OERu/OERu 13.10 Meeting/Agenda/Bullet points from SCoPE planning seminar

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Potential agenda items pulled from SCoPE discussions

  • Re-affirmation of OERu principles, priorities and operational decisions to firmly set in context the rest of the discussions and update new partners who have recently joined the network. (Suggested by Haydn Blackey) - Need to summarise the characteristic features at the beginning of the meeting.
  • Micro courses featured prominently in the SCoPE discussions -- need to reflect on guidelines for OERu mOOCs. (Suggested by Haydn Blackey)
  • Fiscal sustainability - needs to be discussed. How to get to that next set of partners that will make the network self-sustaining is a key issue (Suggested by Haydn Blackey and others) - Consider a demo of the fiscal modelling of the network.
  • What keeps the network going - how do we scale coordination and operations of the network? Organisational maturity - OERu is moving into the "next phase" after the 2012 / 2013 prototyping. (Suggested by Haydn Blackey)
  • Assessment for credit is a big issue we need to spend some time on. A lot of thought has gone into various possibilities, clearly (thanks to Rory for pointing us all to the report on assessment and accreditation of OER!), and now is a good time for OERu to look at scalability and sustainability as it considers the various possibilities. Can we arrive at a sense of best practices for assessment and identity verification? Minimum standards? Sharing of assessment resources? OERu's success will depend on having a smooth process for assessment and/or credit transfer. (Suggested by Mika Hoffman.) Idea has been suggested to establish a working group to take this forward. Can the meeting generate the framework / terms of reference and inventory of what we've got for the working group to take forward?
  • "Marketing" of the OERu collaboration. How do we get the word out (Suggested by Joyce and others.)
  • Improving open collaborative practice -- how do we shift / improve the culture of openness and open collaborative practice. That is building organisational capacity in "openness". (Referenced by Brian, Irwin, Wayne, Gail.)
  • Could we develop an OERu course (credit bearing) on how to prepare a PLAR portfolio Could the credits for this course could be recognised towards our Bachelor of General Studies? Could we establish a PLAR workgroup to take this forward?. (Paul West, Joyce & Wayne.)
  • OERu Prototype for automated assessment eg Excelsior College's credit-by-exam model. (Ideas raised by Mika Hoffman, Wayne and Rory)
  • OERu Technology infrastructure (strengths, weaknesses and opportunities using a wiki model) plus prototypes for exploring alternate delivery platforms eg Blogs and how to avoid reliance on LMS silos. (Brain, Irwin, Wayne and others). Focus on phones not computers (Paul Stacey.)
  • Programme development -- How should the network go about nominating courses so that we achieve a programme of study leading to a credential in the shortest time? How do we use the TB0 model for light-weight and reusable pedagogical frameworks for the OERu? (David Porter)

Framing questions for the meeting pulled from the SCoPE discussions

  • How do we leverage the skills and knowledge of the network into new opportunities (Suggested by Haydn Blackey). International membership of institutions. The institutions are not "elite", but overall have far more experience in elearning and open education. (Point raised by Rory McGreal)
  • In the context "commoditization" Rory McGreal asked what elements of the OERu could be "standardised" for reducing cost and improving efficiencies.
  • How does the disaggregation of services facilitate mass customisation for the network (David, Irwin, Haydn, Wayne and others contributed to this line of discussion.)
  • What are the alternative ways of assessing and credentialing learning in new and creative ways, as well as new ways of engaging more widely with the world of open. (Point made by Irwin DeVries)
  • How do we further leverage "distinctively open" as a key point of difference (Various contributions including Stephen Downes, Irwin DeVries, Wayne Mackintosh, Brian Lamb, Paul Stacey and others.)
  • What is the relationship between WikiEducator community and the OERu initiative (as well as other open communities) and how can these respective communities collaborate better in the future? (Touched on by Stephen, Irwin, Joyce, Gail & Wayne)
  • How does the OERu further leverage the pedagogical possibilities of OER and innovate the teaching and learning process it intends to use. [Paul Stacey] suggests that we need to change the traditional formula of engaging students as passive recipients of pre-packaged learning to one of engaging students as active co-creators of OERu offerings.

Lessons we're learning

  • Selecting OERu courses to be assembled from existing OER: We have achieved the agreed target established at the OERu 2011.11 Anchor Partner meeting of completing 3 prototype courses. These will provide valuable insights into our planning at the OERu 2013.10 Anchor Partner meeting. However, we need to radically improve our game with the selection of OERu courses leading to a programme of study and exit credentials. What are the local institutional barriers for identifying OERu courses? What can we do as a network to streamline and support OERu partners in nominating courses? I would like to suggest an agenda item for discussing and agreeing the OERu course nominations.
  • Finalising an agreement on the schedule for our two course contributions. Each OERu partner has agreed to contribute two courses to the OERu network, by assembling courses from existing OERs or “donating” courseware under open content licenses. To date, we have not agreed a reasonable time line for a member to complete their course contributions. Would 2 to 3 years from the date of joining (or agreed decision) be a reasonable time line for an OERu partner to complete their course contribution. Some institutions (eg non-teaching partners) are not in a position to contribute courses so we need to consider a discussion on alternate ways to contribute to the network. What are our needs and what do these partners bring to the table?
  • Learning managements systems will not work for OERu delivery. Possibly the most important lesson the WikiEducator community has learned from running open courses since January 2007 and serving the needs of close to 10,000 course registrations is that LMSs will not work as the core delivery technology for the OERu. They do not scale well and the central administration requirements would exceed our capacity to maintain these systems. Moreover, choosing one LMS system would restrict the ability of our partners to reuse OERu courses in the local institutional LMS. Above all, the OERu cannot lock down materials behind password access and running open LMS systems is an administration nightmare for managing SPAM
  • Mobilising our OERu partner FTE contributions: A few OERu partners have contributed significantly more than the agreed 0.2 FTE staff contribution to the OERu network. BIG thanks to our institutions who are leading the way! Currently we have 29 anchor partners and the 0.2 FTE contribution would equal about 6 full-time staff members. I would hazard a guess that our outputs this past year do not equate to 6 full-time staff. What should we be doing to improve the productivity of our outputs?
  • Copyright knowledge: To be candid, the majority of our staff at our partner institutions have very little knowledge of copyright and how remix works with open licenses. This ranges from poor selection of prototype courses (eg selecting course developments which rely on encumbered texts) to breech of copyright when remixing open resources. How do we address this need? Improving knowledge of copyright is equally important for staff working on closed course development – so the OERu partnership could contribute to building capability for all staff in the higher education sector.
  • Open design: As the OERu prototype courses are progressing, I've observed that we need to improve our knowledge on the design for open courses. Conventional e-learning methods do not scale well for open courses and we need to design for multiple reuse scenarios. For example, the traditional “introduce yourself in the discussion forum” activity does not work with a course of +500 participants ;-). Open design needs to be more flexible, for example catering for the different modes of engagement (i.e. self interest, certification for participation, learning for credit). Designing for reuse could be a point of difference for our network, for example designing OERu courses so that they can easily be integrated for parallel mode delivery with registered students on campus in parallel with the free OERu learners. Given that OERu courses do not provide tutorial support, more consideration needs to be given to designing courses to leverage peer-learning support. I guess what I'm saying is that we have an opportunity to build capability in “open design” in our network – How should we do this?
  • Getting a lot smarter in leveraging the cost advantages for OERu partners. The most significant cost advantage for an OERu partners is to reuse an OERu course for local delivery for full-fee students. In short the OERu partner can get a full course without spending a cent on development plus the added benefit of widening access to OERu learners. To date, we do not have one example of an OERu course being reused at a partner institution. To be fair, its too early to see this in practice, but I think we should spend time discussing how to establish a reuse prototype so we can learn from the experience.

Summary of the mOOC related discussions

  • Target a mOOC for roughly 4 weeks of learning interaction for cohort based offerings. That would fit rather well assuming approximately 10 hours of study per week which is pretty much in line with what many single-mode distance teaching providers use thus totalling about 40 hours of learning which seems to be the minimum for authentic and meaningful summative assessment. This would not preclude “continuous” or open registration alternatives.
  • The mOOCs should be designed to accommodate a continuum of learner needs, for example learners participating for personal interest who can sip and dip into topics of interest right up to learners studying for formal academic credit.
  • The ability to deliver OERu mOOCs where cohort learners registered for full time study could interact with OERu independent learners including those who are participating for personal interest.
  • Designing OERu mOOCs for reuse in different modalities, for instance, integrated into full-time study on campus plus free OERu learning (parallel mode). Thinking creatively we could also have one mOOC with multiple exit points, eg 1st yr bachelor's degree level, 3rd yr bachelor's degree level and masters degree level moving towards a competency model. These mOOCs could cover the same topics, but the assessment will differ substantially depending on level. (This would not work for all disciplines – but certainly something we could try in subject areas where this could work.)
  • Clearly state prerequisite skills, for example social media skills with student support tutorials to help those who don't have these skills to get up to speed.
  • Partner mOOCs – that is the associate courses required for gaining full course credits should be clearly identified. This means that we must take course credit as the point of departure ensure that when a learner successfully competes the “set” they can get formal credit towards the courses leading to credible credentials.

OERu risks

  • Trying to play catchup with well-funded MOOC startups and associated risks of OERu partners looking elsewhere to join the MOOC bandwagon (Stephen Downes)