Week 5: Example Projects and Quality Question

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I found it easier to review the various open ed. projects (repositories) with a specific topic in mind – so I chose learning (learning skills, online learning, learning theory etc.). Here’s what I found:

What they have in common
:
• Searchable
• Follow a format for presentation which is specific to the repository
• Mainly print based, downloadable or linked resources (as opposed to flash animations or interactive tools)
• Most did not have RSS options (except the OU’s Open Learn) – this is a big drawback for integration into online environments.
• Most did not have sufficient granularity (smaller than a unit, a workshop or a course)
• Didn’t seem like I could easily grab the content and put it into an existing format (website, etc).
• Login required to access some or all features.
• Most did not have a discussion/feedback component where authors and learners could share feedback about a specific course or resource.
• The OLI seemed more broadly learner focused – only site to refer to the option for credit learning and how to do it.

How they differ:
• OLI and MIT focused on courses rather than “resources” that could form part of a course.
• Open Learn had a strong institutional context (OU) that would have been difficult to work with when using resources outside this context. – may have just been specific to the type of content that I was accessing (learning support)
• Unesco’s site had a training and community development focus , different from the discipline or academic focus of the other sites. Interesting, though – they seemed to have no platform for communication.
• MIT’s content seemed (intentially) more instructor focused than learner focused.
• Connexions most clearly promoted and supported authorship of new resources.

Overall impressions:
• A lot of content in a variety of disciplines.
• Not easily shareable in online contexts (am I missing something?) or re-mixable (too big)
• Of limited learning value without some opportunity for discussion.

On quality: it seems that the idea of quality in the Open Education Movement is “in the eye of the user”. Since I know my context best (and my audience of learners) I can evaluate a resource based on what meets my needs.

So for me, quality means:
• Ease of use – can I take a chunk, contextualize it and use it immediately without any other intervention?
• Can I contribute to/review feedback?
• Is the piece accessible for learners (not requiring any special software/downloads, etc.?)
• Does this connect to my learning objectives – either personally or in the context that I would be using it (workshop, etc.)?

Outcome (personally)
:

Found a few resources I can use in the context of my work. Was it worth the search effort? Probably. If I had to develop these resources on my own, I would likely be reproducing something that someone else did – likely better than what I could do on my own. Would I contribute resources to these repositories? I’d like to, but right now it doesn’t seem easy to me and that would be the barrier to contribution.

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3 thoughts on “Week 5: Example Projects and Quality Question

  1. Thanks for the comment! Just a quick sketch using the drawing tool in WORD and a cut a paste with the mac (didn’t think Apple would mind)!

    Cindy

  2. Just a cheeky plug, there was no reference to the POCKET project when you were discussing the institutional context of Open Learn… is this not a good example of how that issue is being addressed?

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