E-Learning and Digital Media
ISSN 2042-7530

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Volume 10 Number 2 2013


CONTENTS [click on author's name for abstract and full text]


Exploring the Educational Potential of Open Educational Resources

Markus Deimann & Norm Friesen. Introduction. Exploring the Educational Potential of Open Educational Resources, pages 112‑115 http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/elea.2013.10.2.112 VIEW FULL TEXT OPEN ACCESS

Stefanie Panke & Tina Seufert. What’s Educational about Open Educational Resources? Different Theoretical Lenses for Conceptualizing Learning with OER, pages 116‑134

Cheryl Hodgkinson-Williams & Michael Paskevicius. ‘It’s Not Their Job to Share Content’: a case study of the role of senior students in adapting teaching materials as open educational resources at the University of Cape Town, pages 135‑147

Glenda Cox. Researching Resistance to Open Educational Resource Contribution: an activity theory approach, pages 148‑160

Melody M. Terras, Judith Ramsay & Elizabeth Boyle. Learning and Open Educational Resources: a psychological perspective, pages 161‑173

Sandra Peter & Lesley Farrell. From Learning in Coffee Houses to Learning with Open Educational Resources, pages 174‑189

Markus Deimann. Open Education and Bildung as Kindred Spirits, pages 190‑199

Norm Friesen & Judith Murray. ‘Open Learning 2.0’? Aligning Student, Teacher and Content for Openness in Education, pages 200‑207

Daniel Araya. Thinking Forward: Theo Gray and the Future of the Book, pages 208‑211 http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/elea.2013.10.2.208 VIEW FULL TEXT

Daniel Araya. Interview with Jiang Qiping, pages 212‑215 http://dx.doi.org/10.2304/elea.2013.10.2.212 VIEW FULL TEXT

What’s Educational about Open Educational Resources? Different Theoretical Lenses for Conceptualizing Learning with OER



In the last decade, the concept of Open Educational Resources (OER) has gained an undeniable momentum. However, it is an easy trap to confuse download and registration rates with actual learning and interest in the adoption and reuse of OER. If we focus solely on access, we cannot differentiate between processes of mere information foraging and deep sense-making activities. The article provides an overview of the OER movement, stressing emerging concerns surrounding the educational efficacy of OER and highlighting learning theories which aid our understanding of this growing domain. The authors discuss building-blocks for a theoretical framework that allows us to conceptualize the learner’s part in open educational practices, also characterizing challenges of open learning and traits of successful open learners.


‘It’s Not Their Job to Share Content’: a case study of the role of senior students in adapting teaching materials as open educational resources at the University of Cape Town



Inspired by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s landmark decision to make its teaching and learning materials freely available to the public as OpenCourseWare (OCW), many other higher education institutions have followed suit sharing resources now more generally referred to as Open Educational Resources (OER). The University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa joined the OER movement with the launch of the UCT OpenContent directory in February 2010. While much of the research has focused on the potential value of OER to institutions and to the community at large, less attention has been paid to the complex processes that need to be undertaken to adapt existing materials as OER and specifically the opportunity to engage senior students in this practice. In this article the authors explore the processes that three senior physics students employed in assisting their lecturers to adapt existing materials as OER, the challenges they encountered and the contribution these students made. The findings reveal that the senior physics students report having sufficient time, knowledge of the field and skill in using a range of technological tools that made the OER adaptation process of their lecturers’ materials easier. Based on the participating physics lecturers’ acceptance of the students’ adaptations of their materials, it would seem that the strategy of using senior students to support busy lecturers to adapt existing teaching materials as OER is worth considering.


Researching Resistance to Open Education Resource Contribution: an activity theory approach



Higher education and associated institutions are beginning to share teaching materials known as Open Educational Resources (OER) or open courseware across the globe. Their success depends largely on the willingness of academics at these institutions to add their teaching resources. In a survey of the literature on OER there are several articles that discuss reasons why academics should contribute teaching materials. There are fewer articles that refer to academics’ concerns or why they choose not to contribute their teaching resources. There have been only a few reported empirical studies thus far, and most of the studies have not been framed within any particular theoretical perspective. Hence there is a need to explore possible theories that might help to conceptualise and explain what enables or constrains the open education movement. This study aims to ascertain whether Engeström’s activity theory and its principle of contradictions is a sufficiently versatile and insightful lens to investigate non-participation of OER contribution. Activity theory was found to be useful for framing the literature and three interviews with University of Cape Town (UCT) academics and for surfacing some of the constraints in the system. The key concerns that emerged centred around the rules in the institution concerning promotion and what is valued by the institution. At present this institution places value on research and until value is placed on sharing teaching materials as OER, it is unlikely that there will be large-scale voluntary contribution to the UCT OpenContent directory.


Learning and Open Educational Resources: a psychological perspective



The provision of Open Educational Resources (OER) means that learning horizons are no longer restricted by time and space. However, if the learning potential of OER is to be fully realised, educators and students must have the media literacy skills to select, use and produce information in a judicious and useful way. A consideration of the psychological dimensions of media literacy skills is crucial to maximise the learning opportunities offered by OER. Although learning platforms may be shifting to online content, the fundamental issues remain: How do we learn? How can learning be facilitated? These core psychological issues are key to the appropriate deployment and use of OER. The authors highlight how psychological theory and research has contributed to our understanding of technology-mediated interactions and the learning process, and consider how psychology can contribute to our understanding and application of OER as a learning facilitator. They discuss how advances in Web 2.0 technology may help maximise participation in learning and consider the potential psychological barriers and enablers to the uptake and use of OER.


From Learning in Coffee Houses to Learning with Open Educational Resources



What is ‘open’ about Open Educational Resources? How does education become ‘open’ when it is removed from the institutional housing of the school or the university and develops in public social settings? Has the Internet, in providing educational content without cost and free of copyright restrictions, provoked a unique and fundamental shift in what we understand education to be and who we understand it to be for? The authors analyse the persistent but elusive claims to ‘openness’ in education by examining two moments when education seemed to be released from institutional constraints to be accessible to ‘everyone’. They look at today’s Open Educational Resources and the coffee houses of Europe at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Their focus is the learner – what constitutes access, the role of technologies in enhancing access, and the social and institutional constraints which are always in tension with the affordances of technologies.


Open Education and Bildung as Kindred Spirits



Among the most important of the tremendous changes that have been taken place in teaching and learning throughout recent years has been a move towards ‘openness’ in education. This includes an increased availability of alternatively licensed resources as well as extended possibilities for formal and quasi-formal learning in the context of open courses. Since learning theories typically conceive of learning as occurring in clearly structured environments, they are not necessarily well suited to understanding the specific characteristics and general significance of open education. Consequently, a broader concept apposite to the breadth and variety of experiences of learning in open and complex settings would be valuable. One such concept has its origin in the German philosophy of education, and goes by the name of Bildung. This article is aimed at getting insight into this theory because it reflects broader concepts than conventional learning theories, and suggesting a way of applying this framework to a range of relevant aspects of open education. This is done in the hope that Bildung may evolve from a quite unknown body of knowledge to a valuable resource to be consulted for guidance and advice as the possibilities for personal development and maturation continue to evolve.


‘Open Learning 2.0’? Aligning Student, Teacher and Content for Openness in Education



The mission of Thompson Rivers University Open Learning (TRU-OL) can be understood in terms of three entities: the student, the faculty member and the curriculum content. Their conjuncture – when a TRU-OL student works with TRU-OL courseware and is supported by a TRU-OL faculty member – is where learning, assessment and, ultimately, credentialing take place. These three elements may form three points in a triangle, with assessment and credentialing in the centre. TRU-OL is currently exploring the results of defining these three elements differently. Instead of designating TRU-OL students, teachers and contents specifically, these elements may serve as placeholders for any students, any instructional personnel or supports, and any open content. These can, in theory, all be shared, opened and disaggregated among various institutions, with assessment and credentialing remaining as the principal service offered locally. The purpose of this article is to explain this model in the context of the open educational movement, to describe its various permutations and implications, and to consider some questions and objections that may arise in relation to it. The result is an updated version of similar triangular models that would interconnect student, teacher and content in pedagogical interrelationship.


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