onsdag 23 november 2016

So much better together

Halfway through the cMooc Open networked learning, the topic of the week has been collaborative learning, the learning potential in peer interaction and group based problem solving. The group I am part of feels more and more as a group, even though we haven't met IRL and we are spread across both the northern and southern hemisphere.

Het vrolijke huisgezin, Jan Havicksz. Steen, 1668. Public domain. Rijksmuseum Amsterdam 
Perhaps no organised learning going on, but the picture could symbolise the joy of togetherness.

One question posted at the beginning of the week was: 
Is there a recipe for making collaborative work a fruitful experience?

In our group we began by using a shared google document for brainstorming ideas on collaborative learning. 
It became clear that everybody had experienced problems with group work previously. But at the same time there was a flow of constructive strategies on how to overcome the problems and successfully arrange for online groups to function and bring about learning experiences.
So, yes, there are many different recipes to turn collaborative work into engaging, creative, challenging and fruitful learning experiences.

In the Theory and practise of online learning Andersson discusses how to find appropriate theoretical frameworks for the development of online courses, as traditional learning theories where written prior to the internet and connected world, and therefore have not taken their potential for learning into account (2008).
Anderson proposes that teachers search for a balance of both traditional learning theories, selectively combined with recent theories that are written taking the internet and its interconnecting possibilities into account.
Two different directions when planning for online learning are mentioned: the community of learning model, where synchronous meetings and peer-to-peer and peer-teacher communication is emphasised, and the independent study model which more corresponds to supporting an individual learner by designing a course that provides well-structured content (Anderson: 2008)

Hopefully educators across the world are becoming more aware of the value of collaborative learning, and that it is worth the effort for the teacher to counteract common pitfalls in collaborative group tasks.
I also think that the old traditional type of teaching and learning, where a single student reads and memorises facts in isolation, is much more of a matter of the head. At least for me, it seems to generate knowledge for my intellect only, whereas group learning engages the whole of me and the knowledge gained becomes a part of me, how I think and who I am much much more... (see J. Bruner, american developmental psychologist who emphasised the cultural importance of knowledge, and saw learning as taking part of cultural exchange in society, in for example Acts of mearning: 1990)

Anderson, T. (2008). Teaching in an online learning context. In The theory and practice of online learning (pp. 343-395). Athabasca university press. 
Bruner, J, (1990) Acts of mearningHarvard University Press

söndag 6 november 2016

Proud to share - topic2

Recently I visited a swedish town I had never been to before.
As the town was new to me I took a taxi from the train station to the destination.
I was not in a mood for small talk, focusing on the meeting ahead, but the cab driver was nice and chatty, so I asked him something about what the town was like to live in...
To my surprise he turned off the meter and took an extra tour, showing me some beautiful places, and told me all the benefits of his town. Originally of middle eastern descent, he had lived here with his family for 17 years and vividly described what a nice town it had been for his children to grow up in. He also cruised by an old, fairy tale like castle, explaining with pride that he and his wife had had their wedding photographs taken there 10 years ago.
Vehemently refusing to be tipped, he dropped me off with exact directions to make sure I did not get lost, (and recommendations of where to get the best hot dog in town after the meeting)...

teleborgs_slott_växjö_2015c by: Bysmon CC BY-SA-4.0
This experience was at the back of my mind during the week, taking part of my groups PBL-work on topic 2 in the Open networked learning course.
In the PBL-group we discussed advantages and limitations and negative aspects of openness and sharing, analysing possibilities and strategies, getting familiar with online resources and the knowledge on how to use them presented in the course.
At the PBL-groups' hangout meeting the idea was put forward to turn ourselves into experiments:
that each one of us could try out something of using or sharing open educational resources in our own teaching or research and reflect upon the experience.
It was a good idea and even fun to try something practically.
I think we were all struck by the enormous amount of material which is available online under the creative commons license or the public domain. Initially it made me feel overwhelmed and a bit lost.
Using strategies for narrowing down searches, and getting the "feel" of the type of content on different OER portals made it more manageable.
In the ONL course we have been given interesting good presentations and links to material about openness and sharing. It really helped me get going and know where to look and what to do. But the "experiment" made it so clear what a different experience it is to try out something in practise, while keeping up a dialogue with the others in the group, compared to reading accounts of others experiences and knowledge.

Apart from all the good rational benefits of OER, it has been fun to have tried contributing in a small way. It feels good to offer my material to others, rather than to keep it isolated in my own little teaching bubble. It makes me feel proud that resources created for teaching at the small campus and tiny island where I live, could also be useful for another teacher, in another part of the world, perhaps using the material as a starting point to build something new.
Weller highlights the altruistic element of OERs  in his discussion of the development of openness in education from the emergence of learning objects, OERS and MOOCS. He concludes that while the development of open educational resources is rooted from a striving to improve education worldwide, as OER is growing and becoming widespread it is also being noticed by commercial interests whose use and adaptations could undermine the original altruistic orientation (Weller: 2014)
But maybe there is hope that the striving to share just for the sake of helping one another will live on in the OER-sphere, like the taxi driver who switched off his meter to drive an extra round, wanting to share and to show somebody else something he was proud of.

Weller, M. (2014). Battle for Open: How openness won and why it doesn’t feel like victory. London: Ubiquity Press.

onsdag 2 november 2016

Demonstration of creative commons

This blogpost was created live to demonstrate how to use creative commons licensed images, during a presentation at the Swedish Customs HR-department in Stockholm:

The participants asked very good and interesting questions, like:

  • How do you credit an image that you use as part of a video clip?
    • (I would include information about images in the after text)
  • What about images in powerpoint presentations, that are only presented to students during a lecture, and not published online?
    • In presentations for students it is equally relevant to make clear the source of the images I have used, preferrably by adding the photographers name clear and visibly at the bottom of the image. 


The demonstration: 
Jag börjar med att söka och hitta en bild på nätet som jag vill använda, som också har en creative commons licens:

feelings by Lena Tembe CC BY-NC 

To use a creative commons licensed image, you need to add the following metadata, preferrably directly under the image.
  1. The title of the image + a direct link to the original place on the web, where you found it.
  2. The name of the creator, in some cases the username, + a link to the website of the creator
  3. Add the type of creative commons license of the image + a link to the creativecommons website where the conditions of this particular license is explained. 
(Thanks for clearing that out to me, Kristina Alexandersson at, in this "how-to"-youtube movie)

För att dela en creative commons licensierad bild, ange följande metadata, nära helst direkt under bilden:
  1. Bildens titel + direktlänk till bildens original (där du hittade den på nätet)
  2. Upphovsmannens namn, *eller* användarnamn + länk till hens webplats/bloggplats etc
  3. Den creative commons licens bilden har + länk till förklaringssida om just den licensen

Women holding parts of the first four Army computers

 Public domain

The image above is not under copyright = all rights reserved,
nor does it fall under creative commons = some rights reserved.
Instead it falls under the public domain.