to actually do a pull request. i thought that, before I do this (and not knowing exactly what might happen when I hit the Pull Request button) I should check with Kris. So I fire him off a tweet.

Ok, all good. I used these instructions from GitHub on how to launch a pull request and a few minutes late, my README file was sitting in Kris’s GitHub repo.

I am still not totally sure what I am doing, but having that first pull request under my belt has given me a boost of GitHub confidence.

Image: GitHub (cropped from original) by Ben Nuttall CC-BY-SA GitHub (crop) used here released under same CC-BY-SA license.