Tuesday, 2 September 2014

ALT-C 2014 Keynote by Catherine Cronin - Navigating the Marvellous: Openness in Education

One of the things that inspires me most about the area of educational technologies is the possibility for open learning beyond the class boundaries. Being able to connect with people and communities has vastly widened my horizons over the last few years. Things like personal learning environments, personal learning networks, and the original Connectivist MOOCs seem like really interesting areas of work that might offer so much to Higher Education students, and encourage learning to continue outside the classroom and after their university experience has finished.

I don't think that this side of things tends to be a core part of most Learning Technologists day jobs, and so it’s easy to forget what inspires us. For me watching Catherine Cronin’s ‘Navigating the Marvellous: Openness in Education’ [slides] at ALT-C 2014 was a reminder of the possibilities.

There were a few things she said that prompted questions that I’d personally like to consider further.

  • When is openness hubris, and when is it humility? We need to be prepared for criticism when our work and teaching practices are available to be seen by all. The criticism might be unfair, but we cannot be too proud to risk being criticised.
  • If we see the learning environments as physical spaces, bounded online spaces, and open online spaces, where might open online spaces be most appropriate as part of a traditional course? Catherine mentioned using curation tools (i.e. Scoop.it) being used as part of the open online spaces. Perhaps this would be a starting point in looking at tools that staff who teach could use with students.
  • What risks are there in open education (such as privacy, etc.), and how can we prepare staff and students to deal with the risks? I might need to revisit the guide 'Using External Online Tools in Teaching and Learning' to see if it could this be reworked to be something that academic staff could more easily engage with and use?

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