Transparent Educative Experiences (#OpenEdMOOC)

In week 4 of Introduction to Open Education, the objectives are as follow:

  • Evaluate models of content creation and settings in which each is preferable
  • Explore the process of finding, assessing, and integrating OERs

Keeping these objectives in mind, I thought about presenting a slightly different perspective to a few points being made this week.  My points relate more to the first objective listed above: to evaluate models of content creation and settings in which each is preferable.  I would like to reference mainly Downes’s video and Wiley’s OER-Enabled Pedagogy.

Authentic vs. Non-Authentic Materials

The takeaway I get from Downes’s comments for this week is that there is a difference between what I would call authentic vs. non-authentic materials.  Downes argues for authentic materials – those created for real-life situations and not necessarily for teaching and learning purposes – to be used in a communicative context where interactions occur for a purpose.  He contrasts this with those non-authentic (didactic) materials that presumably are open educational resources (OERs) that are designed for teaching and learning purposes only.  Question…

Can OERs be authentic?

I agree that the educative experience is more important than the course content, teaching materials, or technologies alone, but how much weight do course content or teaching materials, etc. have when compared to the overall educative experience?  From a planning standpoint, what comes first, the experience (or performance) itself or the OER?  Should I assume that content creation relates to what teachers create for teaching and learning purposes and not what students create as learning outcomes?  Or perhaps both?  I wish I could substitute this paragraph with answers to these questions, but I can’t at this point.

Choosing between authentic and/or non-authentic materials will depend a lot on the educational setting: teacher preferences and past experiences, group and individual profiles, school policy, availability of materials and technology, and overall culture. Thus, the original purpose of the OER or material, object, etc. is of lesser importance than how the OER is ultimately used (modified, mixed, distributed, or retained) given a new context. Perhaps it’s the learning outcome that matters more than whether the material is authentic or non-authentic (or open or not).

Terminology

Wiley came up with the term OER-enabled pedagogy because others could not reach a consensus on the meaning of terms like open pedagogy and open educational practices. But is reaching a consensus on how a community defines a term all that important?  I bet many taking this course have different definitions for MOOC, OER, open pedagogy, open educational practices, and even OER-enabled pedagogy.  Here are a few questions to illustrate this point:

  • What is considered massive?  Does a course have to be “massive” to be beneficial?  (MOOC)
  • What aspect(s) of the educative experience remains transparent: curriculum, assessment, instruction, student outcomes, etc.?  And transparent for whom: teachers, learners, community, local, global…?  And for how long and where? (MOOC)
  • Should authentic or non-authentic materials be used (see above)? OERs in the abstract (artifact) or those used in context (artifacts defined within a particular educative experience from both the learner and instructor perspective)?  (OER)
  • What remains transparent, teaching or learning practices?  Didactic materials (both OERs and Non-OERs), course content, learning processes, learner-produced products, or learning environments? (open pedagogy/open educational practices/OER-enabled pedagogy)

For this reason, I think it’s helpful not to reach a consensus on these definitions because it forces educational stakeholders to use these terms by describing and explaining the unique contexts with which they are used.  Semantics (the meaning of words) really depends on pragmatics (how words are used).

If it had to choose a term, OER-enabled pedagogy, open pedagogy, or open educational practices, I would go general: transparent educative experiences. Let the context dictate the meaning.

Reflection

The first learning objective for week 4 – evaluate models of content creation and settings in which each is preferable – I find much more challenging than the second – explore the process of finding, assessing, and integrating OERs.  Any “model” of content creation would depend on school policy and (educator) culture, student body and culture, curriculum, assessment, instruction, and available resources like technology, etc. Before considering any “model”, what’s most important is that educators who are attempting to become more open, have various entry points possible.  For instance, perhaps it does not involve any OERs at all, simply sharing a teaching or learning experience that was challenging or successful might be the first step in becoming more open. This might later include adapting or adopting OERs as part of everyday practice… and so on.  Given this scenario, it’s hard to look at this process as a particular “model” – but I could be wrong.  This is my current mindset as I continue to read and write about this topic this week.

Note: Images above show how I decided to gather my thoughts yesterday that led to this post: iPad Pro using Google Keep to take notes while watching YouTube videos in split screen.

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