De meningen ge-uit door medewerkers en studenten van de TU Delft en de commentaren die zijn gegeven reflecteren niet perse de mening(en) van de TU Delft. De TU Delft is dan ook niet verantwoordelijk voor de inhoud van hetgeen op de TU Delft weblogs zichtbaar is. Wel vindt de TU Delft het belangrijk - en ook waarde toevoegend - dat medewerkers en studenten op deze, door de TU Delft gefaciliteerde, omgeving hun mening kunnen geven.

Posted in 2015

Trend Report Open & Online Education 2015

This week we the Dutch Special Interest Group Open Education published a new Trend Report on Open & Online Education. It was launched during the annual SURF Education Days conference (Netherlands). This year I (co)wrote 2 articles and participated in the editorial board.

In ‘Opportunities to embed open & online education in campus education‘ Judith van Hooijdonk (Zuyd University of Applied Science) and me describe which trend we see in Dutch Higher education concerning reuse of OE(R), and more importantly we describe a number of barriers teachers (seem to) experience preventing them from reusing OER in formal education.

During a master class centred around the trend report (during the Education days), we started the discussion how we could overcome these barriers to stimulate the reuse of OE(R) in formal education, and at TU Delft we will continue to work on this challenge.

Also, with Robert Schuwer (Fontys University of Applied Science) and Nicolai van der Woerdt (Radbout University Medical Center) I participated in an article on ‘Connecting different forms of openness: seeking a stronger value proposition‘. In this article we explore different forms of openness, such as open research and open source software. We believe that openness only has a shot if we implement openness in different ways towards an open ecosystem where one strengthens the other.

It was great working on the trend report again and hopefully it provides useful insights to you and others.

Open Education global 2015

Two weeks ago, April 22-24, I attended the annual Open Education Global Conference in Banff, Alberta. I went there for a couple of reasons. It was a great opportunity to share out experiences at TU Delft Online Learning on Open & Online Education with the Open Education community, but also to experience the current status of Open Education Worldwide.

The things I did…

We started the conference on Tuesday, where Willem van Valkenburg and me offered a big part of the Pre Conference Workshop ‘Getting Started with Open Education – a crash course on starting an open education project’. It is always great to help other institutions get their projects going, based on our own experiences. I noticed that, in contrast to the same workshop we organised last year, the participants were a lot further in the process of starting up an open education project.

On Wednesday I shared our experience in how we handle(d) sublicensing our DelftX MOOCs while at the same time sharing our MOOC contents under an Open License. It was a tough nut to crack, but we managed. And I got quite some responses on my presentation as well, like:

“Though Provoking work fr @gouwehand in tension beta. revenue generation & Creative commons license i#MOOCs #oeglobal” – @fieldingGrasty

“Great Presentation from @Gouwehand on breaking down the open and non-open components that make up MOOCs #oeglobal” – @sunnywidmann

Lastly, I took part in the Action Lab on MOOCs, Where Willem shared our experiences with MOOCs.

And oh yeah, we we have been awarded no less then 3 Open Education Awards for Excellence, which make us proud! Unfortunately not all winners were able to attend the Award ceremony, but we will make sure that the awards will reach them – and give them (Alexander de Haan, Jaap Daalhuizen and David Abbink and their course teams) all the credit they deserve.

My key take aways

At first I found it hard to put my finger on what was the current state of affairs around Open Education. But now that the conference is over and there has been some time to reflect, I came up with four take aways from this year’s conference:

  1. As I mentioned last year, the Open Education movement seems to have reached a steady level of maturity. I’ve attended quite some presentations where the more advanced issues were tackled, like how to deal with self learners who want to earn college credits for open education achievements. There were not a lot of start up project presentations that I’ve seen. This is a good thing to notice, but does raise the question what’s next.
  2. ‘MOOC’ is no longer a dirty word to use in the Open Education Community. Last year the OpenCourseWare Consortium changed its name to Open Education Consortium, since the scope has changed worldwide. MOOCs back then were considered different, but now seem to have been embraced as one of the ways to empower learners to learn. Which is a good thing! Still, the ‘O’ which should stand for ‘Open’ is still a thing… ‘Open MOOCs’ seemed to be a normal term, which is odd. Still, the ‘O’ of Open is not easy, considering my presentation.
  3. There is a need for Open Education practices. I think during his keynote speech Dirk van Damme nailed the message, which is supported by David Wiley in his blog: Why do we want everyone to share there educational resources? And why do we feel a need to reuse, revise, remix and redistribute educational resources? It was all meant to support and empower learners to learn, learn more and in a better way. Perhaps we miss that part sometimes as we’re all busy in the process of getting to that point. But we shouldn’t forget what we’re doing it all for.
  4. At TU Delft Online Learning, we’re doing the right things, in the right way. I’m not the bragging type, but TU Delft Online Learning is doing something right. We’ve been awarded for 3 awards, with (after a raw count) brings us to 10 in total during the past 5 years the Open Education awards for Excellence have been issued. We showed that we have a lot of experience to share and that we have an organisation, vision and strategy to really make an impact.

Next year the conference will take place in Krakow, Poland. I wonder if we’ll be able to share or learn from experiences with Open Education Practices.

About the added value of Open Education…

In Open & Online Education we see a constant struggle between ideological perspectives on increasing access and opening up education by lowering boundaries on the one hand and the urge for a sustainable business model on the other. In that sense, I’ve been involved in this discussion for our MOOCs recently and am a firm believer that (passive, singular) content (without added value) cannot be monetised (in most cases) – you must have noticed the nuance ;).

Obviously, the article in Wired got my attention with this title: “Why Free Is Not the Future of Digital Content in Education”. As you might have guessed, I do not agree (and after reading the article I still don’t). But it is good to learn from other points of view.

The article argues that the price asked for content will not go down to zero when digitised, since it will still generate added value (but in other areas than the content itself). I think terms like ‘content’, ‘free’ and ‘added value’ are key here and need more nuance.

Fred Mulder and Ben Janssen (2013, pp. 36-42) developed the 5 Components Open Education model, where content, learning services and teaching effort apposed to learner demands and employability/capabilities development are considered different elements in (open) education. The level of openness on each element provides an open fingerprint, where the levels of openness in different elements can vary.

Another element which plays a part in me disagreeing with the article in Wired is the added value which influences pricing. In my opinion, content as is, has very limited added value, unless it is incredibly good, or unique, etc. I too use Spotify to shuffle through songs, but I also still buy CD’s. Simply because the physical shape, artwork, collection of songs in a certain order, etc have added value to me.

I think the comparison between the music industry and education is in this sense not so very far off. The added value in education does not so much lie in the content, but in the experience, which is the result of a combination of mostly learning services, teaching effort and learner demands. The added value lies in other elements than content – and that’s what is read in the Wired article as well: it’s the experience in the gaming industry which is interesting, not so much the game itself.

So yes, after reading the article on Wired, I still believe content can be offered for free, since the added value is somewhere else. Which might mean that elements in that experience could be monetised. But then we enter a new discussion on open sustainable business models.

This struggle will be part of my presentation at the Open Education Global Conference in April. See you there?

Open Education Week 2015

Last week we organised a number of activities to celebrate Open Education during the global Open Education Week. We organised these activities to increase awareness on Open Education (and inherently also the Open & Online Education program) among mainly our own teaching staff. The activities proved to be a great success in reaching this goal:

Over 130 people registered, resulting in over 200 participants in total for all activities. We’ve seen a lot of new people who got inspired about Open Education on the one hand, but on the other also walked away with very useful insights about course design, support services around video recording and discussion points in Open & Online Education. Obviously the contributions of colleagues of other universities (Leiden University, The Hague University of Applied Sciences and Fontys University of Applied Sciences) have been very useful, supplementing the activities we already undertake at Delft University of technology.

Unfortunately in the Netherlands, I haven’t seen a lot of activities being organised. For the most part, most universities are mostly focussed at online education then open education. Then again, activities which have been organised, like the lunch lectures supported by SURF, haven been very interesting (worth checking out, but some are in Dutch). The low amount of activities and attention given to them provides the Dutch Special Interest Group Open Education with a nice challenge towards next year.

At the same time, internationally, again a lot of activities worldwide have been supported by the Open Education Consortium. Obviously it is great to see so many activities again! But after… has it been 4 years since the first Open Education Week?… and so many presentations shared… I wonder what next year will bring… What would be the next step…

I’m looking forward to 2016!

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