#ONL201- Topic 2 
I felt somewhat settled in the course by the start of  the topic on Open Learning . I knew what to expect in the PBL group discussion. I was behind schedule for the blog deliverable though L  Due to COVID, my teaching and research work was shifting to mostly home and online by this time. Struggle for finding time for setting up e-learning course for my own modules and for completing ONL201 deliverables was intense. The topic of Open Learning however connected me back to my early career at two mega Open Universities of the world – IGNOU and UKOU
In the PBL group discussion, we explored the benefits and challenges of openness in education. The term “open” has become associated with open source content . It is often referred to as Open Educational Resources (OER), including MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). These are fast changing the face of education. We looked at issues around copyright, open licensing of content (Creative Commons) and how this can be leveraged for collaborative learning and course development. There was a lot of discussion in defining OER and about the practices of their use in developing MOOCs. We discussed various models of open learning and MOOCs and that how this is becoming important in higher education.  I particularly liked a reference by Cox and Trotter (2017) that describes OER adoption (see below). The pyramid shows interdependencies of the factors that influence OER adoption. The layers of the pyramid are to be followed in a sequential order.   In the literature, Openness appears as a cognitive trait is considered important in relation to divergent thinking and creativity (McCrae, 1987).  It is also related to encourage independent thought (Alivernini & Manganelli, 2011) and higher levels of engagement with learning (Bakker, Vergel, & Kuntze, 2015).

My Personal Practice : I find that OER help me save time in creating materials for already well researched topics,  and I could use that time for discussion with students on the finer points of subjects. I help them as teaching aids.  OER help me provide students with diverse opinions and perspectives and I could facilitate active learning in classroom where I ask students to reflect on a well researched piece. However, I always find it a challenge to figure out what are my ethical and legal obligations if I access resources in spaces beyond my Institution. I find that there should be a universal marking, a kind of stamp, on each digitized resource that immediately tells if it could be used for academic purposes. Students typically prefer high quality, freely available and curriculum-relevant online resources instead of costly textbooks. It is also more convenient for them to annotate online resources and bring them along anywhere they go. 
Role of Technology: A few  years ago Prof Andrew Ng, co-founder of Coursera,  decided to put lectures from his Machine Learning course online, with spectacular results. In his words “I put one of my courses online and it reached an audience of 100,000 students,” he says. “To put that number into context, I used to teach 400 students a year at Stanford, that means that to reach a comparable sized audience I would have had to teach at Stanford for 250 years.” It was then he realised the scalability that the internet can give education. Technology certainly plays a key role in enabling education to become more open. Technology helps to deliver. Personalised education . It is changing the perspectives of learning. MOOCs offers each and every student to achieve mastery of the curriculum in his or her own way, at his or her own pace. Students who process information more quickly, for example, can move on to new material faster and explore a topic in a self-directed way. Technology is making this experience available to students from all sorts of backgrounds. The BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) that encourages students to use their mobile learning device such as Phone or Tablet into the classroom has massive potential in cutting institutional costs in terms of infrastructure and equipment. Such personalisation facilitated by technology allows educators to explore non-traditional learning methods to help students achieve their personal best.
Should knowledge be accessible as openly as possible? Traditionally, knowledge is accessible through books, publications in academic journals or shared through academic conferences.  What is the problem with such regressive and exclusive model of making knowledge available? Think for a moment how is knowledge created. Typically a researcher works on an idea, collects some data,  use some existing knowledge and then publish his findings in journals. People involved in the study as well as people in general generally do not get to see such sharing or journal articles. Now, internet access should lower the barrier to knowledge shared by the research community. Also majority research is paid with public money. This knowledge should therefore be accessible to all. 
How to find and use openly licensed resources?  I found some useful links for example  which gives tips on how to find OERs.  Many Universities maintain resource webpages to guide faculty on finding and using OERs for example  My university provides  guidance too.
Different open course and MOOC formats:  MOOCs are around for the past one decade. Popular providers include Coursera, Udacity and edX . In addition, some popular LMS (Learning Management Systems), such as Moodle, BlackBoard have also been used to provide MOOCs. OpenMOOC and Google CourseBuilder  are newer breed of LMS that aim to provide specific tools to create MOOCs. A few different forms of MOOCs have also emerged. For example xMOOC  or eXtended MOOC . They are typically offered through platforms such as Coursera, edX and Udacity. These MOOCs are based in a traditional university teaching. Thus, they are organized around an instructor and a set curriculum using mainly pre-recorded video lectures and quizzes with not much  emphasis on networking or collaborative work.  There are other classifications as well e.g. MOOCs could be created for Financial profit or Non profit (See Fig 2) They could provide  Learning as content delivery or focus on Experiential learning. I found a couple of interesting readings on Theories and Applications of Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs): The Case for Hybrid Design and MOOCs gone wild [Sandra Sanchez-Gordon, Sergio Luján-Mora 2014] ONL201 follows a structured format with emphasis on collaborative work. It is network-based ie  It has a focus on developing a learning community. MOOCs will continue to evolve. Over time, good sustainable models will survive – the one that is financially viable and brings valuable learning experiences to participants . Open course and MOOCs will change higher education, once barriers for its cost, quality, language and culture, and web accessibility are addressed at global level.

      Figure 2: Market/Open/Dewey Model with examples
Source: “Summarizing All MOOCs in One Slide: Market, Open and Dewey”, by Reich, J.
Openness can also be argued as a ‘threat’  or ‘vulnerable’. Threats can take many different forms e.g. unauthorised access to data. With openness and MOOCs there is the potential for the systematic disruption of computer networks and services. There are also concerns that MOOCs could replace traditional universities and the need for professors.  Students of this generation have grown up technologically savvy. Technology is practically in their DNA. Educators/ adults struggle to keep up. We need to embrace this revolution, not battle against it. Openness requires a shift in mindset among educators, administrators and students in embracing this  edutech wave. 


Alivernini, F., & Manganelli, S. (2011). Is there a relationship between openness in classroom discussion and students’ knowledge in civic and citizenship education? Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 15, 3441-3445. doi: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2011.04.315

Bakker, A. B., Vergel, A. I. S., & Kuntze, J. (2015). Student engagement and performance: A weekly diary study on the role of openness. Motivation and Emotion, 39(1), 49-62. doi: 10.1007/s11031-014-9422-5

McCrae, R.R. (1987). Creativity, divergent thinking, and openness to experience. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52(6), 1258.

Sandra Sanchez-Gordon, Sergio Luján-Mora 2014. Proceedings of the 8th International Technology, Education and Development Conference (INTED 2014), p. 1449-1458, Valencia (Spain), March 10-12 2014. ISBN: 978-84-616-8412-0. ISSN: 2340-1079.

Open Learning -Sharing and Openness