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).


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.


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.

OERs and Open Education: An Open Invitation (#OpenEdMOOC)

For week 3 of an Introduction to Open Education - #OpenEdMOOC, I decided to extend an invitation to my colleagues at the Universidad Autónoma de Aguascalientes to consider open educational resources (OERs) and to share how they might impact their own teaching practice.  I chose to share this video via Yammer and to also upload it to Microsoft Stream which both form part of an intranet for sharing and communicating within the institution.

This video was produced using LumaFusion on an iPad Pro before being uploaded to YouTube and Internet Archive under a Creative Commons license.


Open Education as a Precursor to Making Learning Personal (#OpenEdMOOC)

For week 3 of An Introduction to Open Education, I read, My Personalized Learning Experience (Week Three), after being prompted to do so from a recent Twitter exchange:





Personalized Learning, Differentiated Instruction, and Open Licensing

I have always been interested in how others see personalized learning and differentiated instruction in combatting “traditional” teaching methods.  Lifeexamined22’s post does not mention differentiated instruction, but instead addresses “personalized learning” - as a reflective process - which I would like to follow up on here.  I have spoken about the notion of personalized learning on prior occasions.

Why am I shifting away from traditional education and towards personalized learning?

Moving away from a traditional education is, generally speaking, a good thing... I’m just not sure how “personalized” this process ends up becoming simply by giving students choices in how they engage in their own learning trajectory. Teachers may employ a teaching approach that allows learners to choose between content, process, product, and/or environment, but the actions learners take represent any learning strategies employed to make decisions and to develop skill sets for a particular purpose. Making learning personal, then, is a collection of personal learning strategies intentionally imposed by the individual (or network), for the individual (or network), through a growing level of self-awareness as to how to best engage with ideas, materials, and others (a PLN).

Setbacks and Opposition

It’s possible that “setbacks” come from learners being inexperienced and unaware (i.e., metacognitive unawareness).  When using ICTs or social media in unfamiliar (learning) contexts, it’s possible that initially, students feel distracted, which can hinder the learning process for a period of time.  But it's never just the technology.  Technology often brings new forms of communication or engagement that is uncomfortable for the learner but still may be beneficial.  Technology can promote new relationships with other people that may be different in how ideas are exchanged and what additional ideas (concepts, conflicts, etc.) emerge.  When evaluating setbacks, consider the entire PLN as a whole since technology (materials) is only part of the issue.

If students are missing the lecture-based classes, it could be simply them getting used to a new way of learning.  It could be they were given no choice in the removal of the long lecture.  It could also be that a dynamic lecture - a talk broken down into shorter segments followed by some brief activity - works for some and not for others.  Regardless, the professor is not attempting to “personalize” learning, but rather is trying a new pedagogical approach that might (or might not) impact a learner's self-awareness of a PLN (i.e., making learning personal).  Stated another way, teachers cannot personalize learning for students; students can, however, become more self-aware of their own PLN that serves a particular purpose (e.g., learning objectives/outcomes).  Teachers can help learners develop this metacognitive skill through ongoing, transparent communication.

The best way to analyze student success is to understand the decisions and actions they took that led to some favorable outcome.  Students become aware of what they did and did not do, and teachers become aware of their part in this process and what they could have done differently.

Moving away from traditional methods of teaching (which is not all bad) has more to do with differentiated instruction (i.e., understanding the impact of student and teacher decision-making processes), awareness of one’s PLN, and personal reflection, and happens best when education remains open.  Transparency of teaching and learning occurs when stakeholders understand and engage with OERs and how they function throughout the network: 5Rs, Creative Commons, and Public Domain.  Understanding licensing is the foundation of making learning personal (as opposed to personalized).

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Creative Commons and More (#OpenEdMOOC)

Below, I address copyright, public domain, and creative commons by discussing the following points, thinking mainly within the context of formal education:

  1. Effectively argue why protection of “intellectual property” is important and useful

  2. Explain the purpose of copyright (in the US)

  3. Critically evaluate the degree to which current copyright law appropriately balances limited incentives to creators and free public access to their works

  4. Define the public domain

  5. Describe the three components of a functioning Commons (An Introduction to Open Education).

Copyright (points 1, 2, & 3)

A copyright can be defined as “a government grant giving the copyright holder exclusive control over the reproduction of a literary, musical, or artistic work” (McAdams, 1995, p. 241). Clarkson, Miller, Jenna, & Cross (1992) define copyright slightly more broadly as “an intangible right granted by statute to the author or originator of certain literary or artistic productions (p. 162). They go on to state that any works created after January 1, 1978 remain protected by copyright law up to fifty years after the author’s death; publishing houses retain copyrights for a period of seventy-five years from the date of publication or a hundred years from the date of creation, whichever is first; and works by more than one author retain copyright protection for fifty years after the death of the last surviving author (p. 163).

Regarding international protection, if any American writes a book, his or her copyright in the book must be recognized by every country that has signed the Berne Convention of 1886 (Clarkson, et al. 1992).   As of September 2016, there are 172 states that are parties to the Berne Convention, which includes 170 United Nations member states along with Holy See and Niue (Berne convention, n.d.). However, a solid international system of protection for intellectual property still is lacking and must rely on national legal systems for protection and proof of infringements, which still can be difficult to enforce (McAdams, 1995).

The government sees intellectual property as a form of wealth.  Like other forms of wealth (e.g., patents, trademarks, etc.), intellectual property then should have certain protections by law.  “Laws protecting patents, trademarks, and copyrights are explicitly designed to protect and reward inventive and artistic creativity” (Clarkson, 1992, p. 161). Thus, writers have the right to earn a living if there is a demand for their artistic creativity.  If writers did not have this right: that is, they were not allowed to copyright any work whatsoever, there would be less incentive for creating the work in the first place.  There remains an ethical and legal obligation for recognizing and protecting one’s original work when it comes to the creation of intellectual property.

Current copyright law does provide a defense for those who have unlawfully use copyrighted material.  Under the “fair use” doctrine (i.e., the Copyright Act of 1976), copyrighted material may be used if the following are considered:

  1. “The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

  2. the nature of the copyrighted work;

  3. the amount and substantial it’s of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

  4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work” (Band & Gerafi, 2013, p. 68).

Later, the Technology, Education, and Copyright Harmonization (TEACH) Act, signed by President George W. Bush on November 2, 2002, improved the Copyright Act of 1976, and applies to 1) institutions which are accredited as a non-profit educational institution, 2) the use of works as part of mediated instructional activities, 3) the use of works limited to a specific number of students enrolled in a specific class, and 4) the use of works either for ‘live’ or asynchronous class sessions.  If these criteria are met, then...

  1. instructors may use a wider range of works in distance learning environments;

  2. students may participate in distance learning sessions from virtually any location; and

  3. participants enjoy greater latitude when it comes to storing, copying and digitizing materials (The TEACH Act, 2011).

The 112 Congress of The United States provided further details regarding the TEACH Act depending on the particular purpose and context.

Although these provisions allow some flexibility in how copyrighted material may be used, copyrighting material is still limited when it comes to the use of textbooks and making education more open overall.  Distance learning environments under the TEACH act would need to be closed and restricted to a rather small group of learners to the extent that it ends up being virtually the same as a small face-to-face (more traditional) classroom scenario.  For this reason, alternatives to a more open learning environment are needed in order to make learning more equitable.

Public Domain (point 4)

“The term ‘public domain’ refers to creative materials that are not protected by intellectual property laws such as copyright, trademark, or patent laws” (Welcome to the Public Domain, 2017). Basically, no one owns a piece of work, nor can they ever own it... the public owns it.  Works in the public domain are the most open and flexible since permission is not required (nor is giving attribution) to reuse, revise, remix, and/or redistribute the work.

Creative Commons (point 5)

Under a Creative Commons license (CC), one can use the work of another without getting permission, as long as attribution is provided (i.e., giving credit to the author, creator, etc.).  Work under a CC can be for commercial or non-commercial purposes and CC can be applied to work that cannot be modified (i.e., non-derivative) or which can be modified.  Some work under CC can only be used if subsequent licensing respect the original CC type while other cases allow subsequent CCs to vary depending on the discretion of author(s).  A list of the CCs are as follows (most to the least open):

  • CC0 = Public Domain

  • CC BY = Creative Commons

  • CC BY SA = Creative Commons Share Alike

  • CC BY NC = Creative Commons Non-Commercial

  • CC BY NC SA = Creative Commons Non-Commercial Share Alike

  • CC BY ND = Creative Commons Non-Derivative

  • CC BY NC ND = Creative Commons Non-Commercial Non-Derivative (Creative Commons license, n.d.).

In summary, the three components to a Creative Commons license are 1) commercial vs. non-commercial, 2) share alike vs. non-share alike, and 3) derivative vs. non-derivative. It's worth noting that work in the public domain may be grouped and licensed together under a Creative Commons license (Welcome to the Public Domain, 2017).

Reaching out to the community...

  1. Regarding Americans and copyright protection covered by the Berne Convention, I assume expatriates (Americans residing outside of The United States) would enjoy the same protections?

  2. If anyone has a direct source listing the Berne Convention member states, please share by leaving a comment below.

  3. Admittedly, most of the sources in the copyright section are over 20 years old, so if any corrections are needed, please leave a comment below and changes to this post will be made.


I am not an attorney (nor do I play one on TV - smile), so when making decisions about copyright and related protections, please seek the advice of a professional.  Although I feel that Creative Commons license is generally the best option for promoting open education, information in this post is for informational purposes only.  Making specific decisions about the best license will depend on the purpose and other considerations related to one´s own teaching and learning contexts: audience, distribution channels, local laws, etc.


Band, J. & Gerafi, J. (2013). The fair use/fair dealing handbook. Retrieved from http://infojustice.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/band-and-gerafi-2013.pdf

Berne convention. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved October 8, 2017, from https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berne_Convention

Clarkson, K., Miller, R., Jentz, G., & Cross, F. (1992). West’s business law: Text cases legal and regulatory environment. New York, NY: West Publishing Company.

Creative commons license. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved October 8, 2017 from https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creative_Commons_license

McAdams, T. (1995). Law, business, and society. Chicago, IL: Irwin, Inc.

Welcome to the Public Domain. (2017). Retrieved from https://fairuse.stanford.edu/overview/public-domain/welcome/

Photo Attribution (Select image.)

Why Open Matters (#OpenEdMOOC)


[caption id="attachment_1685" align="alignright" width="150"] Attribution: https://goo.gl/images/2HT5iA[/caption]

Openness in education matters because it reveals how actors within a group or network interact with each other. Instead of thinking philosophically about what the term means, defining openness within a particular local context helps determine specific relationships between individuals, materials (i.e., objects, technologies, etc.), and ideas. Hatakka’s (2009) discusses obstacles teachers face at the university level when OERs are considered. This is likely to be the result of possible power relationships between those who make decisions about didactic materials and those who do not; relationships between ideas that teachers might have about what content should be included in the classroom; and which technologies should or should not be used to access certain content or contact with other individuals (e.g., relationship building). How open content is, then, depends on how purposeful human relationships remain, how transparent processes are, how accessible tools or technologies are, and how the integrity of ideas get shared among individuals.

As a matter of degree (ontologically speaking), openness is a result of a learning trajectory - one that can grow or diminish based on a continuous flow of associations between ideas, materials, and human relationships. Siemens, Downes, and others have mentioned connectivism (or connected knowledge) in similar terms (Connectivism, 2017), but I see openness (as a network) through the same lens: a historical context to understand purposeful (social, material, and ideational) associations occurring at any given time. Understanding current associations and their histories can yield insights into any future directions of openness.

Example A

Teacher A gets criticized for using too much technology in classes with students and when assuming leadership positions with (teacher) colleagues. Students don’t see the reason for using technology and colleagues have been just fine over the years working the same way (without technology) to “get the job done”. Technology (an attempt to work more openly) just seems like more work on top of an already busy work schedule.

In this example, openness matters because it forces students and colleagues to address all relationships between individuals, ideas, and technologies. In doing so, complaints extend beyond just being forced to use technology but may reveal other possible issues (and possible solutions) that plague the need for change. Thus, understanding openness makes it impossible to only blame technology without understanding the broader perspective, say relationships between teachers and administrators and certain ideas related to curriculum, assessment, and instruction.

Example B

Teacher B is not allowed to use open educational recourses (OERs) in classes because they are viewed as invalid and unreliable. Instead, the curriculum committee decided that the institution should adhere to (an expensive) textbook as the primary source of course content for the duration of the term.

Compared to example A, which is perhaps more of a communication problem, openness (and related issues) in example B is likely to relate more towards issues of power and prestige (politics). Teacher B may avoid employing OERs (or even learning about OERs) for fear of facing consequences if not complying to current institutional policies.

Openness matters because it forces educational stakeholders to address matters of equitable teaching and learning processes from multiple perspectives. It makes transparent how individuals engage with each other and the relationships they form; the ideas that are being shared between social relationships; and the where, when, and how these social relationships form based on the technologies and spaces that facilitate such awareness. Transparency helps to understand what openness is, and it helps to understand how the network forms. If there is any uneasiness about open education, it stems from confronting issues that naturally emerge from a continual sharing of ideas and experiences throughout the network. Hence, terms open and closed networks then fall on opposite ends of a dynamic and complex continuum. Depending on the context, an open network could be both a positive and negative pursuit (and vice versa). Are schools ready to go open? How might instructional leaders prepare teachers, students, and parents to be more open? How can schools evaluate whether becoming more open is effective, efficient, and engaging? One can agree that working towards becoming more open is a good thing while at the same time realize jumping suddenly into open territory without a network that is prepared for it can have a negative effect.

Openness matters because it becomes an exercise in exploring Wiggins and McTighe’s (2005) six facets of understandings: one can explain, interpret, and apply; one has perspective, empathy, and self-knowledge. To understand open education is to be able to utilize these six facets within specific contexts, and then share this knowledge with those from different contexts so that the generalities of openness in the abstract don’t become a distraction.

Openness Matters (#OpenEdMOOC)

Jenny Connected asks,
What are your thoughts on what appears to be a course about cMOOC principles being offered as an xMOOC?

I will discuss my thoughts by addressing a few comments made by Jenny Connected...
I don't think George and David have claimed that this is a cMOOC have they... It may be that George and David are simply making use of a ready made platform for structuring their course, in the same way that CCK08 used Moodle, but that the course activity will be distributed across blogs, twitter, Facebook and other social media sites.

This seems to confirm that this course is designed to be some combination of both and xMOOC and a cMOOC, whether explicitly stated or not. I agree that any course offered through edX can potentially be both an xMOOC and a cMOOC, but am a little surprised to see them listed as instructors in an edX course, that's all - no value judgment, just saying.
I don't think cMOOC principles necessarily fully equate with open education... it might be one of the reasons I feel increasingly uneasy about open education.

I am not sure I follow... what MOOC principles fail to align with open education? And which of them causes one to feel "increasingly uneasy"? I'm thinking of the following MOOC principles in particular: meaningful, engaging, measurable, accessible, and scalable (Drake, O'Hare, & Seeman, 2015). I view these five principles as iterative and reciprocal: engagement depends on accessibility, learning analytics depends on scalability, etc.
This course is being offered on a platform that is usually associated with xMOOCs, but this doesn't mean that it is being offered as an xMOOC.

I agree, but it also does not mean that it is not being offered as an xMOOC. And since edX courses are usually associated with xMOOCs... Again, when I imagine a MOOC being offered by Wiley and Siemens, the last place I think about is edX (or any other LMS). I doubt edX is really needed to market such a course given the following both educators have.
I'm not sure who owns the data that will be generated on the EdX site...

Good point. It's also not apparent who will be generating most of the content and how, when, and where it will be delivered, furthering the ambiguity between where the course will ultimately fall along an xMOOC-cMOOC continuum. For instance, will I gravitate towards the edX platform, elearnspace, or somewhere else? Potentially each with their own content licensing agreeement?  Because the course is being offered in edX, however, it seems possible that some amount of content will remain under edX's own licensing agreement (along with participant interactions?), which I assume differs from the freedoms offered with a Creative Commons license?

I have nothing against an xMOOC nor a cMOOC (or anything in between); both easily can coexist based on the type of course, instructors, and learning preferences of the participants. I can see why offering a MOOC in edX might reach more individuals (than say a private Moodle website) and at the same time, allow those who need it, a certification for having completed the course.

But openness matters in a MOOC. The degree a course remains open influences how participants engage with both content and each other. The technologies that are used, when and where engagement occurs, and types of social (human) interactions that emerge collectively evolve based on how open a course ends up being. A simple example is comparing those seeking a certificate of completion with those who are not. Usually certificates are awarded based on a single set of objectives that may or may not be the same set of objectives one would normally choose if obtaining a certificate were not desirable. Meeting one set of objectives in order to get a credential can influence the technologies used, when and where engagement occurs, and the types of social interactions that are required. Thus, because one seeks certification, the course becomes less open (i.e., contrived). Thus, openness matters to the degree one recognizes personal learning objectives (or outcomes) that were either predetermined or emergent throughout the learning process.

The best kinds of MOOCs are those where participants themselves create most of the content and discussions. Instructors add value when they are able to navigate and curate emerging content so that it is becomes more easily obtained and understood by all. A MOOC can have starting and ending dates, but the resulting interactions and outcomes from the MOOC remain as a digital "footprint" for all to witness - an artifact that could also be contributed to afterwards as well. This degree of openness and the desire to leave something behind can motivate one to participate (to the degree that individual objectives are recognizable), but becomes a challenge anytime a learning management system (LMS) becomes a mandatory part of the learning design - not saying this is the case here with edX.  This leads me to the following question:
Is it possible to receive a credential (credits, certificate, badge, etc.) for having completed a MOOC without using an LMS?

The reality is that some prefer using an LMS while others do not. MOOC designers will need to account for this by determining how open the course could potentially be.

This is what I'll be reflecting on as I take this course: how the degree of openness impacts decision-making processes around licensing, open educational resources (OERs), and learning analytics.

#OpenEdMOOC Opens in October

Yesterday, I learned about the MOOCIntroduction to Open Education course, per Jenny Connected (via Twitter) - #OpenEdMOOC. With most MOOCs that I have taken part in, I am more interested in what the participants of the MOOC have to say than I am in whether or not I achieve stated objectives. Clearly, the instructors have a following for a reason but I have often learned more from the concatenation of MOOCs than from any one-to-many, broadcast spray of information intended to inform a public audience.

Another thing that caught my attention was that this course - apparently about cMOOC principles - was being offered as an xMOOC.
Will the way the course is being delivered align with the learning objectives of the course?

I am also curious whether or not I will lose interest in the course like I am known to do when taking a MOOC of this kind. From the scant amount of information found in the syllabus, there is little in the way of essential questions that foster critical or creative thought that might help in this regard. Perhaps the idea is to allow critical inquiry to emerge over time, which is also an approach.

As always, I am more interested in the design and delivery of the course and how participants interact than anything else.  The MOOC experience has always been a metaexperience for me, and one that invariably trickles over into my own teaching practice (for better or worse).  Hopefully there is room for Wiley and Siemens (the course instructors) to share some insights along the way into how they chose to design and deliver the course in this way, and how MOOCs might live in both formal and informal educational contexts.

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