Open Educational Resourses

I participated in a MOOC (massive open online course) called OER-101: Locating, Creating, Licensing and Utilizing OERs. The MOOC was hosted by CourseSites and was created by SUNY Buffalo. If they offer it again, I recommend taking it if you want to learn more about open educational resources, creative commons licensing, and open textbooks. It was a real eye opener for me. I am now a firm believer in creative common licensing. After you watch this video, I hope you will be too.

MOOC e-Learning and Digital Cultures

I just signed up for the eLearning and Digital Culture MOOC by the University of Edinburgh. Estimated time for coursework is three to five hours a week and students who successfully complete the class will receive a Statement of Accomplishment signed by the instructors. So Cool! I’m doin’ it!

E-learning and Digital Cultures is aimed at teachers, learning technologists, and people with a general interest in education who want to deepen their understanding of what it means to teach and learn in the digital age. The course is about how digital cultures intersect with learning cultures online, and how our ideas about online education are shaped through “narratives”, or big stories, about the relationship between people and technology.

Changing Course: Tracking Online Education

Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States
is a report on higher education online learning within the US. With help from the College Board, 2,800 colleges’ and universities’ chief academic officers gave their opinion on questions about the nature and extent of online education. I am going to highlight some of the data below that I find interesting. And then I often add my two cents.

Online learning consists of courses with at least 80% of the course online. Blended is courses with 30% to 80% of the instruction online, and Face-to-face courses are courses with less than 30% is taught online.


Only 2.6% of the institutions have MOOCS and the officers are very diverse on their opinion whether they think MOOCs will be sustainable or not but many believe that MOOCs will give them opportunities to learn about online learning. The interesting thing that the report found was that it is the colleges that offer the most MOOCs are the ones that don’t believe they are sustainable. That’s interesting. Maybe it is because they see the MOOCs as they are presented today are more of a public service. It would be interesting to know.The report did find that it is the two year colleges that believe they “have the ability to scale their online offerings”.

43% think that MOOCs drive students to their institutions. 50% agree that MOOCs are good for students to determine if online instruction will work for them. Oh man. MOOCs are too different from a quality online course to make that judgement.

Is Online Learning Strategic?

A large number, almost 70%, think that online learning is critical to their long term strategy.  I feel bad for the other 30%.

How Many Students are Learning Online?

Over 6.7 million students are taking at least one course online. This is around 32% of all students.  Well the numbers speak for themselves here.

62% of the institutions offer complete online programs. I think it is the way to go, especially for the post-graduate degrees. We work during the day and go to school at night. Only if our program isn’t offered locally, we can still take the classes that are meaningful to us. Yeah.

Does it take more Faculty Time and Effort.

44% of public colleges think so but only 24% of for profit colleges think it takes longer. Could it be that the privates have more Tech savvy faculty or have hired instructional designers to build the course?

What about learning outcomes? How do they compare to face-to-face (f2f).

77% think online is at least as good as f2f.  Perhaps we have learned how to make online better over the years, schools often hire instructional designers to help with the courses.  I wonder what the number would be if the students were answering the questions. After all, these figures are perceptions. And, the report notes that the chief academic officers are more positive about these figures than the faculty.

Are the Faculty beginning to buy in to Online learning.

It’s still low. Only 30 percent believe online learning is a legitimate method for learning. I’m wondering how many of the remaining 70% have been never taken or have taught an online course.

What are the barriers to adopting online learning?

Many think that students are not as disciplined. Okay. But are students disaplined in the classroom? It depends on the course. When I was in college, I had a professor read from the book. That was his lecture, no kidding. I also had a teacher make history so alive that I was never board. My guess is that the teacher that read from the book would not motivate me in an online class and the teacher that made history so real would find a way to do that online.

What is Online Learning According to the Report

Online learning is courses with at least 80% of the course online. Blended is courses with 30% to 80% of the instruction online, and Face-to-face courses are courses with less than 30% is taught online.

Allen, I. Elaine & Seaman, Jeff. (2013). Changing Course: Ten Years of Tracking Online Education in the United States. Babson Survey Research Group and Quahog Research Group.

Multidisciplinary Design

The world is changing and to survive we must change with it. No longer an industrial society, we have to embrace technology and innovation to compete. But what drives technology and innovation? What makes one product more successful than another? Perhaps design drives innovation.

Higher education matters because it drives innovation and economic transformation. Higher education helps to produce economic growth, which in turn contributes to national prosperity….Employing graduates creates innovation, enabling firms to identify and make more effective use of knowledge, ideas and technology.

However, in order for design to drive innovation, students need to be knowledgeable in other disciplines other than design. According to the report on Multi-disciplinary Design Education in the UK, innovation drives new skills and a supply of differently skilled people drives innovation. Therefore, we need people who can not only design but have had exposure to other disciplines other than their own and are comfortable working with teams in many disciplines.

Designers, in order to be competitive, need skills beyond design in order to be competitive.

  1. They need to be able to understand and articulate the client’s needs and markets.
  2. Designers need the communication skills to explain their work to employers.
  3. Designers often business owners  so they need entrepreneurial skills as well.
  4. Designers need to gain exposure to a variety of established businesses, writing design briefs and working in teams with authentic businesses.
  5. Designers that have a broader view of science and technology so they can work with the subject experts.
  6. Working with engineering students, materials scientists and computing specialists will help designers  know more about the design of environmentally sustainable products.

There are many ways for universities to integrate multidisciplinary design in their courses. They can use authentic client projects, mentors from businesses, bring in visiting lecturers, help students get internships in businesses other than design businesses. This exposure will raise the likelihood  their students will be employed and help drive the economy in innovation.

Multi-disciplinary Design Education in the UK. Report and recommendations from the Multi-Disciplinary Design Network, November 2010.

Quote:  Lord Browne of Madingley (2010). Securing a Sustainable Future for Higher Education. as quoted in Multi-disciplinary Design Education in the UK. Report and recommendations from the Multi-Disciplinary Design Network, November 2010.