Saras reflections

Just another Sola @ KAU site

Open learning

Are our old norms changing after the pandemic? Could it be that we were forced to move a bit from teacher centric to learning centric and that it therefore feels reasonable not to only have monologue lectures as standard teaching?

Even though it is still the content focus and that it is an end result that is graded, the process has been included in the game. Could this be a key piece in fostering open learning thinking?

I have had many thoughts regarding openness during these last years and I have always only reflected regarding the fact of sharing documents, presentations and videos. I do not feel comfortable in letting my videos out in the open or share my power points. Therefore, I have always reached the fact that this “open learning thing” isn’t for me. 

After listening to Maha Bali’s lecture and reading the article of Bali et al. (2020), a new world opened up for me. I have, like many others like me and as discussed by Cronin and McLaren (2018), understood open educational practices with respect to the use of open educational resources. However, open learning and the focus on such pedagogy is not only related to the technology and physical sharing, it is a whole pedagogical philosophy (see Cronin & McLaren 2018). And the funny part is that I just realized that I am and have for years embraced open learning. Being so conservative about not sharing my material, how have I done that?

I have for long used my classrooms for involving students in constructive engagement with the content by offering them cases or dilemmas to freely investigate. I have offered them the first tools by offering a content that they actively and by working in teams have used to promote their learning. I have used the content as a starting point, encouraging students to find their own material and challenged them toward that independent on what result they reach, they should be able to backup their thought with their own content and gathered information. As I now reflect on my own process as a teacher, I have for long went from a content centric focus toward a process focus. Opening up for interpretations and real-case investigations putting the students and their learning in center. 

We often learn that we should adapt new digitals tools to increase the students learning possibilities, that we are meeting a generation of digitally native and that we should meet their digital requirements. It seems that teachers (or managers of the teachers) often think that digital tools are the solution to improved learning. Research (Kirkwood & Price 2006) shows that adding new digital tools to a course without considering its implications for the learning will not lead to collaboration or increased learning. As such, it is not the use of computer-mediated communications per se that can make the shift towards open learning, rather, it is the use of it. Without knowing why and how, we cannot design learner centric courses only through new digital tools.

Bali, M., Cronin, C., & Jhangiani, R. S. (2020). Framing Open Educational Practices from a Social Justice Perspective. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 2020(1).

Cronin, C and MacLaren, I. 2018. Conceptualising OEP: A review of theoretical and empirical literature in open educational practices. Open Praxis, 10(2)

Kirkwood, A. & Price, L. (2006). Adaptation for a Changing Environment: Developing learning and teaching with information and communication technologies. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 7(2), 1–14. 

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