Reflections of a Lifelong Learner

October 7, 2011

Appropriations Bill May Strip Federal Funding for Open Educational Resources | Hack Education

Filed under: open learning,policy — taguingab @ 4:13 pm

Appropriations Bill May Strip Federal Funding for Open Educational Resources | Hack Education.

The one sentence summary: If this bill language passes, for-profit, private educational companies may block the federal funding of open educational resources if those private companies can say that they either offer or are planning to offer their own similar educational content.

This could strike a huge blow to the funding of open access education. More reflections on this later, but I’m making a note to myself now to keep an eye on this legislation.

August 31, 2011

Online Education Is Everywhere. What’s the Next Big Thing?

Filed under: open learning,policy — taguingab @ 9:29 pm

And the education could be far cheaper, because there would be no expensive instructor and students could rely on free, open educational resources rather than expensive textbooks.

via Wired Campus – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

You know I’m a huge fan of reasonable pricing…see my previous post on affordability. I also embrace open resources. But this quote scares me a little.

“There would be no expensive instructor.”

Who, then, would assure that a course stays in concert with current trends? This is especially true in constantly evolving fields such as the sciences, health care, and technology.  Who, further, would be there to guide students, motivate them along their learning journey, recognize their needs and address them appropriately? Peer volunteers? That would require many hours of volunteer man hours for little more than the reward of helping out your fellow man.  It happens in certain hobbyist communities, but on a larger scale, and one that would provide a well rounded exposure to important topics?

“…students could rely on free, open educational resources rather than expensive textbooks.”

Where will these resources come from? Who will take accountability for the resources quality, currency, and accuracy?  Where will it be hosted?  And who will pay for its development?

This is not to say that I completely dismiss open education, but everything has a price.  People volunteer, surely, but that’s because they have a day job to put food on the table.  For those who are teachers, who rely on that teaching job to put food on their tables, where is there place?

August 28, 2011

Developing a Digital Etiquette Policy

Filed under: policy — taguingab @ 6:57 am

But laptops can also be valuable assets in the classroom (see Mark’s post about Going Paperless in the Classroom or Amy’s about Ditching a Textbook, for example), and so, no matter how frustrated I get with an individual student’s laptop use, I do not ban them. Instead, each year I hone a section of my syllabus, the “Digital Etiquette Policy.”

via ProfHacker – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

As someone who works best by taking notes in class, and even better when I have my laptop for such purpose, I’m glad that this writer accepts the necessity of technology in the classroom.  On the other hand, I have to question how stringent one must be about maintaining student attention, at least in higher education.

From undergraduate education up, students are paying (or having someone else pay for) for an educator’s time in class. They are no longer there because it’s compulsory.  If a student wants to pay for the opportunity to sit in class, and then ignore what they’re there to learn, as legal adults perhaps they should have that right.

In a recent workshop, we were taught that the brain needs a “reset” about every 15 minutes to be able to maintain focus. I have to wonder how many professors know this and use it to their advantage in class.  If not, is it any wonder that a student’s attention wanders, if only to get their mind on something that isn’t the three hour lecture they have to sit through (another pet peeve of mine regarding physical learning).

From the comments:

1st post: Leave your laptop (and your rattle) outside the classroom door.

Later post: I thoroughly agree with your point that writing things down ” . . . is part of what embeds them into memory,” and there is plenty of research that supports [our] contention on this. But I don’t think the time for “writing things down” is while the teacher is trying to focus attention on concepts, specific points, relationships, etc. that are flying by as students try to furiously scribble (or type, which I do not allow!).

(via “electronicmuse”)

The irony that someone named “electronicmuse” bans laptops from his or her classroom aside, this is the kind of stringent, prescribed learning that ruffles my feathers. As research has shown, learning preferences do factor into evidence of learning. If someone prefers to learn by taking notes during class, bloody let them!  Sheesh.

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