Wednesday, November 28, 2007

OpenEd Week 14: Reflecting on Week 13

I would like to start this week’s post earlier because it will be a crazy week before the semester is over. I have read a few blogs from our classmates and I found that the students from the countries other than the U.S. more likely to write their thoughts related to their own country. I think that might be one of the purposes of the article that lead the reader’s thoughts of how they predict open education movement develops in their own country.

This time I would like to start with
Elisa from Italy. She points out three important mainstreams to be considered:
1. the cultural aspect
2. the legal aspect
3. sustainability
It seems to me open education movement hasn’t started yet in Italy or maybe just the area she is at. She mentions “It would be nice to organize competitions among schools for the production of the best course in any subject.” I am wondering how this would happen because competitions among schools are already existing in any field. The best course competition might be only between the teachers who create those courses. And another issue can be raise by organizing this kind of competition: how to judge the quality of those courses and those courses have to be the same course in the same field. I think it is very limited or restricted.

In Yu-Chun’s blog, she indicates a few things that need to be dealed with to make OER sustainable: licenses of OER, the mechanism to make sure the quality of OER, peer production, localization, Languages, cultures, the availability of technology, and so on. Those are all the issues we talked about in our earlier discussion. She thinks OER can make learning easier especially for math and science subjects. I am thinking just the opposite. It really depends on how the teacher expects the students understand the math and science content. I do hear some people say that the math or statistic teachers just ask them to memorize the formulas and key words from the application problems and get can get the answers of the questions. This way can just solve the math problem in a short term; they will forget the formula easily. What my favorite math teacher taught me was understand how the formulas derive from then I solve the math problem with my own understanding, I can even create the formula myself. This is a long-term learning method than memorize by rote.

I agree with Yu-Chun’s opinions on developing countries about open education movement. She is right that if the students even cannot afford to buy computers or cannot access to the internet, open educational resources will not be convenient learning materials for them. I think they may more likely to get the textbooks even they are expensive but more convenient to get. You can’t imagine that in some poor areas in China, the students have to share the textbook, maybe a whole class contains 20 students only have 4 textbooks or less. How can they afford a computer?

I also read Catia’s post for last week, and it reminds me Wiley’s word that the grass outside the fence is always green. She mentions many times in her post that “there is a long way to go before there is fair awareness of the potentials of openness in education” and she also made an example to express how hard it is for open education movement to move on from her own experience. She feels like it is almost impossible to see open education movement develop in Brazil. I feel open education movement will be hard to develop in China, but still possible, and I had a few suggestion on this issue last week. Her last part states that “Instead of having a cold Learner Support, learners will help each other and develop responsibility towards their own learning process.” I can’t agree this idea much because open education does not mean none support provided, like this class we are taking now--not 100 percent open education course; but we can see we get lots of support from the people around the world no matter they are registered for this class or not. We feel the supports are warm and cheerful, not colder than the support from the peers around us.

1 comment:

Elisa - ITALY said...

As for the competitions among schools, why not think to a cooperative work between teachers and students? Last year, as I could not find a good textbook for my 17-year-old students, we created a wiki where we published the material of our course by a process of mutual cooperation. Why not offer this opportunity to other classes in a similar situation by means of the participation to a competition instead of putting it in a locker and forget it? As for the organization of this kind of competition, I would like to have a commettee of peers to assess the quality of the material. Anyway, what is for me particularly important is the process of mutual scaffolding and cooperation in an open education setting that is fostered by such an experience rather than the realization of the product or a possible award.