Friday, 15 February 2013

Week 2

There was a lot of discussion on the forums this week that focused around examining innovation.

There was a discussion on OpenLearn, the OU site that provides free educational resources. While investigating this site, it struck me how open source models are very similar to those of open education. I suppose common sense should have told me this. This even led me to examining the GNU General Public License.

I contributed quite a long post into this discussion about how the OpenLearn site was in fact innovative - even though I had initially thought it wasn't. This view was changed when I investigated the wiki for the site and read about it's history, fundamentals and the features it offers, it really is a good resource. There were some interesting (and lengthy) posts about how people define innovation and of course their opinions on the site.

In this investigation, it brought me back to thinking about how years back, open source software was rubbished, is the same thing happening now with open 'free' courses? Do people think that because they free, they are not going to be as good as proper 'paid-for' academic courses? One of my colleagues at the moment is doing a MOOC elearning course, and seems to be happy with the way the course is structured and put together, however is at odds a little with the content and doesn't feel as if the course is really about elearning, but more 'digital culture'.

I think the standout discussion for me was about learning analytics, probably because I could relate to it, as my organisation is currently investigating ways of centrally interrogating data that is available from a wide range of sources. This discussion however focused on the benefits of intervention (using technology?) techniques for monitoring student progress and outcomes etc. Again a varied discussion in this thread about the techniques that others employ. Someone in particular raised an interesting point about learners that are not monitored have borderline performance, and those that are perform better.

An Elluminate session has been organised for this week. Our discussion is about:

1.  What drives innovation in the examples you have investigated?
2.  Does an innovation have to be useful for the learners?
3.  Should innovation lead to far-reaching changes in practice for the learners or the teachers? Or both?

Based on the forum, it should be a lively discussion!

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