Saturday, March 8, 2008

Open education projects online commentary

All the initiatives were very insightful, each site focussed on a different 'type' or 'method' of learning. The resources in each of them are excellent. However, none of the sites offered a tracking and monitoring facility, not sure if this would be a requirement for these types of projects.


Overall: My favourite, well structured, excellent tools

Really liked compendium and cohere software for knowledge and idea mapping, excellent methods for studying and organising vast amounts of information, you can view other's 'maps' to get a good idea of their research methodologies etc

Flash meeting was also great, multiple people are videoconferenced together where live chat also takes place

Flashvlog - I also enjoyed, allows for greater interactivity than normal blogs and you can save or copy the objects to form part of other learning materials

I think that the site should use its own tools ie compendium to showcase the courses and how they are linked though


Overall: Average

I had a few problems creating an account, the links kept saying my username does not match and that I need to check the email link - which was fine

I liked the control of content by using lenses, I think this is an excellent way of ensuring content is correct, the different lenses are: endorsement, affiliation etc

I also liked that course material is grouped in chunks or collections and you can choose between them

Also found the ranking of material according to popularity useful

The collections were a bit of a pain, you end up opening 6 or more websites to learn

There is a workspace area to collect all your selections but did not see any tracking or monitoring?

Enjoyed the video, and the analogy drawn to music, what I found interesting was the part about publishing books on demand from open source resources

Overall: Above Average

I liked the grouping of course materials in video clips, practice problem, exam questions and lecture notes

Excellent course material and good indexing

No login though, so there is no personalisation

You can download the entire course which is good and includes a syllabus, calender, readings, lecture notes and assignments

I found the pdf's to be a bit difficult though and bland

Overall: Average

I liked that you can select a subject and then a target ie Grade 9 and then you can select the type of media and language

Loads of tools and methods for learning via (links )

Liked the browser tool and community area

Overall: Excellent

Always loved wikiversity , it is by far the easiest, no frills website to use

Resource links further reading etc are always excellent

Also enjoy wikibooks immensely, which is similar to books 24*7

Friday, March 7, 2008

Commentry on OER Paper

I found the introductory paragraph visionary in that the author addresses the requirement that learning is personal and introduces the concept that knowledge transfer can only really take place if it is in 'context' or 'localised' and that economies of scale can be achieved through international collaboration.

Charles M Vest mentions a 'communally constructed framework' this presupposes that a definite clear organisational structure is required technically and socially to ensure that relevant dynamic learning or knowledge transfer will take place.

The report states however that 'the creation of knowledge occurs incrementally, by reinterpreting and adding to the existing body of knowledge" . I do not agree with this statement, knowledge is only created when applied in practice, it does not matter how much content is added, it is the quality of the content and its context (historically, socially and culturally) which creates knowledge.

There are many references to the problems of plagiarism and protection of intellectual property rights, but I believe this statement undermines all open source initiatives, if that were the case Linux would not have existed in the first place.

The claim that OER will "transform education" is perhaps far fetched, what we teach others face to face can never be replaced by a computer, humans are inherently social creatures, I believe that OER initiatives are merely drivers for better accessibility and makes for improved delivery mechanisms.

The innovation referred to however can only be achieved if tacit knowledge can also be captured in OER initiatives, i think this will be the greatest challenge for any educational project.

With regards to future learning environments I think its important to note that organisations more easily share knowledge and information as they are working towards a common goal, educational institutions however share knowledge in silos, they do not work towards a common vision of for example creation of wealth. I believe therefore that different modes of thinking is essential when developing initiatives for the corporate world and educational institutions.

With regards to "hierarchical levels of openness" I am a bit confused, level 1 states you may read the content, in Level 2 you may use it (copy it?), Level 3 you may copy and change it??

I enjoyed reading the analogy of "old" resources made with the "new" in economics, it shows how much the world and its thinking of economics has changed and how definitions of resources have changed.

Finally I believe that any OER initiative should have a solid business model or thinking behind it, simply because of sustainability and becoming a knowledge base in itself. Being "free" does not necessarily mean that no financial gain should be made, advertising campaigns, competitions etc should form part of all OER initiatives and the proceeds should be used to fund other projects. The amount of users on these sites can generate unlimited wealth for the creators to utilise in other ingenius ways.


Hi, my name is Michelle Butterworth, I run an IT company in South Africa focussing on HP's products and solutions. We are also a reseller for e-learning products. We have recently started a social development project entitled We are currently coding locally produced TV broadcasting high school material (Grade 10 - 12) into e-learning from

We are essentially trying to provide access to the entire school curriculum free for all in South Africa who have access to the web. Through the use of collborative social tools we believe we could address the current education crisis in South Africa. Out of 547 000 matrics in 2007, 200 000 failed. The figures are alarming and the situation worsening. This is a privately funded project by myself, I will be running a corporate LMS though (not open source) from primarily from support and maintenance perspective, but am currently looking for funding to expand the site to incorporate all the necessary open source tools and resources required to ensure success of the project.

I have enrolled in this course to ensure that my team follows the correct course of action and to explore the visions and experience of my fellow students in this course.