Personal Learning Environment Assignment and Reflections

User Generated Education

I teach a graduate course for the Boise State University’s Educational Technology program called Social Networked Learning.  I discussed it in Educators as Social Networked Learners and Educator as a Social Networked Learner: Presentation Materials.

One of the assignments later in the course is creating a diagram of one’s personal learning environment.  Some previous activities students completed prior to this assignment include: joining Twitter, using Facebook for our class communities, following and contributing to Twitter hashtags and Tweet chats of their choice, attending live webinars of their choice, and joining additional online communities related to their professional interests.

These are the directions provided to the students:

Now that you’ve added more online communities to your PLE, create a diagram to represent them.

  1. Create a PLE diagram of your online communities.  See examples PLE Diagrams at http://edtechpost.wikispaces.com/PLE+Diagrams.
  2. Represent at least 10 different online communities in your graphic and explicitly show…

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Community College Consortium for OER (CCCOER) upcoming Webinar: OER and Open Textbook Adoption and Sustainability

Open Matters

Please join the Community College Consortium for Open EducationalFree the Textbook Resources (CCCOER) on Wed, Oct 30, noon Pacific, 3:00 pm EST for a webinar on how three statewide projects have established open education portals to expand student access and foster faculty innovation.  Leaders from California, Florida, and the province of British Columbia will share successful strategies and challenges to the continued growth and adoption of their OER and open textbook collections.

Gerry Hanley, Senior Director of Academic Technologies, California State University Office of the Chancellor and Executive Director, MERLOT will share the Affordable Learning Solutions project established in 2010 that supports students and faculty in their choices of high-quality, low-cost instructional materials.

Robin Donaldson Assistant Director, Instructional Resources & Support, Distance Learning & Student Services, Florida Virtual Campus will share statewide efforts to promote open and affordable learning materials through the Orange Grove repository and Open Access Textbook project.  This will include…

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Open Textbooks… So why didn’t you tell me about this before?

Today I have had a bit of a revelation.  In finding out about Open Textbooks I feel as though I have just been given a huge, shiny, new present.  I have just found out about a whole world of open and fee open textbooks in a huge range of subjects including, most pertinently to me, business and management.Image

Years ago I remember having a bit of a fumble around in Google Books before all the hoo-ha put the lid on that, but since then I have only really seen ebooks accessible through the virtual libraries I am a member of.  I couldn’t share these with colleagues or learners, however, as the sites were ‘paid-up members only’.

It’s amazing what a bit of googling and tweeting can do.  In just a short time this afternoon I have come across a wealth of open textbooks, just waiting for me to adopts, recommend, share and adapt as I fancy. So why didn’t you tell me about this before?

I will try to attach a link to what I have found as I am keen to pass this knowledge on to anyone interested and time-poor. Click here

My mind is reeling from the potential of these open educational resources (oer).  Who is using these?  Are they any good?  What is the likely impact of these on educational leaders, practitioners and learners?

Petrides et al (Petrides et al., 2011) note that teachers less confident in using online technology used open textbooks in similar ways to traditional textbooks.  They suggest, however, that this could be built on through:

  • use of social networking tools
  • modelling new behaviours and tools with learners
  • collaboration to discuss oer curriculum materials
  • new teaching practices
  • leveraging learners’ ‘technology behaviours’ to drive open textbook adoption.

I can say straight away that these are not yet happening in any of the environments I have worked in recently.  I am keen to ensure that I trigger some of these though.

Conole (in Weller, 2011) suggests ‘resource based learning’ as one of a number of pedagogies suitable for our times.  Clearly then, selecting, curating, remixing and sharing resources including open textbooks is one way forward.  This is genuinely quite exciting and opens a whole set of thought processes.

One of these thoughts is connected to cost.  As an example, I teach management, and the recommended course textbooks cost £25 per module.  In the past we provided these free of charge to learners, but only some learners made use of them, and we didn’t always think they were very good in any case.  If the average learner takes 2.5 modules, and there are 10 learners in a group, the cost to us is £625.  That’s £625 for books we don’t really rate and that learners don’t really use.  Open textbooks provides a means of offering a textbook we approve of without the associated financial risk or charges.

Time.  Time is always the issue in publicly funded education.  Who on earth has the time to trawl through the available open textbooks, curate, remix and repurpose them?  And then keep up to date with any updates and new offerings?  Any volunteers?

Petrides, L., Jimes, C., Middleton‐Detzner, C., Walling, J. and Weiss, S. (2011) ‘Open textbook adoption and use: implications for teachers and learners’,  Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning, vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 39-49.

Weller, M. (2011) The Digital Scholar:  How technology is transforming scholarly practice, London, Bloomsbury Academic.

Surfers

If you look closely, there are surfers bobbing around out beyond the break.  They know what they are doing, they know the area and they are calm.  I took this picture standing on the wall above.  I would love to join the surfers, but I am just a body boarder, and there are rock in the shallows so it is no good for body boarding. Image 

This sort of sums up how I feel about networked practice and elearning.  I have a few low level skills and lots of enthusiasm, but I don’t feel ready to join in with the big boys and girls yet.

The networked practitioner

Very, very excited.  My new Open University postgraduate module called ‘the networked practitioner’ opened up its module website today.  I haven’t yet had a chance to look through it properly – a nice job for tomorrow.

It has an interesting feature called OpenStudio in which you are invited to display works in progress and seek comments from others.  This will be a very different way of working for me, so looking forward to testing it.

at the moment I have little idea what to expect of this programme, but I am excited to see where it takes me.  Can’t wait to get started!