What Do We Mean by ‘Open’?




As I wrote about in an earlier post, the GMCTE is launching what we believe is the first “open” online course from the University of Saskatchewan. Introduction to Learning Technologies is being offered simultaneously to both a small blended cohort (mostly online, with five face-to-face sessions) and a much larger open group of participants. This course is designed for faculty, instructors and grad students who wish to learn more about effective uses of learning technologies. Participants will explore pedagogically-informed use of blogs, podcasts, social bookmarking and a host of other tools, in addition to considering the implications of copyright and Creative Commons, digital citizenship and digital literacy for their teaching practice.

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Many of you have probably heard the term MOOC, which stands for Massive Open Online Course, but the prevailing model for most MOOCs these days involves the course being housed in a closed platform such as that used by Coursera. Participants must register to view the course content and materials cannot be used outside of that course. Participants usually only communicate with others in the course and sometimes not even then, and yet the first “O” in MOOC stands for “open”, something most are not.

The open course from the GMCTE is what we consider to be a truly open online course or TOOC. The course is built on the open source blogging platform, WordPress and all materials developed by GMCTE carry Creative Commons licenses, allowing anyone to use, remix and share them. While participants are encouraged to register to make it easier to reach those interested in completing the course as a cohort and to get an idea of who is going through the course, it is not required to access the course materials.

The open nature of the TOOC not only benefits participants directly through their ability to learn from a variety of perspectives, but also the designer and course facilitator, which in this case is me. With almost two weeks to go until the course officially launches, I have already received valuable feedback provided by other educators who are not registered, but have browsed the course materials.

You can view the course materials and register on the course site, and follow the course hasthag, #ilt_usask on Twitter.

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