Martin Weller, Professor of Educational Technology at the Open University (UK), explores how new technologies are affecting the scholarly practice.
While industries such as music, newspapers, film and publishing have seen radical changes in their business models and practices as a direct result of new technologies, higher education has so far resisted the wholesale changes seen elsewhere. However, a gradual and fundamental shift in the practice of academics is taking place.
Every aspect of scholarly practice is seeing changes effected by the adoption and possibilities of new technologies. “The Digital Scholar: How Technology Is Transforming Scholarly Practice” explores these changes, their implications for higher education, the possibilities for new forms of scholarly practice and what lessons can be drawn from other sectors.
The paper “If we open it will they come? Towards a new OER Logic Model” presents the result of a multilingual empirical survey on the ‘micro level factors’ of using, creating sharing and reusing open educational resources (OER).
Authored by Dr Ulf-Daniel Ehler, Professor for Educational Management and Lifelong Learning at Baden-Wurttemberg Cooperative State University, the paper emerges from the assumption that current models of OER integration are often lacking factors to support the creation of a sustainable open educational practice culture in organisations.
Micro level factors for integration of OER into teaching and learning on basis of the results of an empirical survey are presented and interpreted. They are used to enhance the OER logic model(s) into an “enhanced OER logic model” which, in addition to create equalized access, is capable of creating a culture of open educational practices as well.
Wiki for Higher Education (wiki4HE) is a research project being carried out by Spanish researchers aiming to analyse the use of Internet open content for university teaching and explore and propose new ways for using these resources in learning processes.
wiki4HE will specifically examine the educational uses of one of the most important open repositories of knowledge nowadays, Wikipedia, and explore the attitudes and perceptions of university teachers towards this virtual collaborative encyclopaedia (and open resources in general).
The expected outcomes of the project are a clear understanding of the perception, attitudes and uses of Wikipedia by university faculty and the identification of factors influencing these perceptions and practices. Moreover, taking into account this information, wiki4HE will produce a catalogue of educational practices and tutorials involving the use of Wikipedia, which teachers and university staff will be able to adapt to suit their needs and their pedagogical orientations.
Finally a set of recommendations will be drafted in order to help any university teacher to design, plan and implement new teaching practices using open resources in the Internet.
Learning Object Repositories (LORs) addressing content management and preservation have the positive collaterals of institutional positioning and dissemination, but their main benefit is the empowerment of interest-centred learning communities: the LOR provides the learner interaction with the LOs, but also with other learners and teachers.
“Building an open social learning community around a DSpace repository on statistics” was a conference delivered by Cesar Córcoles, Julià Minguillón and Brian Lamb at the 4th International Conference on Open Repositories, in Atlanta (USA) on May 2009. The text explains how the Open University of Catalonia (UOC) has built a LOR combining DSpace with Delicious.
Web 2.0 services such as social bookmarking allow users to manage and share the links they find interesting, adding their own tags for describing them. This is especially interesting in the field of open educational resources.
“Analyzing hidden semantics in social bookmarking of open educational resources” discusses the possibilities of using the crowd-sourcing phenomenon of social bookmarking for extracting semantics from the tags added by delicious users which describe links related to open educational resources (OER).
Author Julià Minguillón suggests the use of a simple statistical analysis tool to discover which tags create clusters that can be semantically interpreted. The obtained results are compared with a collection of resources related to OER in order to better understand the real needs of people searching for these.
Information and communication technologies (ICT) at present are influencing every aspect educational field; moreover many recognize ICT as catalysts for change; change in handling and exchanging information, teaching methods, learning approaches, scientific research, and in knowledge acquisition. The topic of “E-Competence - Needs and Demands of Innovative Education” is estimated to attrackt an international audience of some 200 participants.
The project Ed2.0Work (European network for the integration of Web2.0 in education and work) is inviting stakeholders to join its recently created Special Interest Groups (SIGs).
Stakeholders include education administrators, teachers and university staff. From the world of work, the project welcomes the participation of companies, chambers of commerce, trainers, associations and government staff.
Three SIGs have already been opened, in order to encourage debate around:
- Web2.0 and Internet resources – how do we evaluate these tools and their uses
- Learning and training pedagogies – how do we teach and train using Web2.0
- Curriculum including criteria for excellence and quality – how do we build curricula for Web2.0 or integrate Web2.0 into existing ones
The Ed2.0Work project SIGs are open communities and are free to use. Click here to register and indicate your area or areas of interest.
Ed2.0Work is a transnational EU-funded project involving partners from the UK, Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Poland, Romania, Spain and Turkey. For more information you may visit this website.
The latest issue of THEMES IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION is now available on the THESTE Journal Web Site.
THEMES IN SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION invites contributions in the form of original theoretical works, research reports and literature reviews about the development of Science Education, eLearning and ICT in Education.
The editors cordially invite contributions for review and publication.
What is it like to teach 10,000 or more students at once, and does it really work? The American journal The Chronicle recently conducted the largest-ever survey, interviewing over 100 professors across the United States to ask them their opinions about teaching and learning from a massive open online course, also known as MOOC.
MOOCs charge no tuition and are open to anybody with Internet access. The average number of students per class is 33,000, but classes can surmount 80,000. Originally, state universities and community colleges were the ones to offer these classes, but institutions such as Stanford, Princeton, and Duke are also embarking on this new approach to education.
Most professors agreed that their interest was motivated by their belief in more economically accessible education. Others, however, found globally sharing their subjects more appealing. In addition, some claimed that online teaching helped them reconsider their own pedagogical methods and believed that it improved them. Overall, the survey concluded that most argued in favor of incorporating these types of courses into traditional education.
MOOCs decrease the cost of earning a degree and make college experience less expensive. John Owens, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of California at Davis, teaches parallel computing, a method that allows computers to multitask at once. 15,000 students enrolled for his class at absolutely no cost and were able to learn in a flexible and personal way.
These courses are also readily available to anyone across the world. Princeton University professor Robert Sedgewick co-lead an online class on algorithms, which he had taught for forty years in a classroom. Initially skeptical about online education, he nonetheless was intrigued by the idea of reaching a global audience of over 80,000 students. He signed a deal with Coursera, an upstart company offering MOOCs, and spent copious hours preparing and videotaping his lectures. The experience was rewarding, he feels, and he is now enthusiastic about including online components to his teaching.
Online platforms also grant the chance for instructors to acquire teaching tips. Computer programs collect data that track each student’s success and failures and most professors are attracted to this quality since this information cannot be gleaned so precisely from traditional classroom participation. An associate professor of physics at Duke University, M. Ronen Plesser, found that videotaping lectures also forced him to reevaluate his pedagogical presentation in class. His style is much more rigorous and demanding than it was before he taught a MOOC since “producing video lectures spurred [him] to hone pedagogical presentation to a far higher level than I had in 10 years of teaching the class on campus.”
MOOCs are transforming higher education by make learning less expensive, more accessible, and educationally rewarding. Society increasingly prioritizes technology and many professors admitted that not adapting to this would imply lagging behind professionally. Mr. Owens acknowledged that he “would rather understand this at the front end than be forced into it on the back end.”
The European Network of Education Councils (EUNEC) has issued a statement as a reaction to the European Commission’s recent Communication “Rethinking education: Investing in skills for better socio-economic outcomes.”
On 20 November 2012 the European Commission published a set of policy recommendations to reinforce the cooperation between EU Member States and give a new impetus to education policy. The most important part of the proposal is the Communication “Rethinking education: Investing in skills for better socio-economic outcomes”, where the EC takes the opportunity to gather all aspects of European Education and Training policy in an encompassing framework and to give some new impetus.
As a first reaction to this Communication, EUNEC issued on April 2013 a document with comments and recommendations regarding the EC’s text, stressing the need for a broad approach of education and training policy.
“Sustainability, social cohesion, equal opportunities and a development oriented approach are as important as the labour market orientation. EUNEC cannot support an approach to Education and Training that is exclusively labour market oriented”, says the statement.
The lack of attention to the role of school communities and school groups in the Communication and the lack of transparency of the decisions are also issues of concern for EUNEC.