Open teaching, open learning

Cormier and Siemens reflect on their experiences with teaching open courses, in particular a form of course that they term ‘massive online open course’ or MOOC.

Of particular interest to me were their observations on educators’ roles in open courses: “Open learning adjusts the role of the educator with respect to access to new content and engagement tools now under the control of the learner. Educators continue to play an important role in facilitating interaction, sharing information and resources, challenging assertions, and contributing to learners’ growth of knowledge.” They list the following teacher roles:

  • Amplifying – drawing attention to important ideas/concepts
  • Curating – arranging readings and resources to scaffold concepts
  • Wayfinding – assisting learners to rely on social sense-making through networks
  • Aggregating – displaying patterns in discussions and content
  • Filtering – assisting learners in thinking critically about information/conversations available in networks
  • Modeling – displaying successful information and interaction patterns
  • Staying present – maintaining continual instructor presence during the course, particularly during natural activity lulls

Compare this with the more familar list – delivering lectures, marking assignments, monitoring attendance, and so on.

Other ideas and principles they put forward that resonated with me:

  • “Content itself is not a sufficient value point on which to build the future of higher education”
  • “The registration process is the approach to the conversation; the filtering, the deciding whether or not to participate, happens after registration”
  • “The opening up of the teaching process is an important dimension of openness in education more broadly.”
  • “The community-as-curriculum model inverts the position of curriculum: rather than being a prerequisite for a course, curriculum becomes an output of a course.”

Reference: Cormier, D., & Siemens, G. (2010). Through the open door: Open courses as research, learning, and engagement. EDUCAUSE Review, 45(4), 30-39. [Online] http://www.educause.edu/EDUCAUSE+Review/EDUCAUSEReviewMagazineVolume45/ThroughtheOpenDoorOpenCoursesa/209320

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