Day 14 - Discussion Forum and Activity

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Day 14 ActivityConsider the following list of examples, taken directly from the Open Pedagogy Notebook, the latest collaboration between Rajiv Jhangiani and Robin DeRosa, a space for educators to...

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Day 14 Activity

Consider the following list of examples, taken directly from the Open Pedagogy Notebook, the latest collaboration between Rajiv Jhangiani and Robin DeRosa, a space for educators to explore and share open assessment practices. Think about how you might adapt one of the ideas for one of your courses. You can choose to share your ideas in the Day 14 discussion forum, in a social media space, or to save it for your own reflection and future use.

  • Adapt or remix OERs with your students. Even the simple act of adding problem sets or discussion questions to an existing open textbook will help contribute to knowledge, to the quality of available OERs, and to your students’ sense of doing work that matters. The adaptation of the open textbook Project Management for Instructional Designers by successive cohorts of graduate students at Brigham Young University provides an excellent example of this approach.

  • Build OERs with your students. Though students may be beginners with most of the content in your course, they are often more adept than you at understanding what beginning students need in order to understand the material. Asking students to help reframe and re-present course content in new and inventive ways can add valuable OERs to the commons while also allowing for the work that students do in courses to go on to have meaningful impact once the course ends. Consider the examples of the open textbook Environmental Science Bites written by undergraduate students at the Ohio State University or the brief explainer videos created by Psychology students around the world and curated by the NOBA Project.

  • Teach your students how to edit Wikipedia articles. By adding new content, revising existing content, adding citations, or adding images, students can (with the support of the Wiki Education Foundation) make direct contributions to one of the most popular public repositories for information. Indeed, more than 22,000 students already have, including medical students at the University of California San Francisco. More than developing digital literacy and learning how to synthesize, articulate, and share information, students engage with and understand the politics of editing, including how “truth” is negotiated by those who have access to the tools that shape it.

  • Facilitate student-created and student-controlled learning environments. The Learning Management System (Canvas, Moodle, Blackboard, etc.) generally locks students into closed environments that prevent sharing and collaboration outside of the class unit; it perpetuates a surveillance model of education in which the instructor is able to consider metrics that students are not given access to; and it presupposes that all student work is disposable (as all of it will be deleted when the new course shell is imported for the next semester). Initiatives such as Domain of One’s Own enable students to build “personal cyberinfrastructures” where they can manage their own learning, control their own data, and design home ports that can serve as sites for collaboration and conversation about their work. Students can choose to openly license the work that they post on these sites, thereby contributing OERs to the commons; they can also choose not to openly license their work, which is an exercising of their rights and perfectly in keeping with the ethos of Open Pedagogy. If students create their own learning architectures, they can (and should) control how public or private they wish to be, how and when to share or license their work, and what kinds of design, tools, and plug-ins will enhance their learning. It is important to point out here that open is not the opposite of private.

  • Encourage students to apply their expertise to serve their community. Partner with nonprofit organizations to create opportunities for students to apply their research or marketing skills. Or ask them to write (and submit for publication) op-ed pieces to share evidence-based approaches to tackling a local social problem. Demonstrate the value of both knowledge application and service by scaffolding their entry into public scholarship.

  • Engage students in public chats with authors or experts. Platforms such as Twitter can help engage students in scholarly and professional conversations with practitioners in their fields. This is another way that students can contribute to—not just consume—knowledge, and it shifts learning into a dialogic experience. In addition, if students are sharing work publicly, they can also use social media channels to drive mentors, teachers, peers, critics, experts, friends, family, and the public to their work for comment. Opening conversations about academic and transdisciplinary work—both student work and the work of established scholars and practitioners—is, like contributing to OERs, a way to grow a thriving knowledge commons.

  • Build course policies, outcomes, assignments, rubrics, and schedules of work collaboratively with students. Once we involve students in creating or revising OERs or in shaping learning architectures, we can begin to see the syllabus as more of a collaborative document, co-generated at least in part with our students. Can students help craft course policies that would support their learning, that they feel more ownership over? Can they add or revise course learning outcomes in order to ensure the relevancy of the course to their future paths? Can they develop assignments for themselves and/or their classmates, and craft rubrics to accompany them to guide an evaluative process? Can they shape the course schedule according to rhythms that will help maximize their efforts and success?

  • Let students curate course content. Your course is likely split into a predictable number of units (fourteen, for example) to conform to the academic calendar of the institution within which the course is offered. We would probably all agree that such segmenting of our fields is somewhat arbitrary; there is nothing ontological about Introduction to Psychology being fourteen weeks long (or spanning twenty-eight textbook chapters, etc.). And when we select a novel for a course on postcolonial literature or a lab exercise for Anatomy and Physiology, we are aware that there are a multitude of other good options for each that we could have chosen. We can involve students in the process of curating content for courses, either by offering them limited choices between different texts or by offering them solid time to curate a future unit more or less on their own (or in a group) as a research project. The content of a course may be somewhat prescribed by accreditation or field standards, but within those confines, we can involve students in the curation process, increasing the level of investment they have with the content while helping them acquire a key twenty-first century skill.

  • Ask critical questions about “open.” When you develop new pathways based on Open Pedagogy, pay special attention to the barriers, challenges, and problems that emerge. Be explicit about them, honest about them, and share them widely with others working in Open Education so that we can work together to make improvements. Being an open educator in this fashion is especially crucial if we wish to avoid digital redlining, creating inequities (however unintentionally) through the use of technology. Ask yourself: Do your students have access to broadband at home? Do they have the laptops or tablets they need to easily access and engage with OERs? Do they have the supports they need to experiment creatively, often for the first time, with technology tools? Do they have the digital literacies they need to ensure as much as is possible their safety and privacy online? Do you have a full understanding of the terms of service of the EdTech tools you are using in your courses? As you work to increase the accessibility of your own course, are you also evaluating the tools and technologies you are using to ask how they help or hinder your larger vision for higher education?

Open Pedagogy” by Rajiv Jhangiani and Robin DeRosa is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

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