“We need to educate more people all their lives and we can’t do it using the elite model developed in the past”
Dr. Fred Mulder, UNESCO Chair holder in Open Educational Resources (OER) at the Open Universiteit in the Netherlands and former Rector of OUNL, and Dr. Rory McGreal, UNESCO Chair holder in OER and professor at Athabasca University, recently stopped by Rome to deliver keynote addresses at the LINQ2013 conference.
eLearning Papers has recently launched an issue on MOOCs. What is your opinion about this phenomenon?
FM: I think MOOCs are an interesting phenomenon that gained a lot of media attention recently. This attention can help make OER mainstream in education and get OER in the policies of governments. MOOCs are still in an infancy stage and they can further develop in various ways in the future, but I think they can anyway help reach this ultimate OER goal.
RM: I am very excited about MOOCs. We were involved with the first MOOCs that came out in Canada and George Siemens, one of the founders of the MOOC concept, is one of our faculty members. I have been supporting scalable education nearly all of my professional life and I think the major challenge for the 21st century is how we educate people around the world who are capable of a university education and just don’t have access, which is an issue not only in the developing world, but even in Canada and in Europe. We need to educate more people all their lives and we cannot do it using the elite model that we have developed in the past.
What are the challenges that MOOCs face at the moment?
RM: I think one that has not come yet is the revanche of the traditional universities, but MIT and their initiatives made OER respectable and they are making the same for MOOCs, a real possibility for mass-education.
FM: I think another challenge is to cherish diversity. We should think about how we can serve diversity in terms of language, cultural context, and educational models. There is not a single model that will work for every situation.
Do you think also access and cultural barriers can be other challenges?
RM: The benefit of having MIT or Harvard lead the way is the bigger impact it has on developing countries and it can be a stimulus for smaller universities to do their own. In many cases, in developing countries education is only for the elites, so this new trend breaks away the idea that in order to have an education you need to have an elite system.
FM: In my view it is a mistake to think that you can capture the whole world with US-styled courses in the English language, even if they come from reputed research universities. It’s better to have a collaborative model with universities at different continents to develop their own MOOCs. My concern is to have this at global scale indeed and to have it applied in countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America in different languages and adapted to their own cultural contexts.
Will MOOCs replace more traditional educational models?
FM: MOOCs can have different applications in different situations and some universities might decide to include MOOCs into their curriculum, but I don’t think they will replace a full curriculum. A curriculum is not just a set of courses but rather a coherent program in which courses are related and other components are included as well.
RM: I think it would be difficult, but not impossible. We have the possibility of getting a Bachelor of General Studies solely via prior-learning-assessment or challenge exams at Athabasca University. The possibility is there. As MOOCs develop, there will be numerous career paths: some of them will be MOOCs, some regular courses, some OER, and some with regular textbooks.
So, blended learning is the future. What are the keys for this to happen?
RM: One is the ability to divorce the assessment process from the delivery process. The other big issue is the transferability of your credits so that people’s acquired learning is accepted.
FM: MOOCs will be a challenge especially for open universities. That’s why we started OpenupEd: to offer a good alternative to the US-based MOOCs by putting the learner at the centre and by delivering quality learning materials in a wide variety of languages and with a decentralized model.
If you want to read some more information about OpenupEd, please read this other interview.
Dr. McGreal, in your talk yesterday at LINQ2013 you mentioned that OER should be applied and formatted on mobile devices for M-learning. Why do you think this is priority?
RM: Look around, the world is mobile. It’s not “going mobile” anymore, it is mobile! And yet we are continuing to design our OER as if people have a desktop rather than designing for a small screen, chunking your information. It’s a lot easier to take that and put it on a desktop than the other way around. This is the world we live in, and a lot of educators don’t seem to see it.
You also mentioned that there is a need for OER because we cannot effectively use commercial content. Do you think this can be solved by putting in place the right policy on property rights?
RM: I’m a bit cynical about policies because we have all kinds of policies that we don’t pay any attention to. Policies are often a diversion from doing anything. We can’t use commercial content in designing for mobile devices, and this hasn’t struck anyone yet, they think they have a choice. If you get a commercial e-text, it’ll be in one format, and you can’t switch it to another. There are a lot of people with all sorts of devices and we need to have that capability to adapt from one to the other.
What implications this could have with people with disabilities, for instance?
RM: Again, we have to have these capabilities: text to voice conversion for blind people in particular. These things we need to do and we cannot do them with commercial content. These kinds of restrictions are going to ruin it for educators: we have students in open universities from 60 countries and it’s impossible to negotiate intellectual property licenses with each of them. We cannot use proprietary content on these courses without breaking the law, so OER and Open Education are the key.
And now just a last question for both of you: what is your role as UNESCO Chair holders in OER?
FM: Using the UNESCO chair provides an interesting independent mechanism to promote OER but having the privilege to use the UNESCO label. There are four UNESCO chair holders in OER besides the two of us: Tel Amiel, from University of Campinas in Brazil, and Wayne Mackintosh, from Otago Polytechnic in New Zealand, and we of course would like to expand the number of chairs in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In 2011 we began designing a common plan of action to add value to the OER world. I’m coordinating the Global OER Graduate Network (GO-GN), a network of PhD students and their supervisors from universities in different parts of the world. Currently we have about 15 partner universities and close to 20 PhD students who all will have additional supervision from experts in different countries. The network will meet in an annual seminar where the PhD students present their research plans and outcomes and get feedback.
RM: I am coordinating the OER knowledge cloud, a repository with over 600 referred papers and reports on OER that help students on the Global OER Graduate Network and other researchers working with OER issues to find the information which is full-text searchable. Another major action is the OER University, Wayne Mackintosh coordinates 23 universities members from 6 continents to create pathways for using OER to assessment and accreditation, and Tel Amiel in Brazil is working on K-12 issues.
À propos MOOC: CIFE in cooperation with the Jean Monnet Chair for Political Science of the University of Cologne would like to develop web-based online courses on the EU. Have a close look here.
CIFE in cooperation with the Jean Monnet Chair for Political Science of the University of Cologne would like to develop web-based online courses on the EU.
Have a close look at https://moocfellowship.org/submissions/eu2c-the-european-union-explained-by-two-partners-cologne-and-cife Find the green "Abstimmen" (vote) button and CLICK.
We are applying for technical support to create a web-based online course on the EU.
The more clicks, the better our chances! Thanks for your support!
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Students' attitudes towards ICT learning uses: a comparison betweeen digital learners in blended and virtual universities
This study focuses on the analysis of students’ ICT uses and perceptions in academic contexts comparing two groups of students: those attending to an online university versus students at traditional universities that provide access to a virtual campus and offer some blended courses.
The paper aims to clarify issues relating to the types of activities that technologies support in everyday and academic life. The initial hypothesis is that the use of technology to support learning is related with the type of actions and tasks being carried out on a daily basis and therefore it is also influenced by the academic learning context, in this case the university model (online or face-to-face/blended).
This Master in EU Studies is offered by the Centre International de Formation Européene (CIFE) and the University of Cologne through a combination of e-learning and face-to-face sessions (mainly during weekends in Berlin, Brussels, Istanbul, Rome and Budapest).
This Master in EU Studies Online, a two year programme, gives participants a working knowledge of recent developments in the European integration process and the skills to negotiate within an international context, to draft reports, to plan and manage international projects, and to present their ideas in a transnational legal dimension. Deadline for the online application is 5 September 2013. A limited number of scholarships are awarded to eligible candidates to cover part of their tuition. More information, see: http://www.eu-online-academy.org/
The Digital Learning Congress is a unique business event whose aim is to demonstrate the latest trends and solutions in the area of conveying and managing digital knowledge in a company
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The diffusing lifelong learning vision, emerging practices with social semantic computing technologies and research findings signal the need for more personal, social and participatory approaches that support learners in becoming active users and co-producers of learning resources, rather in gaining control over the learning process as a whole, and in pursuing personal life goals and needs.
Objective of the Book
This book will present an edited collection of accounts, issues and case studies written essentially by practitioners in adult education who have firsthand experience of attempting to define, develop, implement or evaluate personalised learning technologies in integrated formal and informal eLearning environments for adult lifelong learners within their practice in a vast range of scenarios. The accounts will describe, from a variety of perspectives, what the practitioner was trying to achieve through the use of such learning spaces and how and why they went about trying to achieve such personalisation exploiting the synergy of the integration of formal and informal eLearning. The accounts will also present reflections on what went well and what authors would do differently as well as providing grounded guidelines. The content will also include institutional and organisational changes and perspectives on the culture and management changes required as a consequence of introducing and implementing environments which are seen as counter institutional.
The book will have three main sections: Technological Issues, Pedagogical Issues and Infrastructural and Cultural Issues. The section on technological issues will present descriptions of the tools and platforms which practitioners are using, outline their strengths and weaknesses and highlight issues that need to be considered when planning to implement integrated formal and informal eLearning environments for adult lifelong learners. The section on pedagogical issues will present descriptions of the different ways in which practitioners have attempted to use integrated learning technologies and give personal examples which illustrate both the potential and drawbacks that the new learning systems provide as a consequence of integration. The third section will bring sections one and two together by considering the major infrastructural, cultural and organisational issues if integrated formal and informal eLearning environments are going to affect any change in the institutional regime. This third section will effectively bring together the pedagogical issues with the technical issues for consideration on an institutional level. It would be expected that chapters had a balance of theory, practice, methods and case studies.
The potential audience of this book will be academics, teachers, tutors, trainers, administrators, resource managers, learning technologists and researchers involved in or within the field of eLearning development, implementation and delivery.
This book will be of particular value to learning technology practitioners in adult education who wish to inform their own practice. It will present pros and cons of the value of using integrated formal and informal eLearning environments within tertiary education and enable practitioners to make informed decisions about how they might change or expand on their own practice within this area.
Recommended topics include, but are not limited to, the following:
Adult education and…
Integrated formal and informal eLearning environments for adult lifelong learners and…
Researchers and practitioners are invited to submit on or before September 30, 2012, a 2-3 page chapter proposal clearly explaining the mission and concerns of his or her proposed chapter. Authors of accepted proposals will be notified byOctober 15, 2012 about the status of their proposals and sent chapter guidelines. Full chapters are expected to be submitted by January 31, 2013. All submitted chapters will be reviewed on a double-blind review basis. Contributors may also be requested to serve as reviewers for this project.
This book is scheduled to be published by IGI Global (formerly Idea Group Inc.), publisher of the “Information Science Reference” (formerly Idea Group Reference), “Medical Information Science Reference,” “Business Science Reference,” and “Engineering Science Reference” imprints. For additional information regarding the publisher, please visit www.igi-global.com. This book is anticipated to be released in 2013.