With Escola de Comunicações e Artes (ECA-USP) Sao Paulo Brasil
Co-creating Open Scholarship; was a paper Nigel Ecclesfield and I wrote a year ago for ALT-C. There was a lot of interest in reflecting on what we had learnt about learning technology since ALT was founded in 1993, and this was what we addressed. We were asked to expand our original submission into a journal article which is now freely available in ALT’s open repository. There was some debate about using Boyer’s model of scholarship as a baseline but, unlike Martin Weller in Digital Scholar, we felt that Boyer’s model itself needed updating. This was because what we had learnt most from using learning technology was about the pedagogy of learning itself. Inspired by Terry Anderson’s excellent keynote at ALT-C on Open Learning and his early scoping of Open Scholarship we felt that we should provide a synthesis and propose a new model, derived from Boyer, upon which we could debate the future of scholarship. What we are attempting to do in this post is provide some supporting arguments for such a debate with the Escola de Comunicações e Artes in Sao Paulo.
Framing the debate; In 2012 there has been a lot of discussion on what has been called open learning. However this is perhaps more about the massification of learning, or rethinking mass education, and seems to be focussed on scaling up traditional learning models, and addressing the opportunities and threats of globalisation using technology, whilst keeping the same institutional and policy frameworks. I’m thinking of Udacity, Coursera and MITx amongst others, as well as MOOCs. As I discussed on my blog on Open Academic Practice I had been a teacher for 15 years before I designed technology-enhanced (blended) learning for the first time in 1997, and I immediately designed for collaboration and discussion; which are core features of learning that do not scale and so don’t interest the biggest institutions. I have been working on pedagogically related issues concerning the use of technology ever since, mostly with an informal group of researchers known as the Learner-generated Contexts Research Group. This post outlines from where our ideas about co-creating open scholarship emerged.
Moving to networked society; for me rethinking learning, or rather unpicking how learning works when we design new educational systems using technology (or not), has to be tied into the purpose of learning. Learning is what education systems are set up to deliver and education systems are built by societies to reproduce themselves. The problem we face in designing learning in the 21st Century is that in many ways we are poised to move to a network society whilst, to use Ben Hammersley’s phrase, those who grew up in hierarchical society are in charge. Particularly since the advent of the architecture of participation provided by Web 2.0 tools, especially social networks, which are perhaps discussion platforms, we have the opportunity to rethink learning given the access to information that the internet now provides.
Here’s one we made earlier; So the idea of co-creating open scholarship emerged from a combination of practice, research, collaborations, reflections, influences, debate and design that went through many years of development. This is a short list of some of the underpinning ideas.
1. Brokering Learning; My first, pre-digital, insight into learning was that skilled educationalists, by which I mean people who have been working inside the education system long enough to meet Richard Sennett’s 10,000 hour rule, should use their skill, expertise and knowledge to broker the desire of learners to learn with the need of the education system to accredit them formally. This is best captured in this interview with me on learning by David Jennings
2. Collaborative digital learning literacies; When I first designed a blended-learning course (Information Systems in Society) using the internet I realised I needed to design part of the course to introduce learners to the new collaborative affordances of the tools, especially search and evaluation and discussion and moderation. More in this post on an Internet Model of Learning and Teaching.
3. Informal e-learning; Having built some learning resources in the 20th century – courses, intranets and a Community Grid for Learning, I was involved, some years later, in a research project to model Informal e-learning for community technology (UK online) centres. Research by LTRI found that centres had an evolving “life-cycle” which brought in and engaged learners by having “hooks” and being welcoming collaborative environments that used technology for learning. A workshop with ALT developed a model of informal e-learning which itemised possible new responsibilities for people involved in supporting learning. We exemplified this with an interactive training centre called Silwood Cyber-Centre.
4. Community Development Model of Learning; A key dimension of the recommendations we made about modelling informal e-learning was the idea of creating a community-responsive curriculum. We found this process of designing learning curricula to meet local needs to be a key element of social inclusion and the German Digital Integration team, for whom we prepared a presentation picked up on this.
5. Learner-generated Contexts; because of this work on informal e-learning we became part of a project to develop a web resource to solve the digital divide; Cybrarian. Whilst we recommend a Facebook for Learning back in 2002 it was rejected by the UK government and eventually key people from that team formed the Learner-generated Contexts Research Group. Our belief was that web 2.0 was going to change learning with user-generated content becoming a given. We concluded that for learning to remain meaningful in the digital future it need to anticipate this and enable us to design for a coincidence of motivations leading to agile configurations, using Rose Luckin’s “Ecology of resources” as a key design element.
5. Open Context Model of Learning; The first time we managed to synthesise our ideas into a useable resource came with the presentation/paper we prepared for the launch of the OU’s Open Learn; we called it the Open Context Model of Learning which we wrote collaboratively, John Seeley Brown called it the “most exciting thing happening in England”. This blog’s mission is to promote this concept. Our two key ideas were to, firstly rethink learning with technology without using technological terms; We did this by focussing on the related processes of cognition, meta-cognition and epistemic cognition. The second idea concerned how to design for these differing states of cognition and so we proposed the concept of the Pedagogy Andragogy Heutagogy Continuum. Thomas Cochrane used this in the redesign of the BA Product Design at Unitec, Auckland New Zealand.
6. Architecture of Participation; somewhat to the side of this ongoing development of a new post web 2.0 pedagogy we also recognised the need to redesign the institutions of learning and Nigel Ecclesfield and I have discussed this at length on the Architecture of Participation blog. We were also involved in the University Project in London from which the WikiQuals project emerged. We think that we need to design “agile institutions working across collaborative networks“.
7. Emergent Learning Model; Most recently in line with the post Bologna process desire in the EU for harmonisation of formal, non-formal and informal learning we took the opportunity to develop the Emergent Learning Model, on which the Ambient Learning City project Mosi-Along in Manchester was based. Our thinking was that the proposed harmonisation was about integrating institutions whereas we should be building on what we had learnt about learning and redesigning the processes. Consequently this argues for learner “coincidence of motivations” to come first, with content creation as important as text books, whilst accreditation becomes agile, negotiable and post-hoc (which is what WikiQuals is investigating)
Co-creating Open Scholarship; So the authors have been through a long process of designing, then re-conceptualising learning and locating it in a post-web 2.0 context and try to pick up on the best, emergent, ideas. At the core is the notion of a shared intellectual purpose that is both collaborative and socially useful. As we now have the tools to move away from hierarchical conceptions of institutions to, say, DIY models, we can deliberately design for co-creation and we can rethink the roles of those involved and the processes in which they engage. We think the purpose of co-creating open scholarship is to create open students who can themselves becomes open scholars but also be more responsive to real world problems and social needs.
Co-creating Open Scholarship; Participating in the perpetual beta of knowledge creation through the co-creation of learning creation through the co-creation of learning.
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