Found this interesting infographic via Adam Menter…the open education model has a big hand in the unbundling, I believe.
Tag Archives: Open education
I have been participating in George Siemen’s Introduction to Emerging Technologies – Africa open course. Recently we were asked to create a model to describe our PLE (Personal Learning Environment).† I began first with trying to define just what the PLE is – are we talking about the true meaning of the word “environment” (like what spaces/sites we use) or are we meaning a more generalized term (i.e. the place and all it encompasses)? The terms PLE/PLN/PLC and CoP are batted around online quite often, yet I am not sure anyone has clearly(or cleanly) defined them. Even those who may have coined the terms will find they’ve been adopted and adapted by the blogosphere to fit the post of the moment.
So for now, I am going to go with the definitions listed below until I find better definitions to replace these working ones.† (Comments welcome to correct my misconceptions).
- CoP (Community of Practice): A group of learners interested in the same topic who share their learning with each other to deepen the learning for the group – no electricity required.
- PLE (Personal Learning Environment): The structure of the PLN – the digital framework where learning takes place – tools & sites. A component of the PLN.
- PLC (Personal Learning Community): The human factor . A component of the PLN.
- PLN (Personal Learning Network): The people plus the digital framework that connects them.
With the above definitions in mind, I set about creating my model. I thought about building a diagram or flowchart as many of our examples showed, but frankly, I am just too right brained for that to really work for me. Instead, I worked from the metaphor of the environment. The idea of the personal learning environment is to make use of the technology around us to connect us to others to extend all of our learning – to keep us from being isolated as learners.¬ That led me to the thought that no learner should be an island.† And that led me to my model:
If you made a model to describe your PLE, what would it look like?
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.
Dr. Kay will be blogging on OpenPhD throughout this experiment in the role as one of my “PhD” advisors.¬† Look for her posts with Dr. Kay in the title and under the category of Advising.
When I first had this idea of an Open PhD, I really thought the difficult part would start when I started cracking the books (or the pixels, as it may be).¬† Instead, I have encountered Hurdle #1 at the very start – though I suppose in any good race, that’s exactly where you expect the first hurdle to be, right?
Over the last few days, in between prepping for a course I teach that started on Sept 24th, I cross-referenced my comparison schools and comparison degrees, trying to sort out exactly what kind of coursework I really needed, from what kind of course work some of the schools added in to justify their online existence.¬† I then cross referenced these titles against various local universities’ face-to-face PhD offerings just to make sure I was in the ball park.
Once I created my proposed course program, I ran it by my virtual advisor looking for holes.¬† We allowed for my background in education and distance learning to be “transferred in” (my Masters is in curriculum and instruction with a technology integration emphasis), so we focused forward from there.¬† We came up with this list for my Open PhD program. Obviously, I couldn’t use any particular university’s course title, so I left it more descriptive to make sure I could find the right subject matter.¬† Creating the ideal program on paper was the easy part.
The traditional scholar, like the scholarship he or she produces, isn’t open–open-minded, hopefully, but not “open” in a public way. No, a typical scholar is very exclusive, available only to students in specific academic programs or through toll-access scholarly publications that are essentially unavailable to all but the most privileged. In the digital age, the traditional barriers to accessing scholars or scholarship are unnecessary, but persist for institutional reasons. To put that another way, institutions of higher education are invested in keeping their scholars and those scholars’ intellectual products limited and cloistered.
Is that the school protecting the intellectual property of it’s scholars, or the intellectual property and its associated dollars? In other words, does it come down to just plain economics for the institution?¬† With hundreds, if not thousands, of incoming freshman required to take Bio 101, for instance, is XYZ University really sacrificing anything if they post a three year old video version of one instructor’s lectures and some handouts online?¬† However, as the enrollment numbers for courses get smaller when the course number nears the graduate level, the economic impact of making that coursework freely available may cause the school to think twice.¬† I am curious what the research shows. I don’t know yet, but, anecdotally, I do know there are proportionally many less graduate courses available as Open Courseware than undergraduate ones.
Your thoughts as to why?
One reader posted this comment and I thought it was an interesting way to suggest the conferring of¬† “credentials”¬† for an Open PhD (I’ve reposted it along with my reply for your scrolling convenience):
This is a very nice initiative. I am sure it you are going to inspire many people who have thought of doing a PhD, but lacked the resources.
As for credentials, I wonder if they can be crowdsourced. What if you maintain a blog and wiki as you make progress in the PhD. Some sort of rating system (and comments) on the blog posts, maybe podcasts of what would traditionally be presentations, and a real project which is visible to everyone on the Internet, may all accumulate towards crowdcourced credentials. It may not be conferred by a university but it will be conferred by the ‚Äúwise crowd‚ÄĚ
This is precisely where I was going with my idea – I am hoping to shape and refine it over time with helpful suggestions from those already in possession of the knowledge I seek.¬† I’m sure there are plenty of things I haven’t yet considered, and plenty of naysayers who feel doctoral study/research can only be done in its traditional box.¬† I just don’t happen to be one of them.¬† As for what my final specific research will be…who knows?¬† Do traditional brick and mortar students know what their PhD dissertation research will be as soon as they earn their masters – especially in the education field?¬† I highly doubt it.¬† I came up through the public school teaching ranks and moved into higher education as an adjunct.¬† I completed my M.Ed in 1994.¬† This 2009.¬† What I was passionate about researching in the mid 90s would probably make me chuckle with my knowledge base and hard-won experience now.¬† I have a lot of interests in the area of educational technology – I will whittle my interests down to a very specific area of research and a good research question with the help of my committee of (how many readers will I have by that time??? – lol) as this project develops and the program takes shape.¬† In the meantime – look at the background material I am gathering and learning from already: open education, open courseware availability, advanced Twitter skills (archiving here I come) , and the fact that this topic is definitely touching a nerve in the edusphere if my blog stats are to be believed.¬† But in a general sense – I know my area of inquiry already – can this be done?
As a writer, I do know we write from what we know.¬† And I know this.¬† The gap between those who can afford college easily and those who cannot is real.¬† It has little to do with intelligence, initiative, gpa, or the student’s neighborhood school.¬† I want my PhD.¬† But I am 43.¬† I have two kids and a stepson in college right now.¬† I am place-bound by my husband’s job as a contractor with the military.¬† Does that mean I am less interested in my academic career? No.¬† It means I have a real life that I am bound to support along side my academic one.¬† They are equally important to me.
I do have one luxury.¬† My academic career has evolved to an online one.¬† Now, so has my education.¬† It is no longer place-bound or even institutionally-bound.¬† And finally, due to this flash of an idea, the last educational hurdle will not be financially-bound any longer either.
The first step in figuring out my Open Ph.D. program seems like it needs to be figuring out how many courses (can’t say credits, now can I?) to take, and what topics they should cover.¬† I did a quick check at some of the more well-known, accredited online universities offering Ph.D.’s in Educational Technology and here’s what I found:
- Walden – 87 Semester credits (130 quarter credits) – residency requirement
- Capella – 80 Semester credits (120 quarter credits)- residency requirement
- Northcentral University – 51 Semester credits (76.5 quarter credits)- no residency requirement
- University of Phoenix – 59 Semester credits(89 quarter credits) – residency requirement
Most of the courses averaged 3 semester credits/5 quarter credits, with the occasional seminar offered as a 1 or 2 credit course.¬† Doing a little basic math, I work that out to mean I should find 20 open courses of the 3 semester credit variety (60 credits) , 4 courses worth 2 semester credits (8 credits), and 2 courses worth 1 semester credit each (2 credits).¬† That will equal 70 semester credits which is roughly the average between the four schools listed above.
So far, so good.
The next step is to look at the individual classes within all these programs . What courses do they have in common? And will I be able to find them in the world of open courseware?¬† The first question I will worry about now – the second I will worry about as this project progresses.
I created a chart that includes all of the classes in the PhD programs listed above for the Educational Technology specialization.¬† You can find that chart page here or by clicking the words Course Chart in the upper right hand corner of this blog.
I need a couple of days to digest it all – and then I should be able to start formulating my program and looking for courses throughout the open education “edusphere”.
As always, comments and suggestions are welcome.