Ebrownorama's Blog

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OER – the end, or just the beginning?

Web 2.0 has had much attention for the last several years. That term, however, is not used as much now I think in that Web 2.0 is invisible–we have learned and come to know that there will be many tools emerging all the time and we are becoming aclimatized. We have learned. OER is taking on this type of reputation today. Everywhere I look and research, people are starting to talk about OER. When I mention that I am taking a course in OER, the response is, “oh yes, that is really taking off isn’t it?” Perhaps my eyes and ears are just opened now. There are numerous websites and webinars and other sources where I see opportunity, or potential for OER being developed, shared, remixed …

If we will all embrace OER like we did Web 2.0, there will be learning opportunities for everyone around the globe. My job is to teach my pre-service teachers about OER, to set an example, to provide them with competitive skills to educate their students likewise. We all need to work together to develop this opportunity–educators, institutions, governments, business and industry, everyone. Each of us needs to build a strong PLN, a strong network with which to share ideas. After all, everything begins with an idea, the rest is just tools.

I look forward to researching open educational resources and to working with my network, part of which consists of my students, as well as the cohort for this course, to do my part to develop learning opportunities.  So the learning journey continues … thankfully …

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Open Data, Research, Books, Journals, Government

The topics for consideration this week include:
Depending on your perspective (Canadian? Educator? Not a Canadian? Not in the academic environment?) what are the opportunities the expiration of the Access Copyright license gives you?
What are your impressions of open data, open research, open books, open journals open government?
Is this the reality or just a dream?
Can this happen in your school or business environment?
What are the implications?

My first instinct is that most educators do not even have knowledge of the Access Copyright License. Other than receiving the information in the OER Course and and researching this topic, I, as an educator, do not recall receiving any information in regards to my rights or cessation of such rights to copy materials. That is sad. This then also tells me that even though the Access Copyright License is no longer in place, educators will continue to copy materials as they always have because they are unaware that anything has changed. So, how do we fix this? It is important that accurate information be distributed to all school division administration departments which then needs to be presented to all educators in each respective school. It is further important that pre-service teachers also receive this information in their institutions to enable them to enter their schools equipped with the current knowledge as to how to prepare and distribute their materials. Knowledge is the first step.

I am intrigued by open research, but more than that, I see it as an opportunity. Educators and others can work as a network to build open projects. These projects can be a continuous work, or a work in progress where a multitude of educators can contribute their ideas to these projects. This would include educators, students in various grades and courses where the project would “keep up” with the wave of change–rather than everyone trying to “rise to” the change. Moving with the change makes the change natural and it becomes part of our being. The learning then is richer and passionate.


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Sharing Open Educational Resources

How much control do you want or need over your published work? That seems to be the question on choosing self- or third-party publishing. A stated disadvantage of third-party services is that they can disappear quickly. I know educators who have spent much time and effort to establish their sites, e.g., wikis and web pages, hosting them on school division networks and only to have them disappear and not able to be retrieved. OUCH! My recommendation is to backup everything even if the IT people in the school division claim to be backing up the servers. Educators place their expertise, time and energy in preparing OER providing learning opportunities for students and this work is too precious to be lost in cyberspace. While there are measures such as history options on third-party platforms, it is still crucial to backup your own work so that it will always be available and not take as much time to retrieve should something go awry.

Self-Publishing one’s work has some benefits as opposed to third-party publishing. Three benefits stated in the readings are cost, file space and bandwidth. While there are many programs where you can upload your work for no cost, there are also many subscriptions available for these programs that open up many added choices including unlimited space, multimedia options, and so on. As educators, we often have the added benefit of having access to subscription options without charge.

Several programs that do not charge for web presence include Weebly and Wikispaces and offer educator choices and benefits. There are also good hosting sites available for very low cost. MyHost has a rate of $1.00 per month currently with plenty of space. This subscription allows the choice of domain name without any third-party name included.

Since this chapter topic is Sharing, it is important to use a solid bookmarking service such as Delicious or Diigo. It is also important to tag and include meta data with each source so that OER is properly organized and can be easily found by other educators. Taking time to search is valuable time, but spending excess time searching and not finding suitable resources becomes frustrating and ultimately discouraging for educators. It is important that searches are fairly quick and easy. Establishing a PLN (personal learning network) is a must for every educator. This can be done using iGoogle or NetVibes or other tool that includes RSS feeds. Considering the time that we as educators spend on so many tasks, here is one task that can be done with less time by using the Pull Technology method–In a PLN, establishing RSS feeds, we Push the resources to other social media with one easy step.

Source: http://rss-tutorial.com/rss-blog-feed-promote.htm

The technology seems to be available for educators to get their work out there. Now we need time to actually do the task and to do it properly so that we can easily find what we need in a timely manner. If everyone does his/her part, the sharing of OER will be easy.