Fascinating two weeks, and much learning has taken place around Open Educational Practices (OEP) and Open Educational Resources (OER) ! The introduction to openness in education by Kay Oddone (Queensland University of Technology, Australia) and Alastair Creelman (Linnaeus University, Sweden) gave me so many new insights and I needed to look up many of the OERs e.g. Coursera and EMMA. The concept of Creative Commons was also new and an important learning. In our PBL group we continued the investigations to understand challenges and advantages of OER/OEP and also how students view this new way of learning.

It has been an eye-opener that with the use of OEP/OER learners shift from passive receivers to active producers since the OERs shift education from content- to activity-based learning. This can be very stimulating for the learners, and they could be asked to produce material that will actually be used in the future for various purposes. Also important news for me; that much of the learning is based on being interactive with others and also starting to create a future network – this is great!

My reflection when searching the web and reading about OER/OEP is that the benefits outweigh the challenges and problems. For example, costs in long-term can be reduced for educational institutions (although high initially) and importantly for the learner; resources are more easily kept up to date and can often be adapted across geo-cultural boundaries; OER/OEP open borders in several aspects (between educational institutions, countries and formal, informal and non-formal learning settings); OER/OEP opens up access to education for many and can help achieve “non-discriminatory access” to education, that is in situations when access to education may be limited such as poverty or rural setting. Orr, D., M. Rimini and D. Van Damme (2015), Open Educational Resources: A Catalyst for Innovation, Educational Research and Innovation, OECD Publishing, Paris

However, there are also challenges and downsides. One challenge is that it is definitely a new way of thinking for many educational institutions. I have discussed with colleagues at my own university and the view varies a lot. In some areas the use of web-based courses is very common and has been for long, but in other areas, the usage is limited, and I can feel some resistance and also the worry about to share teaching materials – this latter makes me annoyed, especially now since I have learnt there are ways to get credit for work done.

For me, OER/OEP means inclusiveness, possibility to reach as many as possible, to share knowledge and to make people connect. Despite openness there may however still be difficulties for all to access given economical, cultural and political perspectives; the social justice may not be complete yet!

My current state is that I have still much to learn, but I now know better what is available and possible. I am getting new tools for every week on this course, ONL192, and each activity in this course is an active learning occasion for me by interaction with group members, i.e. one of the points with OER/OEP. Thus, we are learning by doing.

Finally, David Wiley Ted talk on Open education and the future was very inspirational and his quote entitling our presentation “If there is no sharing, there is no learning” is definitely a basic foundation.

Illustration of my reflection of ‘Topic 2: Open Learning – Sharing and Openness’

Topic 2: Open Learning – Sharing and Openness