Jim Groom kicked off his keynote by saying that he intended not to talk about DS106 but then acknowledged it was his life. His next confession was that he didn’t do any OER and felt alienated from American model of using Open to lower costs of textbooks, meanwhile diverting funding away from public education.
Jim riffed on the idea that the money and energy used in implementing and supporting VLE/LMS could be used for different approaches to sharing and practicing openly.
He gave examples of how Wikipedia was used in education in ways that enable students to become producers as well as consumers, supported by their teachers. His next example was femtechnet which worked openly on Wikipedia and across the web, informed by feminist values.
Then he got on to his work at University Mary Washington, enabling students to publish in their own space without the hassle of the earlier tilde spaces. And now, he got onto DS106, a phenomenon that sprang from work with students on courses but became a distributed phenomenon where the digital stories were located in personal spaces but linked from the central DS101 web site.
His next example was a great example of student-generated content, a crowdsourced assignment site where assignments were shared in ‘drive by mode’. The DS106 assignment bank was the idea of <get her name – anyone know please put in comments> and took off with support from all including Alan Levine who developed supporting features.
Next was DS106 radio, a phenomenon that sprang from the need to have synchronous conferencing at DS106 and evolved into the web radio site that flourishes still. Another firm favourite sprang from an idea called the Daily Shoot where photographers shared images daily. On DS106 this became the Daily Create.
DS106 thrived not only via Open Source software but also across Social Networking Services like Twitter. DS1016 also uses live video via Amazon Web Services. Jim gave a heads up to Radio #edutalk at #OER16.
Jim recommended listening to a Jon Udell talk at Educause that predicted that digital infrastructures would change become a network of personal repositories each of which contained all of the stuff that related to an individual. This inspired Domain of One’s Own at University Mary Washington.
Now Jim moved to Project Reclaim and Personal APIs. The personal project is to log all of the places that you are on the web and aggregate links back to your own personal space. He described use of a single tool to do this without worrying too much about which tool or how.
ALT host the OESIG#openedsig (but you don’t have to be a member of ALT to join). Viv Rolfe @vivienrolfe opened up the discussion. It was suggested that OESIG join forces with #OERHub and collate and curate existing resources; and promote http://wikieducator.org/GoOPEN for use and development.
Archivist advised use of open software that allowed for portability of resources when repositories disappear. Another participant suggested looking at practice in non-English-speaking communities. There was also a suggestion to support ease of use and finding; and finding ways of sustaining resources that aren’t just in single HE institutions raising issues of branding.
This panel from Vivien Rolfe, David Kernohan, Lorna Campbell, Pat Lockley, Simon Thompson and Leo Havemann explored in different ways how OERs can be sustained.
The panel kicked off with a video from Pat Lockley @patlockley, in character as Alex from Clockwork Orange moving on to the decline of OER production, access and use as funding declined, and institutions.
Vivien Rolfe @vivienrolfe spoke from a more personal perspective of OERs she had been involved with that were being sustained by the work of individuals rather than institutional buy-in. #oer16sustain
Questions surfaced issues of sustainability and how it might happen and be supported.
Simon Thompson discussed alternatives to official but ephemeral repositories. First he talked about Merlot.org that appears to be sustainable if not fully open and then suggested that Amazon Education could become an attractive alternative for under-funded institutions. This provoked lively discussion.
Leo Havemann shared research he did with Javiera Atenas comparing 80 different repositories across 10 quality indicators to see how repositories work? Results were disappointing in terms of scoring on indicators (9 indicators under 50%). Discussion ranged around why this might be, and surprise at low use of licensing.
Lorna Campbell explained how the spike in OER shown in Pat’s video related to England, from UKOER funding that wasn’t active in Scotland but that practices and (people) expertise did migrate between England and Scotland that can be seen as a form of sustainability. Lorna speculated that repository activity might increase as it declines across the rest of the UK.
Discussion ranged around funding models and their relationship to sustainability.
Catherine Cronin’s keynote was the first session at the OER16 conference and was live streamed with a video recording here in case you missed it, and an audio recording here, if you like to multi-task.
Catherine started a conversation around the subject of the keynote more than a month before at her blog and #OER16 on Twitter, indicative of her commitment to open scholarship. The conversation attracted 27 comments so the engagement long preceded the actual keynote.
She started her keynote by situating her own scholarship within a network of scholars, many of whom were in the room (or on the #OER16 hash tag), and acknowledging earlier scholars like Mary Somerville and other influences such as poetry e.g. @byleaveswelive. Catherine spent a few minutes promoting networking by encouraging us to talk with someone we didn’t already know.
Catherine showed mural that evoked the popular movement around the Irish marriage referendum #marref and the role of social media in this movement, encouraging people to vote, and even come home to vote from all parts of the world.
This was an example what Henry Jenkins called the participatory culture that has its own practices
interpretations of Open – educational practices, educational resources, and admission to education e.g. Open University and
levels of Open – policy/culture, values, practices and activities
She acknowledged work done by Richard Edwards; and by Sava Singh, Jeremy Knox, Suzan Koseoglu and others speaking at #OER16.
In her PhD research, Catherine has come across how important it is for people to balance privacy and openness. Openness is personal – with decisions to be made about whether to share , with whom, as whom, and what to share.
One question probed whether or not Open Educational Practices are moving apart from the Open Educational Resources in the title of the conference. Catherine saw her input as equalising the emphasis rather than eliminating the importance of the content/ resources.
Another question asked about the permissive nature of multiple definitions of openness and stressed the importance of freedom flowing from open. Catherine stressed the importance of context, in exploring who may be left out.
“Move from access to equity and justice” McMillam Cottom, 2015. The last questioner homed in on the issue of Open Textbooks and their role in such a move if used to deflect funding in public education.
One of the themes that has engaged us in the research process is the delicate dance between the private and the public. Public and private can relate to strategies for engagement behaviours rather than being properties of spaces (Lievrouw 1998). We found that offering privacy in data collection was a good strategy in that we are able to reveal some things that were not apparent on the surface of Rhizo14, adding to our partial, provisional understanding.
On the other hand, we are pledged to publish only in open access journals, and shared our data collection approach with Rhizo14 participants who helped us to shape it. Dave Cormier, the convener of the MOOC kindly agreed to a private conversation reflecting on Rhizo14. We have spent a long time (a year) reading and analysing the data, reading other writers, and writing, alone or together.
We have also presented interim findings at a conference at University College London, blogged over several posts and we have blogged our ideas before, during and after Rhizo14. It was great to get feedback at the conference and on our blogs.
And now we have published an article that was private while it was being written, reviewed and edited, and we look forward to getting your feedback on what we have said. Of course this apparently fixed article is only a snapshot of ideas. Our ideas have moved on even in the relatively short period since we completed this article (November 2014), and it would be different if we wrote it today. We have, this month, submitted a second article on the rhizome as metaphor and concept, and we are currently working on an article about community formation. But the cycling between private and public – reflecting, reading, thinking, writing – that’s so important. If our paper motivates you to respond, we would be thrilled to hear your ideas. We don’t want to howl at the moon.
As part of a MOOC on rhizomatic learning that performs itself in many different spaces (Facebook, P2PU, G+, Twitter and others), I am a member of an ‘open’ Facebook group. It is endlessly fascinating, and has given me a lot of scope for reflection about back channels and the exchange of information between open and closed spaces. Of course, I say that as if a space could be categorised as open or closed: it’s often a lot more complicated than that, acted out by technical aspects of the space and by the agency of the people who interact there. Facebook groups can be open, closed or secret, the meanings of these being laid out in the Facebook help.
See what I did there, I linked to the ‘closed’ space of Facebook, only visible to one of the 1.3 billion members of Facebook. Now of course, we don’t know if there are that exactly many Facebook members, but let’s settle for there being a very large number of them. Facebook is not completely open from the outside but doesn’t seem very closed. For example, if I log out of Facebook and Google for “Facebook pictures dog”, I will see lots of peeks into Facebook groups that might entice me to sign up or log in.
Now I am neglecting those of you who aren’t Facebook members, and can’t see the Facebook help page . Facebook describe the visibility of posts as:
Who can see what members post in the group?
Yes that means that anyone who has the link to an open Facebook group post or comment, can share it inside or outside Facebook, and it can be opened by any Facebook (not just group) member. In the case of the rhizo14 MOOC, participants who are not Facebook members are excluded from sight of posts in the Facebook group, whilst a very large number of Facebook members who have never heard of rhizo14 could check it out if you sent them the link.
I will sketch out a few of the ethical dilemmas I have observed in the rhizo14 Facebook group. These are early reflections, and I would welcome your comments on this post.
How do we behave around here?
The rhizo14 MOOC offers no explicit written norms, behavioural or otherwise, and the strapline for the FB group is “An attempt to create a feed for Rhizomatic Learning posts from around the web.” The Facebook group has become not only a site for sharing blog posts, other rhizo14 creations and links to interesting and relevant stuff, it has also become a place for demonstrations of friendship and affection by some members. It’s clear that a number of people (significantly less than the full 240 ish membership) regard the group as a semi-private backchannel where they can expect support and sympathy for their encounters elsewhere. What the remainder of the membership think about this is less clear. They may be just letting it all flow past or ‘lurking’ – a behaviour that has attracted discussion in the FB group. The implicit norms on lurking in the FB group are to some extent discernible, but the norms on other behaviours sometimes seem to be taken as read by some active members of the group. I posited a relational approach to power early on in the rhizo14 MOOC but that is not a common view in the Facebook group where a one-dimensional view of power is more common. We can discern a flexible approach to ‘rule-breaking’ in rhizomatic learning in the discussion around rhizomatic learning and ethics in the comments on this post so it’s unlikely that a set of ‘rules’ to govern behaviour would work on rhizo14. Teachers and moderators can model ethical behaviour, and communities usually engage with norm-building online where misunderstanding is not uncommon. Overt moderation and norm-building activities have been generally absent from rhizo14 in general and the FB group in particular.
What does sharing mean within and beyond the rhizo14 community?
A lot of sharing goes on at rhizo14, and there is a sense that openness is a value of rhizo14. The remix culture has been very evident in rhizo14, and creativity and remix have brought a lot of pleasure. Communities of Practice literature and others have identified the importance of the boundary in the propagation of knowledge. The facility for stuff and people to cross boundaries presents great opportunities, but with these come tricky questions of how we share and what we do with what is shared. A great set of ‘rules’ that has helped sharing is Creative Commons Licenses, not always enforceable but signifying intent in a sharing and use context.
A dilemma presented by research data sharing is current at rhizo14 FB group, and raises, for me at any rate, some very interesting issues about how we do Open Research. The twitter stream fragment gives an indication of the controversy, and the discussion of what is appropriate uses of open research data by ‘others’ (those ‘outside’ the community) is playing out on the rhizo14 Facebook group. I raised the issue of ethics of use of open/closed data for research purposes in rhizo14 at the time it became clear that a group doing auto-ethnography, and a group of which I am a part were both doing research around rhizo14.
I became involved in this discussion because I had contributed to the auto-ethnography open Google document but had deferred on authorship of any subsequent outputs (as was possible within the invitation). The complication that I presented was that I had asked not to be quoted (on reflection this created problems for the auto-ethnographers).
I resolved my personal dilemma by deleting my contribution, in consultation with members of the auto-ethnography group. However, the issue of who can use the information in the auto-ethnography is still the subject of discussion – on the FB group and publicly on Twitter.
Discussion of Agency
As humans we can have moral agency – this may be the different thoughts and feelings that guide the way we act. I suggest that sharing our ethical stance with others can help our moral agency within a network of human and technical agents. I am not thinking of a set of rules but rather our expectations and ethical stance that we could share with other moral agents. What I have observed in the discussion on the ethics of use of information from the auto-ethnography document is that some participants seem to assume there is a ‘common decency’ approach to the use of ‘open’ information. This is a little dangerous I think and may be explained by an unwarranted assumption of community.
We can also think of technology as ‘moral agent’ where permissions and constraints on agency can be coded into a system, as I described in who can access a FB group. This can be useful, especially if helps clarify expectations- hard rules, hard boundaries can be explained in help pages and observed in action when we fail to access the FB group link because we are not logged into Facebook. Even these hard rules can be overcome by human agency. I cut and paste one part of FB help page – this was within my personal ethics where doing the same with a rhizo14 FB group post would not be. When I did accidentally violate that in a blog post, I tried to resolve the situation, by consulting the person affected.
Some Tentative Conclusions
An important element of the digital moral agent’s backpack to complement their ethical literacy is the digital literacy of having an active understanding of the ethical and other implications of using a digital space/service for communication. This is especially important when one’s practice in spaces is research.
As well as the overhead of ‘cluttering ‘ the communication, there are benefits in clarifying use of information, utterances, multimedia in practice. This may be done informally within a close group of friends, rarely discussed, but the more open the use and sharing of information, the more important it is to clarify how we expect that information to be used, if we wish to minimise problems. This applies just as much to Facebook (with their unclear use in the above extract from Help of the words member – Facebook or group?- and anyone – anyone on the Internet or anyone on Facebook) as to those of us participating and researching in rhizo14. I hope that rhizo14 research subjects benefit from our statement of how we use the research data. I know I would have benefited from a clearer statement of expectations and behaviours in rhizo14. I am not suggesting a set of hard and fast rules but rather a starting point for discussion on how we behave around rhizo14.
Because digital literacies are a moving target (digital literacy is ongoing) and communication in open spaces is tricky, we need flexible repair strategies for when things go wrong. If we state our expectations and promote discussion of expectations within a group as starting point, then we may be able to minimise but not eliminate problems. That’s when it’s useful to promote friendly interpretation of the words and actions of others, and to have some strategies for conflict resolution.
Who said it was easy to practice learning and research in online spaces?
* edited because links to Maha’s blog had mysteriously repositioned themselves
I am going to throw out a few initial ideas about comparing academic journals and blogs as publication channels, as a kick off to a writing project I’ll be doing with Cristina Costa.
Let me start by saying that it is very difficult to generalise about either academic journals or blogs as channels since they are each in a state of flux, changing and interpreted differently by different users and audiences. This post has been provoked by recent discussion on peer review and journals within my (albeit limited) network. The issues that interest me are:
development of research and writing
the role of peer review and editing
dissemination of research
Obviously, I will be collaborating with Cristina and we will both improving our review of the literature to find what is already known on the subject.
development of research and writing
Blogs can play a role in the development of academic writing. An author can try out ideas and get feedback. I have tried this myself (but can’t point to the posts as they are sadly lost) on a paper I wrote for Networked Learning 2010. Also I recall a learning developer who posted successive drafts of an essay on their blog in response to readers’ feedback (would love the link to this if anyone has it). I think the intention of this was to reveal the sometimes messy journey of writing rather than to recommend this as a method of writing.
I see writing as a process with a product that emerges from privacy to publication with more eyes seeing and commenting along the way. A tweet may take only a minute to write but increasingly this text is wraparound/trigger to click a link to another text /multimedia artifact such as a blog post or video created over a much longer period.
There are different styles of blogging and plenty of tips on how to do it and writing for different audiences is very useful for an author’s toolkit.
Writing an article for a scholarly journal is likely to be a much more lengthy process with commenting and revisions emerging from the exchanges between authors, reviewers and editor(s) not all which are ‘public’ in the sense the article itself is. The process for rejected articles is private with no publication endpoint. Journals with a commitment to the development of their authors will try to ensure that peer review is as much about development as about selection/ rejection. I am interested in the role that blogging and other social media can play in writing development.
the role of peer review and editing
Journal peer review can be double blind (where neither reviewer nor authors are known to each other – though it is sometimes possible for them to guess each others’ identities); single blind where the reviewers know the authors’ identities but they remain anonymous to authors. Usually peer review remains a relatively private exchange with comments and responses sent by email. Different levels and types of openness are possible. JIME, Journal of Interactive Media Education conducted very interesting dialogic review and I am interested to research into evaluations of that and similar approaches. I do know that reviewing can help writers develop, and that editing has had an impact on my reviewing and my writing.
With blogs, comments are usually (but not always) invited and open, but may be moderated by the blog owner who may choose to reject comments e.g. spam comments. The blog owner has quite a few powers at his/her discretion moderation, deletion, opening/closing comments. You could say they are their own editor – as they make the decision on publication of post and comments. Some bloggers (like Seb Schmoller at Fortnightly Mailing ) invite guest contributions that they then edit before publication. So power relations are exercised in both blogs and journals in relation to what is published and how, and in both cases there may be room for more research into how the dimensions of power are operationalised.
dissemination of research
At Research in Learning Technology, we are keen to explore the role of social and other media in disseminating the research articles we publish in our newly Open Access journal. I have blogged about this here and here . The joy of Open Access is that every article has a clickable link so we can safely tweet links to articles knowing that all readers can open the article and read some or all of it as they wish. In Actor Network Theory terms, we hope to grow our network of human (readers, authors, etc.) and non-human (articles, web sites, tweets, blog posts, etc.) actants. And if you wish to read more about ANT you can check this article or this one or this one.
It will be really interesting to see what the literature throws up on journals and blogs as publication channels, and I would also be very grateful for any comments and suggestions that you have to make. Clearly the openness of processes in writing and publication is worthy of question and shifts in practices should be observed and evaluated to achieve potential benefits of digital publication for readers, authors and others. Clearly there are cases when openness can help to emancipate but I can’t help but wonder if slavish openness can also have the potential to reinforce existing power differences and may even aid discrimination if not handled carefully.
Research in Learning Technology , the journal for the Association for Learning Technology, is going Open Access from January 2012 (with Rhona Sharpe, I am co-editor of the journal). ALT’s plans for Open Access publishing have developed over several years, and we are very keen that this move can extend the impact of the journal – gaining us more readers, more authors and more citers. Just today, I came across this blog post from @melissaterras “What happens when you tweet an Open Access Paper” that is very persuasive of the benefits of Open Access publishing married to institutional repositories.
@A_L_T has developed skills in the use of social media integration of its multiple publication and presentation channels, and openness makes that so much easier. Typically for ALT, the tendering process was done meticulously and fairly around this time last year, and was even written up and published in ALT’s (Open Access) repository. The winner of the tender was Co-Action and they have been a pleasure to work with so we are very confident that our journal can develop and go from strength to strength. The really great news is that even content that is currently closed will be open from January 2012. Watch this space!
When the web site is launched, we will be sure to splash it over all channels, but I wanted to alert you two publishing opportunities with Research in Learning Technology:
1. Although we have not yet got an upload url, we are eagerly awaiting your copy so please keep writing, writing, writing. Here are the interim arrangements. Open Access is such good news for authors especially where the scholarly society (and all the volunteer editors, reviewers and editorial board) invests in the publication and does not expect authors to pay. We already have all of the copy we need for the the first issue, and some in hand for the second issue but we want to fill Issues 2 and 3, especially as we will be having 4 issues (1 more than previously). Of course, you can always contact Rhona and I for informal advice, if you have any questions.
2. The fourth issue of Research in Learning Technology is a Special Issue on Digital Inclusion and Learning, edited by Profs Jane Seale and William Dutton. The Call for Papers is here. This will be a seminal issue – please be part of it.
If you want to get news of this exciting venture, you can follow me @francesbell or @A_L_T on Twitter or watch out on the ALT web site. Please tell your colleagues about our move to Open Access – we are proud and really rather excited by the opportunities it presents.
At our ALT-C 2011 Symposium tomorrow The Paradox of Openness: The High Costs of Giving Josie Fraser, Helen Keegan Richard Hall and I will speak briefly about different aspects of openness and online in relation to education and learning, in order to open up discussion amongst participants. We are also keen to extend dialogue beyond the conference and over time.
One of my interests in being involved in this symposium is that I suspect that there are questions that are not being asked about openness online. I am keen to explore what openness means and what we can’t or don’t ask about online sharing and communicating. 18 years ago, when I first started thinking about processes of enquiry in relation to information technology, I came across the idea that surfacing assumptions could be useful. I was intrigued by the idea that what we thought and talked about could be constrained by things that we took for granted to the extent that we were neither aware of them or discussed them.
Today, I was at pre-ALTC 2011 Conference workshop that was timed to coincide with the launch of Technology Outlook: UK Tertiary Education 2011-2016, the first report in a new series of NMC Horizon Report Regional Analyses. One thing I will carry from that workshop to our symposium was part of the definition of ‘open content’ as something that embraces not only the sharing of information, but also the sharing of pedagogies and experiences.
Tomorrow, I’ll be using some ideas from Steven Lukes well-established work on 1,2 and 3 dimensional views of power to help think about examples of the exercise of power in online ‘openness’. I’ll report back on the outcome and continue the discussion here.
Some say peer review of research articles is broken and needs to be changed, others that peer review needs a killer app that allows readers within a social network to vote a paper up or down. Cameron Neylon says Don’t (peer review) – the risks outweigh the benefits of publication. He says “publishing anything does no harm’ whereas peer review is costly in expert time.
Before we throw the baby out with the bath water, let’s think about what’s good about peer review and what could be improved.
Peer review can be good when:
it offers blind review when reviewers do not know gender/age/race/status of authors (unless this is revealed by text and context)
reviewers offer constructive advice for authors to improve their article/ creative work
it winnows submissions to journal (or other publication outlet) to improve quality of what is presented and filters content for readers
Peer review can be bad when;
it introduces delay in publication of work (tardy editors/ reviewers, backlog of accepted articles)
opinionated reviewers destroy confidence of authors
Alternatives to ‘traditional’ blind (author does not see identity of reviewer) or double-blind (neither author or reviewer see each others’ identity) reviewing include open peer review and the various recommender systems such as reviews on Amazon.com, Facebook ‘likes’, etc.
What are the risks of abandoning peer review ?
Well of course, the short answer to that is “I don’t know” but a search of scholar.google.co.uk reveals that it is a topic worthy of discussion.
“The refereed journal literature needs to be freed from both paper and its costs, but not from peer review, whose ‘invisible hand’ is what maintains its quality,” Steven J.Harnad from Peer Review : A critical inquiry by David Shatz.
What concerns me is that abandoning peer review will leave us more exposed to the gender, race and other identity biases that remain with us, and flourish in online communication where identity is key.
What do you think?
Do the benefits of abandoning peer review outweigh the disadvantages, and why?