Category Archives: Student as Producer

Engaging students with OER

Near the end of May I worked with Jon Festinger and Will Engle to do a 1.5 hour workshop on how using and creating Open Educational Resources (OER) can have pedagogical value in courses (beyond saving students money, which is also important). You can see the basic abstract for the session in the wiki page embedded below.

Click here to see our slides for the workshop, on Google Slides (or see below).

We also created a wiki page for the event, which has numerous link to resources. We also tried to get small groups to post answers to discussion questions on the wiki, but as the event was held in the late afternoon, a bunch of people left when it was time to do the small group activity (I guess many instructors, like many students, think the “real action” is in the presentation rather than the group discussion!).

The wiki page for the workshop is embedded below.

 

About this session


"Increasing Student Engagement through Open Educational Resources" is a workshop held during the CTLT Institute in May 2015.


Abstract

Open educational resources are educational materials (text, video, audio, and more) that are licensed to allow others to reuse, revise, remix, redistribute, and retain them free of cost. There are numerous pedagogical benefits to both using OER and creating OER in courses; this workshop will focus on a few of them, including the following.

Asking students to create OER in courses means, in part, asking them to create things that are available to and of use by other students in the course (both past, present and future) and by people beyond the course. Assignments that are read only by an instructor and/or teaching assistant can seem to be what David Wiley calls in a blog post “disposable”: “assignments that add no value to the world – after a student spends three hours creating it, a teacher spends 30 minutes grading it, and then the student throws it away” (Resource here). If, instead, student work is adding value to the world, contributing to a larger body of knowledge that can be used by others, it is much more likely that they will be engaged in working on it and try to make it as good as possible. Examples of such assignments could be student blog posts, student-created web pages or wiki pages, videos, and more that others can see/hear/interact with and learn from. Another example that will be discussed in the session is having students edit an open textbook and share their edits openly.

Using OER in courses means asking students to read/watch/listen to/interact with educational materials for the course that are publicly available and licensed for reuse and (often) revision. Finding and assigning OER can allow for presentation of material in different ways: e.g., a textual resource can be augmented through finding and using a diagram, an image, a video, another text that explains things differently, etc. This can help both engage students and improve their understanding of course material. Further, if the OER are licensed to allow revision, students can edit them or mix them with other resources to create something new, both helping their own leaning and contributing OER for others to learn from.

In this session we will all discuss together the various kinds of open educational resources, including open textbooks, how to find OER for your courses, and several of the pedagogical benefits of creating and using OER.


Facilitators


Will Engle is a strategist for open education resources at UBC's Center for Teaching, Learning & Technology. He engaged with projects that are leveraging emerging technologies, approaches, and pedagogies to support open learning. With a background in library science, Will is interested in understanding and supporting the removal of barriers that limit access to education, information, and knowledge.

Jon Festinger, Q.C. (LL.B., B.C.L. 1980 McGill University) is a Vancouver, British Columbia based counsel and educator. He is an SFU Professor of Professional Practice and a faculty member of the Centre for Digital Media. Jon has taught media, entertainment and communications law topics at the UBC Faculty of Law for over two decades, as well as teaching at various times at the UBC Graduate School of Journalism, the Thompson Rivers University Faculty of Law and the University of Victoria Faculty of Law. He is the author of the first edition of “Video Game Law” published by LexisNexis in 2005, co-author of the 2nd Edition published in 2012. The open and on-line components of his courses can be found here & here. Jon was named a member of Creative Commons’ “Team Open” in 2014.

Christina Hendricks is a Sr. Instructor in Philosophy at UBC, and she also regularly teaches in the Arts One program. She has been a proponent of open education for several years, having participated in and few open online courses and been part of the design and facilitation team for others, including one with Peer 2 Peer University called Why Open?, and a course on Teaching with WordPress. She uses as many open educational resources in her teaching as she can, and posts many of her teaching materials as open educational resources herself.


Agenda and session outcomes

Agenda

  1. Introductions--to us, to you
  2. Defining openness and open educational resources (OER) in groups
  3. Discussion of openness and OER
  4. Presentation on pedagogical benefits of OER and open courses
  5. Groups: take a "traditional" assignment and discuss how you might use what we've talked about today to transform it (and why)
  6. Conclusion


Session outcomes

By the end of the session, you should be able to:

  • Give a definition of “open” and/or open educational resources
  • Explain at least two pedagogical benefits to using and/or creating OER in teaching & learning
  • Explain one or more courses/projects at UBC using/creating OER
  • Say how you might adapt an activity or assignment to make it more "open," and why this would be pedagogically a good thing to do

Group activities

Click on your group number to go to the page where you can type in your answers to the questions in the group activities during the session.

To see all the groups' notes from the activities, click here: http://wiki.ubc.ca/Sandbox:Student_Engagement_Through_OER/Group_Resource

You can also see how the group wiki pages look when embedded into a WordPress site, here: http://willdev.sites.olt.ubc.ca/


Resources, links from the session or relevant to the session


Slides from the session

The slides used during the session can be found here (on Google Slides).


Examples of open courses or OER

A list of some examples can be found on the open.ubc.ca website, here: http://open.ubc.ca/learning/

Please add other examples that you know of, below!


At UBC


Elsewhere


Open Education

Creative Commons licenses

True Stories of Open Sharing

Watch some amazingly true stories of open sharing--the great stuff that can happen when we share our work openly: http://stories.cogdogblog.com/

source: http://wiki.ubc.ca/sandbox:Student_Engagement_Through_OER

Open Learning Design: A (draft) Manifesto

Recently, my colleagues Cindy, Rie, and myself undertook an exercise to map the frameworks and principles of Open Learning Design, which is at the intersection of our separate portfolios on Learning Resource Design and Open Education Initiatives. Since one of the principles in this area is that education is a political act, we’ve thought it would be fun to draft a manifesto for Open Learning Design. We hope to refine it, so, as always, comment and critique are welcome.

Sharing is the foundation of the University.

Sharing is not a functionality within the University; rather the University is the functionality of sharing within its community.

Embedded within the vision and values of the University is that it “supports scholarly pursuits that contribute to knowledge and understanding within and across disciplines, and seeks every opportunity to share them broadly.”  Teaching and learning is at the heart of these scholarly pursuits and, as Teachers and Learners, we must seek every opportunity to share broadly, for, as others have noted, “we share our work in education so that one day we might become free through education.”

As Teachers and Learners, we understand that open practices enhance teaching and learning.  

As learners, we understand we have the greatest capacity to learn when we are free to share in the shared knowledge of the University. Free, as Wiley defined, to access, to reuse, to revise, to remix, to retain, and to redistribute that knowledge, those materials, that help us learn.  We also understand that learners contribute to this shared knowledge and that we should, as Bruff describes, not merely be passive consumers of knowledge but producers, engaged in meaningful, generative work of the University.

As Teachers, we understand that knowledge does not equal understanding and that meaningful learning is authentic learning.

We understand that good teaching requires empathy and that authenticity is grounded in the expertise of the learner in their own learning. We strive to make our students be co-collaborators and co-producers of the curriculum. We work to build trust through honest collaboration for, as Neary states, the capacity for students as producers is “grounded in the human attributes of creativity and desire, so that students can recognise themselves in a world of their own design.”

As Teachers and Learners, we design for sharing and we create for understanding.

We are not wasteful. We are not afraid of failure. Understanding is developed through opportunities to iterate and practice across time and contexts, applying feedback to refine and deepen. Understanding requires self-awareness, practice, reflection and feedback. Understanding is supported by who you know and have access to through your networks, and good educational design facilitates connections.

As Teachers and Learners, we understand that we are one community. We understand that our community is not the University but rather that it is the community which forms the University. Sharing broadly is the means to remove the artificial barriers between the University and the community.

Education is the means that allows the individual, as Freire states, to “deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.”  The University’s role is to share this education broadly.

Student as Producer, Rethinking Technology (Slides)

Novak and I recently had the opportunity to present twice at this year’s Open Education conference. Overall, the conference was great, and while it was filled with amazing presentations that I’m still mulling over, the true value of the conference was the people, the conversations, and the networks that were formed and re-enforced. Sort of like higher education. But, also sort of like higher education, I’m focusing on content here by posting slides.

Our first presentation was an expanded look at case studies at UBC that have embraced the Student as Producer model. The student as producer model, which came to our attention from work done at the University of Lincoln, emphasizes the role of the student as collaborators in the production of knowledge. In this model, the university’s approaches to learning and research are closer aligned; for example, students, similar to researchers, are asked to share their work beyond the walls of the classroom and not just with their immediate instructor or adviser. There’s a lot of amazing students and instructors at UBC who are doing pretty neat things and it was fun to talk about the approaches and philosophies that support and enable this work:

Our second presentation was entitled “Rethinking Technology’s Role in Sustaining the Future of the University.” My part of the presentation was highlighting a bit of the future trends or issues that are being fretted about and looking at approaches that work. Basically, for me, it comes down to two themes: 1) our systems and management of technologies need to empower and enable all users; and 2) we need technologies that better support open. As Novak’s Law states: The best way to promote a university is to expose the work of its people, including students, staff, and faculty:

The Media & The Message (Slides)

“What we are teaching and the tools we are teaching it with are in dialogue; how we teach can be an example of what we teach.” – Jon Festinger

I recently had the opportunity to give a talk for the BC Council on Admissions and Transfer‘s Communications and Media Articulation Committee (CAMAC). When I was invited, I was given the rather non-specific topic of online education, copyright, and technology – which, to be honest, delighted me as these three areas are often the holy trifecta of open education. The general thread of my presentation was that:

  • The future of education is not about information transmission but about scaffolding learning and knowledge building around information
  • Open licenses (such as Creative Commons) provide a simple solution in contrast to the complexity involved in aspects of copyright
  • Open education resource (OER) adoption and creation provide for the ability to build and improve the scaffolding of learning
  • Open approaches are highly effective methods for enabling this learning
  • The alignment of the student as owner of their learning and as collaborators in knowledge creation (e.g. the Student as Producer Model) is dependent on open approaches and open licenses
  • Open technologies and an alignment with the open internet are necessary to enable effective use of both OER and open pedagogies

Most of this I’ve talked about before but enjoyed compiling some independent aspects into a single talk. Here are the slides from the presentation:

New BC Open Ed Chat Archive Available

The February 2014 BC Open Open Ed Chat archived recording is now available. It featured Jon Festinger discussing his Video Game Law course and his perspective on “open” as well as the contributors behind the Math Exam/Education Resource Wiki, which features close to 1,000 practice questions for math exams sorted by 97 categories.

Link: http://bcopened.org/bc-open-open-ed-chats/archives/

UC Berkeley’s Wikipedian-in-Residence Is a First

Kevin Gorman is the first Wikipedian-in-residence at a U.S. college or university and will be providing University of California Berkeley undergraduates with guidance on publishing their academic work on Wikipedia. Gorman had previously helped to design and facilitate a Wikipedia-based assignment for a Berkeley course on prisons, and in his new role, he intends to write guidelines on designing and implementing Wikipedia-based class assignments and post these how-to’s online for instructors everywhere to use. There have been more than 50 previous Wikipedians-in-residence assigned to cultural institutions, such as the British Museum, the Gerald Ford Presidential Library, and the U.S. National Archives.

Link: http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2014/02/25/berkeleys-wikipedian-in-residence-is-a-first/

Case Studies on the Student as Producer (Slides)

“In the end, an essay or an exam is an instance of busywork: usually written in haste; for one particular reader, the professor; and thereafter discarded.” – Jon Beasley-Murray, from Was introducing Wikipedia to the classroom an act of madness leading only to mayhem if not murder?

Novak and I recently had the opportunity to present at ETUG’s Fall Workshop on the topic of “Case Studies for Students as Producers.” In the Student as Producer model, as Derek Bruff has eloquently distilled from Mike Neary’s conceptualization: “students should move from being the object of the educational process to its subject. Students should not be merely consumers of knowledge but producers, engaged in meaningful, generative work alongside the university’s faculty”.

This idea of positioning student work as as a collaborative and valuable resource alongside that of faculty members is an important driver of uptake for some the tools and technologies, such as UBC Blogs and the UBC Wiki, that support open education initiatives. Here are a couple of the amazing open projects working using these tools to support students as producers:

  • Some instructors in the Arts One program are asking their students to critique or analyze readings and lectures on blogs. The use of blogs takes the writings out of a closed loop with only the instructor reading and responding to a student’s work. Instead, the students are sharing their critiques and thoughts openly on the internet, where they are contributing to the scholarly conversation of classic texts of the past two millennia. Furthermore, the student blog posts are syndicated via rss to the Arts One Open site, where the student content appears along side the instructor content, creating a rich and robust extension of the course. Clicking on any given tag, such as Borges, gives amazing and growing archive of online lectures, podcasts, essays, and critiques. Finally, since the students are blogging on their own personal blogs, they control their content, which they can delete, edit, or move to a new space at will.
  • Similarly, in LAW423B: Video Game Law, students can author directly on the public facing course website, allowing them to create and post content along side the instructor. This content is not just limited to the student and instructor, but is on an open website that is quickly becoming a highly trafficked and widely-read resource about a specific topic. Thus, students are sharing their work and being read by leaders in the video game law community.
  • Students in FNH200 are asked to author collaborative open wiki and video projects, thus students are not only sharing their work with instructor, each other, and, well, the world, but also future students who will take the course. This is important because, as it turns out, current and past students are setting the bar for the quality of future projects. The quality of the student work is being elevated as students are able to review and reference previous years projects, build upon them, and develop what is effectively an open knowledge base on food science (and their work is being incorporated into he course).

And here’s our slides for our presentation:

We broke pretty much every rule there is about using slides effectively in a presentation (bad design, low colour contrast, mismatched fonts on walls of text, etc) but I’m going to position that strategy as intentional effort to highlight the artistry of the projects we’ve been fortunate to witness and support in one way or another.