Thursday, 6 February 2014

Preparing for #emooc14 & reflecting on #OER

As the MOOC stakeholder summit in Lausanne, Switzerland draws near. I am hoping to get the most out of the conference. This means: getting ideas for my ongoing PhD research and paving pathways for the next MobiMOOC roll-out (which is now in my head set for October/November 2014.

The first is easy: getting into the research track and other sessions and hearing what other MOOC research colleagues have found. The second one is tougher, as it is a work in construction: planning a cMOOC with a twist tackling some MOOC challenges and options. For this reason I am hoping to catch up with Rory McGreal of Athabasca, Canada, a university that is part of the OERuniversities group. Athabasca is paving the way for sustainable and durable Open Educational Resources (OER) and ... I feel there is something in it for MOOCs with a twist. So I want to see if Rory would be interested in harbouring OER coming from MobiMOOC (still gathering a group of people to plan the next MobiMOOC).  The challenge is of course to ensure quality of the shared OER objects coming out of the course, as Rory often emphasizes in his blog. For what I have in mind is a course on mobile learning, which combines mobile learning statistics linked to learner produced MOOC content (coming from less visible groups: indigenous learners, non-native English speakers...) gathered in a renewable OER database (renewable to enable the content to stay fresh and for these learning objects to be optimized as new insights emerge). Stephen Downes got me into some critical OER database needs to make sure the OER objects become sustainable through one of his blogposts on OER mapping. Stephen recommends 3 necessities:
  • a mechanism that allows the OER data owner to update or edit records already submitted, to they can stay current
  • an export mechanism, or a stand-alone record-creator, so an OER data owner can create the structured representation and store it on his or her own website (I like that one very much as well, as it allows learners and trainers to become owners of the OER)
  • a mechanism whereby databases of OER data repository information can publish and harvest each other’s data, thus essentially enabling them to sync records, so all databases will contain all OER information, no matter which database the record was originally added to (VERY much needed indeed, scrolling the web is just too time consuming)
Now the only thing I have to do is ... getting the courage to speak to Rory McGreal (I hope he still looks like his photograph, otherwise I will have to talk to each person individually - I have a hard time recognizing faces). If there is anyone out there willing to introduce me to him, I would be very grateful!