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Workshop - Open Education

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Workshop - Open Education[edit]

Target Date: April 2008

Need: Many frameworks have been developed online to share "open" coursework. Key players need to connect to define the space.

Goal: Develop a framework for online course hosting including necessary materials and structure.

Potential Hosts[edit]

In an effort to target the true leaders in the field, below is a listing of the current strengths and weaknesses of the players in the open education realm. As this list is expanded the workshop organizers should try to target 3 to 4 organizations to host the online workshop and lead discussion to provide guidance to, and share learnings with, the larger group in attendance.

OpenWetWare[edit]

OWW describes themselves as OpenWetWare is an effort to promote the sharing of information, know-how, and wisdom among researchers and groups who are working in biology & biological engineering. OWW provides a place for labs, individuals, and groups to organize their own information and collaborate with others easily and efficiently. In the process, we hope that OWW will not only lead to greater collaboration between member groups, but also provide a useful information portal to our colleagues, and ultimately the rest of the world.

Strengths- Their online coursework is well organized and often taught via the wiki as well. Their core faculty are dedicated to the wiki and have gained significantly from the interaction.

Weaknesses - Coursework pages can go unused. Not all content is made available online.

Appropedia[edit]

Appropedia is: the site for collaborative solutions in sustainability, poverty reduction and international development.

Strengths- Large community including educators and students. Some pilot classes online with Lonny, Joshua Pierce and Rod Ruoff.

Weaknesses - No explicit focus on creation of educational resources for the classroom. Teachers often shy away from wikis because of open nature, copyright vs. copyleft or other reasons. Few courses online and undefined structure of coursework. Course pages themselves can go unused.

Hewlett Foundation, Open Educational Resources[edit]

OER Commons is a teaching and learning network, from K-12 lesson plans to college courseware, from algebra to zoology, open to everyone to use and add to.

Strengths- Huge database of materials. Accepted in academic communities at universities themselves. Large funding base, and desire to expand impact. Good taxonomies for all educational levels including entire course content, teaching tools, and OpenCourseWare content.

Weaknesses - Editing and tagging information is difficult - often resources are coming from their partner organizations including OCW and Connexions.

Connexions[edit]

Connexions is: a place to view and share educational material made of small knowledge chunks called modules that can be organized as courses, books, reports, etc. Anyone may view or contribute:

  • authors create and collaborate
  • instructors rapidly build and share custom collections
  • learners find and explore content

Strengths- Strong faculty network. Good peer review process. Collection of both modules, courses and book chapters. Content is wiki-friendly, but often lengthy.

Weaknesses - no editing, commenting is rarely used. Extended format of many modules is good for teachers, but not for students who may need more guidance from teachers to effectively learn the material. Course project information that may be housed with the course online so interaction is limited.

BMESource[edit]

bmesource_org is a shared web portal for the biomedical technology design community. It provides a guide to high-quality, basic information about clinical problems, biomedical technologies that address them and business and law resources that assist in technology transfer.

Strengths - Their content is well integrated into coursework through their faculty network, and very well organized into content areas across medical and engineering fields. Although they do not host coursework itself, the faculty administer projects online via BME Source and encourage use in the classroom. Faculty and BMESource editors offer a small, concise peer review process that promotes information acceptance online. The wiki skin hides the wiki-ness of the site well and "tricks" academics into using the wiki by eliminating their aversion to the wiki technology. Their core faculty are dedicated to the wiki and have gained significantly from the interaction.

Weaknesses - Only project based and the information on BMESource is all "links" to other reference information - no unique information held at BMESource.

Center for Sustainable Engineering[edit]

The goal of the Center is to develop and implement activities to enhance education in Sustainable Engineering at colleges and universities around the world. A number of specific activities are planned:

  1. Workshops (2 days each) have been organized to assist faculty who wish to add Sustainable Engineering to their courses. The workshops also help these faculty improve their teaching, evaluate their courses, obtain funding for educational innovations, and become part of a growing network of educators in Sustainable Engineering.
  2. A website is being established with peer-reviewed educational materials on Sustainable Engineering. The site will be set up in cooperation with a professional society.
  3. An assessment of Sustainable Engineering programs and courses around the U.S. is being conducted to benchmark the status of education in this emerging discipline. Measures of quality in these programs will be explored and used to initiate an award program for excellence in Sustainable Engineering Education.

Strengths- A strong community of faculty brought together by the National Science Foundation in annual workshops in 2005-07. The next workshops will be in 2009 and should reflect significant learnings from the initial workshops. The workshops have brought together faculty to overcome barriers, determine best practices and move the field of sustainability forward in engineering. The PIs on the NSF workshop proposal will also compile reports in 2009 that should detail the learnings and mind-shift of students who are taught sustainability in their education.

Weaknesses - VERY few online resources, little desire to share resources in a collaborative fashion.

Enabling Innovations[edit]

Enabling Innovation inspires sustainable community solutions by facilitating knowledge and technology transfer between developing communities with the support of educational networks and service organizations.

Strengths- Good design, good partner network, and maintained in concert with an academic institution.

Weaknesses - few resources available and live on the site.

Aspen Institute, Beyond Grey Pinstripes[edit]

Beyond Grey Pinstripes is a biennial survey and alternative ranking of business schools. Our mission is to spotlight innovative full-time MBA programs that are integrating issues of social and environmental stewardship into curricula and research.

Strengths- World class collection of cases, syllabi, and teaching resources for business schools. Bi-Annual "Beyond Grey Pinstripes" survey is a huge media event and the rankings attract many MBA candidates to the site. Research along with the survey indicates that education and outreach have begun a growth curve in business school, driven primarily by interest from students and industry. Academic research in the field is limited and has not grown substantially in the past 2 years. Caseplace is a world-class resource for business cases and syllabi.

Weaknesses - only business schools ranked. Loose definition of "sustainability" that leads to methodological issues with the ranking itself.