Archive for February, 2012

The Future of Books

In his blog, Thinking Green Thinking OER? – Is the Future of Paper Textbooks in Danger?, classmate Jonathan Bauer writes

‘My initial search led me to an article written by Luis Alfonso Arguello Guzman entitled: University Students’ Digital Reading and Writing Migration. In this section Guzman states that students’ minds are not connected to the print culture and are instead connected to “surfing, searching and browsing networks (206).”

Here is my gem.  I thought that the article would say just the opposite of the following.

“Books are still the point of reference from which young university students value reading processes. This indicates that, in spite of not having strong linear reading habits, students consider books as an immediate reference, associated with the processing of information that is not available in its entirety. Books are still the constituent axis of searching for information for study purposes.”

My take on the future is that it will not be uncommon for more extensive use of web based resources, much in the way the Emerging Technologies certification is delivered.  When I suggested I could create a course with only web based materials, the faculty chair advised that, without books, many students would not consider it a true university level course. Hence, I think it will be a little of both.

To shift subjects, I too am struggling with an OER project topic.  Like others I want to tie it to my work.

I have been mulling over OERs on the following as they both support my research and teaching.  But how to limit the specific topic being examined to make it really useful?

  •  Resources for Adjunct Faculty
  • Teaching with social media





The Course Assignment

“A  number of tools have been presented in the reading text for this week. For instance, Audacity helps to create audio content, GIMP is useful for authoring image files, Joomla and Drupal are content management systems that can be used to host OER, you are already familiar with WordPress or Blogger for publishing your thoughts, Open Office and Google Docs are office applications, Blender helps with 3D content creation, and so on.

These tools are available online for free. How familiar are you with these tools? How can you use them to create and develop content for use in your own institution? What personal or general perceptions characterize your use of “free” open source applications in your institution for teaching, learning or working purposes (whichever applies)?”

I use WordPress for my blog. I have developed a YouTube Channel for my courses. I was not familiar with the tools mentioned and spent time this week exploring their use.  Of courses, Introducton to emerging Technologies exposed us all to a great range of tools and sites.

I like how Tagxedo allows to form word clouds from tweets. (Thanks to Leah!) I found 101 Ways to Use Tagxedo very helpful to stir ideas. And I captured words from my Twitter account (leadchangeagent).  I have create a tweet feed for a course #BCOM301Spring.

I have gotten a positive response for YouTube, and have seen students really engaged in creating video responses.  I had to go to IT to figure out how to moderate the channel, and took three of us.

The challenge for me was how to best capture the sound, and I went with the headphone over time.  And I am now aware that it can take over 45 minutes to upload a 3 minute video.

Word Cloud from Twitter


The Future is Now

In  “The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age” (The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Reports on Digital Media and Learning. Cathy Davidson and David Goldberg), the authors state “We advocate institutional change because we believe our current formal educational institutions are not taking enough advantage of the modes of digital and participatory learning available to students today.”   The artifacts of collective, participatory learning is what appears to be missing or in small supply in university libraries.

However, this may be more in the purview of instructors rather than institutional libraries.

Artifacts as an OER

I agree with Leah when she asks, “For instance, wouldn’t it make sense that our final projects for this course be made part of U Manitoba’s repository of OERs? We have to create these, but it would be nice to have a wider audience find them to be useful.”  In a similar vein, I am working with students in my Global Business Communication course to locate lings to the work of Milton Bennett and to place them in one Diigo account to share among themselves and to provide starting points for future learners.

Why don’t more instructors follow in the vein of collective knowledge sharing?  Here are a few of the roadblocks.

  •  Lack of knowledge about sites such as Diigo
  • Lack of interest as these tools may be considered off topic or distractions from covering the textbook
  • The view that these tools are distracting from class lectures


Definition- A repository is a collection of instructional resources that is accessed via a gateway or referatory. Libraries are replete with any number of catalogs, databases, search engines and the like.  Fort Hays state University has one called 360, which researches all types of materials simultaneously.

 Go Forward

What should my OER be built around?  My upcoming research.  But in what area, and as an repository or referatory or both?

Online Adjunct Training Centers

Use of Social Media as Communication and Learning Tools at the University Level

Time will tell.

This is a blog as part of my assignment in my certification program in emerging technologies for learning from the University of Manitoba.  The course is on Open Education Recourses.  Our major assignment is to aggregate our individual resources.  To that end I have created a Diigo site and have also left it open to others to join and add to.

Here is the site OERUofM

The assignment:

The Cape Town and Budapest declarations (funded by George Soros, which says it all! )are two initiatives that are allowing people to state their agreement with the principle of openly sharing resources.

Did you sign either of the initiatives? Why or why not? Were there any parts of either declaration that you questioned? Is there any point to these declarations?

In a global, flat society it is hard for me to disagree with the following from the Cape Town Declaration. It contains all the buzz words I personally accept- Global free internet resources for education, new pedagogy.  Networking. Collaboration.  “The power is in your network.”

“We are on the cusp of a global revolution in teaching and learning. Educators worldwide are developing a vast pool of educational resources on the Internet, open and free for all to use. These educators are creating a world where each and every person on earth can access and contribute to the sum of all human knowledge. They are also planting the seeds of a new pedagogy where educators and learners create, shape and evolve knowledge together, deepening their skills and understanding as they go.

The expanding global collection of open educational resources has created fertile ground for this effort. These resources include openly licensed course materials, lesson plans, textbooks, games, software and other materials that support teaching and learning. They contribute to making education more accessible, especially where money for learning materials is scarce. They also nourish the kind of participatory culture of learning, creating, sharing and cooperation that rapidly changing knowledge societies need.

However, open education is not limited to just open educational resources. It also draws upon open technologies that facilitate collaborative, flexible learning and the open sharing of teaching practices that empower educators to benefit from the best ideas of their colleagues. It may also grow to include new approaches to assessment, accreditation and collaborative learning. Understanding and embracing innovations like these is critical to the long term vision of this movement.”

As a strong believer in democracy and free enterprise and profit to pay the bills it is hardfor me accept the logic below.

“Open educational resources: We call on educators, authors, publishers and institutions to release theirresources openly. These open educational resources should be freely shared
through open licences which facilitate use, revision, translation, improvement and sharing by anyone. Resources should be published in formats that facilitate both use and editing, and that accommodate a diversity of technical platforms. Whenever possible, they should also be available in formats that are accessible to people with disabilities and people who do not yet have access to the Internet.

Open education policy: Governments, school boards, colleges and universities should make open education a high priority. Ideally, taxpayer-funded educational resources should be open educational resources. Accreditation and adoption processes should give preference to open educational resources. Educational resource repositories should actively include and highlight open educational resources within their collections.”

1.  I have given away materials with a Creative Commons license:  Create a Communication Buzz and Create a Safety Buzz

2. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics the textbook publishing industry employ editors, designers , distributors right down to the sales floor.  Indirectly, the industry employees
distributors, from knowledge workers to physical workers.  Make no mistake about it, the OEC movement is  a jobs killer.

3.  I fully support networked, collaborative sharing of information, ideas,  products and services.  And  I support the voluntary sharing of such.

4. Let the best of the status quo co-exisit- the network, collaborative mindsed and free enterprize.

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