Wednesday, August 22, 2012

It's Open Teaching Time!

It's Open Teaching time on #ioe12!

Having been involved with MOOCs for close to a couple of years now (in the fringes early on, and on the main stage since January 2011), I thought I knew quite a lot about open teaching, but Wiley video presentation surprised me and I learned something new!  I had run across Wiley's syllabi on Open Content a while back, (before this course) but I wasn't aware that the goal was to also have students suggest topics as well!  When I heard that (in the presentation) I thought to myself "hmmm...it would be cool if learners actually did do this, but somehow I don't they will..." and lo and behold they did not!  I do agree that it's probably a perceived power dynamic between teacher and student. Students are not empowered to suggest topics in our culture, so it didn't surprise me that students did not contribute to the syllabus.  Maybe something to change, culturally, in the future.

Language in such open courses is something that interests me as well.  I've thought, off and on, over the past year or so, ever since I met the first non-native English speakers in a MOOC (might have been #CCK11) that it would be worthwhile to research and write about language issues in MOOCs, the dominance of English as the language of communication and so on.

Personally I think that Open Teaching is important.  At the institutional level it allows students to see what goes on in the course, and to decide whether they want to participate in this course for credit.  Students in the course can also be empowered to participate - education isn't just happening to them, but  rather students are active agents in their education.  From a more broad perspective open teaching allows diverse views to come into the course, and allows both other learners and other instructors to come in and participate.  If you're not open, and not a lot of people benefit, why would someone spend a week (or more) to come and be a guest host to your course?
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