Week 4: Communities and OER

These week’s Open Faculty Development post resonated with me the most. The main reason for it is that here at MSU Denver, at the Educational Technology Center, we struggle with same issues and searching for sustainable ways of fostering communities. The biggest challenge for us is the shift in culture. Our faculty seem to be disappointed in us not being able to provide support in the traditional one-on-one way as we used to. The problem with that is that is impossible to sustain. So we offered a model for providing any support in teaching with technology, media, etc in a cohort model. Where we create learning communities of faculty to connect and provide support for each other. so far, it has not been the most successful approach. Perhaps it is a new thing here and as every new thing, people need time to embrace. Perhaps it is the discomfort of the culture shift. We will find out.

Another reading that I enjoyed reading was the Simon’s Watchmakers and the Future of Courseware. It is an interesting approach to the future of OER and to some extend, its current state and possible directions. Here is how I interpreted the post: we truly need to embrace the agile approach to practices in education. Take ADDIE for example. Why evaluate at the last stage? We now have the tools and technologies to run evaluation at all time, whether it is student success, learners retention, monitor and prediction models. We can real-time extract any date rel
rated to the teaching or the learning process. So a transformation of frameworks is indeed a must in order to have a successful product or achieve successful learning.

The question of OER is complex. It is complex and simple on the hand as well. And I say simple, because in my mind, it is inevitable for OER to pick up speed and overtake at some point. It is just the path to be taken. It is a highly collaborative process: you need subject matter experts, developers, designers at the minimum. I have worked with many faculties and recently, we attempted at developing an online course entirely from OER. We worked with the instructor probably for over 300 hours in a course of a year. For the same course in another section, another faculty devoted 10 hours at incorporating Pearson’s publisher materials into their online course. A few clicks, and there it is: the ebook, the assessments, the assignments. That was it. Both faculty were from the same department, paid the exact same rate for teaching an online course, none for development. So the way I identify the problem is too sided: institutions need to promote at least the use of OER and second, we need to cultivate a little more passion. Why is there always budget for renovating a learning space with computers and printers ti print assignmnets. Why do we keep investing in physical space and technology that will be in a storage facility 3 semesters from now on? Instead of investing in people?

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