To me, openness is a philosophy that enables a teacher, researcher, or student more insightful in terms of their role in an educational environment. In the case of higher education platforms, it is a sine qua non for all platforms. In fact, I believe that openness and sharing of knowledge not only helps the individuals with whom the knowledge is shared but also the person who is sharing enhances within himself/herself.
This second topic on openness and sharing can be seen from different perspectives. In this blooming era of Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools and vastly connected communities through digital networks, as the PBL-5 group, we carried ourselves to conduct a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis on the use of AI in open learning and presented it as a conversational video between our group mascot Giffy and Chat-GPT. The video can be viewed here.
However, as an individual, I was more interested in the aspects of open licenses for resources which I reflect upon in this blog. As an instructor with experience in teaching Bachelor’s and Master’s students for around eight years, I value engaging and relevant teaching materials. Generally, the traditional teaching materials are kind of boring with lots of theoretical texts and figures. In addition, materials from one source can also be monotonous. To resolve this issue of being tedious with the course materials for the students, openly licensed resources can come in handy. In short, openly licensed resources can be defined as materials that are available for free use, distribution, and modification by acknowledging the creators. These contents can be teaching material by other teachers in the form of tutorials, video lectures, etc. On the other hand, dynamic and eye-catching illustrations of the theoretical figures or diagrams can also be generated using icons and images openly published with license by other professionals.
Including open learning materials in my teaching has allowed me to present a more equitable and relevant learning experience for my students. It is very easy to utilize other materials alongside my own content which helps to meet the urge of knowledge for diverse learning students. Specifically, as a Doctoral Candidate at Mälardalen University (MDU), I am responsible for teaching several online and onsite courses. “Basic Knowledge on Machine Learning” is one of the MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) offered by MDU. The course is a self-paced course where students go through the lecture notes and videos to learn about the topics. Several videos from other authors are included in the teaching materials to bring multiple perspectives and voices into the courses, helping to create a more well-rounded and dynamic learning experience for the students.
While incorporating additional content to my teaching materials, I was looking for the contents that are permissible for me to reuse. As I started exploring the openly licensed resources, I was surprised by the available information. In addition to regular sites for content (e.g., YouTube), I found that there are many platforms and repositories like OER Commons and OpenStax, that also provide access to high-quality teaching materials. The most awarding part was that these resources are not only free but also customization and adaptation are allowed to meet the specific needs. Here I list some resources that I found helpful in my exploration of open learning materials which also align with the suggested materials for this topic:
- Creative Commons
- Open Educational Resources (OER) Commons
- OER Quality Standards and Rubrics
In addition to finding appropriate licenses on the reuse of material, there were other challenges too. One of the challenges was to determine the quality and accuracy of the material. As a group of teachers for specific courses, we overcame the challenge by collaborating with other colleagues and utilizing their expertise to evaluate materials. However, there are resources available, such as the OER Quality Standards and Rubrics, that can help ensure that the materials to be used are of high quality and accuracy.
Overall, my experience with finding and using openly licensed resources has been positive and eye-opening. I believe that the use of these resources not only provides more equitable and inclusive education but also aligns with the principles of open learning and the topic of discussion in the ONL 231. I plan to continue to explore and incorporate openly licensed resources into my teaching and to encourage my colleagues to do the same. I hope that my reflections and the outlined resources can be helpful to others in exploring the benefits and possibilities of open learning in addition to the SWOT analysis on the use of AI from our group.