jeudi 27 mars 2008

CopyRight and Alternatives

Lessig's presentation explains us why law and technology combined may collapse our freedom. Digital Right Management (DRM) of music has more recently be another round showing that a small cup of copyright concerning the problem of copy oppose the public and the publishers.
So if we take the time on thinking about it, we can be convinced of the necessity of "free culture". The problem is that I don't have the the same persuasion ability to convince my colleagues. And the reasons are multiple. I don't have enough time and all the arguments to counter the university culture, the management of research (the main occupation of many high school scholars), the protection and the recognition they are looking for.

So we need to convince them by using side arguments, and simplifying the main problems, getting them comfortable and giving recognition opportunity (forthemselves and their institution). License is of course a central point of discussion. An interesting initiative in my institution is the portal "Savoirs Partagés" (Shared knowledge or OpenCourseWare in english) where we can find explanation for different licences available giving simple, effective choice for the lecturer, giving him the opportunity to deliver its own course (with limited effort and appropriate license). More than philosophical reasons, we show them direct advantage of delivering free, open resources. And thereafter, we can begin discussion.
One of my middle term goals is to convince some colleagues of this approach. The following step is to promote real cooperation on collaborative educational resources, but that's definitely a long term objective.

vendredi 21 mars 2008

Roots of OER

Yes, the background of OER is rich.
Denis Diderot (1713–1784) founded of the Encyclopédie, and speculated on free will is a kind of model for Jim Wales and Wikipedia.
Free Adult education and Free software Foundation are models for delivering content available for all, enabling anybody to access to the knowledge.

But, to me the idea of Wikiversity is even older. Giving the opportunity to meet people, exchange with other, increase his scholarship, through questions, and examining our own beliefs should encourage us to read the Socrates article.

In any case, as Luca noticed the reading of this background remind us the responsability of the teacher to educate, and give opportunity to everybody to exploit his own potential.

mercredi 12 mars 2008

Translating OERCourse in french Wikiversity

I a former post, I regretted that a similar course to the OER course was not proposed in Wikiversity. The only reasonable answer in the context of this cours was : "Just create it". (Thank's to Erkan for pushing me).
So last week, I sent a post to the salle café (e.g. french translation for Village Pump) of the french wikiversity, and got 1 ! answer : Yes it is interesting ! Hence my participation's assignment is just begin french OER course.

You can already contribute on this page : Composer des ressources éducatives en ligne libres et ouvertes . Other contributors are more than welcome !

jeudi 6 mars 2008

Study of Open Education Projects

Let's have a look to some Open Education Projects and see what we can find :

Learning resources, or learning Materials
  • Rice Connexions : small modules, with clear indexation, CC license, modification/customisation uneasy. Large choice including my interests (science, computer science, education). Small bricks linkable in a course.
  • MIT OpenCourseware : full courses (classical US size), high quality, licence CC, but big size and modification uneasy.
  • LeMill. Fully multilanguage, good ! Editable, nice ! License : CC, OK ! Slow access ... Interesting subjects around open resources, support for learning. Some well documented, some to be extended : welcome in a real open collaborative world !

Some other resource repositories of interest :
  • Invocom : past european project for materials in telecommunications. Bricks, some in CC, modification uneasy (ask for french, we can propose the sourcesfrom examples hosted here).
  • Savoirs partagés. An initiative of my institute.

Resources to support teachers
  • OpenLearn, looks appealing. I'll have a closer look later. Includes materials and help for "educators". CC license, cool.
  • Wikiversity. Learning materials can be found in wikibooks and wikipedia (never forget that). May host materials (hte bricks) and project or course : (the glue). Activities may be hosted in wikiversity (If you have any doubt, have a look at Erkan's blog). Easy to modify/adapt/enhance ... License GFDL. Maybe not so user friendly than others. May be enhanced with third party tools, like in OER course.
Resource to assure quality of education and educational practices
  • subject of our course ! (not assure but help in fact)

ToDo : some other projects to list.
...So many different projects exist. Not sure all will survive, should them be supported by institutions (MIT OCW, savoirs partagés) or by a community (LeMill, Wikiversity). Giving credits (OpenLearning,) or not.

mardi 4 mars 2008

Is wikiversity OER course based on open resource ?

Thank you again Teemu and Hans for proposing such interesting course !

The course is well structured, proposed in a really open environment ! Wikiversity is no doubt free (the GNU Free Documentation License ensures that). It is open, as wiki enables every visitor to incorporate new ideas in the course. I can adapt it to my specific needs (for example it can be translated in other language's wikiversities, e.g. french). Everybody can learn how to develop a similar course as all elements are available ! So everything seems OK !

But, as I discover the very interesting introductive document Open Educational Resources: What they are and why do they matter?, a question arised : Is this resource an open one ?
  • technically : no. Pdf is readable (known as fully interoperable), but cannot be modified.
  • socially : limited. The resource is accessible, but only on the author's page. OECD doesn't give access to this document (or maybe I don't use correctly Google). And again it is not possible to modify/translate it as no copyright is attached.
The point is : how to adapt this course to french wikiversity (for example) if the first resource is not free ? (the short answer is certainly to find another resource as seminal work).

Few classical problems are behind this question :
  • can we develop a open resource based on non-open resource ?
  • how to mix those resources giving an open result ?
  • what has to be retained when adapting a course in an other context ?
I hope this post is a useful comment :-) as second assignement of week 1 !

Here we go !


my name is Jean-Marie Gilliot. I work in an Engineering school in Brittany (west of France, Europe). My first speciality is Computer science. Additionally, I am involved in Project Based Learning, as we think that developping engineer skills requires rich, complex, multdisciplinary, intercultural situations. As support for blended learning, we also use Moodle platform.

Three main reasons decide me to attend OER course :
  • First, I think that learning projects, as defined in wikiversity, are definitely a rich situation to progress on a subject, I wanted to try this kind of course for a long. This is my first online social constructivist learning experience . Attending such a course as simple participant is rather comfortable. Unfortunately, french wikiversity doesn't offer such opportunities up to know.
  • Second, we currently have internally a collaborative work on pedagogical/educational resources. Our main questions turn around what is a high quality educational resource and in what extent collaborative resources may help us to achive such high standards. I think OER course will help to answer those questions.
  • Third, I have a close look on web2.0 and collaborative tools, and I try to include them in my everyday practice and in my colleague's practices (see my other blogs, in french : Treklearning dedicated to an mobile learning initiative for our students, and Pedatic dedicated to my educational/ technological watch.