FLOSSCom workshop on Monday

October 29, 2007


Andreas at FLOSSCom

Originally uploaded by openlearn2007
I am sitting in the FLOSSCom workshop attached to the OpenLearn2007 conference. This workshop has been set up by Andreas Meiszner as a look at the links between open source and open educational resources. He has had to face the challenge of running a workshop as people arrive but as I join in he has kicked off a fascinating discussion about the way in which educational content can be released to the world. The big names MIT, CMU, OU were challenged to get together and seed the start of a gathering of shared content. Research at Rice Connexions looked at the way people worked, 250 people were studied and was able to see that self sustaining groups were being formed with different roles in place. This gives a hint that open source style production of materials might work. Andreas pointed at http://www.physicsforums.com as a highly active community – that included use of OpenLearn.

Quality is of course an issue but the solution could lie in the use of user rating tools. Candace Thille suggested that feedback against whether outcomes were achieved would be the best way to judge. But the mechanism to actually set up the feedback loop in Open Education is too difficult to set up. If thousands of people go through a course and achieve (or not) outcomes then we know if it works. Jonathan Darby made the point that the learners are driven by assignments and are happy to use wikipedia most of the time. However this might change in the open world.

Kim Tucker’s view was that the world is very wide and tends to apply a utility judgement. Maybe the academic world needs to outline the steps involve but expect different routes along the way – and then expect the good resources to surface towards the top. Andreas suspects that the layer of people who fall between the core developers and passive users is missing. This can be questioned but his view is that this layer provides all the help. Candace gave an example about how the need for feedback between those suggesting exercises and the experts needs good communication to be sure that they are reliable. This moved on to interesting discussion which is how people are motivated by accreditation or to gain knowledge.

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One Response to “FLOSSCom workshop on Monday”

  1. simonfj Says:

    thanks patrick,

    for both this ànd the papers. Perhaps next year msg will have grown some much longer legs. All the best.


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