MOOC tasks week 2

Activity 5: The case for learning objects
Timing: 1 hour
Read Downes (2001), Learning objects: resources for distance education worldwide .

Comment
Note: Downes goes into detail on many aspects that are not necessary for this course. You do not need to read the article in detail – your aim is to gain an understanding of what learning objects were and why they were seen as important.

Activity 6: Criticisms of learning objects
Timing: 1 hour
Three criticisms of learning objects are given below: you should read/watch at least one of these:
David Wiley sets out what he terms the ‘reusability paradox ’.
Norman Friesen raises three objections to learning objects in this paper: Three objections to learning objects and e-learning standards .
In this 2009 video [Transcript] Brian Lamb describes his experience with learning objects, which addresses many of the reasons why they didn’t realise the aims that Downes and others envisaged for them. Brian Lamb also explains some of the problems he encountered.

Discussion
Part of the problem of learning objects was that it often seemed alien to everyday practice, so that getting educators to share their content in learning object repositories proved to be a barrier. Unlike sharing research findings in published journals, or sharing teaching resources informally within an institution, there was no real incentive or established practice for sharing teaching material on this scale. And, as Brian Lamb points out, there was a tendency to over-engineer the systems required, with specific standards that had a language of their own.
You might reflect here on whether you have, or would, share teaching resources using the learning object approach. What do you think would be the main issues for educators and teachers?

Activity 7: Exploring OER issues
Timing: 5 hours
Last week you created a list of three priorities you determined for open education. This activity builds on that work, but is based on further research in the area of OER.
Read three articles of your choice from a suggested OER reading list on Cloudworks. (Some are quite lengthy reports so you may wish to read just parts of these, depending on time.)
Based on your reading, write a blog post of around 500 words, setting out what you perceive as the three key issues in OER, and how these are being addressed.
For instance, if you feel that accreditation of informal learning is a key issue then you should state why this is significant and link to some of the ways it is being addressed; for example through Mozilla badges or the Peer 2 Peer University .
Remember to tag your post with #h817open.
Look at the course blog and read the issues of other students. Comment on at least one other post.

Badge: Completing this activity will make you eligible for the OER understanding badge, as explained in Week 1. You will need to blog your solution to this activity, and then go to Cloudworks and the Apply for Badge page . (You will need to be registered and logged-in to Cloudworks for the Apply for Badge button to appear.) A member of the course team will then check the evidence, and issue the badge. Applying for a badge is entirely optional.

Activity 8: An OER course
Timing: 8 hours
Scenario
Imagine you are constructing a course in digital skills for an identified group of learners (e.g. undergraduates, new employees, teachers, mature learners, military personnel, etc.). It is a short, online course aimed at providing these learners with a set of resources for developing ‘digital skills’. It runs for five weeks, with a different subject each week, accounting for about six hours study per week.
Devise a broad outline of the topics to be covered every week. Don’t deliberate too much on this; it should be a coherent set of topics but you don’t actually have to deliver it.
Now see how much of your desired content could be accommodated by using OER repositories. Search the following repositories and make a quick evaluation for each week of your course of the type of content that is available.
Ariadne
Jorum
Merlot
MIT
OpenLearn
Rice Connexions
You can use the following template for your evaluation. In the final column judge whether the resources are good, medium or bad in terms of suiting your needs.
Week Topic Resources Suitability (G/M/B)
1
2
3
4
5
Alternatively, you can input your evaluation into the form below.
Week 1
Activity 8: An OER course

Week 2
Activity 8: An OER course

Week 3
Activity 8: An OER course

Week 4
Activity 8: An OER course

Week 5
Activity 8: An OER course

Write a blog post, using your evaluation as the basis. Reflect upon whether the use of OER caused you to change what you wanted to teach, and what time saving (if any) would be gained by using OER.
Compare your evaluation with that of other students and comment in the forum on any differences.
A note on accessibility of OER repositories
Repositories often contain material from a wide variety of authors, and repositories take different approaches to ensuring the accessibility of these resources. Some make accessibility a requirement, while others offer guidelines. The accessibility of resources drawn from a wide range of authors is another factor in the use of OER that you should consider.

2.6 Week 2 References
Downes, S. (2001) ‘Learning objects: resources for distance education worldwide’, IRRODL, vol. 2, no. 1 [online], http://www.irrodl.org/ index.php/ irrodl/ article/ view/ 32/ 378 (accessed 6 November 2012).
Friesen, N. (2003) ‘Three objections to learning objects and e-learning standards’ in McGreal, R. (ed.) (2004) Online Education Using Learning Objects, London, Routledge, pp. 59–70. Draft available online at http://www.learningspaces.org/ papers/ objections.html (accessed 6 November 2012).
Lamb, B. (2009) Who the hell is Brian Lamb? (video), Barry Dahl blog, 26 October [online], http://barrydahl.com/ 2009/ 10/ 26/ who-the-hell-is-brian-lamb/ (accessed 6 November 2012).
Wiley, D. (2004) The Reusability Paradox, Connexions [online], http://cnx.org/ content/ m11898/ 1.18/ (accessed 6 November 2012).

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