Monday, March 19, 2012

The process of open educational practice, rather than the outcomes. Stuff badges!!.

Dave Wiley posted a piece on why universities will be the biggest awarders of badges.

I can see why he thinks this is the case. Educational Institutions are the ones that have for centuries been awarders of pieces of paper  for successful working with knowledge, but not necessarily for learning outcomes!!! That's the problem with formal education, resources are provided, and interactions between people taken place, but if people actually learn anything is not easy to measure. Who is to say that all these students who were so good at the exam actually learnt anything, they might just have been very good at answering exam questions? As open education practicioners, we should think about this when discussing certification and question if this model is actually the right one for open learning.

Clearly, by awarding badges to open learning episods, for instance, you actually change them  into closed courses. We already have lots and lots of those. So, why are people suddenly so obsessed with accreditation of open courses? It seems to me that at the moment the hype generated by MITx and Stanford around their 'open' courses and the idea by Mozilla to give boy scout awards to learners are at its heart, but in my view they do not only devalue Higher Education, and produce a two-tier system, one for the people who can afford the high fees who receive the 'quality learning experience' with all bells and whistles and human interaction and support, and the other people, who can't afford these and who get an open dehumanised, machine learning experience and apparently receive a token of appreciation in the form of a badge from the institution for their effort! All this as employers might value  this second rate experience from a top-tier university more than a 'quality experience' from a not so top of the range university. The market in higher education at its best (:-( !!

Of course accreditation of prior learning is not new. Over the past twenty years there have been enough challenges in providing some sort of award for open learners' efforts. Learners might use the certification they receive for their open learning episode to show institutions that they have achieved a certain level of competency. Again, its the institutions of higher education that put value (or nonvalue) to these certificates.

How important should this be in the current technology-rich climate? And, is this really, really the direction that we would like  open educational practice to develop into? Would it not be more valuable to use our energy in thinking about the learning process, and not about the external pressures for accreditation of (possible) learning outcomes? One other model would be to developing Open Educational Resources and provide access to them, but to do this in the context of open learning environments that give learners choices and control over their own learning process and learning experiences. Environments where learners will be stimulated to interact with other human beings and be critical of the world in which they live, higher education included, and where they are tempted to be analytical. And yes, technology can be used on these environments to guide learners in this, for instance learners might be able to use analytics visualizations to see where on their learning journey they are, rather than to have an HE institution make all the decisions about the value of their learning.   There are wider benfits to open learning than a certificate by an HE institution!!!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Research publications on Massive Open Online Courses and Personal Learning Environments

People interested in Massive Open Online Courses will probably be aware of the research by Helene Fournier and me on Personal Learning Environments and MOOCs. We carried out research in the MOOC PLENK2010 (The MOOC Personal Learning Environments Networks and Knowledge that was held in the fall of 2010). The data collected on this distributed course with 1641 participants has been massive as well. Its analysis has kept us and some fellow researchers busy over the past year. The research has resulted in a number of publications and I thought it might be useful to post links to all of our journal articles, conference papers and presentations that were published  in relation to PLEs and MOOCs in one space. Each publication looks at the data from a different perspective, eg, requirements in a PLE, self-directed learning, learner support, creativity.

Fournier, H., Kop, R., and Durand, G. (2014), Challenges to research in Massive Open Online Courses, Merlot Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, Vol. 10, No.1, March 2014
Fournier, H., and Kop, R. (2014) De nouvelles dimensions à l’auto-apprentisage dans un environment d’apprentisage en réseau, Association canadienne pour l’étude de l’éducation des adultes
Kop, R., Fournier, H., and Durand, G. (2014, In Press), Challenges to research in Massive Open Online Courses, Journal of Online Learning and Teaching

Kop, R. & Fournier, H. (2014) Developing a framework for research on Personal Learning Environments, Elearning in Europe Journal, Issue No. 35, special Issue on Personal Learning Environments

Kop, R. (2012) The Unexpected Connection: Serendipity and Human Mediation in Networked Learning. (PDF) Educational Technology & Society, 15 (2), 2–11, p. 2-11

Fournier, H. and Kop, R. (2013) Social and affective presence to achieve quality learning in MOOCs, ELearn 2013 conference, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, October 21-24, 2013

Kop, R. (2011) The Challenges to Connectivist Learning on Open Online Networks: Learning Experiences during a Massive Open Online Course. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, Vol 12, No 3 (2011): Special Issue - Connectivism: Design and Delivery of Social Networked Learning 

Fournier, H., Kop, R. and Sitlia, H. (2011), The Value of Learning Analytics to Networked Learning on a Personal Learning Environment, 1st International Conference on Learning analytics and Knowledge 2011, Banff, February 27-March 1st, 2011. Paper 14  conference presentation

Kop, R. and Fournier, H. (2011) New Dimensions to Self-directed Learning in an Open Networked Learning Environment, International Journal of Self-Directed Learning, Volume 7, Number 2, Fall 2010, page 1-18  - conference presentation

Kop, R. and Fournier, H. (2011) Facilitating Quality Learning in a Personal Learning Environment through Educational Research, online session at the Canadian Institute of Distance Education Research, May 2011. The link gives access the the Elluminate recording, an Mp3 and Powerpoint slide.

Kop, R., Fournier, H. and Mak, S.F.J. (2011) A Pedagogy of Abundance or a Pedagogy to Support Human Beings? Participant support on Massive Open Online Courses, International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, Special Issue - Emergent Learning, Connections, Design for Learning, Vol. 12, No. 7, pg. 74-93

Fournier, H. and Kop, R. (2011) Factors affecting the design and development of a Personal Learning Environment: Research on super-users, in the International Journal of Virtual and Personal Learning Environments, Volume 2, Issue 4, 12-22, October –December 2011.  conference presentation conference paper

Kop, R. and Carroll, F. (2011) Cloud Computing and Creativity: Learning on a Massive Open Online Course, European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning, Special Issue on Creativity and OER

Kop, R. (2010) The Design and Development of a Personal Learning Environment: Researching the Learning Experience, European Distance and E-learning Network Annual Conference 2010, June 2010, Valencia, Spain, Paper H4 32 conference presentation

Some of the background data of participants and the course cause a little overlap in the papers, but we think the diversity of subjects covered in the papers will shed light on the learning experiences on MOOCs and make for a varied tapestry of information on MOOCs. PLENK2010 provided us with rich in data and we are still working on the analysis of the dataset as a whole for a paper on motivation and one on research methods, in collaboration with Guillaume Durand, using some challenging research methods. We will let you know when these papers will be published.