12 weeks and semester 1 completed already. Wow, how time flies when you’re having fun, and learning loads! Pot Cert has really started to give me great insight into what quality online education might look like and, more importantly for me, how to go about creating it.
This week is a chance to look back and take stock of my learning journey so far.
Here’s a series of links to my reflections about my posts and thoughts on what I’ve learnt.
Finally, I have to say that impressively the POT Cert course is both well structured and well supported, and that I’ve really found the addition of a personal mentor to be an invaluable aspect of the programme. A big thank you to everyone, it’s much appreciated. I look forward to continuing in the Spring semester. Until then…
I’m sure that I might be forgiven for at first supposing that this week’s topic, “Class Resources and Intellectual Property”, might prove to be a little dull, but I was wrong.
Before reading Chapter 8: “Copyright, Intellectual Property, and Open Educational Resources”, I watched the signposted video of Lawrence Lessig’s 2007 TED Talk, “Laws that Choke Creativity”. Immediately, I was captivated by the idea of remix that was presented and what this means, not just in terms of the law, but in terms of culture and what it means for teaching and learning in a digital age.
New digital tools give us the ability to create new kinds of digital texts or artefacts, which often incorporate and appropriate the works of others. Referred to as ‘remix’, this practice of borrowing and building on existing works is becoming very common. However, remix, rather than simply being seen as a matter of copying, and akin to plagiarism, is much more than that because it requires a creative re-working of the original material so as to take on a new meaning and/or significance in a new context. There are some excellent examples of this in Lessig’s presentation.
The concept of remix made me think of the digital reincarnation of Bloom’s taxonomy, which has ‘creating’ as its pinnacle.
What’s more interesting, the suggested verbs and associated activities within the high order thinking skills category of this digital taxonomy refers specifically to remixing. And not only that, but to other activities that might reasonably contain elements of ‘borrowed’ content in their production as well.
In order to address the fact that in terms of ‘remix culture’, the law severely constraints the creation of new texts and artefacts, Lessig and others have developed the ‘Creative Commons‘ licensing system. The system makes licenses available that clearly describe what intellectual property rights the creator would like to reserve.
So, in terms of teaching and learning, if either students or faculty are creating digital products along the lines of ‘remix’, it seems sensible to ask them to make themselves familiar with fair use guidelines, reference what they have incorporated from elsewhere and publish to the internet with the appropriate licence.
I’ve found this to be not only a fascinating topic, but to be an important one as well. And, although I learnt plenty this week, it’s an area that I’ll have to become better familiarized with, along with issues of accessibility that were also signposted in this week’s reading.
Week 10 (already!) continues reading Chapter 7: Student Activities in the Online Environment, and additionally considers open platforms for teaching and learning. In terms of student activities, good discussion is given to those that promote reflection; the facilitation of which may either be through discussion forums within the LMS or through the use of blogging platforms on the open web. Recent research though seems to suggest that students who blog tend to feel more engaged and personally connected to fellow students. Engaging in reflective discussion about coursework and posting responses to each others’ blogposts enables them to develop a strong sense of community. However, the degree of personal, or sensitive information, that learners might be likely to divulge must be carefully considered when determining where these reflective artefacts are to be created.
This apart, it appears that encouraging students to blog not only aids learning through reflection and the development of community but also, through the provision of authentic audience and purpose, stimulates the development of important writing skills too. In a wonderful blogpost recently, Susan Lucille Davis proclaims her 10 reasons why I want my students to blog. Moreover, for anyone considering setting up a class blog Lisa M. Lane provides an excellent slidecast on the ‘hows and whys’ of doing so, whilst providing a link to yet more great advice – Avoiding the 5 Most Common Mistakes in Using Blogs with Students.
An interesting development to this discussion is the evolution of blogs as ePortfolios. An ePortfolio is an electronic collection of objects that can be used to showcase personal achievements, developments and reflections. It can form part of an assessment strategy and similarly, it can be sent to potential employers to supplement a CV.
Braur, J. (2012) Blogging vs Threaded Discussions in Online Courses. Available at: http://connectedprincipals.com/archives/6431
Davis, S. L. (2012) 10 Reasons Why I Want My Students to Blog. Available at: http://gettingsmart.com/cms/blog/2012/10/10-reasons-why-i-want-my-students-blog/
Reynard, R. (2008) Avoiding the 5 Most Common Mistakes in Using Blogs with Students. Available at: http://campustechnology.com/articles/2008/10/avoiding-the-5-most-common-mistakes-in-using-blogs-with-students.aspx
M. Mobbs (2009) Creating an ePortfolio using wordpress.com. Available at: http://www.scribd.com/doc/20842800/Creating-a-ePortfolio-Using-Wordpress