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Open education: the good the bad and the ugly

What do Open Education Practices mean for teachers and students? Does everyone have to join the MOOC (Massive Open Online course) movement to benefit?

The good, the bad and the ugly aspects of using open education resources and open practices are investigated through three scenario challenges.

Scenario Activity – Part One
Part one – 1 hour 15 min
  • Form teams to work on one of the three scenarios.
  • Discuss the issues for 20 minutes and form your arguments, for and against.
  • Each person in each team is asked to record a view as your main response to the scenario - flipchart, wiki page, online sticky notes, twitter, or storify etc.
  • Take turns to state your view, one minute only per person, until all individuals in each team have spoken.
Break for morning tea (15 min)
Scenario Activity – Part Two
Part two – 30 mins
  • The emerging themes from the three scenarios are summarised by the facilitator.
  • Discussion about the themes.
  • Teams re-group to discuss concerns from any of the scenarios.
  • Facilitator sums up.
Scenario Activity – Part Three
Part three – 1 hour 30 min
  • What are some solutions? Brainstorm.
  • Facilitator demonstrates some solutions – pedagogical and technological – referring to the resource page.
  • Participants try out some solutions.
  • Facilitates discussion about the feasibility of the solutions for learning contexts.
  • Summary.


Scenario One - Good:

Emilia believes that open sharing and collaboration to create resources can save teachers time. She has started using slideshare and Youtube to share her presentations. She has also started keeping a professional blog. She is getting hits from all round the world and has people leaving comments about her work.

She also uses a wiki for sharing information with students and gets them to use it to develop resources for their projects in Travel and Tourism. Now they have got used to using the wiki, they really like how easy it is to share resources with their fellow students and teacher.

For Emilia, having an online presence is really important and she has raised her 'street credibility' with colleagues and also with her students. It also allows her to connect more effectively with other professionals and with students and provides endless opportunities for peer feedback. Emilia's skills in accessing and managing digital information have developed tenfold.

  • Do you agree with what Emilia is doing? If so, why?
  • Can you see any pitfalls?


Scenario Two - Bad:

Brett found it pretty scary when he first started keeping a blog during his study for a teaching qualification. Although he was told that it would help him to develop his online digital identity, he did not like the idea of being judged by others. Initially, he kept the blog private between him and the lecturer.

He was less dubious when he started using open resources such as Youtube videos to teach carpentry students. Even so, he had to spend quite a lot of time checking the videos to make sure that they were teaching correct techniques.

However, when he started to create videos with a colleague to teach specific skills he was very nervous that the quality would not be adequate. (Example.) It also took quite a lot of time and he did not have the skills to edit them. He was not convinced that these ‘quick and dirty’ resources would be effective for learning.

  • Why do you agree with Brett's point of view?
  • Are there areas that you disagree with? Why?


Scenario Three - Ugly:

A group of teachers at Measley College think that ‘playing’ on the Internet is a real waste of time. They are suffering from information overload. They cannot see how learning with huge numbers of participants in free courses (MOOCs - Massive Open Online Courses) is going to be useful. They consider that institutions will be losing money and teachers and students alike will be swamped with emails - they don't believe it is worth it.

These teachers also complain that their students are distracted in class and are accessing Facebook on their laptops and other mobile devices. They prefer that they leave them turned off in class. The teachers can't trust students to find and select suitable material on the Internet, let alone create any worthwhile resources. These teachers feel strongly that too much exploring on the Internet means that the content that students have to learn will be bypassed.

  • What is wrong with this scenario?
  • Why do you agree with this viewpoint?

You are invited to explore the additional Resources. These include a compendium of web-based applications, articles and references. You are encouraged to continue to build the resource page after the workshop.

Responses from the workshops.