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During Topic 2: Open Learning – Sharing and Openness I looked at some chapters in Teaching in a Digital Age: Guidelines for Teaching and Learning by Tony Bates (2014). He emphasizes decision-making in our volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world.


“Although governments, institutions and learners themselves can do a great deal to ensure success in teaching and learning, in the end the responsibility and to some extent the power to change lies within teachers and instructors themselves. It will be the imagination of teachers inventing new ways of teaching that will eventually result in the kinds of graduates the world will need in the future.” (Bates 2014)


My personal interest has been on the affordances of collaborative learning in online environments and I developed a Collaborative Open Online Learning (COOL) course. The course use microcredentials (i.e. open badges) as a way to recognize skills and achievements. Distributed knowledge (instead of a central node in a star network) are stored in Open Educational Resources (OERs), which is blended and re-mixed to student’s local context. My belief is that someone with expert skills can find patterns between and traverse key concepts and knowledge domains (i.e. salient properties of an entity).  He or she can also demonstrate and validate this knowledge in a Community of Practitioners (Brown and Duguid 2002). Notice the focus on knowing-in-practice where practitioners from different contexts learn from each other as they try to address similar real-life problems.


An analogy I find helpful is literature circles. They were first implemented in 1982 by Karen Smith, providing a way for students to engage in critical thinking and reflection. Research have found that peer collaboration has a positive effect on student learning and performance as well as improved reading comprehension and content-knowledge (Daniels, 2002).

Compared to a book club a literature circle Includes assessment of fellow group members (i.e. peet-to-peer review) and opportunity to keep track of your own progress though self-assessment. Literature circles offers an alternative to teacher-centered discourse, but it is recommended to agree on checklists or other rubrics to provide structure. Collaborative learning in a digital age allow members to write reflective blog posts and Activity Tracker (which was used in previous iterations of the ONL course).


As participants in ONL181 you can probably understand my interest in Open Online Learning. I think we as educators need to focus on assessment and distinction between literacy and fluency!

On the subject of open learning I have used Scalable Learning that is provided for free for individual teachers (here is also experiments with LTI integrations with Canvas LMS)



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