Conference presentation: ‘Toward Open Pragmatism’, OE Global 2020 Conference

Abstract

Although open licensing is a necessary component of open educational resources, the overall openness of a resource is determined by several factors beyond licensing. This paper examines the applicability of the “Open Enough” framework (McNally & Christiansen, 2019) for examining the openness of existing Open CourseWare (OCW). This previously published conceptual framework proposed eight factors that educators should consider when creating a new, or adopting an existing, open course. These factors include Copyright/Open Licensing Frameworks, Accessibility/Usability Formatting, Language, Support Costs, Assessment, Digital Distribution, File Format, and Cultural Considerations. In this study, the researchers aimed to answer the following three research questions. 1. Are these factors robust enough to analyze (or measure) the level of openness in existing OCW? 2. Are additional, or modified, factors necessary? 3. Are certain factors impractical for assessment? For this analysis, the researchers randomly selected five recent open courses from two prominent OCW databases – TU Delft and MIT OpenCourseWare. The researchers came to two broad conclusions following a thorough analysis of the OCW sample. Overall, the framework was an effective tool for analyzing open courseware, though cultural considerations and usability proved to be too subjective and were removed from the framework. The study revealed the level of openness among the sampled courses to be highly inconsistent. Some factors, assessment, for example, were consistently open across the sample while language, material costs and file format often quite closed. The consistent lack of editable materials was particularly surprising and led the researchers to draw some conclusions about what openness should mean for Open CourseWare. The researchers used the data to revise their existing conceptual framework into a more actionable guideline for open educators.

Conference page

PDF slides and presentation transcript

Conference presentation: ‘How open is it?’, OpenEd 2020 Conference

Abstract

While open licensing is a foundational aspect of open educational resources, there are several “factors” that educators must use to achieve openness in their course design. This study builds on the previous work of the authors’ conceptual framework, titled “Open Enough?,” for evaluating the level of openness within Open CourseWare (OCW) (McNally & Christiansen, 2019). In the previous work, the authors proposed eight factors that educators should consider when undertaking OCW development. The authors also argued that these eight factors could be used to assess the openness of existing OCW. The goal of this pilot study was to answer the following question:

1) Is the “Open Enough” framework and its eight factors robust enough to analyze (or measure) the level of openness in an existing OCW?

2) Are additional, or modified, factors necessary?

3) Are the factors practical measures for the assessment of existing OCW? Are there particular factors which are too subjective or too broad?

For this analysis, the authors randomly selected five recent open courses from two prominent OCW databases – TU Delft and MIT OpenCourseWare – for a total of ten OCW. Each course was assessed on each of the eight factors which included Copyright/Open Licensing Frameworks, Accessibility/Usability Formatting, Language, Support Costs, Assessment, Digital Distribution, File Format, and Cultural Considerations. The level of openness of each factor was classified as Closed, Mixed, or Most Open – recognizing that these buckets of analysis are broad and could further be subdivided.

In general, the “Open Enough” framework was fairly effective for determining openness in existing OCW with some caveats. The Cultural Considerations and Usability factors were ultimately too subjective to measure and were subsequently removed from the revised version of the framework. The analysis of these OCW showed that openness among the sampled courses was inconsistent. Some of the factors were consistently open throughout the sampled courses while other factors, specifically Language, Materials Costs, and File Format, were quite closed. Overall, there was a lack of editable materials that led the authors to reconsider what openness should be in the context of OCW. The results of the analysis were used to revise the framework. This pilot study served as a proof of concept for using their framework as a tool for analysis.

Alberta OER Summit 2019 presentation: #aboerjc

The Alberta OER Summit took place on June 21st, 2019 at NorQuest College, Edmonton, AB. It was a wonderful meeting, and I’d like to thank Robert Lawson at NorQuest for organizing the event and for inviting me to speak about our provincial journal club project. We have a great OER community in Alberta and it’s events like this that keep the momentum going.

Below is a link to the presentation slides from Mount Royal University’s Institutional Repository.

http://hdl.handle.net/11205/434

OER19 Conference Presentation Slides

My colleague Connie Blomgren led and presented our conference presentation at OER19, in Galway, Ireland, on April 11. My colleague Rosemarri and I were remote presenters/”Twitter engagers.”

While is wasn’t as well attended as we had hoped, it was an interesting experience having folks in different time zones contribute to the (brief) discussion.

The slides for the presentation can be found below:

http://bit.ly/2uWscd9

ISSOTL 2018 Panel Presentation

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I had the privilege of attending and presenting at the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Conference 2018, in Bergen, Norway. Wonderful city and fascinating culture. Being of partial of Norwegian heritage, it was a good feeling.

My colleagues Lauren Hays, Claes Dahlqvist, and I did a panel presentation titled “Teaching Information Skills is Everyone’s Business: Examining Information Contexts.” Our presentation slides are available at the Mount Royal University Institutional Repository.

OE Global 2018 Presentation Slides

Thank you to all who attended my session at OE Global 2018 in Delft, Netherlands. What a massive turnout! The room was packed and there were excellent questions from participants! I have posted my PowerPoint slides for you to view. If you have any questions about this research paper or the presentation, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Mount Royal University Institutional Repository Link: http://hdl.handle.net/11205/366

ISSOTL Poster Presentation: “Open Enough? Choices and Consequences​ When Transitioning from Closed to Open Resources and Courses​”

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Image by Johannes Plenio from Unsplash

I’m thrilled to be conducting a poster presentation at the 2017 International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Conference, with my colleague Michael McNally.

Location: Exhibition Hall E, #379 @ 6pm Oct 12, 2017

In preparation for the poster session (and for those who can’t make it) I’ve posted a link to the poster and a digital handout.

Poster: http://hdl.handle.net/11205/352

Digital handout: http://bit.ly/2wPNDMe

A couple points about the digital handout. The link allows you to make comments! If you want to know more about something, feel free to ask questions or make suggestions.

If you have any questions about this research, please don’t hesitate to contact Michael or me.

Erik Christiansenechristiansen@mtroyal.ca
Twitter: @eriksation

Michael McNallymmcnally@ualberta.ca

Spring conference tour 2017

 

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This spring marked the last conference presentation, and it was a good one.

The Alberta Library Conference (ALC), which is held at the Jasper Park Lodge annually, is a beautiful venue. Attending the conference is as much a getaway as “work event,” which explains the number of smiling faces.

This year I was lucky enough to speak to academic, public, and some school librarians about the library’s role in the open education movement in Canada. Speaking at ALC is fun but it poses a challenge insofar that there librarians from various sectors. As a speaker, one wants to create something that’s meaningful to everyone.

I’ve addressed the topics of the open education movement and open educational resources several times. This particular presentation covered a lot of ground:

  • OER and the open education movement
  • OER policy in Western Canada (this is my primary research project)
  • A discussion about OER and the public library
  • Examples of ways the public library can support open education
  • Challenges to OER

About two-thirds of this presentation was me talking, but I tried something a little different this time around. First, before launching into my own ideas about the public library’s role in open education I posed two questions to the audience.

  1. Are there patrons, or specific groups, that would benefit from OER in any way?
  2. Can you think of an experience you had when you were trying to help a patron find some information where an OER might have been helpful

Literature about the public library and OER is greatly underrepresented, and I made specific mention of that in the presentation. The participants were extremely vocal and their examples were quite surprising.

Some identified patrons / groups included high-school students, those looking for career changes, second language learners, not-for-profit employees, internationally trained professionals, people with access barriers (health and otherwise), and people looking to start their own business. These examples give an idea of the variety of patrons the public library is expected to serve. While the participants admitted to using some good commercial products, there are still resources not available for purchase. OER can fill this void, but many of the participants were unaware of the repositories that exist. This underscores one of the primary shortfalls of OER – a general lack of awareness.

It is my presumption that public libraries are equally – if not better – suited to advancing OER awareness. They have broader needs than academic or special libraries, and they service a wider segment of the population.

Participants’ answer to the second questions was equally surprising. Responses included programming lesson plans for robotics and STEM, examples of in-depth reference questions (I presume for training purposes), resources for children to keep up with their school studies, homeschooling resources, and oral histories. Again, this demonstrates a wider need than academia which is largely focused on course plans and textbooks.

At the end of the talk, I encouraged participants to ask if there were resources they wanted that were not covered in the presentation. I also asked them where they’d like to see scholarship on this topic published. In response to the latter, one participant suggested a K-12 or teacher librarian publication that’s open access.

I think public libraries are largely underrepresented in the OER literature and, given the thoughtful feedback and positive reactions to this presentation, I’m considering what such a publication would look like.

Presentation slides