Activity 25: how open online education works

For the final activity i have created a video animation showing the most interesting aspects of openess in education that i have learnt in this course. Here is the updated version with music by Luis López-Cano.

At this point i want to say …

i have enjoyed the course very much,
thanks to martin weller at OU openlearn for facilitating the course and being present,
thanks to all co-learners of the google+ group for sharing, commenting and inspiration,
it was a great learning experience with you.

And special thanks to Luis for composing (entirely on iPad!) the wonderful music to my presentation. This is a great cooperative open work!

And of course,  its also about open resources, here is the source file (Adobe Flash) of the presentation, feel free to change and reuse.


Activity 22: Open education technology – standard web technology

Which technology is important for open education? For me its simply, standard web technology.


When speaking about standard web technology in this context i mean the open languages of the web, such as html, css, php, xml and many more. This technologies are not owned by someone or by a company, they are created, maintained and standardized by the community or by organizations such as the W3C. In my view this is important as this open standard model will best ensure future development.

All the 5 suggested technology tools such as Blog, RSS, Links and embed, Social Networks and VLEs are based on standard web technology. And also the additional technologies suggested by the colleagues,
Mobile Technology (Sukaina and Inger-Marie),
Dropbox (Colin),
Hangout other live sessions (Nuala),
the cloud (Jim),
are all based on standard web technology.
Maybe we will see new tools and content type in future.

The standard web technology let us develop applications and tools to create and deliver different type of content, make it viewable on different devices, bring learners together and include learners with disabilities to participate, and much more. All these is significant for shaping open education and open educational resources.

Activity 17: Abundance of content – filtering

With the Web 2.0 it is easy to create and share content, everybody can be a content producer, this lead to an abundance of content. What does it mean for teaching and learning?

In the conclusion of A pedagogy of abundance, Martin Weller asks two questions.

How can educator take advantage in their own teaching practice?

I think the the abundance of content is of great value for both teacher and learners. I have been teaching multimedia and web programming in adult training. In  this context i appreciate the diversity of resources. Especially in the field of computer technology that change rapidly its important to have access to new and/or updated resources. The ease of producing and delivering digital content over the internet comes in very practical as we are able to provide new content more quickly. It can happen that i can’t use the same resources in the next course, it could be already outdated. That’s why i prefer working with open resources, and i support learners to make use of it too.

How do educators best equip learners to make use of it?

When dealing with a large choice of content you need meta-skills, such as evaluating and comparing resources, and verifing the source. As teacher we can promote the use of open resources by integrating resource-finding-evaluating tasks in our teaching.

By Thiemo Schuff (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Thiemo Schuff (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

To give an example relating to my course:

Everybody is talking about html5 and the nice animations. There are lots of code libraries to use for creating animation effects. So the task would be to find a suitable animation library. Learners should work in group and find 3 libraries within a given time. They should evaluate and then share with others. Then they can start programming the animation.

My suggestion is based a little on a Problem-Based-Learning approach, here the cooperative process of understanding the problem is more important than the solution to the problem. The given fixed number of resources and time is important, so the group is forced to filter resources and i think this restriction should ensure that learners don’t get lost in time and endless resources.

This approach is quite different than typical programming courses where the teacher would introduce the code library and then go on with step-by-step exercises. But that is not how it works in the practice.

Weller, M. (2011) ‘A pedagogy of abundance’, Spanish Journal of Pedagogy, vol. 249, pp. 223–36. Also available online at 28774/

Activity 15: My definiton of PLN – people are the network

In online learning we often find the term personal learning network (PLN), see Wikipedia’s entry. In this activity we should try to  formulate our own definition. I started searching in local resources and came across this post at the  edutechwiki of University of Geneva describing PLN as:

Personal learning networks (PLN) are the connections and communications made with others to question, reflect and evaluate information in order to create new knowledge (Attwell) (2007)

This definition seems quite suitable to me but there are questions.
Are connections and communications tools, channels or people?
The definition also miss a little the contributing and sharing activitiy.

After finding the  What is a PLN? Or, PLE vs. PLN? twitter discussion summary including this wonderful tweet by @BlancheMaynard which makes clear to me what PLN and PLE is about …

PLN is organic; PLE is mechanic. You can use ‘tools’ like Twitter
within your PLE to access your network, but the tool isn’t the

I change the above definiton to:

A personal learning network (PLN) consists of people we connect  to question, reflect, discuss, contribute and share information in order to create new knowledge.

Now, the channel we choose to communicate with those people can vary from E-Mail, social media tools, google hangout  or even phone.  Each of these tools has its own advantages and can offer new possibilities. But as  @BlancheMaynard writes, tools are not the network, people are the network.

Flock of Jackdaws in Tuira, Oulu, Finland
By Estormiz (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Activity 11: big OER and little OER are friends

We are asked to write on the benefits and drawbacks of big and little OER approaches.
In the issue The openness-creativity cycle in education Martin Weller classify and defines big and little OERs as:

Big OERs are institutionally generated ones that arise from projects such asOpen Courseware and OpenLearn. These are usually of high quality, contain explicit teaching aims, are presented in a uniform style and form part of a time-limited, focused project with portal and associated research and data.
Little OERs are individually produced, low cost resources. They are produced by anyone, not just educators, may not have explicit educational aims, have low production quality and are shared through a range of third party sites and services.

I have setup my text as a discussion between ‘humanized versions’ of big and little OER. Imagine littleOER is an image, a presentation or a piece of text and it has been mixed with part of bigOER, so they meet and start talking.


littleOER: Hi bigOER, nice to host me, tell me how did you get here?

bigOER: Its a long story, i have been created by the staff at OpenLearn for the online course H817 Open Education. After a long period of planing, design, reviewing and testing i was put online on March 16, 2013. And you?

littleOER: Oh that was quite different, my creator put me together within a couple of hours and then posted me on his blog. After a short time, i got lots of visitors from around the world. Apparently those visitors and my third-party friends twitter and google+ are talking about me. What about you big OER?

bigOER: I am not so widespread like you. I know most of my visitors well, they return often to my place and browse, download and write comments. Sometimes I have new visitors coming around. You know, i am made for educational purpose, this means i have been carefully produced with quality, pedagogy and sustainability in mind. My function here is to assist  teacher and make learning happen. What can you tell me about your  educational purpose?

littleOER: Well, i am not explicitly created for educational purpose. But teachers can use me within an educational setting as part of a reading or activity, informal learner can use me to find quickly information they need to complete a task. Furthermore, visitors can make copies of me, so i can travel around the world. Sometimes i live on another server, sometimes i am mixed with other interesting OER and put back on the Internet. That’s the way i have met you here.

bigOER: Yes we wouldn’t be friends if you could travel around. This is my place and i like it, because my creators care about me, they review, refine and change me. So this makes me future-proof and ready for the next challenge, this way i can have a long life.

littleOER: My creator does not care about me any more, but he let me take around.
Honestly, i don’t know how many copies and shares of me exists.

and the talk could go on …
feel free to add your comments.

Weller, M. (2012) ‘The openness–creativity cycle in education’, Special issue on Open Educational Resources, JIME, Spring 2012 [online]. Available at jime/ article/ view/ 2012-02

Weller, M. (2011b) ‘Public engagement as collateral damage’ in The Digital Scholar, London, Bloomsbury Academic. Also available online at view/ DigitalScholar_9781849666275/ chapter-ba-9781849666275-chapter-007.xml


Activity 10: Sustainability models for OER – its about people’s involvement

In this OEDC 2007  report David Wiley defined sustainability as ‘an open educational resource project’s ongoing ability to meet its goals‘ (p. 5). Wiley describes 3 models of sustainability for open educational resources: MIT model, USU model and Rice model. We are asked to have a look at the following 4 open education initiatives and think about what model of sustainability they could operate.


  • single open online course
  • run by 3 facilitators, think on a voluntary basis
  • course is terminated, seems not to be updated
    (there may be some activities within communities, for example on twitter still see hashtag #change11)

I see ChangeMooc as a one-time initiative without any further follow-up. None of the 3 models apply.


  • does not create courses or resources they provide platform and marketing for open courses
  • institutions (universities) can offer online courses/resources
  • funded by the universities
  • managed by team (technology, management, marketing)
  • learners are not allowed to reuse course resources

From my point of view, coursera provides services not content. The content created and published by third-parties on coursera cant be reused. Don’t think this fall into Wileys definition of sustainability in relation to OER.


  • does not create online courses or resources
  • provides service: repository for resources
  • funded by JISC
  • managed by team (technology, management, coordination)
  • resources created and shared by staff in UK Further and Higher Education

Mix of MIT model (jorum as platform) and Rice model (creators)


  • creates and publish online courses / resource
  • part-funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
  • probably run and managed by staff at OU
  • resources can be reused

Similar to Jorum, mix of all models

Just by quickly browsing information available on their websites i can’t see behind the scene how a project is really sustained. Sustainability is mainly about people’s involvement. I like the jorum user stories, they tell me more about.

Wiley (2007), On the Sustainability of Open Educational Resource Initiatives in Higher Education

Activity 8: Exploring resources for an OER course

Week-2 task is to construct a course in digital skills using content from the following OER repositories: Ariadne – Jorum – Merlot – MIT – OpenLearn – Rice Connexions.
The course runs for 5 weeks, each week another topic and with about 6 hours study per week.

Suggestion course, topics and resources
Here is my version of the OER course.

Course: Digital Skills Training
Learners: For new employees (trainees) at a media agency
Description: Should gain basics in assisting producing digital articles which includes photographs and interview videos.

Week Topic Resources Suitable
1 Introduction Digital Information The Virtual Revolution: Frontier thinkers at openlearn: video
social media: web2practice
at jorum:
format: video and document pdf
Safari – skills accessing, finding and reviewing information
at openlearn:
format: online course view in browser
only chapter 1, 2, 6 (4 hours)



2 Finding information on the internet Safari – skills accessing, finding and reviewing informationat openlearn:
format: online course view in browser
other chapters (6 hours)
3 Create Photographs / Use digital camera Difficult to find suitable resources Suggestion: Learners should use guide or resource provided by camera manufacturer, see on website. Let learner find resource.
4 Create Videos Digital Film School at openlearn:
format: videos
possible Track 2, 3 or 4, 7. 8, 16
5 Data / Internet Security Living with the internet: Keeping it safe
at openlearn:
format: online course view in browser
Duration too long, maybe let learner pick
only some chapters


Finding suitable resources for my course was very time-consuming and quite difficult. The first step was to have a first look at the given repositories, which were new to me. I found lots of resources matching the topic upon my search criteria. However, some resources are in a format, that can’t be viewed (by everyone) or the content is outdated. Other resources are not suitable for my target group or course structure, because content goes to much in detail or students would need to much time to work on.

The other main issue about using OER is, that i use third party content. As a teacher i need to watch those videos, read those documents and take those online-courses myself in order to be able to recommend/provide this resource to my learners. So, in week 3 and 4, i have decided to let the learner pick a resource by their own.

To summarize: For topics around technology that change rapidly i believe OER can be helpful, and if the resource is updated also time-saving. Browsing OER repositories can also help construct the course, for example finding topics, ideas or key points relevant to the planned training.

Maybe it would have been easier searching google for resources, as Nat has done.