CADE/AMTEC – day 2 – Best Online Course Ever?

Very different kind of post from the conference today. This was from a panel presentation this morning and it was so good that i thought i would try and record it all. The notes are still a little sketchy… hope it’s readable :) italics for dave’s thoughts

Vicky, the first speaker started by talking about the Open courseware initiative first brought to us by MIT. As the world didn’t panic, other universities followed. Now 200 universities in a dozen countries have added courses to opencourseware websites. This is what started this conversation going…

Fritz Pannekoek – President, Athabasca University

“What would the worlds best online course designed for online access look like?” This is the question that began a series of discussions.

I was handed a worksheet… on paper… a paper handout asking me to participate. How can we possibly be serious about doing online work when we have a panel with no projector even turned on. My feelings about this changed a little as the conversation continued… but the conversation could have been so much richer with a backchannel from the crowd recording people’s immediate responses to what was a remarkable series of short talks.

President’s sometimes have trouble with practicalities. “everything we produce must be MIT compliant” the MIT stuff had become the standard simply because it was adopted. This was an interesting insight as to how many of these standards get chosen… seemingly by random or by very smart marketing people at MIT

If open courseware is to be there and is to be transformative, how can we achieve that?

Surpise surprise… if we use a little blended learning give more personal control of learning student’s seem to succeed much more… wouldn’t that be nice.

What if we created a series of standardized year courses that were available to all institutions based on a set of international standards. That would be nice.

How do we do readiness? Allow for culture? Modes of delivery? What about the outcomes? (I’m very concerned about outcome driven pedagogy) government seems to be pushing this by the ‘performance envelope’. Intellectual sustainability? How do we operationalize it? What’s the business model? Could you make money?

It’s a bold plan. And one that i would be very interested in watching. It seems that they do indeed plan to go about trying this… I might even like to get my nose into it somehow. there are problems… doubtless… starting with do we even need ‘courses’.

George Siemens

The ‘Best course model’ would be ‘networked’ and an ‘ecology’. The onus for the network is on the student and the ecology is the responsibility of the institution. Content is not really the centerpiece of what we’re doing anymore. Very expensive courses are now going out of date as the content changes so quickly. Couldn’t agree more. Wikipedia is nice. An academic wikipedia would be nice. Ummm… well… this is already being tried by the digital universe people… and I don’t think this model makes sense. I understand how it makes sense politicallly… just not in practice. The creation process shouldn’t be the only creators of the content. The users need to be involved. The content needs to be pedagogically neutral. yup yup yup

When we start deceminating we move into a network type model. Read/write tools represent a level of democracy, and empowerement… think of them as a philosophy not the actual tools we have now.

The new set of courses needs to be multinarratived. It should be available in any device and in any format. Our content should come to them. The discussion needs to occur in our students’ existing devices.

There is a change in the fundamental charateristics of knowledge. It changes everyone’s role. The institution is no longer in charge of disseminating the knowledge but should be in charge of creating the ecology, the space for it to occur.

Joan Collige

Picks up on George’s chaos. I’m gonna agree with george and go beyond.

When I look at this from the perspective of an instructional designer… I agree. As an administrator, (and part of the cohere project) I am concerned about many of the difficulties.

Iam interested in the big picture. I see so many authors and so many canvases and depending on where they are and what they believe… what kind of picture would they want to create. How would the pedagogies translate?

We need to prepare learning materials and opportunities for people. I am interested in the metrics. What is good? What is excellent?

When we think about going global, and we say things like ‘everyone will be connected’ ‘everyone will be able to be connected’. This is not true. I see nothing wrong with consciously identifying who we will be able to serve. Assuming that our experience is the experience that everyone is having is just not true.

Story of an overseas student who could not get access and do ‘graduate level work’.

What is the metric? It will be the extent to wihich we become aware of our own cultural orientation, the extent to which that is different for other people in the world, the extent that we allow ourselves to be affected by that experience. Education is a transformative experience.

“In what way do we want this particular initiative to be transformative?” core curriculum created by who and to what purpose.

Ellen Wagner

Adobe wants to be the good tool maker. We want to make sure that the tools are there so that the experience can be there. Corporations and the academy have got to find ways to find a common ground. In my world and I start looking at the perfect learning experience. I don’t think that I would look at it as a course right now. I know that there needs to be an underpinning of thought. The tools will allow us to do anything that we want. I want to make sure that a learning experience is flexible. We focus the learning experience at a core set of competencies. Like creative expression. To contribute in a digital dialogue. To negotiate new knowledge.

The tools have to be able to choose which of those that matter when we need it. Reusable when we need it, disposable when we need it to be. Interoperable and repurposable. How to deal with the ‘flash blob’.

How many of us have the time to pursue treating education as ‘a craft’? How do we make the tool smart enough to make it practical for use in real environments.

\Stephen Downes

When carrol twigs work was introduced about lowering the failure rate from 40% to 10% that must have created a huge problem at the university as they just weren’t ready for that many people passing. The old model was to have people fail to filter out folks.

We need to change the whole model. One part open and one part closed creates a dysfunctional model

Are we doing learning opportunities? Cost savings? Learning objectives?

Is it to serve everybody or to serve some people? We should not do it in bits but we should also not do it all.

I try and focus on accessibility… but I know that other people are going to handle that.
There are smart people working on this… like broadband.

What would the best online course look like?

Canada’s best online course will not be written by an institution it will not be written by an academic or as a course? Online isn’t the sort of medium that supports that kind of content.

When we look at sustainability we have to look beyond this idea of ‘we provide this for you’ What kind of opportunities can we enable to allow people to do this for themselves. This will address the cost and the sustainability model.

We look at wikipedia and we see that people can create stuff that can sustain itself. We see that watching people’s behavior (like google’s search engine) Imagine what google would look like if we hired a hundred thousand academics designing the search organization.

You can’t produce localization. Oops is a project that takes open courseware and translate it into Chinese. They put the content into a wiki and let the community do the translation.

Is this academicly sound? Don’t know. We have a credibility issue.

We have a field of artificial scarcity

Credentialling is where the bottleneck is. It seems to be that if we are looking at enabling the widest range of opportunities. We would need to open source accreditation

    Needs to be open understand it
    Needs to be accessible get at it
    Affordable less than a house
    Sort of outcome… some mechanism whereby someone can demonstrate what they’ve done.

I get my models from things like games. Look at muds. Done by users but you have to ensure that people coulnd’t write very bad code. The quests ensured that the user would need to understand what was going on. Solving the quest required the code understanding to be able to affect the system. You’re promotion is base

These environments allow people to move content trade buy etc… progressive

Sounds like the ecologies that George was talking about.

Terry Anderson

Accreditation – I couldn’t be a wizard LOL. Where is the incentive? How do we make people contribute to it? You can buy a paper for 15$ bucks… An economic model that rewards assessment.

The connection between research and education… addressing the failure model. The literacies.

George seems to say that torture (in the form of PLAR) is the best way to encourage people to go to class.

Fritz says.
Euroamerican cultural empiricism is back again. How do we look at indigenous learning in Canada? Are we really looking at the ways in which other people are doing.

I usually once a month I get someone trying to buy courses. Sell us you BA and we’ll do what we want with it.

Such a great conversation… sorry i couldn’t do it as much justice as i’d like… but figured i should publish.

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