More Open, Educated, and (Hopefully) Resourceful

Over the last 15 weeks I have been introduced to the history of open education – from its humble beginnings, to some bumps along the way, and where it can take us in the future (if we let it). The more I learned, the more I was forced to reflect on my own beliefs and willingness to truly be open. My most important take-away is that free ≠ open. Saving students money is great; saving them money while making the learning experience more open and adaptable is better. As somebody who aspires to be a professor for the purpose of positively influencing students, I have seen that in order to have the greatest effect it will take effort that may push me outside of my comfort zone. But isn’t that how we progress, personally and professionally?
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Open Pedagogy – The Recipe for Success?

Imagine you are given a basket of perfectly ripe, delicious apples (and if you don’t like apples, imagine that you like them). The giver of these apples tells you that you can do whatever you would like with them….eat them as they are, cut them up into slices, mix them with other fruits to make a fruit salad, dice them up and add your own touch (cinnamon is my personal favorite), or anything else you see fit. You do this for a while and are quite pleased with the apples and, because you are a person who likes to share, so are your friends with whom you share the apples.

But it gets to a point that you realize you want to do more with the apples, only you don’t know how. Then a friend shares a recipe for a scrumptious apple pie with you. Continue reading

Copyright is the right thing, right?

Prior to learning more about the open movement, Creative Commons licenses, and the like, I had never questioned the idea of copyright law. It made sense to me – people come up with an idea or concept, execute it, and should earn the right to profit from it. Copyright laws spur innovation because there is an incentive for people to invent, create, put forth an effort knowing there is an exclusive benefit waiting for them at the end of it all.  If other people steal the idea for their own personal gain, that’s unfair. But the real question should focus less on the topic of what is fair (not that I’m implying fairness is not important) and more on the topic of can the idea really even be stolen?

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You get (more than) what you pay for

My first haircut was done in a professional salon. Not a kiddie haircut place, but a full-on, high-quality-need-a-license-to-sell-these-products salon. Granted it was a family friend who cut my hair, and she didn’t charge us for the cut, but from then on I only went to that same salon for all of my haircuts (and paid a salon price) until I was in junior high. It seemed worth it to me because 1) my parents had to foot the bill and 2) I was obsessed with my hair. Continue reading

Oh, the places you’ll go

When I started college, I was six weeks shy of turning 18 years old. It wouldn’t have made that big of a difference except for the fact that all athletes were required to sign certain waivers and medical forms before training with the University-sponsored team. Thanks to those few weeks that had yet to pass, I had to fax all of the forms to my parents because I was still considered a minor. What, besides my age, would change in those subsequent weeks that would make me so much more capable of signing my own forms and being my own person? Honestly, not much. Continue reading

The 90s, Stigmergy, and Courage

I would be lying if I said I completely understood all of the readings we had this past week. It was a lot of information to take it. (Click here to follow along with our course readings). My biggest takeaways are somewhat random and disconnected, but I’ll do my best to tie them all together.

When I think of the 90s, it feels like it was 10 years ago…max. To realize we are 20 years past the mid-90s is kind of mind blowing. Aside from starting to feel like an old person and think where did the last 20 years go?, I was surprised to learn more about the history of open movements. Continue reading

Free but not open

Despite being four weeks (and four blogs post) deep in the semester, I am only now realizing that I have yet to define what open educational resources are. Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel and create my own definition of OER, here is how the Hewlett Foundation defines OER (bold added by me):

OER are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge. Continue reading

A Penny Saved…: How OER help

There are only so many ways to say that open educational resources (OER) save students money. You can read article after article or blog post after blog post, analyzing how researchers came to their conclusion and scrutinizing the differences in the dollar amounts. But at the end of the day, the most important point is that OER save students money. But what about the issue of quality? Will students learn just as much if it’s not a professionally published textbook written by a professor? In short, the answer is yes. Continue reading

The Most Intimidating Part of Education: Paying For It

During my undergraduate career I paid exactly $0 for required textbooks. I was fortunate enough to have a scholarship that covered the cost of materials for my courses. As a student-athlete, I did not encounter many issues that most college students face. For example, I never had to worry about not getting into a class because we had priority registration. Navigating the bookstore shelves was left to the bookstore employees who printed our schedules, found the required texts, boxed them up, and then handed them out to us at the start of the semester. I share these experiences not to boast but to explain how sheltered my undergraduate experience was.

Fast forward to the start of grad school four months later when I had to take out student loans, scour the internet for the cheapest way to buy or rent my required texts, and struggle with being unable to find a job to finance my education. Continue reading