Submitted Workshop OER14 Proposal: Help Design the Peeragogy Accelerator

See bottom of post for update details!

UPDATE 1 | 26 Dec 2013

UPDATE 2 | 26 Jan 2014

Joe Corneli and I submitted a workshop proposal to OER14 titled: “Help Design the Peeragogy Accelerator”. Check out the abstract below, and let us know if you have any feedback or if you’d like to attend!

Abstract for Twitter (140 chars max)
  • Peeragogy Handbook editors will help participants collaboratively accelerate their OER work by leveraging peer learning.
Rationale
  • Editors of the Peeragogy Handbook will lead this workshop, giving participants an opportunity to uncover what they want to learn or achieve within the world of OER.  We aim to help participants improve the efficiency of their learning processes by leveragingthe work of peers. We bring years of experience with projects like the Peeragogy handbook, PlanetMath, Collaborative Lesson Planning, and The Uncertainty Principle and other case studies of “peeragogy in action”. We will briefly present a range of examples, but the focus of the workshop will be on garnering insights of participants, to help specify the problems they are working on in their individual OER projects — both thematic problems like “generating revenue” and “student participation”, as well as more context-specific issues.
Content
  • We will share a set of five principles for effective peer learning that have been explored in practice (see references), as well as a catalog of patterns for peer learning, which serves as a robust method for doing “emergent design”.  Participants will use these design techniques to build a real, functioning, accelerator programme that will operate in a distributed  fashion during the next year. Participants will be able to repeat this activity with their own local communities. We want to be open about the risks involved in building a spontaneous and emergent process – we have had good results in the past, but there are always obstacles, and part of the purpose of this exercise is to understand the current set of obstacles that participants face in their own work.
Delivery Methods
  • The workshop will give participants  the opportunity to reflect clearly on their own educational projects and provide them with an opportunity to figure out how different projects can come together in a way that improves everybody’s work. Outline (90 minute time slot):
  1. 05 Minutes - for technical setup and quick introductions
  2. 10 Minutes – Overview of Peeragogy
  3. 05 Minutes – Attendees complete questionnaire on an Etherpad, providing background their own project and goals
  4. 20 Minutes – Organize attendees into groups of 3 or more, each discussing their project goals with one another and looking for more information on what could achieved in a collaboration
  5. 20 Minutes – Change groups again, repeat the process of looking for connections (first 5 minutes of this section will discuss successes and failures of the previous section)
  6. 20 Minutes – Individuals “report back” what they discovered in their small groups and if they have new ideas for collaboration.  (What could they bring to a Peer Learning Accelerator?  What would they want to get?)
  7. 10 Minutes – Wind down, determine specific action steps for individual groups to move forward on and how to re-incorporate their findings back into the accelerator (e.g. a Peeragogy Google+ working group, or a co-created Collaborative Exploration to deepen the themes that have been raised in the workshop)
References

UPDATE 1 (26 Dec. 2013) OUTCOME

In late December, Joe and I learned our workshop abstract had been accepted. Below are our 3 reviews.

Reviewer 1. OER practitioners rarely have this kind of opportunity to
interact in a hands-on, face-to-face environment with their peers.
Although it is not clear from the proposal what format the
“Accelerator” itself will ultimately take, the workshop itself will
provide a valuable opportunity for individuals from different projects
to learn about each other’s work and build much-needed, potentially
lasting synergies. Moreover should the Accelerator work as proposed,
it will be a valuable contribution to the OER community. The
opportunity for community contribution to this work-in-progress could
ensure its success.

Reviewer 2. A very clearly outlined and engaging workshop that will
have wide appeal to the conference community for whom the majority are involved in OER projects. I like how there will be useful workshop
outputs in the form of survey data and accelerator captures for
participants to collaborate on and for the wider OER community to
access. There were one or two minor words missing in the descriptors
so a further proofing would be advised.

Reviewer 3. Potentially useful workshop. Might be useful if attendees
prepared a little beforehand to focus on goals and understand the
principle bette[r].

image
UPDATE 2 (26 Jan. 2014) ABSTRACT SUBMISSION UPDATED

In light of the reviews above, the conference oranizing team kindly gave us the chance to edit our abstract, which we did on this Google Doc and which is re-pasted below:

Abstract for Twitter (140 chars max)

http://peeragogy.org editors will help participants accelerate their OER work by leveraging peer learning.

Rationale

Editors of the Peeragogy Handbook will lead this workshop, giving participants an opportunity to uncover what they want to learn or achieve within the world of OER.  We aim to help participants improve the efficacy of their learning processes by leveraging the work of peers. We bring years of experience with projects like the Peeragogy Handbook, PlanetMath, Collaborative Lesson Planning, and The Uncertainty Principle and other case studies featuring “peeragogy in action”. We will briefly present a range of examples, but the focus of the workshop will be on garnering insights of participants, to help specify the problems they are working on in their individual OER projects — both thematic problems like “generating revenue” and “student participation”, as well as more context-specific issues.

Content

We will share a set of five principles for effective peer learning that have been explored in practice (developed in our early papers, available on paragogy.net), as well as a catalog of design patterns for peer produced peer learning (developed with the many co-authors of the Peeragogy Handbook, available on peeragogy.org). Participants will use these design techniques to help build a real, functioning, globally distributed Peeragogy Accelerator. In the accelerator, projects with a focus on peer learning and collaborative working will join forces to help each other achieve their goals. Participants will be able to repeat this activity and build local accelerators in their own communities.

Delivery Methods

The workshop will give participants  the opportunity to reflect clearly on their own educational projects and provide them with an opportunity to figure out how different projects can come together in a way that improves everybody’s work. Outline (90 minute time slot):

  1. Before Conference – Recommended reading: http://is.gd/PeeragogyAccelerator

  2. 05 Minutes – For technical setup and quick introductions

  3. 10 Minutes – Overview of Peeragogy

  4. 05 Minutes – Attendees complete questionnaire on an Etherpad, providing background their own project and goals

  5. 20 Minutes – Organize attendees into groups of 3 or more, each discussing their project goals with one another and looking for more information on what could be achieved in a collaboration

  6. 20 Minutes – Change groups again, repeat the process of looking for connections (first 5 minutes of this section will discuss successes and failures of the previous section)

  7. 20 Minutes – Individuals “report back” what they discovered in their small groups.  Questions to address:  (a) What could they bring to a Peer Learning Accelerator?  (b) What would they want to get?

  8. 10 Minutes – Wind down, determine specific action steps for individual groups to move forward with (e.g. a Peeragogy Google+ working group, or a co-created Collaborative Exploration to deepen the themes that have been raised in the workshop)

References

  • Corneli, Danoff, Keune, Lyons, Peeragogy in Action, in The Open Book, The Finnish Institute, London, 2013, ISBN: 978-0-9570776-3-8 http://theopenbook.org.uk

Edgar Allan Poe: Storyteller | American English

Edgar Allan Poe: Storyteller | American English:

Works by Poe adapted into American English suitable for “high-intermediate and advanced” EFL/ESL students. Available in PDF, EPUB, MOBI & MP3 free.

I it is in the Public Domain, because of the age of Poe’s work and that it is a work of the State Department, but I am not a lawyer, do your own homework.

I’m interested in exploring a for-profit Open Educational Resources business model

Recently Flat World Knowledge decided to no longer offer their Educational content openly, i.e., you can not read it for free. This in the wake of Coursera and related massive courses success (Cf. New York Times & Time Magazine), as David Wiley noted in his blog:

As I’ve been saying, the real risk of the On the Fence MOOCs (aka xMOOCs) is that they confuse people about “open.” “Open” does not “mean free to access but copyrighted,” like Udacity and Coursera are. Open means free access plus free 4R permissions. The On the Fence MOOCs are drawing energy and attention away from where the real battle is happening – in open educational resources. OER is the only space where everyone has permission to make and redistribute the changes necessary to best support learning in their local context.

I share the opinion of Ariel Diaz quoted here by Inside Higher Ed (Disclaimer, I proudly do work for Boundless):

Ariel Diaz, co-founder and CEO of Boundless, said he did not see Flat World’s strategy shift as a sign that “free and open” can’t work for anyone.

“This reinforces the notion that sustainable biz models are hard to find, and I don’t think that’s a surprise,” said Diaz. “We still see the opportunity to make the case that we’re better because we’re free and open, in that we can leverage the eyeballs and error-finding that we get from our community to lead to a better product as a result.”

So, to answer Anya Kamenetz’s question:

Bloggers coming out of the open content world have accordingly been raising concerns about everything from the fine print of Coursera’s licensing agreements to the pedagogical soundness of multiple choice quizzes and peer grading to the term MOOC itself. MOOCs were pioneered, and the term coined, seven or eight years ago by ed-tech figures like George Siemens and Stephen Downes who were consciously committed to free and open-source content and software, and a new wiki-style of learning enabled by the web where everyone teaches everyone else, dubbed “connectivism”; the corporate MOOC is not only much bigger but far more conventional and commercial. Is openness dead, or will it come back to fight another round?

I am here to say Openness is not dead, and that if Wikipedia has taught us anything the best way to make a useful, robust Educational resource is by making it Open.

If you liked this you will probably enjoy reading my 2011 essay “Finding Concerts for OERcisians:Independent Academics & Scratch (Money)“ 

Non-quoted blog post text Copyright © 2012 by Charlie Danoff. Rights given a CC Zero 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.

p2pu Cycle 4 Collaborative Lesson Planning Week 1 Recap

Some of you may recall last fall I organized a Peer 2 Peer University course on “Collaborative Lesson Planning” [CLP] along with Dr. King. Courses started again at the beginning of January and Dr. King are once again offering our course. Besides us there are 9 members in the course this time, up from 4 last, and as organizer’s we have a much better sense of what’s going on.

School_BoyHeading in to week 1 I outlined the expected work from members in the syllabus, basically: start a journal & introduce yourself, respond to someone else’s journal, write a plagiarism statement and do the weekly reading. We had 3 people start journals & introduce themselves: Joe, Erich & Celaina. In her intro Celaina did the plagiarism statement and slightly later Joe did his as well. The reading was about hacking, which perhaps was a little too abstract (side note I linked to the same article in my writings about Public Domain Education scroll down on the linked-2 post). I feel some people might’ve seen it and wondered what the hell it had to do with CLP, thinking of the popular conception of the term hacking: breaking into someone else’s computer and messing s&*t up. I tried to contextualize it with a Stallman article about hacking, but my suspicion is more people were still thinking about like Julian Assange in a bad way (not how I think of him) when they heard hacker. As I expected however, Joe did respond to the readings with this intriguing book idea he’s had ruminating.

Heading into week 2 I am a little behind. Week 2 began on Wednesday and I didn’t give out the weekly reading assignment till Thursday, nor write this recap till Friday. I still haven’t done personal e-mails/contacts to everyone, something I found to be very important in the last cycle.

Do you have any ideas about how any of this? Please share them in the comments.

image: “School Boy” by, gustavorezende, 2011, dedicated to the public domain. Pub’d in the Open Clipart Library.

Finding Concerts for OERcisians

is the name of the article I wrote and published (in? on?) my teaching laboratory. Its re-published in full below and outlines some ideas of mine regarding happily making free Open Educational Resources and money.

Finding Concerts for OERcisians:

Independent Acadmeics & Scratch (Money)


Copyright (C) 2011 Charles Jeffrey Danoff. As the copyright holder I place it in the public domain, and dedicate it there via a CC0 Public Domain Dedication as well as dual-license it with the Public Domain Dedication and Licence and WTFPL Public License.

For roughly the past two years I’ve had a significant interest in Open Educational Resources [OER] which had led to currently organizing a course on P2PU, publishing a year of lessons on Wikiversity , writing a paper about paragogy with Joe Cornelli and putting resources on my own site. This has been like a hobby as I’ve invested numerous hours and cash on these, but haven’t gotten a dime back in return. I did this because I found it fun, to be vain and show-off all my lessons, because I wanted others to see and use them in their own classes, and I hoped I’d get feedback on them to learn from myself. James Neil has an excellent video Going naked – Openism and freedom in academia in two parts one and two on why he does similar things.

I plan on still pursuing this as a hobby and I don’t need more cash to do so, which is wonderful, but for the rest of my life away from OER I could use some scratch.

So, if possible, I am open to the idea of getting money from the knowledge of and skill set within the OER world. There is a risk that attaching money to this’ll take away some of the intrinsic joy and motivation (cf. happiness parts of Clay Shirk’s Cognitive Surplus) i’d also be able to do more instead of taking an hour to make money reffing, caddying or doing store inventory (my cash jobs since I’ve been back Stateside) so there’s a chance I’d work more. And people do this, like M.S. Vijay Kumar getting paid to teach EDUC E-107 Open Education Practice and Potential (23439) at Harvard’s Extension school.

I could also make money by trying to sell my resources instead of giving them away for free, but that’d make my resources less likely to get used, thus would be harmful to idea sex of my lesson plans and other teachers I want. I wrote more about this in a series of blog posts. Yet, if I could get money to create free resources that’d be something to consider.

On that note, Leigh Blackall recently blogged about a US Government move making $2 billion available for grants to US colleges dedicated to making the work. He was obviously enthusiastic overall, but added the cooling points “There is still a way to go before the formal education sector recognises the real and potential contribution that Wikipedia, Wikiversity and Wikibooks makes to people’s education. … It will be the formal education sector that is consulted on how and where to spend that injection of money, and that’s the worry.”

I guess I kind of agree with him, at the same time I think the angle the WA Open Educational Resources Blog takes about the “unrestricted, open access (legal rights to reuse, remix, revise and redistribute) to all $2B worth of courses / programs produced with this grant.” Of course, they are a potential recipient, unlike Leigh, but either way $2 billion worth of resources will be created for the world. Futhermore the politicians behind this move need to take care of their constituents and they’re likely people involved in Universities or Community College, not independent OER makers or organizaitons like the Wikimedia Foundation.

These ideas and frustrations lead to something that individuals involved in OER need to be mindful and careful of is demonizing proprietary or less free educational resources and their associated institutions.

By proprietary I mean textbooks, handouts, etc. created to make a profit. These range from textbook publishers to individuals like Richard Grahm, selling the materials they create.

By less free I mean anything given away for free with strings attached. Some lesson plans are given away free, but can’t be used by people to make a profit, so a textbook publisher couldn’t use John’s lesson plans in their textbooks.

That said they could use ones they found on Wikieducator, but only if their derivative works were also available for others to re-publish/change freely or at a profit. Basically anything besides resources dedicated to the public domain (which have their own issues) are free with some strings attached. The US Government money will only go to free works, IF that have to be attributed to their original author with a CCA license. That is, I can take anything from there and put it in a book to sell to you, but I have to credit the author of the lesson plan I used, if I don’t I’m breaking the law.

Perhaps demonizing is too strong, but those making OERs are not in competiton with proprietary resource makers, though I’d assume proprietary resource makers view OER as a threat. If you make money off bread and some guy starts giving away bread for free so you lost income to put food on your kid’s table, you’d feel that new guy is a threat.

Unlike bread, though, the world’s appetite for education is insatiable, so there’s room for both OERs and prorpietary resources. The quality of the later should go up exponentially and there’s a reason people paid for professional as opposed to amateur work in the past.

Basically, the OER community should play the “higher game” of academics which the Wikiversity article associated with that Neil video I mentioned describes as:

Academia is about sharing – otherwise it is not academia. To not share is to retreat to an ivory tower. This is the “low game” of academia in which knowledge-development and knowledge-storing is approached as a competition (e.g., between staff, students, departments, institutions, sectors, countries etc.). The “higher game” in academia is to selflessly contribute to collective knowledge by freely disseminating one’s knowledge and activities (for a deeper discussion of the “academic game”, see De Ropp (1968)).

This claim may be summarised as “academics are public servants and our work is public property”.

As a side note I would put Leigh’s disparaging remark about the formal education sector in the “low game” category, even though he was a key contributor to the article cited above.

That still leaves the money problem. How to fix it? Create your own job. For example, with my experience I could approach a community college as an OER consultant of some kind and offer to set-up their OER production and then write their grant for this government money.

I think OER creators should think of themselves as modern musicians, perhaps OERcisians? With technological changes modern musicians get their music heard by more people than ever before in human history, but their CD sales don’t make them money. How do they make cash? People pay to see them live, by going to concerts.

A way to make money as an OER creator is by selling your “concerts” or, by people paying for what you can-do in person. As opposed to paying for your CD’s or materials.

A perfect example for this analogy is Girl Talk who re-mixes all of his music, a la educators re-mixing existing OERs for their resources, then gives his CD away as a free download. This lets more people hear his music, building his hype, allowing him to make more money and do more of what he gives away for free.

Only the “fans” OER creators need aren’t horny groupies. They include governments, old rich people, folks who want to learn and hopefully lots of groups/people I’ve never considered. Governments as in what the US one is doing with the $2 billion paying for the creation of these materials. Old rich people like William and Flora Hewlett who’re giving oodles of green to this cause and folks who want to learn as in people who’ll pay for your time and you-in person or you real-time-e-communicating to teach them something, e.g. how a history teacher can put his 20 years of lessons about Napoleon’s March through Russia online and freely available so his work can live on after he retires.

And, there are all sorts of people/places/institutions I haven’t thought of who hopefully’l give some scatch to OERcisians. Perhaps also resources can be released for 3 – 4 months on a proprietary basis and then given away for free? Another method is letting fans download it for however much money they wanted.

The goal is to avoid jokes like “What do you call a jazz musician who just broke up with his girlfriend?” “Homeless.” being made about OERcisians. BUT, with money entering the picture, the OERs need to remain as free or even freer. And not alienating the vast majority of people who do not want to contribute as anything more than hobby.

The fact the US Government is putting $2 billion into this effort is very encouraging. While we certainly can and maybe should squabble about how the money’s being invested, its important to take a meta-step back and look at this as a sign that people will pay big money for OERs, enough that individual OER makers can find some scratch to support and justify their hobby when they have bills to pay.

Nevertheless for the vast majority of OERcisians out there, this money is not going to help them. Many people feel OERs are wonderful, but very few will pay, and if they do it’s not better than a 40-hour week at Walgreen’s. The fact OERs are a good, perhaps stupendous, idea does not mean they’ll become popular or the new status quo and it certainly doesn’t mean OERcisians will get any palpable rewards like cash or equivalent groupies to rock stars.

OERcisians like myself and in general have not gotten people hooked on our idea enough to support it en masse with cash. Part of the reason is OERcisians often are not looking for cash anyway, but it’d be swell to keep that attitude and be turning down people offering cash.

Along the journey I feel its imporant for OERcisians to be a-political and non-hostile towards proprietary makers. They view OER as a threat no matter what, instead of increasing the panic we should try to show how we can work together to improve their products and keep the sign of their shop door turned to “open”.

After all, if you really are an idealist and dedicated to OER, then shouldn’t you be most dedicated to how you can use the tools available to you to create the perfect resource for someone else to use? Within that daunting task, how can you justify any energy for fighting/whining in relation to proprietary makers that don’t threaten your production at all?

Money will fit into the equation somehow, the more important thing is that stuff keeps getting created and money does not lead to anger and closed minds taking away from OERcisians art.

up late and lost in a sea of goodness

20100103 danoff china diary


Endnotes

  1. Reference to Hillary Rettig‘s ebook “The Little Guide To Beating Procrastination, Perfectionism and Blocks: a Manual For Artists, Activists, Entrepreneurs, Academics and Other Ambitious Dreamers” in the beginning she says exactly what I did,
  2. You have a plan – let’s say, to wake up at 7; be washed and dressed and breakfasted by 8; at your desk, easel or other workspace by 9; work three hours; exercise during your lunch break; eat a healthy salad at your desk; work four more hours; come home; eat dinner with your partner; work a couple more hours in the evening; and then curl up in bed with a good book.
    But you don’t follow the plan.
    Maybe you wake up late – at 8, or 9, or…noon!  The plan is trashed before you even get started.

  3. Reference to next actions, part of David Allen’s Getting Things Done. Explained here by Wikipedia.
  4. Wikiversity has a nice page on Open Education Resources.
  5. Read the amazing Definition of Free Cultural Works.

Images

  1. 20100103 danoff china diary.jpg” by Charles Jeffrey Danoff. As the photography and copyright holder, I release it into the public domain.
  2. OER Logo.svg” by Michael Reschke, public domain.
  3. Mfalzon-freecontent logo01–wikilogo.png” by Marc Falzon, public domain.

thoughts on the future of education

As I was surfing and getting pulled under the water [1] of the open educational web today I came across an excellent essay “Open Educational Resources and the future of institutions” by Grahm Attwell on pontydysgu. It’s about the future of educational resources and how they will fit into how students will learn in the future including their decision to or not to attend university.

The idea that learning at one’s own rate as opposed to a structured four year period where you get some grades then stop and go into the workforce is intriguing.

Although the degree of regulation regarding qualifications and the weight such qualifications carry for employment varies between sectors and countries, in general we might expect that increasingly employers will look to a person’s digital identity and digital record of learning, rather than accepting qualifications as the basis for employment.

The writer acknowledges Universities still have a future place in learning, but that it’s one that needs to change -

“institutions may have a role in motivating and supporting the learning of students at particular phases in their (lifelong) learning. But this requires far more flexibility than our present (higher) education systems provide.”

Personally I think learning outside the classroom is far more important than learning inside, but that doesn’t mean university is not extremely important. Indeed, university gives many people intellectual outlets they’d not otherwise have, and gives teenagers a chance to grow into adults [2] with less pressure than they’d find entering the workforce directly.

Endnotes

  1. That is to say, I only wanted to look for a minute or two and stayed for over ten times that long.
  2. This is probably where I learned the most in college.