Home > Argomenti vari > Open_Ed assignments for week 11: Open Education and Learning Objects

Open_Ed assignments for week 11: Open Education and Learning Objects

11 Novembre 2007

Some people believe that open educational resources "fix" many of the problems experienced by those who work with learning objects. Why do you think they would say this? Do you agree? Why or why not?

If we compare the definition of OER given in Wikipedia ("Open educational resources are educational materials and resources offered freely and openly for anyone to use and under some licenses re-mix, improve and redistribute") to Wiley’s last definition of learning objects ("Any digital resource that can be freely adapted and reused to mediate learning", 2007, http://opencontent.org/presentations/bcnet07/ ) one can assume that open educational resources should include, among other things such as full courses, course materials, content modules, collections etc., learning objects as well. In  fact, the UNESCO report at the 2002 William and Flora Hewlett Foundation forum claims that "Open Educational Resources include learning objects such as lecture material, references and readings, simulations, experiments and demonstrations …" (The Learning Objects Literature, quotation reported at page 351).

Openness, localization and technological improvements are the paths to follow for the future to solve the problems of the state of the art of learning objects.

Openness: a good step forward has been done in France, with a sentence that has been passed on 29 October defining Wikimedia neither responsible nor guilty for the contents it publishes in its Wikipedia. There is a very interesting article about the implications of this important decision in Le Monde of 3 November 2007: according to the interpretation of the French  (LCEN) law adopted on 21 June 2004, Wikipedia ensures only a technological lodging of the contributions of the Net surfers, so it cannot have a responsibility for what the contributors write, only the authors (who can be identified through their IP address) are to be considered responsible for the contents of their articles. To know more about this important decision for the OER movement, click here.

Localization: if we have the possibility of adapting OERs and LOs to our local realities we will be able to attain the goal of offering free culture to everyone. Localization also implies refocusing on the learners’ needs, as many people have already pointed out in many posts and articles about LOs.

Technology: in my opinion, if we really want to attain the goal of free access to all human knowledge, the software used to produce learning objects should be implemented and improved. As I wrote in my post for week 8, when I used eXe to produce some learning objects I was in trouble with the programme and my laptop. Besides, I did not have any kind of support apart from the software guide.

I am optimistic as for the future of learning objects. They have not died; the LO movement needs to adopt more uniformity in its philosophy and to exploit the new developments of the online cooperative webtools of the web 2.0 to attain its aims. It is a hard work, almost a "war", but it can be done. Never give up.

  1. 12 Novembre 2007 a 1:15 | #1

    Hey, Elisa, it is hard to look at your picture and not feel like smiling too! What a great smile!
    Thank you for your comment on my blog. Isn’t it incredible how a simple picture brings so much more humanity to our virtual contact? I wish we had a page in the course with everybody else’s pictures.

    As for your posting, I am optimistic as you are. I just hope that “quality” does not become a forgotten element in the process. And yes, adapting the LOs to our local realities is critical. I think that a mere translation does not achieve this.
    All the best to you,

  2. 15 Novembre 2007 a 9:37 | #2

    I agree with you on your last paragraph. Learning objects have not died and it takes time to even figure out what the exact meaning of it. But I don’t know if it is useful and worth the time to do it.

  3. 16 Novembre 2007 a 18:05 | #3

    Elisa, I suppose you are referring to the lack of “open source” effective authoring tools. In fact there are excellent COMMERCIAL packages for the content production!! Since the LO paradigm has been very widely adopted by the industry for large-scale training of workers, there are specialized firms who produce high-quality, complex and… expensive authoring tools for e-learning.
    Perhaps we need an OpenOffice-like quality tool for e-learning… :-)

  4. 17 Novembre 2007 a 16:15 | #4

    To Anto: Yes, of course I am referring to open source when I talk of authoring tools. I have had a terrible experience with the production of LOs with a proprietary system (Garamond), but better to talk about it in another occasion …

  5. 17 Novembre 2007 a 20:53 | #5

    Elisa, I’m having serious problems in opening my blog at the open hosting, so I decided to move HERE.

    I Know by e-mail that you posted a comment and want to register to scribaLAB.

    I thank you very much: as you know I’m re-design it, so every suggestion will be greatly appreciated.

    Meanwhile you can have a look at the repository to add a new LO (it does not need any registration):


    Bottom Page ‘AGGIUNGI LO’

    The modules are in Italian…I’m sorry for the other colleagues of the course…

    Let me know if you have time to test,

    Silvana ;-)

    P.S. Just to know, was the Garamond proprietary tool the one named ASSIST?

  6. 20 Novembre 2007 a 3:54 | #6

    It’s nice to see that the French court makes the correct ruling, in not holding Wikipedia liable for content posted by individuals. (In looking for more information about the court case, I found another link to a story about a spammer from New Jersey that was just sentenced to 2 years in prison, plus a hefty fine, so that is another nice, although unrelated, technology ruling.)

    I wasn’t sure quite what you meant when you said that localization allows us to offer free culture to everyone.

    It’s good to see an optimistic outlook on Learning Objects, along with a call to improve LO-related software by incorporating web 2.0 tools. I wonder what that would look like. Web 2.0 tools are used because they’re so easy, and apparently LO tools are not. So is there a possibility that some kind of tool mashup may solve some of the problems?

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