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An extra “over” in the second sentence.
“Third, instructors and leaners”
Would you comment on why you’ve chosen to use this particular third-person reference format, ie, “He wonders about…”? Were there not direct citation texts or interviews you could turn to for some of these? They strike me as kind of stiff and somewhat awkward. (This one stands out even more because it is so brief and somewhat devoid of detail.)
Found a typo: missing space in ‘transformedstubs.’
Thanks for this important and timely working paper. I’m digesting it slowly and with gratitude for the thoughtful way it raises mission-critical issues for liberal arts institutions.
Granting the importance of the other factors here — particularly of improved learning — I’d like to see you drill a bit deeper on the costs question. The goodwill factor feels a bit like skimming over what many readers may worry about or suspect – that the primary interest of Administrators is in the potential to reduce in more significant ways by changing the business model re number of students per class, classes per professor, or professors per department. Did your surveys, interviews, or case studies touch on these motives more deeply? Can you debunk or defuse the worry?
In one measure they are overwhelmingly positive: reportedly, every faculty member who participated at Bryn Mawr wishes to use the blended learning techniques again. The “I’d like to use it next year” rate is 100%, largely because of the learning impacts observed.
It’s striking that the early adopters are all in STEM fields. This seems true of the OLI modules as well (with the exception of the language models). Some reflection on the opportunities for the humanities here — and on later adoption — would be welcome.
Still thinking about costs: the problem of sustainable development is so crucial that it seems wrong to introduce it this way, embedded as a last bullet in a subheading. Can you bring it to the front in some way so it’s presented as a first obstacle, not an addendum to the problem of resistant faculty culture? It’s extraordinarily expensive to develop blended learning resources, as you note; I imagine it is going to be quite expensive to maintain them (given the experience of the aging OLI interface you mention earlier). Drilling deeper on these matters would be valuable, I think. Funding scarcity offers another potential explanation for the lack of humanities innovators in this space, since external funding sources in that sector is relatively hard to come by, in comparison to STEM fields.
Thank you for your incisive, helpful comments, Katherine!
Wow, fascinating idea. I’d like to know more about how you would see the flipped campus.
Good question! While the flipped classroom is not necessarily an example of open education (after all, the materials used with this pedagogical model could be proprietary), it does seem that some of the most visible examples of the flipped classroom do involve open content, e.g. the Khan Academy, the use of open lectures produced by universities like Yale, etc. I can certainly see how the sentence is confusing and would probably revise it in future versions.
Not at all. I think developing learning resources (which could go beyond authoring texts to designing exercises, creating games and simulations, etc) goes hand and hand with teaching. Open education can bring teaching out into the open, enabling teachers to share their pedagogical resources and strategies more broadly and to build upon and customize resources developed by others.
Thank you for raising this important point. I, too, have noted fears that blended and online learning will lead to larger classes, increased teaching responsibilities, greater use of adjuncts, and less control of course design by faculty. While I think these concerns are accurate in some contexts, I did note that Bryn Maw’s provost sought to allay such concerns in her presentation at the 2011 blended learning workshop, emphasizing that the purpose of the program was to improve teaching and learning. Likewise, the University of Mary Washington seeks to “create a series of online courses that honor the core values of the liberal arts experience” (http://symposium.nitle.org/concurrent-sessions-tuesday-april-17-2012/session-3-d-panel/designing-from-values-online-learning-in-the-liberal-arts-tradition-burtis-greenlaw-groom-otte/). At the same time, we see liberal arts colleges worry that their business models are not sustainable in the long term (for instance, at the recent Lafayette Conference). One area that I would like to probe further (inspired in part by your question) is the economics of open education. By collaborating to develop open educational resources, can colleges find long-term savings (by reducing duplication of effort, bringing down costs, etc.) or enjoy significant advantages (in improved learning, institutional visibility and learning, etc) that justify the costs? Quantifying the economic complexities of open education is difficult, but certainly an area of ongoing discussion in the open education community.
Good point–but could they? That is, is there a way that we could design blended and online courses to realize the best practices of liberal education, such as rich discussion, personal contact, undergraduate research, community engagement, etc? I think that some of the examples presented in this working paper suggests that we could.
Thanks for the catch! I’ve made the correction.
It does seem that open education has gained more traction in the STEM fields, but I would point to SmartHistory (http://smarthistory.khanacademy.org/), Open Yale humanities courses and Connexions’ music modules (e.g. Sound Reasoning and The Basic Elements of Music) as examples of successful initiatives to produce and disseminate OER in the humanities. I can see several factors that might encourage greater adoption of open education in the humanities: the desire to use current materials (including those that can be manipulated and mined), a commitment to openness, and the impulse to reduce costs and enable students to read public domain materials on the device of their choosing. In looking at many digital humanities syllabi, I’ve noted that they tend to rely heavily upon readings that are freely available online, sometimes openly licensed. While I think this trend comes from the desire to include the most current readings on the syllabus, I also believe that it reflects the DH community’s embrace of the open web. As tablets and ebook readers become more prevalent, I could also see more students downloading free, public domain versions of, say, 19th C novels rather than purchasing the print versions. While this presents complexities for instructors (how to make sure students have the right edition, are on the same page, etc), it also opens up the opportunity for discussions of textuality as well as for exploring text visualization and analysis. In a larger sense, I was struck that Coursera plans to offer massive open online courses in the humanities (e.g. “Greek and Roman Mythology” and “A History of the World since 1300″) and am eager to see how these work, given complexities of evaluation and discussion.
Good question! I wouldn’t say that Empire State is a traditional liberal arts institution (although it’s kind of hard to define what such an institution is), but it embraces the values of liberal education (such as as lifelong learning and a passion for knowledge) and offers liberal arts programs. In imagining how to describe Empire State’s approach to higher education to potential students, president Alan Davis appeals to key principles of liberal education: ”We ask you to think broadly and deeply about your learning because we believe in the value of a liberal education (no, not “liberal” in the sense of the political leaning) and that you need to know how to learn and to think critically and to be aware of issues facing the world…..” (http://blog.timesunion.com/alandavis/my-college-is-better-than-your-college/107/). Empire State also offers a rich example of an institution that has committed itself to openness.
Thanks for the catch!
Leaners–suggests a new model for education? (Thanks for the catch!)
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URL isn’t right.
Is the Flipped Classroom model necessarily and example of open ed? I use a version of the FC, but without videos, for example. Perhaps that just means I’m out of line. ;-)
This is not intended as an elitist comment, so please don’t take it as such. Empire State is a very interesting case study, but is it really a liberal arts & sciences institution? If yes, I apologize for my ignorance.
If the key value of a course is no longer its delivery, but the resulting community conversation, this is like the “flipped course” idea extended to the campus level: the “flipped campus” ?
It’s a bit idealistic, right? To expand a little, here’s the analogy:In a flipped classroom, the lecture becomes the background learning a student does to prepare for the more enriching experience that takes place in the classroom.In a flipped campus, the whole course becomes the background learning that a student undergoes, to prepare for the more enriching discussions and activities that take place across the campus.Imagine a vibrant campus discussion on a current topic such as global warming or welfare reform. Students view these discussions as the epitome of college experience, but feel that they had to take courses in geography, political science, etc., in order to participate meaningfully. The courses themselves have become the means, rather than the ends. The relative roles of the course and the conversations have been flipped.
This bears emphasizing: small liberal arts colleges distinguish themselves by having small class sizes, a high level of faculty contact and, specially in humanities and some social science disciplines, an emphasis on group discussions.Online courses don’t compete well in those aspects.
Writing text is a differnt career from teaching. Are you suggesting that faculty switch their focus from teaching to becoming authors?
Open-Ed by National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.