Breakout Session

Harness the Power of “Open”

Track:  Learning Innovations

Thursday, November 29th, 10:30am-11:30am

The explosion of information access via the Internet on computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones is one of the factors that is forcing change in education.  Academics are no longer regarded as the only “experts” on a particular subject matter thus formal learning no longer occurs in an isolated island known as a classroom.  When an individual has access and understanding of how to navigate and use the Internet, he or she is exposed to various learning possibilities.  This presentation is designed to illustrate to educators how to harness the power of ‘open’ resources for designing activities that supports participatory learning.

 

Shelley Kurland
Instructional Designer
County College of Morris

Bio / Expertise:
Shelley Kurland has a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science and Sports Studies from Rutgers University and a Masters in Arts in Teaching from Montclair State University.  She has been designing face-to-face, online, and hybrid courses in higher education institutions since 2006.  When developing a course with faculty members, she encourages the focus of the design on not just active learning, but interactive, life-long learning.  She is currently pursuing a doctorate of Teacher Education/Teacher Development at Montclair State University.

 

Presentation Content: 

Summary Statement:  Harness the power of “open” resources to encourage educators to become the “bridge” between theory and practice and the facilitator for the learners’ knowledge construction by utilizing learning objects that are based on real-world situations.

Description of activity, project, or solution:  The explosion of information access via the Internet on computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones is one of the factors that is forcing change in education.  Academics are no longer regarded as the only “experts” on a particular subject matter thus formal learning no longer occurs in an isolated island known as a classroom.  When an individual has access and understanding of how to navigate and use the Internet, he or she is exposed to various learning possibilities.  For example, the learner can enroll in complete courses from reputable academic institutions, such as MIT via OpenCourseWare, to various online affinity groups, such as Creative Planet Network (http://www.creativeplanetnetwork.com/) for individuals who are interested in videography.  Typically, the learner is an active participant in this online learning process and may collaborate with other novices and experts worldwide as part of this process.  This new, open learning environment along with a learner taking ownership of his or her learning process are forcing a paradigm shift in higher education, from the transmission model to a participatory model (Brown & Adler, 2008; Haythornthwaite et al., 2007; Lankshear & Knobel, 2011).

Lane and McAndrew (2010) advocated one’s opportunity to use a learning object to create more effective and efficient learning experience by constituting and reconstituting content, tools, activities, and assessments within a learning environment.  This can occur, for example, within a learning management system (LMS) or another virtual learning environment, such as Second Life.  For the purposes of this presentation, the use of the learning objects is designed for a LMS.  The activities are designed around each learning object in explicit and deliberate alignment with Ilomaki et al.’s (2006) advanced pedagogical practices where the purpose of learning objects was not to promote knowledge transmission, but as building blocks for learners’ participatory knowledge construction.  The digital resources selected as learning objects in this presentation were considered carefully; a key criterion was ensuring that the objects themselves are available freely to anyone with Internet access and, more importantly, that these resources were not specifically designed for educational resources.  These two criteria are important to demonstrate that learning objects and learning activities do not have to revolve around educator and/or publisher designed contents to be effective learning resources.

The rationale for using these types of resources as learning objects is to create a connection between concept and application as well as to present relevance for the learners as they participate in the activities.  By “relevance” I mean the selected learning object is pertinent to the subject matter or concept that is being studied.  Ideally, this will also encourage the teachers to become the “bridge” between theory and practice and the facilitator for the learners’ knowledge construction by utilizing learning objects that are based on “real-world” situations.  Hopefully, this presentation will also inspire educators to be creative and use materials that are current, readily available, and outside of textbooks.
The learning objects and activities for this presentation are researched and designed for undergraduate students specifically in 100 or 200 level courses such as photography, business, exercise science, sociology/history, and economic courses.  The diverse selection is intentional with the purpose of demonstrating the versatility and flexibility in using different resources as learning objects.  The activities are designed for hybrid or online courses.  The learners are expected to access the learning objects and participate in the activities in the online environment.

References:
Brown, J. S., & Adler, R. P. (2008, Jan/Feb). Minds on fire. Educause Review.  Retrieved from http://www.johnseelybrown.com/mindsonfire.pdf

Haythornthwaite, C., Bruce, B. C., Andrews, R., Kazmer, M. M., Montague, R, & Preston, C. (2007, August 6). Theories and models of and for online learning.  First Monday, 12(8).  Retrieved from http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue12_8/haythorn/index.html

Ilomaki, L., Lakkala, M., & Paavola, S. (2006). Case studies of learning objects used in school settings. Learning, Media, and Technology, 41(3), 249-267.

Lane, A. & McAndrew, P. (2010). Are open educational resources systematic or systemic change agents for teaching practice. British Journal of Educational Technology, 41(6), 952-962.  DOI: 10.111/j.1467-8535.2010.01119.x

Outcome:
All of the activities have been used in courses, the Instructional Designer will present feedback from various faculty members.

Importance or relevance to other institutions:
With the increasing popularity of hybrid and online course, coupled with budget constraints, using ‘open’ resources as learning objects is an effective and really inexpensive way to design participatory activities for a course.

 

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