Lion waiting for lunch

We’re going on an OER hunt, an OER hunt, an OER hunt.

And I’m not scared…

On my way to writing this blogpost I tried to pin down some of the other existing guides to OER to save time – sadly my go to guides are now somewhat dated and don’t suit the context. Hmm so here’s the post. – Contrary to my normal cautious CC BY NC SA license this post is available under CC:BY on the off chance you want to take and remix it – resources referred to are of course available under whatever license they have chosen.

This is also the place where I’ll add any guides I am aware of or that get added to comments [any post like this is inevitably and instantly incomplete and outdated but I need a point of reference].

Lion waiting for lunch

Lion waiting for lunch By Peter Harrison CC:BY From http://www.flickr.com/photos/devcentre/327960789/

The tweet that kicked it off was from Tanya Joosten and UW-M has pulled together some resources already:

What sort of thing are you looking for?

As with any literature search, figuring out your scope (or initial scope) is a good starting point. Figure out what type of thing you’re looking for, what you want to do with it and who your audience is. Where are you in the process? are you looking for illustrations, inspiration, syllabi, a textbook, a someone else’s lecture to use in flipping your class, or a whole course on a topic that you can build on or use to supplement another course.

Remember that small pieces let you build stuff into your existing structure but big pieces may be able to be used in small pieces (if you can get at them in a file format that permits it).

License

Before you start consider what you’re doing to do with the stuff you’re looking for – is this going to be public? under what conditions are you using this or making it available?
There’s a whole lot of questions you have to think through but at it’s simplest – your choice of license (or lack thereof) on your work impacts what you can do with the content you find. Remember that you can cite or link to content with any license (so you can get your students to refer to all rights reserved materials) – the caveat here is that if you link to materials which require users to accept particular Terms of Service you (from an ethical point of view) should ensure that you’re not asking your students to break those Terms of Service…

Don’t forget that much US government content is released under a public domain license – for example imagery from USGS or NASA.

General overview

Finding stuff…

Images

  • Flickr – advanced search has Creative Commons license filters which may let you find images to use in your educational materials; However, it can be hard to find specific curated collections of educational materials such as Core-Materials unless you find out about them through other means. [Update it also seems that Flickr may be making license related searching less obvious]
  • Wellcome Trust – Recently released much of their image collection (medical, history of medicine, illustrated MS) under an open license [tbh the interface is a bit grim, but worth it].
  • Getty – has a growing Open Content Image collection
  • Nasa – eg image gallery 
  • USGS – eg publications

Video

Youtube and Vimeo both allow you to search by Creative Commons license. However, it also can be hard to find unknown specific curated collections of educational materials.

Presentations, lecture slides, and related materials

Slideshare can be a great resource but doesn’t appear to easily offer a way to restrict a search to a specific license. You’re much more likely to find useful stuff through known people and links from conferences. You can develop a network of sources and find stuff as people upload but you’re, perhaps, more likely to be sent here from a link.

Courses

Finding a whole course which is relevant to what you’re doing can be overwhelming but can also be a useful way to find relevant component materials, to see how someone else engages with teaching/ facilitating the same topic, to offer student alternate perspectives, or perhaps to try a distributed flip.

Some places to look

EdX, Futurelearn, other Moocs, and iTunesU – these sources are often not particularly open wrt to licensing the content is often freely available to use and might suit you purpose even if it’s not remix-able or republish-able. It is worth remembering though that some of these platforms are license neutral – you can put (and find) open content on iTunesU or in Futurelearn.

Repositories

(usually in HE)
These can be nationally focused (e.g. Jorum) , subject focused (e.g. LORO or Humbox ), institutionally focused (typically contain research papers, may contain data set, some also include educational materials).

Textbooks

There a lot of great resources out there

There are also a number of sites offering low cost textbooks which might be of use.

Aggregators

In an ideal world this would be the start and end point for any discovery process but it’s not (even if we include Google) and to be honest there are challenges or things to be aware of with all of these tools.

Quality

There’s a lot to say but for example see the Infokit:
the quality of OER should be assessed like any other resource but particular attention may be needed with respect to the freshness and currency of health related OER.

Phone a friend

Your professional network is a great source of content or leads to find those priceless bucket of curated stuff.

line drawing of balance scales

The licensing balance: Dr Chuck and MIT OCW

line drawing of balance scales

Like many (well many in the educational technology world anyway) I saw Chuck Severance’s blog post yesterday about deciding to stop using Creative Commons licensing for high value stuff and to reissue his content with All Rights Reserved. I found the post sad but understandable.

With an Open license you give up some/ most control over how your content is used- this is a choice and for most a balance between positive and negative effects. The choice can be determined, by political, moral, ethical, or contractual obligations or inclinations. Once something is out under an open license you have given up some control and it may be used in ways that you can’t imagine. These might be fantastic or they might be unfortunate. For Dr Severance the balance tipped and and the spammed misuse of his content prompted a change in stance on CC licenses.

Today I saw a news article from MIT about an MITx student, Amol Bhave, who took an MITx course. He wanted to take the next course but MITx wasn’t yet offering the subsequent course, so Amol created the next course from the corresponding CC-licensed MIT OCW material and ran his own follow up MOOC. An action the original professor, MIT OCW, and possibly MIT all seem to be happy enough about.

It would be possible to discuss the issue Dr Chuck is not rejecting open licenses per se but just CC licenses; but (as far as I know) for content and content discovery tools anything other than CC is a waking nightmare to deal with and kills the type of web-based advanced search that lets you find open content (my understanding of this may be rusty but, last time I checked, for content aggregators CC or PD is pretty much the only game in town).

Now, it would be easy to compare these stories and say look at the good open licenses can do, but for me these examples create part of a balanced picture. To opt into open licensing, you have to weigh things up and keep weighing them up. At the risk of preempting and paraphrasing an unfinished article (ok I’ve been sitting on it for two years now, so I’m not going to let that stop me), there are at least two steps in using open licensing:

  • Step one is to appreciate the arguments for open
  • Step two is to weigh the balance and choose

Step one may well be a transformational shift in your understanding but step two is an ongoing process. To pretend otherwise changes the discussion of the appropriateness of an ‘Open license’ from a reasoned choice to an ideology. Even if Open is a valid ideological choice, and for many people it is, turning discussions about licensing into religious wars doesn’t help anyone, in particular those trying to find,  use, and share content. Licenses are a necessary means, making them an end in themselves is a problem.*

Spammers have made the balance change for Dr Severance so that the CC license doesn’t seem like a good fit any more – it hasn’t changed his desire to share and provide access to his stuff.

*Yes one can ignore or reject the whole system of IPR, but legal peril aside, it’s the system most of us work under, even if it is increasingly crazy. As a related aside, I think there are significant differences between an organization’s use of an open license and an individual’s – especially if public monies are involved (but that’s veering towards a different discussion).

[updated for clarity]

Wordle of my tweets from et4online

et4online afterthoughts

I had the privilege of spending last week at the Sloan C and Merlot Emerging Technologies for Online Learning conference (et4online). I wrote a little about it in advance and wanted to take note of some of what I saw, heard, and was provoked and stimulated by while it was still fresh. As predicted in my pre-conference post, my conference was all about open, MOOCs, accessibility, and ePortfolios.

I tweeted throughout much of the conference and my tweets are over on Storify. The wordle has mostly picked up the sessions, but it’s still interesting as one view of my et4online.

Wordle of my tweets from et4online

et4online Wordle

Keynotes

There were four plenaries /keynotes at the conferences. Steve Wheeler, George Veletsianos, James Byers, and a panel of Ed Tech start-ups.

  • Steve Wheeler’s is freely available to view on the Sloan site,
  • George Veletsianos’ slides are on Slideshare,
  • WikiSpaces (I can’t find a public version as yet)
  • Launchpad panel

I enjoyed them all for different reasons but in particular need to admire George Veletsianos for getting us to do group work/ engage in peer learning in a plenary and James Byers for giving us an attention grabbing early morning presentation (7:30…) on how to work with and talk to start ups.

I had a mixed reaction to the panel. It was very well done and kudos to Tony Wan for facilitating. The panel had some moments were the different outlooks and aims shone through. For me I was strongly reminded of my need to go back through the Purpos/ed discussions and continue to think about why we do what we do. I was also struck by the impression that, structurally in the US (cf the UK) a lot of technical innovation seems to have to happen/ only be able to happen outside of institutions and there’s a resultant ‘solutionizing’. There’s been a much bigger discussion of this (for example see Audrey Watters on many things, including her summary of Morosov) that I’m no where near qualified to start into but there’s something culturally different between how I see this playing out here and in Europe that I haven’t figured out yet.

All about MOOCS

If I started going through all the discussion of and presentations about MOOCs I’d be here for longer than you’d care to read. I’ll try to capture some useful fragments. For this context – I’ll set the open/free/commercial discussion aside beyond alluding to Campbell channelling Elliot – ‘”That is not it at all, That is not what I meant, at all” – J. Alfred Prufrock’.

MOOCs, LMSs, and Publishers

Perhaps most importantly there was little distinction between LMS provider and MOOC platform provider. Mike Caulfield said a while back (and restated  https://twitter.com/holden/status/322099389864755201 ).

"I would go even further and say that LMS providers, publishers, and MOOCs are all on a collision course"

@Holden on MOOC, LMS, and publisher collisions

For example, Udacity’s cancelled workshop was replaced by a similar one from Canvas (which by all reports was a glowing success). Going into this further is longer than this conference report but there is an increasing convergence here. Another example can be seen in Ray Schroeder’s great overview presentation.

I’m waiting to see who blinks first and tries to buy the other out and diversify. Given the my impression of their respective reserves I’d guess Publisher buying MOOC, but it’s anyone’s guess and there are also the elephants in the room [Amazappoogle] who could change the playing field with their pocket change.

The expected discussion of MOOC as revolution but some push back and on the ground experience of MOOCs – whatever else they may be- are also a form of online course (and there are some things which as a community we know about what makes for good and bad online pedagogy). I wish I could tie this to a specific quote/ instance but, as far as I recall, it was in fragments of conversation and in passing.

More MOOCS

  • UCI produced a neat 7 tips for MOOCs (http://t.co/ubhux0rPQR I’ll include the image directly if I can get hold of them and get permission), but two snippets of interest were:
    • that starting from an OpenCourseWare base (ie ~most materials IP cleared and lectures taped) it was at least 100 hours of work to get it MOOC ready.
    • their Chancellor is doing a MOOC in the Fall on Music in the Civil Rights movement (lots to unpack but evidence of high level buy-in)
  • American College of Education (MOOC vc LOOC) presentation looked at their experience of running professional development for local K-12 teachers they has done a very small scale (12/ 50% drop in week 1, then 100% complete students I think)  free and for credit  course and then  their preparations for running a larger version of the same course and running a MOOC. Two things of note:
    • they felt able to give credit for the LOOC because they could read and engage with the 6 students (and explicitly said they didn’t feel they could not credit their MOOC)
    • although they explicitly ran this as a research experiment and didn’t specifically draw attention to this, I was interested to note that 2 of the 6 completing students enrolled in graduate programs. As was also seen in UKOER in the MMTV course this may be a significant recruitment/ cost offset  (I’m not suggesting we have nearly enough evidence to ‘prove’ this in any useful way).
  • San Jose State University, Cathryn Cheal shared their experience of  different MOOC models, and their launch (with EdX) of a center for the study of MOOC pedagogy. She also indicated that in their EdX it looks like they’re developing low cost textbooks and charging students for them as part of the course.
  • I really enjoyed Jennifer Berdan’s presentation of an opens systems analysis of OpenCourseWare. I’ll admit it scratched several itches. Even if, I would question the selection of examples in some of the categories (I struggle to regard MOOCs as OpenCourseWare in any form but I’ve a quite limited defintion of OCW), it’s really encouraging to see the field mature enough that this type of analysis is being proposed.

Merlot and Accessibility

Related to the MOOCs were a number of sessions from Merlot and CSU on accessibility and on affordable learning solutions.

  • The affordable learning solutions discussion and tools were great, for example the ability to search for an ISBN and find related free or low cost materials or textbooks. The challenge of this of course is to what extent I can or want to call this ‘open’ and to what extent I should care (but that’s a much bigger discussion for another post about reclaimopen, points of access, and usability that I’m not ready to think through yet) [edit: for clarification, Merlot produces and catalogues a range of resources, some of which are low cost rather rather than openly licensed per se – for some people, this makes their ‘openness’ a matter of debate].
  • I was really happy to see Merlot and partners (CSU, OCWC, NFB) develop their resources around accessibility, more of us need to do this more. I will, however, admit that I’m struggling a little with part of their approach. Let me start by saying I don’t know the answer to this one but am sufficiently uneasy that I want to note it. One of the things they’re doing is to provide a framework for and put effort into detailed accessibility review of resources. This is the sort of thing that instructors or student support services have to do a lot and I can understand and appreciate the desire to share this effort. My two concerns are:
    • that it feels awfully close to early efforts to catalogue the web, this can be done but is it sustainable and scalable? I don’t know and I’m not *yet* convinced this is more useful than just focusing on providing tools to support accessibility review (I may be doing Gerry’s presentation a disservice here).
    • The bigger concern is that the point of access for this content is Merlot. That may seem like an odd comment but repeatedly during the presentations there was a consideration that roughly speaking you can’t find this stuff in Google and Merlot offers rich search. I may be reading them at cross purposes but there’s a problem with that. Even accepting that there is value in rich description (and I’m part librarian so I*want* to accept that even if I’m less sure that the data supports it for general use), my concern is that there’s a directionality there about how this rich description gets accessed. It’s people come to Merlot and search in Merlot. This will be true for a subset of people. My concern is that there wasn’t discussion about how to push the accessibility and other stuff out onto the wider web. Whether in a semantic web highly structured sense or in a LRMI/ Schema.org ‘lightweight’ sense, I worry when services with rich but non specialist data sets assume that people get to there stuff through their interface (but then again I have an love/hate odd relationship with repositories too).

Technical Glitches

My presentation had its issues (embedded video, iPads, assumptions, and old versions) so I’ll be trying to do something else with the videos that failed. I’m not going to critically discuss others presentations without acknowledging the issues with mine. I had a few good discussions afterward but it didn’t go to script. It was interesting, though, that the questions in the session focused on student reflection, sharing, capstones, and portability. Many of these themes crop up in discussion here, but there was a focus on encouraging student reflection in the portfolio as the dominant challenge.

Unconferencing and chat

The bits of the unconference at et4online which I got to were great and kudos to Jen Ross for her facilitation of it. There was lots of great discussion and, oddly enough, the unconference identified for me two of the conference presentations which I had not been to which I have to follow up on “The Effect of Active Learning Spaces on Professors’ Instructional Practices” (Kim Sawers, Raedene Copeland, Nyaradzo Mvududu, Lane Seeley, David Wicks) and D. Christopher Brooks in the same track – he’s not got a presentation posted yet but a few of his articles are listed in the SPU abstract.

Going to a conference at which I only knew a few people it was great to put faces to some of those I’d met online, to meet others, and converse. Thank you to @jar, @amcollier, @laurapasquini, @veletsianos, @dwicksspu, @dcbphd, @karensba, @dmoore1856, Bilal, and many others for letting me join your conversations, for talking about your research and practice, and sharing tables. To those of you who I met online but not face to face it was fun and I hope to coincide again sometime.

How did I find Vegas?

Vegas casino floor with lots of neon

Casino floor

.. glam, glitz, and shiny promise of success and instant wins – I can appreciate the appeal and enjoyed it to a degree, but wonder about the hard work, frustration, exploitation, and systemic brokenness. Vegas might be an interesting rhetorical lens to discuss other issues, and could go in any number of directions but I’ll stick with suggesting that it may be one of many lens that we could learn from.
But that’s an entirely too cynical a place to finish talking about a great conference, so instead I’ll end with the quote Tony Wan kicked off the panel session with:

You cannot buy the Revolution. You cannot make the Revolution. You can only be the Revolution. It is in your spirit or, it is nowhere”

Ursula K. Le Guin, The Dispossessed.

Graphic showing origins of a number of communities involved in open education as a braid

OpenEd 2012 (2/2)

Following on from my general blog post about OpenEd12, there’s lot’s of the conference that I’m not going to comment on – too much time has passed. However, for me at least, there were two presentations that highlighted pivotal issues and which have shaped how I’m thinking back on the year. One from Rory McGreal and Terry Anderson presented on disaggregating the university (audio link, not sure where the slides are) which they followed up with Anderson, T., & McGreal, R. (2012). Disruptive Pedagogies and Technologies in Universities. Educational Technology & Society, 15 (4), 380–389. Though sadly at first glance the paper doesn’t put the question as starkly as “~where is the RyanAir of higher education? or why does education think it can avoid such competition in some areas?). They’re certainly not the only ones talking about this question but it’s heartening to continue to have a more nuanced articulation of models of doing tertiary education differently be considered by two people with their level of experience both in the academy and in the open movement; as gulp-inducing as the presentation and implicit realities for those working in the sector might be. George Siemens also made this point about the lecture in one of the  NGLC Summer Learning Series webinars discussing MOOCs – whether we like it or not some aspects of HE are open to disruption. Whether lectures or support services, the currently bundling that is higher education is likely to diversify and outside of a few institutions appears highly susceptible to change (and frankly many of those who might chose to be immune to change are highly involved in it) .

The other presentation was David Kernohan, Amber Thomas (not present), & Sheila MacNeill’s presentation on the prehistory of OER (somewhat focused on UKOER). I’m familiar with most of what David and Sheila talked about and was involved with them in a fair chunk of it. The details are in their presentation but I was really struck by their three strands of the open education movement slide which captures something important about where the ‘Open Education’ movement (in the UK at least, but I suspect more widely) came from and why. The convergence of efforts from a number of different domains helped create a peculiar opportunity for, interest in, focus on, and shared identity around OER.

Graphic showing origins of a number of communities involved in open education as a braid

Braid of Open Education Origins by (Kernohan, MacNeill, Thomas )

I think that the diagram is particularly important at this stage of the ‘Open Education’ movement because it helps us remember that we all got into this for similar but slightly different reasons and as we begin to see other options emerge we have different responses to them and are perhaps surprised at each other’s responses. It may also help us remember that together these strands achieved something that they might not have otherwise been able to do.

Perhaps the obvious example of this identity tension is that many new MOOCs are ‘free’ but not exactly ‘open’, they offer (in lowest common denominator terms) access to educational stuff and various forms of structure around it. Is this:

  • a good thing,
  • an inevitable thing,
  • a hijacking of good intentions,
  • an abomination,
  • a beginning of a new model?

I’ll not claim that there is an answer but, as much as I value open, I’m beginning to feel that free (as long as it lasts) is also a good thing (not the best, likely to mutate, but nevertheless good). [One of the perils of writing something and not finishing it is that life happens – FWK is now both an example of models mutating and of the benefits of open over free for the community in the long term].

I also wonder if this mixed heritage is one reason that newcomers to the community may not quite get some of the things that frustrate some of us and perhaps help understand why some funders, though also committed to open, are backing MOOCs.

There’s more that could be said about this but for now I’m left grappling with the double-edged priority of access to education – I want licence/license to be secondary to reach and impact but I know that is somewhat shortsighted. It’s easy for me to say not using an open license will cause problems in the long run but I’m left with the fact that I still like CC: BY NC SA for my work (rather than work funded to be open) and there are plenty of colleagues who see that as a dead end.

Wordle of OpenEd12 Tweets

Open Education: OpenEd2012 (1/2)

Wordle of OpenEd12 Tweets

Wordle of OpenEd12 Tweets

I had the privilege to attend the Open Education conference again this year. It was, as ever, a whirlwind of enthusiasm, activity, and challenge. Scott Leslie and many others did an amazing job of conference organization.

Many others have already offered their feedback or commentary (and in a more timely fashion), for example:

If you’ve written up the conference and I’ve missed you please feel free to comment with a link to your post. The recording of all the conference sessions are available at: http://openedconference.org/2012/program/archive-of-sessions/

I tweeted much of the conference (though my volume of tweets definitely trailed off as the event progressed), and to be honest as a result large sections of the event are being held in that offsite memory. In one attempt to consider what the conference as a whole talked about I wordled by tweets (filtering a few things like opened12 and twitter handles there because I was RT’ing or dialoguing with them). One version is above and another fuller version is on Wordle: Wordle: opened12tweets

I’m struck by how much Gardner Campbell fills centre stage in this – I think as the first keynote he was always likely to set some of the tone for the event, but I also think that, with no disrespect, to the other keynotes he captured something of the mood, aspirations, and hopes of the open education community over the past years and how different members have reacted to different directions that have emerged. I think it’s worth watching again or taking the time to watch if you weren’t there. I’m torn about how accessible the aspects of the keynote are for those who’ve not been in this community to some extent, but I think reflections on the patterns of innovation, development, and change are much more universal and worth engaging with. Prufrock ‘s refrain of “That is not it, that is not what I meant at all” rings true in many situations http://openedconference.org/2012/program/archive-of-sessions/day-1/day1-9am-c300/ .

Perhaps because of the sessions I was in MOOCs where often on the fringes  of the conversation rather than centre stage. #MOOCtober aside I think the absence is in part that the conference attendees were engaged in their own existing work and in part that the xMOOCs are a different crowd [cMOOCs were around in places and I wasn’t in the MIT OCW presentation so I can’t comment on how much EdX featured, but they are different beasts (and generally hold a much stronger interest in, if not commitment to, Open)]. I will note that there was quite a lot of discussion about #ds106 and #phonar

There was also a lot about Open Textbooks. Although I had appreciated some of the differences in the role and cost of textbooks before I started work in the US, the difference in the importance of textbooks and just how much money (and power/dependency) is invested in the textbook thing still surprises me (and reading some of my European colleagues’ blog posts I’m not alone).  Discussing Open Textbooks is a post on its own but in terms of the conference – they cropped up a lot and that irrespective of your take on open textbooks in general, Siyavula‘s efforts are amazing and are making a fantastic difference to a lot of students. There are two other presentations that I’ll talk about in a subsequent post, as they point to the bigger picture of how in how the community and OER landscape is changing.

The conference dinner was remarkable, not for the food (which was fine), not for the boat trip (which was lovely), but for the band – which for a while at least is available for your viewing pleasure on Cogdog’s playlist, ‘the band on the boat‘. I can’t imagine many other conferences which have the community, identity and sheer glorious gallus [for the non-Scots let’s say “confident audacity”] to have a semi-spontaneous pick up band featuring a large number of the conference keynotes and organizers. Nor for that matter can I imagine many conferences were a reasonable number of people danced (well and not awkwardly). More than anything else it showcased the conference as a community.

Beyond MOOCpocalyse, towards a spectrum of approaches

I’m at OpenEd12 this week and tweeting away when wifi permits. I’ll talk more about the conference later (and Gardner Campbell’s keynote), but a quick note about two presentations earlier that didn’t get tweeted. I hope to develop my thoughts about this more later but if you’re interested in shifts in Higher Ed, the presentations by Saylor and ISKME earlier today are important.

In talking about their current work Saylor noted a shift in the types of question they’re able to ask ~from  ‘we know what OER can be, we are now working more on what can OER do’. They presented responses from students  noting the range of responses about the different ways in which students are interacting with their content, looking at: supplementing courses, extending access, allowing flexible access, creating innovative and cross curricular programs of study. They are looking into three approaches to convert courses they offer to currency in the traditional systems, and outline:

  1. Exam Preparation (for existing structures; they’re aligning with CLEP exams) to create transfer credit.
  2. Credit by Exam – partnership with accredited partners (such as Excelsior college and Straighter Line, others coming ).
  3. Offer credit themselves. Working to align with NCCRS and using a proctoring service to develop a path for college credit.

I’ll note that their aim (at this point) is not to replace college but to reduce the cost of college – in the same way that many students take some years at community college and transfer into a program at a university – they hope to allow transfer in at a similar stage with credit earning in relation to Saylor content.

ISKME have an ongoing research project about the *spectrum* of access, openness and credentials. Their project is exploring useful questions beyond the hype of disruption/ transformation and are offering the beginnings of a more nuanced point of view. Although their model is still under development there’s an interesting matrix teasing out of ownership of learning (program vs self-directed) against reward/ certification approach and against use of OER.

I think that there may be bigger questions about the sustainability of some existing models if some of the newer approaches stabilise but we shall see.

6th Sloan C Emerging Technologies for Online Learning cfp #et4online

The 6th Sloan C Emerging Technologies for Online Learning International Symposium has just launched their call for presentations:

http://sloanconsortium.org/conference/2013/et4online/call-for-presentations

The conference is April 9-11, 2013 in Las Vegas. The call for presentations, posters, and workshops closes December 10th.

“The Emerging Technologies for Online Learning International Symposium, a joint Symposium of Sloan Consortium and MERLOT, is designed to bring together individuals interested in the review and evaluation of emerging technologies’ impact on online teaching and learning. We seek interactive sessions that engage and inform participants. Presenters and facilitators from the following areas are encouraged to submit proposals:

  • Higher Education and K-12 Faculty
  • Future professors and graduate students
  • Educational technology leaders
  • Students
  • Instructional designers
  • Instructional technologists
  • Academic administrators

Proposed sessions can be targeted to all attendees or novice, intermediate, or expert levels of proficiency.”

There are a number of tracks outlined in the call in the areas of: “Learning Spaces and Communities, Open and Accessible Learning, Evidence-based Learning, Faculty and Student Development, Innovative Media and Tools”

“ET4Online seeks submissions which emphasize evidence-based practice and the impact of topic tracks on teaching practices and student learning outcomes using a range of research methodologies (e.g. case study, longitudinal comparisons, within group comparisons, quasi-experimental, etc.) and rigorous approaches to the analysis of supporting data, qualitative or quantitative.”

I’d like to draw attention to the Open and Accessible Learning track:

This track will explore three key issues in online and blended learning: openness, accessibility, and affordability. It invites papers which share evidence and practice through discussion of these issues in relation to Open Educational Resources, OpenCourseWare, Open Textbooks, MOOCs, Open Practice or relevant topics of your choice. This year a focus on the impact of these issues and topics on the learner’s experience is encouraged. Suggestions include:

  • Which emerging open practices work in everyday instruction? How open is open?
  • What evidence-based practices exist concerning the inventive uses of open content or open content adoption to improve outcomes in learning, accessibility, affordability, faculty satisfaction, or student satisfaction?
  • What tools do we have to evaluate the sustainable impact of emerging trends in openness, accessibility, and affordability?
  • What benefits, risks, and costs are there for an institution in using open content?
  • What emerging practices or technologies can make credentialed education more affordable today?

Please note, it is the intent of this track to have a balanced program to promote the discussion of how these three issues intersect.

[disclosure: I’m the track chair, so have a vested interest in promoting this, i.e. I want to hear what you’ve been doing and have a realistic and useful conversation with you all about what is happening and how we build on our success and failures thus far and help improve open, accessible, and affordable learning; also note that we’re hoping to *flip* the conference somewhat so that, beyond hearing what each other has been up to we can engage with each others work in a hopefully more substantive manner ]