Dimensions of Openness, #OER17 and an old podcast episode

tl;dr: I tried to pin down some thoughts from a podcast we recorded a while back and slipped into a comparison of OpenEd scenes in Germany and the rest of the world, especially the UK and the US. I then pulled myself together and even managed to link to my own work that I presented at #OER16

In the middle of December 2015 Markus Deimann and I invited Martina Emke as a guest to our podcast (we record the Podcast in German as it is our native language). While Markus and I usually just ramble on about what has been happening in between recordings (a theme we copied pretty much from the early concept of the mostly fabulous TIDEPodcast), we aimed to focus the discussion a bit this time. At the bottom of this page, I embedded the podcast recording.

At the time of the recording, the OER17 conference committee were still reviewing the submissions and it became pretty clear that this will be an inspiring conference which will send its delegates home with new perspectives, ideas and experiences on everything open in education. After last year’s OER16 which was themed around Open Culture, OER17 now tackles important questions around the Politics of Open. As many have noted before me, a theme that could not come with better timing.

Also, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research had just launched a program aiming to foster and facilitate production and use of OER in the German educational landscape. In short, a project called OERInfo is supposed to make OER in Germany more visible to educators and other stakeholders while a decentralised effort to qualify educators is undertaken within educational institutions. Leuphana University, where I am employed, is part of a joint project with two other German universities that combines an approach of Service Learning with the use of OER. This program by the ministry is very much focused on content as well as training of staff. More far-reaching concepts like pedagogy, connectedness, a shift of dynamics in the teacher-student relationship or learning in networks find only little, if any mention in this program. I think you can safely say that most experts and initiatives in Germany are content-driven, while also considering licensing and infrastructure to host and disseminate the content. Continue reading →

Where would you start?

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Newcastle Libraries

tl;dr: I started to curate a list of topics, trends, literature, people and conferences related to open education, open learning and teaching, connected learning and many more. Take a look here and please do add readings, comments and links. Thank you!

Over the last years, co-workers and colleagues have frequently asked me something similar to this: “I’d like to read up on the recent developments in open education. Which resource can you point me to as a starting point? Which blog or text, which author or publication is most valuable to you? Where should I start if I wanted to dive into connected learning (depending on the context, replace with: open learning, digital pedagogy, open teaching, online teaching, personalization of online learning…)?”

Depending on who asks and on their context, but also depending on the amount of time on my hands, my answer can turn out quite differently. I usually come up with 2-3 references for someone to start with – depending on their background, their assumed expertise and interests or regarding their specific question. Of course, these recommendations are biased by what I have read and what I care about on that particular day and, even if I tried, it would never be an exhaustive list or overview. It would not even come close to doing this question justice. Now, most recently, I was not only asked for some recommendations on the fly, but for an exhaustive list of publications, authors, conferences and the like. And while I still certainly have not reached the status of an expert in any of these fields, I wonder what would have happened if someone I trust had provided me with a list of resources and people she admired when I started out in online learning and open education four years ago. Continue reading →