Finishing line is in sight, but we are not there yet, and this reflection is about opening up my practice.
How could you open-up your practice?
As a new teacher I still learn and receive so much information from my colleagues that it sometimes feels that it is an impossible task to be a (good) lecturer. For instance, to change something bigger, you have to plan that at least a year ahead. And I agree with Weller&Andersson when they say the institution has to be aboard, because this issue is larger than the individual.
The Health guidance program at Luleå University of Technology is a three-year program given with distance methodology and with a few campus weeks every semester. This change from campus program till distance program (with campus week) was made two years ago. The program uses mainly Adobe Connect Pro to connect and collaborate with students. We are not the only program at our institution that has moved from only campus teaching to a mix or more towards distance and online teaching and examination.
So, what are we talking about when we say, “open up” our practice? Is it to the extreme of “Its rude not to share” by Simon Thomson (@digisim) or keeping it exclusive and protective, and only share some parts, and even at a later time?
As I mentioned above, we use Adobe Connect as a platform to connect with students. When we have a traditional lecture on Adobe, we make a recording for those students who were unavailable to attend. Or, I should say that we mostly do that. Because some times the lecturer does not want to make a recording, due to fear of having the lecture on the Internet, id est., no control of what happens later with the recordning. I have heard two reasons for that fear: that some one else uses the lecture, and that some one could misuse and cut and past picture/voice into other situations. So when we talk about openness in education, these personal issues from the educator has to be taken into account. Several interesting suggestions for further studies are presented in Hilton et al. but I miss the roll and feeling of the educator. Yes, we have the digital tools, yes, we have the content, yes, and we have students, but what about the pedagogue/lecturer and his/her feelings about openness and Internet? I believe that research is needed.
What would be the benefits and challenges?
From a personal view opening up my practices challenge my curiosity and interest for digital tools and social media. My experience as a lecturer are too limited to elaborate on further benefits, but I believe there are challenges both on a personal level, and also on a institutional/organizational level.
On a personal level the greatest challenges would to find smart way to integrate openness into the course. From an institutional level there is challenges ranging from digital competence in lecturer, which Tosato & Bodi also mentions, to copyrights and understanding of Open Source License, to incorporate ways to motivate students to motivate them selves. Finally I believe that the headline of the Kop, Fournier & Fai Mak article demonstrate that the human is in the front seat, and that learning has to set up to motivate humans. In their conclusion they write that making connections between learner-learner and learner-facilitator are important. That is in line with Kop (2011) that are sited in the article and says that learning has to support social presence, cognitive presence and teaching presence and with Garisson & Andersson (2003), also sited in the article, that argue for creation of a place with high level of “trust” between participants.
Hilton, John L, Graham, Charles, Rich, Peter & Wiley, David. Using Online Technologies to Extend a Classroom to Learners at a Distance.
Kop, Rita, Fournier, Hélene & Fai Mak, John Sui. Pedagogy of Abundance or a Pedagogy to Support Human Beings? Participant Support on Massive Open Online Courses.
Tosato, Paolo & Bodi, Gianluigi. Collaborative Environments to Foster Creativity, Reuse and Sharing of OER.
Weller, Martin & Andersson, Martin. Digital resilience in Higher Education.