For task 2, we were supposed to work on the concepts of openness and sharing in education. I must confess that before registering for this course, I was seeing MOOCs as the bread and butter of online learning. That’s why, I might be attracted to this course in the first place. But, with the assigned readings along with lively discussions with my group members (I truly enjoy being a part of this team:)), I recognized that inherently MOOCs may imply a lot of risks too. There are many questions unanswered/unexplored despite its huge potential as an open access, online learning platform. The most alarming for me is the quality of education. Is the course quality reflected in the number of active participants? Who is monitoring whether the knowledge disseminated is genuine and insightful? Secondly, as a researcher heavily relying on sociocultural perspectives, I believe learning takes place best in interaction. It doesn’t have to be always physical though; even messages/questions posted to online platforms by MOOCs participants (at least hundreds of people) should be treated with personalized feedback from the lecturers. Is it really happening there? The answer is a big “no.” The lack of teacher access (limited personal interaction) is out there so one has to be super self-motivated to follow through the class. On top of it, economic sustainability issues, I guess they are to be addressed at an institutional level (incentives), should be considered before pouring in investment. So far, I’ve reflected on a couple of potential hazards of MOOCs as you will catch up positive reflections on other blogs for sure. Please keep reading!:)

MOOCs are one part of the open education, and open educational resources (OERs) are the other dimension we focused on within our group. These resources are teaching and learning materials either in the public domain or licensed in a manner that provides free permission to engage in the 5R activities (retain, reuse, revise, remix and redistribute). I don’t think readers of this blog need much additional context about OERs. Before delving into the inclusive nature of OERs, I must say that what I am doing right now (writing a blog) is also an open educational practice. By exposing my thoughts on a certain matter in an informal way, I am kind of contributing to an unnamed scholarly group, who might challenge, (dis)agree or brush off my ideas.

Considering OERs as an equity strategy, one of the amazing things I found with “OER movement” is how this way of thinking has led to access to creation of learning materials. It provides all students with access to course materials on the first day of class, which enormously reduces the barriers to educational equity for the neediest ones. And this effort might not result in the best learning materials, but it will result in “OERs.” Again, major concerns such as quality, copyright and cohesiveness should be taken into consideration. Is the material prepared by someone with a solid education background? (quality). Does “free” mean you have permission to use and share it? (copyright). Is “variety” always a good thing? (grabbing materials from various resources/cohesiveness). I think this commitment to increased equity should be supported with increased rigor and relevance on a practical level. As I said before, the idea is awesome as David Wiley also states, “education is sharing.”

Sharing is messy