This blog is a reflective writing piece for the open content licensing for educators course ( #OCL4Ed ) which I am attending over the web. The micro Open Online Course (mOOC) is facilitated by the UNESCO OER Chair and is sponsored by the OER Foundation, the Commonwealth of Learning and College of Liberal Arts, University of Mississippi.
I start this learning journey alongside 255 other people from 53 countries; excitedly accessing free educational resources using the educational phenomenon – WikiEducator.
Teaching for me has historically meant passing down knowledge or sharing accumulated knowledge in a rigid fashion. I have used text books which cost large sums of money and I have frequented lecture theatres at set times. While I applaud current meaningful pedagogies and effective learning in classrooms, I am excited about the possibility of open learning over the web, believing in my heart of hearts that this can be just as affective.
For me, sharing knowledge freely is less about money and more about flexibility. I have not purchased anything for this course. I am simply clicking through the course website, watching videos, reading quotes and branching out to web searches and external links. I think this is the fastest I have ever learned; it is exciting and liberating. The flexibility around mixing and reusing content in an open model provides unprecedented advances in the learning and teaching space.
I love the idea that a course or learning resource with altered copyright terms can be translated or modified slightly in order to provide relevance for a given culture or new environment. Flexibility is important because of the vast differences between the environments of learners. Differences may include local politics, local economy and currency as well as language and regional or social dialects.
From a learning perspective, the mix of openness and technology allows us to provide flexible content to meet the needs of the increasing number of on-line learners from around the globe. From a teaching perspective, the mix of openness and modern technologies provides rapid and agile development of new pedagogies and collaborative peer-enhancement.