Tag Archives: #oer

Will Open Ed “Unbundle Education”?

Unbundling Education, A Simple Framework | M. P. STATON.

Found this interesting infographic via Adam Menter…the open education model has a big hand in the unbundling, I believe.

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Posted by on February 13, 2012 in miscellaneous


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Open Education Week is coming – March 5-10. Here are some ways you can join in the community!

Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources

With recent announcements and events happening this week and over the next few months, 2012 is shaping up to be an interesting OER year.  CCCOER Staff and board members will be involved in the following efforts and we invite you to join us.Open Education Week

Open Education Week March 5-10

March 5-10, 2012 has been named Open Education Week and is devoted to creating awareness of open education and its benefits worldwide.  Please consider contributing a short video, handouts, highlighting your college’s open educational projects.  Submit your participation or email us at openeducationwk@gmail.comby Jan. 31st.

Apple eBook Counter-Revolution

I’m sure no one missed the Apple announcement last Thursday and it has been a disappointment for many of us in the OER community.   Although Apple is offering its iBook Authoring tool for free, the output format is proprietary and content offered through the iBook 2 store will be subject to…

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Posted by on January 28, 2012 in miscellaneous


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Live Blogging – David Wiley’s #OCL2 keynote

In medieval days – university classes consisted of students handwriting out the copies of the text from slowly lectured texts.

The printing press was a huge disruptive technology. University educators with “lecture books” where students still had to copy the same lecture-notes .  Not much has changed since then in teaching.  The disruptive technology of books didn’t change school.  Why do we think computers will?

Why Be Open?

The technical argument:

Education is sharing.  Students share with teachers (projects and homework) and teachers share with students (content and ideas).  When there is no sharing, there is no education.

Knowledge is magical:

You give knowledge without giving anything away.  When items are put in a tangible form, I know longer have it in my possession and have to compete for access…the exception is when ideas are stored digitally. Example: paper newspaper vs – users don’t have to compete for the resource when it is digital. We have an unprecendented capacity to share digitally. The cost of sharing one $250 page book from $1000 copied by hand to $.000084 for a digital share.  Distribution of digital sharing follows the same pattern.

Sense-making, Meaning-making:

Educationally sharing digital content is about helping users connect with prior knowledge and is “local”. Having the ability to edit or adapt material to help with the sense-making is vital and necessary.  Copyright prohibits this despite the Internet’s ability to help it.  Creative Commons, on the other hand, enforces sharing. What the Internet enables – OER allows.

Buy One, Get One:

You don’t always get one when you buy one – for instance, the public investment in research at universities. $2750 per article with all costs included – yet the public doesn’t have free access to these peer-reviewed articles. All taxpayer-funded educational resources SHOULD be OER.

Financial Argument:

Wiley debunks the theory that if you give it away for free, people stop buying.  Shows examples of students registering for courses after using OER, correlations between free online book sales with strong print sales, and for-profit business being successful using CC licensed textbooks (Flat World Knowledge).

Flat World Knowledge model – use online for free or pay approximately $35 for a print-on-demand text.  Students have saved approximately $39 million.

Project Kaleidoscope – 10 high enrolled courses on 8 campuses – sharing adopted OER texts targeted at specific courses.  97% students rate the text about the same or better.%83 like the format as well or better than traditional texts. 87% would choose or have no preference on their next courses based on the availability of these types of texts.

CK12 – teachers adapt CK12 materials for K-12 in a printed version. The model shows how high schools can pay $5 instead of $80 for textbooks. Expensive books are slow to turn over – content becomes dated over the 7 year adoption cycle.  The $5 model allows students to consume the text, and interact with it, because the schools will revise and reprint the next year. There has been no significant difference using these texts without providing professional development in using this technology – (the cost reduction is significant though!).

Utah takes the lead – Statewide secondary schools will be using open texts starting in 2012.

Openness facilitates the Unexpected


Syllabi in a wiki.  Students can change it if they want.  No one touched the wiki (even with permission) at first.  Later, they added assignments – things they wanted to see.

Student work archived on blogs (making optional avoids FERPA). This work becomes searchable artifacts for others outside the course. These pieces get connected to the greater web for comment, sharing, and motivate students to up their game. The work becomes part of the student’s online identity and so they take the time for more quality work.

Open the course online for non-registered students to participate. 75 people participated with 7 graduate students.  The global audience made it richer.  The partipants got a certificate from David with a “good job” on it. See Chronicle article.

Use of badges for grades on courses created using a MORP type format.


Easier to use data to fix courses.  There is a relationship between openness and analytics.  Requires permissions to be able to make those fixes.

Speed of Innovation:

Content IS the infrastructure. ‘The physical components of interrelated systems…essential to enable, sustain, or enhance’ societies and enterprises. – wikipedia.  To speed up innovation, increase quality and decrease the cost of the infrastructure. Lower cost and higher quality decreases the risk of innovation.

Do the Right Thing – the moral argument:

If we can push a button that betters the world, wouldn’t you? Shouldn’t you?  Putting materials online with open license is “pusing the easy button” for educational sharing. What is the responsibilities inherent with that. What kind of obligation do we have to push that button since we have the ability to do it?

“The good we can do is constrained only our creativity and commitment.”


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Critical Thinking with Digital Media is EASy

Since the beginning of formal education, instructors the world over have struggled with how to get their students to dig deeper, reach farther, and push themselves beyond mere adequacy. Teachers, too, are pushed to challenge ourselves to be more than just average, to do more than just accept the status quo. We instructors are to become active, daily, practitioners of critical thought. We must regularly model for our students what it is to reflectively examine, critically assess, and effectively improve the way we live (, 2008). Benjamin Bloom, by designing his model of Cognitive Learning (Bloom, 1956) helped 20th century instructors make better intentional choices in directing their learners toward this higher level thinking. But the world has changed quite dramatically since the mid 1950s, and its high time we teachers take a fresh look at the way we approach critical thinking with our students. In the 21st century, using digital media is the key to making critical thinking EASy in the on or offline classroom no matter the grade level.

Background of Bloom’s Taxonomy of Cognitive Thinking

In order to better understand the EASy Taxonomy, it is helpful to do a quick refresher on Bloom’s Taxonomy in case you don’t have your Intro to Educational Learning Theories textbook handy. Here’s how my co-author Dr. Lehmann and I explained it in our book Making the Move the eLearning: Putting your Course Online (2009):

Teachers are often taught to incorporate critical thinking in the design of lessons, tests, and discussion questions by applying Bloom’s Taxonomy (Bloom, 1956). According to the taxonomy, learning activities start with low-level thinking at the base of Bloom’s Pyramid of Cognitive Learning and work their way toward the highest point to help demonstrate students thinking at the highest cognitive levels.

In developing the EASy Taxonomy, there is an acknowledgement that the upper level of Bloom’s pyramid, especially evaluation, has come to represent testing. This is as much a by-product of our assessment-driven mandates like No Child Left Behind as it is the misuse of Bloom’s, which was never meant to be used in such a linear fashion as it is employed most often these days. Even Dr. Lorin Anderson, a former student of Bloom’s and now a distinguished professor of education at the University of South Carolina saw the need for a change in the way Bloom’s Taxonomy had been utilized. In partnership with Dr. David Krathwhol, a Bloom’s researcher, Anderson set about revising the taxonomy to better meet today’s educational environment. Interestingly enough, Anderson and Krathwhol (2001) also shifted synthesis, now renamed “creating,” to the top of the pyramid” (p.72-73).

According to Benjamin Bloom (1956), the lowest level of learning in the cognitive domain is referred to as knowledge (i.e., label, list). Moving up the pyramid, the next level of thinking is comprehension (i.e., restate, paraphrase); followed by application (i.e., apply, solve); analysis (i.e., classify, infer); then synthesis (i.e., construct, design); and finally evaluation (i.e., critique, persuade, often interpreted as test or assessment these days), which Bloom suggests is the highest order of critical thinking behaviors.

Bloom’s Taxonomy as an OER

One of the great aspects of Open Education Resources is the idea that the resources are meant to be reused, remixed, and repurposed. In our course (and our book), Dr. Lehmann and I do just that with Bloom’s Taxonomy. We treat it like an OER. We remix and repurpose the three higher order thinking skills of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.

Bloom’s Becomes EASy with Digital Media

When digital media is introduced in the classroom (and by digital media I mean all things digital that can be shared in some way), the top level of Bloom’s pyramid, Evaluation( in the sense of a test), somehow seems to be a very low bar for students to achieve. When students have the ability to interact with others halfway around the world on a global-scale project, asking them to recall the three main exports of Chile on an end-of-unit exam is not making the best use of educational resources or the students’ cognitive ones. (No offense intended to Chilean exporters, I am sure they are very nice people).

With the EASy Taxonomy, the term evaluation is remixed to become the verb evaluate and is repurposed to ask students to use the descriptors investigate and explore as in “evaluate what data is available for a particular topic”. For students to evaluate the EASy way, they need to learn search skills, be open to exploring topics in non-linear paths (outside-of-the-box thinking), and they will be more efficient if they know (or discover) how to use the digital tools of tagging, and RSS feeds. With this knowledge students can bring the information to the themselves, rather than chasing after it (Dr. Michael Wesch’s video explains this best ).

As with all taxonomies, it helps to understand EASy better if you have a graphic aid to tie the concept together. The starting place for EASy is the basic knowledge base the student begins with from the lesson’s introduction and background activities. This may be any scaffolded activities from readings to direct instruction by the classroom teacher.


The student then evaluates what data is available (both digital and non-digital) and adds the results to his/her knowledge base.

EASy Evaluate


The next step in the EASy Taxonomy is to take Bloom’s Analysis stage and remix it into the verb analyze. To analyze in EASy means for the student to choose and apply a set of decision filters in order to make informed choices from among the gathered data. This stage may vary a bit depending on the sociocultural experiences of each student. Teachers can challenge students as to how they are determining the validity of their sources, how they are defining experts from average Joes (especially in emerging fields), and how they discern quality from among all the noise on the Internet. Certainly, state and district guidelines could dictate this information for the students, but if we want critical thinkers, we have to give them opportunities to wrestle with ideas like these and define the answers for themselves. Besides, more often than not, due to the ever-evolving nature of technology, the validity of a resource is completely dependent upon how it is utilized at that moment (Lankshear & Knobel, 2005).

In the graphic, the analyze stage is represented by showing only some of the incoming data being selected.


EASy Analyze


The final step in the EASy Taxonomy is to have students add their voice to the collective digital learning consciousness. They do this through collaborating. Students can collaborate statically, which means Johnny interacts only with fixed-state information he has chosen when he analyzed the data. Then Johnny synthesizes that data together with his own ideas to make a new product.

Or, students can collaborate dynamically, which means Eva uses social networking tools to collaborate with other students, who along with all their analyzed data, create a new product. It is dynamic synthesizing because the continued influence of many collaborative voices makes this process fluid and subject to many changes before the final product emerges.

Either way, the final new product must add a new voice to the collective conversation surrounding the topic in some incremental way, not just mimic the old voices that have come before. This is not just regurgitation of old ideas; it is the creation of new ones. The idea here is to get students to realize that by standing on the shoulders of other learned individuals who came before them, the students can go even further.

To represent this part of the process, the filtered data advances in a different direction as a new product. It then, in turn, becomes the new knowledge base for the next learner who searches for the topic.

EASy Synthesize


Bloom’s Taxonomy made it too easy for teachers to lean on the crutch of standardized or prepackaged assessments and think they are encouraging critical thinking.� Occasionally, we teachers have even assigned other types of assessments, like essays, under the guise we are utilizing Bloom’s highest level of cognition. But we aren’t really looking for new products when we do this; we are looking for students to repackage someone else’s ideas in the students’ own words (i.e. Show me you understood what Harper Lee meant when she wrote, “She seemed glad to see me when I appeared in the kitchen, and by watching her I began to think there was some skill involved in being a girl” (TKAM� Chapter 12).

In my years as an American Lit teacher, I was certainly guilty of this kind of assignment. I was comfortable that my students would prove to me through this essay whether they understood the chapter or not.� But I’ll be honest, I knew deep down this wasn’t a demonstration of true learning in the best sense of the word. At least not in the way I’ve come to believe learning should be defined now.Not in the educhaos, ZPD, transformative, rock-their-foundations-to-the-core kind of way. It was just a fancy re-gifting of someone else’s ideas. Like Chris Dede (2006) says, my students were “putting old wine in new bottles” (p. 1).

Not anymore.

EASy isn’t quick.EASy isn’t a shortcut for teaching or learning.� But with EASy-based lessons, students are engaged, motivated, and in the zone.



Is your teaching EASy?

If you use social networking and digital media in the EASy way described in this post, leave me a comment or tweet me. I’d like to link to your class projects and show case them on my site!

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Posted by on December 12, 2009 in Teaching Online


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My Top Tools for 2009

The Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies is compiling its annual list of Top 100 Tools based on the recommendations of tools from hundreds of eLearning professionals.  Below is my submitted Top 10 list.

  1. Twitter – This tool has revolutionized the way I communicate, disseminate, and collaborate – simply great!
  2. WordPress – The power of the blog continues to amaze me in its reach and connectivity.
  3. Blackberry Cell Phone – It is my mini “go anywhere” computer now…(includes apps for Social Media, email, Course Management Systems, and blogging).
  4. – Social Bookmarking (plus it goes with me no matter what computer I am using).
  5. Windows “Snipping Tool” – great little utility for screen shots.
  6. Firefox – Avoiding the blue screen of death.  Firefox performs as described.
  7. Word – Still my “go to” wordprocessing program.
  8. Outlook – Email, calendar, and RSS reader keeps me organized.
  9. OER Commons – Best interface for Open Ed resources
  10. Creative Commons Licensing – makes OER possible

The Top 100 List for 2009 will be listed here, soon after November 15th.

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Posted by on November 8, 2009 in The Plan


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Open Textbooks – A la Carte or Seven Course Meal?

I posted the paragraphs below on my blog page on the Community College Open Textbook Project Ning. Until then, I didn’t think my understanding of how to use Open Textbooks (depending on their licensing) was outside the norm.  To explain,  I look at the Open Textbook like an a la carte menu, where I can just order what I want and leave the rest for some other patron.  In my mind, closed (and print) textbooks are more like seven course meals with a menu decided for you.  Take the whole meal or none of it.

Since OERs generally come in bite-size modules, I assumed Open Textbooks came with the same kinds of options of utilizing  a single chapter here or module there.  But Judy Baker‘s reply (listed in blue following my post below) got me thinking maybe my vision of Open Textbooks is way off base from the intent of the Open Textbook movement.

My Ning post: I teach pre-college English composition online. My students are not English majors and it is doubtful that they will ever be interested in becoming the next Hemingway or even the next Stephen King. They just want to pass the minimum English requirements necessary for their particular certificate or degree program. In their eyes, everything else is busy work.

When I think about Open Textbooks and the ability to remix, reuse, and repurpose – this is where I get a little excited. Creative Commons licensing means I can pull a chapter here and a section there – cobbling together just what my students need. Instead of a tome meant to create future Nobel Laureates in literature, I can build an online composition guide meant to help future auto mechanics, nurses, turf managers, and cosmetologists be able to communicate in writing in a clear and concise way in eleven weeks.

Once I create it, others can use it, too. Or improve upon it. Or remix it.

Toni Morrison once wrote, “If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” Open textbooks are kind of like that. If there’s a book you really need for a class, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must create it. (And, of course, put a Creative Commons license on it so others can use it, too).

Judy Baker’s response: Well put! You put a whole other spin on this that I haven’t considered. Thank you!

Help me out readers – do I have a good grasp of the Open Textbook concept – or have I missed the forest for all the trees we’ll be saving by going digital?


Posted by on November 4, 2009 in The Plan


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My First “Official” Open Ed Resource

I am in the middle of teaching three online courses, taking George Siemen’s Introduction:Emerging Technologies -Africa open course for my Open PhD studies, making tons of Twitter connections with fellow like-mined educators, and staying in a 5th wheel trailer for two weeks on my sister’s property in Eastern Washington state while I visit my relatives on this side of the country.  What’s a girl to do in her spare time?

Write up a post about a teaching resource for using digital media and social networking to promote critical thinking in the on or off line classroom, of course.

I’ve had the article rolling around in my head for a while now.  I posted it to my other blog site that I use for sharing resources and reflections with other online educators.  You can find that post here.  Nothing really new in my doing that.

The “aha!” moment came when I realized what was significant about this practice.  I’ve been  intentionally creating and posting educational resources to be shared…openly…freely…use them at your own discretion.


I’ve been a part of this movement for sometime now, and I didn’t even know it?


With this particular post, however, I officially slapped a Creative Commons attribution, non-commercial, share alike license on the post just to make sure my readers knew they could play with my toys in their own sandbox.

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Posted by on October 17, 2009 in The Plan


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