As a part of the work I’ve been doing around opening knowledge practices generally, I’ve been thinking about how one might design open learning experiences that support multiple meanings of “open”: not just using open educational resources (OER), not just enabling open educational pedagogies (OEP), and not just offering wide access (like MOOCs), but all those meanings of open and more. To continue what is a long-standing conversation across the open community, I’ve tried to distill characteristics and levels of open into a rubric that one might use as a guide to designing and/or evaluating open learning experiences.
This post expands on a Twitter thread of mine that tried to lay out a concise argument that collaborative, digital, interoperable annotation can play a key role in the major strategies that higher education is using to meet the significant challenges it faces today.
I just attended Achieving the Dream’s first Teaching and Learning Summit in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. The Summit had four tracks, each focused on a specific domain of teaching and learning:
- Open Educational Resources: Beyond Cost
- Guided Pathways: Ensuring Students Are Learning
- Culturally Responsive Practices: Leveraging Knowledge for Equity
- Adaptive Courseware for Early Success
I participated in the adaptive courseware track — guided by participants from Every Learner Everywhere — where I collaborated with the good folks at Houston Community College and other community colleges in Florida, Ohio, and Texas that are adopting adaptive learning platforms to improve student success.
The buzz at plenary sessions and mealtimes convinced me that participants in every track were as deeply engaged in the practical details of transforming teaching and learning as we were in the adaptive learning track. We had an incredibly productive couple of days together, making connections across disciplines and geographies to see how we might implement adaptive learning tools for various courses. These adaptive tools promise to enable students to take personalized learning pathways for knowledge and comprehension — speeding past what they already know and identifying where they might focus — while also enabling teachers to spend more time on higher-level, active learning, helping students apply, analyze and synthesize concepts.
After all that wide-ranging, hands on work, the highlight of the gathering for me was when participants from all four tracks came together for a closing, plenary keynote from Karen Cangialosi on open pedagogy. Karen gave us all a truly remarkable experience.
The open education community I run with is filled with the kind of people who think words really matter. For a while now we’ve been debating what to call the things we care about and do: open practices, open resources, open pedagogy, open licensing, open this, open that. Our debate is hot enough to make some people turn away and others dig in. But when words matter this much it signals real tensions in beliefs, priorities, territories and relationships.
A chance encounter led me to want to post about my evolving views on education as essential public infrastructure. Thanks to a tweet by Sara Goldrick-Rab, I was led to an article by someone I’d never read, Corey DeAngelis, Policy Analyst at the Cato Institute: “Is Public Schooling a Public Good? An Analysis of Schooling Externalities”. If I were not already thinking about education as public infrastructure, I probably would have walked away from this article given all its issues (which I’ll end up addressing, like it or not) and the futility of engaging such polemical works. Yet so much sprang out of my reading of DeAngelis and the other works it led me to that I feel compelled to write, if only to set out some thinking on education as public infrastructure to build on later.
As I haven’t drafted any content yet, so far this post just displays the references and notes I’ve already collected.