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.

2 comments:

Erkan Yilmaz said...

Hello Michelle,

>if that were the case Linux would not have existed in the first place.
I loved this argument

>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 have given an example here for Wikiversity, since you are familiar with it. I hope now, that I understood myself this openness :-)


>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.
There was a question regarding this here
(for readers in the future, if the link does not exist, please look in the archive)

Erkan YILMAZ

Peter Rawsthorne said...

Michelle,

I think sustainability is a huge issue for OER. Stephen Downes wrote a good paper exploring this issue,
http://ijklo.org/Volume3/IJKLOv3p029-044Downes.pdf

Peter