First blog post Week 8 Activity 7

I decided to keep the title of this blog as it is a part of why I am starting this blog.  As an OER, I have found it increasingly difficult to keep track of Blogs sited in OU, in personal pages etc.  So I’ve moved over to WordPress.

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This week we were asked to look at two reports on OER.

To be honest, I could write about all of it. However, forced to pick three so here goes:

Hypothesis E:  OER leads to critical reflection by educators.  While critical reflection on the part of educators is covered, the report did not seem to go into detail about critical reflection on the part of learners.  Whish is unfortunate as this seems to be an area where students are sadly lacking ability.   However, whilst it is interesting to see the quotes from educators about their own budgeoning abilities and comfort levels with OERs, I wonder if it is true for all teachers.  Do all teachers feel the benefits reflection can bring or does the tremendous amount of resources, learning objects, methodologies  and so on, create feelings of of being overwhelmed or intimidated to enter the arena.  Even as someone who is comfortable with technology and trying new things, I must confess to my own panic at the sheer quantity of resources I could use for teaching.

There is also the consideration of institutional policy:

Hypothesis J; participation in OER leads to policy change at institutional level.  The report states that there is little evidence of this happening.  But where bottom-up policy adoption does occur, who are the influencers?  My own personal experimentation with using OERs to supplement an English Language course was in part driven by a frustration with the copy machine and a wish not to produce handouts for every lesson.  However if this then becomes policy for the institute, driven by a need to cut costs – is this the best way to define policy?  As Lamb pointed out, with his “funny, goofy little technologies”, sometimes we don’t need expensive programs to produce useful learning objects.  But who should define what we do?  The institute or the educators?

My final note is on Hypothesis K: Informal assessments motivate learners using OER.  Accreditation is the motivator learners want.  To be able to add a course to a CV or LinkedIn profile is a useful motivator when a university degree is not enough to stand out from the herd.  This may be why the research showed that the majority of learners already had some formal education.  There is also the issue of time.  An OER may be free, but to have the luxury to  devote a period of time to learning with no accreditation or outcome of work is not available to everyone.

But as I discovered this week; although I have questioned the effect of badges on learners, my own slightly OCD work tendencies means that I will submit this blog to Credly.  To not do so would mean I hadn’t completed the exercise and therefore this week’s work.  It sould also be noted that whilst my students love Kahoot quizzes in class, I’m not sure if they would recognise them as motivators,  the idea that a teacher’s role is to motivate students is entrenched and reinforced in education.  (The Global Teacher Prize/Pearson teaching awards)

In conclusion, it may be that this area of accreditation is key in the future.  With more and more school leavers questioning the cost of a university degree with no job prospects after, on-the-job training may become the preferred method of acquiring higher level education in the future.  Coupled with Hypothesis I (OER bridge to formal education), OER or partial OER may be the only way we can truly open education to the masses.  But if OERs are accredited, why would anyone pay for formal education?  The way Universities and Employers look at education may need to be rethought.

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