Redrawing the Boundaries in Online Education through Media Literacy, OER, and Web 2.0: An Experience from Brazil

Redrawing the Boundaries in Online Education through Media Literacy, OER, and Web 2.0: An Experience from Brazil

Alexandra Bujokas de Siqueira (Universidade Federal Do Triângulo Mineiro, Brazil), Danilo Rothberg (Universidade Estadual Paulista, Brazil) and Martha Maria Prata-Linhares (Universidade Federal Do Triângulo Mineiro, Brazil)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0300-4.ch009
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This chapter presents lessons learnt after reflecting on a distance learning course based on Web 2.0 tools, which was promoted in order to teach visual communication concepts to students on a teaching degree programme at a Federal University in Brazil (UFTM, Minas Gerais State). The authors assessed the potential of open learning to bring changes in education to the new generations of teachers, in pace with cultural transformations induced by the emergence of a digital culture. The course was structured in four modules: About visual language; Elements of visual communication; Design and style and Non-verbal text coding and decoding. The exercises in each one of the four modules mixed resources of a variety of sources, but all of them had in common the fact that they were open, free to use, and available to the general public. Results suggest that this is a productive approach to introduce new subjects into traditional curricula, but it forces educators to rethink established uses, particularly those related to assessment.
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Social networks, Web 2.0 tools, convergence culture, and media literacy skills are some of the expressions that are gaining ground within educational discourses. At the same time, there is great controversy surrounding new media, convergence culture and its relationship with traditional education processes, such as teaching degrees. In those general settings, a group of teachers from the Federal University of Triangulo Mineiro (UFTM) decided to assess the potential of open learning and its range of tools to bring effective changes to the education of newer generations of teachers, thus attempting to keep pace with cultural transformations induced by the emergence of a digital culture.

In this context, the positions of who traditionally sends and receives information, of who learns and who teaches, and which party controls and which is controlled are weakened in classical educational models, which were unable to foresee the radical changes that have occurred in recent years. Such an unpredictable process has been intensifying conflicts in the classroom, raising difficulties to the daily work of teachers and deepening the lack of interest of the students at schools.

That process, however, should not be merely seen as a problem, but as a driving force for change: basic education definitively needs to rethink its goals and practices, if it is expected to be carried out according to the trends of contemporary culture.

While it is not easy to transform structures, beliefs and routines that have stood the test of time in the classroom, at least some effort could be made in order to connect traditional educational platforms to those now emerging in the digital age. The dialogue with the languages and cultural practices of the digital world may contribute significantly to modify some anachronistic features of Brazilian schooling. Thus the focal-points of this experience are the reading and writing practices which have been altered as a consequence of the impact of the greater social developments that have taken place in the economy, technology and culture, and consequently have directly affected people’s jobs, daily life, and education. Our hypothesis is that open and collaborative learning initiatives that take place alongside traditional classes could be productive to update practices that do not meet some of the current perceived contemporary needs of learning.

In some parts of the world, this strictly educational perspective may be mixed with social concerns. In Brazil, a country where only about a quarter of youths aged 18 to 24 go to college, the challenge of such pedagogical renovation goes hand in hand with the need for making access to university more widespread as well as increasing the number of teacher learners.

Collaborative learning, in this scenario, could also be an important resource for ensuring the success of a governmental programme for university access, which has been implemented in Brazil since 2003. This policy has increased the number of cities served by public universities (where the students pay no tuition fees) from 114 before 2003, to 237 in 2011. During this period 14 new universities were founded in Brazil with more than a hundred campuses spread over the country1.

Proposing innovative education models to attract new students, particularly from social backgrounds often excluded from college, and to assure that they finish the graduate course was one of the requirements for joining the “Programme of Support for Plans of Restructuring and Expanding Federal Universities” (REUNI). The REUNI programme was planned to increase the number of Federal university students by 20% and is delivered by all Brazilian Federal Universities.

At UFTM, the first courses offered within the REUNI Programme were devoted to teacher education in six fields of expertise: Biology, Physics, Geography, History, Chemistry and Mathematics. One of the underlying principles of the programme is academic curriculum restructuring. These teacher education courses were created by a group of lecturers and selected administrative staff. This commission outlined a concept according to which a comprehensive and humanistic background should be provided by the new curriculum, along with the purpose of educating people competent in their own fields of work. So the curriculum was designed in order to gather the following attributes: flexibility to allow interchangeable disciplines; teaching methodologies oriented to effective learning; interdisciplinary approach; critical view of contemporary issues; unity between labour and cultural, scientific and humanistic bases (Prata-Linhares et al, 2008).

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Marshall S. Smith
David Wiley
Alexandra Okada, Teresa Connolly, Peter J. Scott
Chapter 1
Andy Lane
This chapter examines the role that open educational resources might play in widening participation in higher education. It begins by highlighting... Sample PDF
Widening Participation in Higher Education through Open Educational Resources
Chapter 2
Susan D’Antoni
This is the story of an international community convened to raise awareness of the growing Open Educational Resources (OER) movement. The experience... Sample PDF
The UNESCO OER Community 2005-2009: From Collective Interaction to Collaborative Action
Chapter 3
Lisa A. Petrides, Cynthia Jimes, Carol Hedgspeth
This work specifically sheds light on the ways that OER impacts teacher professional development, knowledge building, and interactive problem... Sample PDF
Knowledge Sharing and Collaboration as Indicators of Learning in OER Communities
Chapter 4
Giovanni Fulantelli, Davide Taibi, Manuel Gentile, Mario Allegra
The focus of this chapter is on “key issues for fostering OER communities of practice with teachers.” It is based on the successful experiences of... Sample PDF
Fostering OER Communities of Practice with Teachers
Chapter 5
Alexandra Okada, Scott Leslie
The aim of this chapter is to examine key factors for facilitating the development of reusable learning content (RLC) from the perspective of open... Sample PDF
Open Educators and Colearners as DJs: Reuse, Remix, and Recreate OER Collaboratively!
Chapter 6
Ivana Marenzi, Wolfgang Nejdl
In Content and Language Integrated Learning the context is to explicitly teach a subject through a foreign or second language, and therefore... Sample PDF
I Search Therefore I Learn - Active and Collaborative Learning in Language Teaching: Two Case Studies
Chapter 7
Freda Wolfenden, Alison Buckler
Much is written of the potential of Open Educational Resources (OERs) to contribute to improvements in the quality of and access to education... Sample PDF
Adapting OER for Professional Communities: The Teacher Education in Sub-Saharan Africa Experience
Chapter 8
Najat Smeda, Eva Dakich, Nalin Sharda
The purpose of this chapter is to present the vision of a framework for developing Web 2.0 tools for collaborative learning using digital... Sample PDF
Digital Storytelling with Web 2.0 Tools for Collaborative Learning
Chapter 9
Alexandra Bujokas de Siqueira, Danilo Rothberg, Martha Maria Prata-Linhares
This chapter presents lessons learnt after reflecting on a distance learning course based on Web 2.0 tools, which was promoted in order to teach... Sample PDF
Redrawing the Boundaries in Online Education through Media Literacy, OER, and Web 2.0: An Experience from Brazil
Chapter 10
Israel Gutiérrez Rojas, Raquel M. Crespo, Michael Totschnig, Derick Leony, Carlos Delgado Kloos
With the introduction of the Web 2.0 philosophy in the learning arena, the way learning actors interact has changed substantially. From a... Sample PDF
Managing Assessment Resources in the Open ICOPER Content Space
Chapter 11
Josh McCarthy
This study explores the efficacy of open educational resources and online social network sites in linking digital media students with industry... Sample PDF
Connected: Online Mentoring in Facebook for Final Year Digital Media Students
Chapter 12
Aileen McGuigan
Since 2006, the Teaching Qualification (Further Education) – a professional teaching qualification for in service college lecturers – has been... Sample PDF
Blogospheric Learning in a Continuing Professional Development Context
Chapter 13
Giselle Ferreira, Tina Wilson
The availability of Web 2.0 and open educational resources affords the emergence of novel learning spaces, but debate on these innovations has... Sample PDF
Open Educational Resources and Web 2.0 for Formal Learning in Information and Computer Sciences: A Case Study
Chapter 14
Sibren Fetter, Adriana J. Berlanga, Peter B. Sloep
Traditionally, the Open Educational Resources (OER) movement has focused on the production, distribution, and retrieval of open content. There is... Sample PDF
Peer-Support and Open Educational Resources
Chapter 15
Joseph Corneli, Alexander Mikroyannidis
Learning online has significantly evolved over the past decade due to the emergence of Web 2.0 and 3.0 technologies that facilitate social learning... Sample PDF
Crowdsourcing Education on the Web: A Role-based Analysis of Online Learning Communities
Chapter 16
Pradeep Kumar Misra
All over the world, governments, societies, and researchers are looking for ways to keep the ageing population active and engaged. The need of the... Sample PDF
Open Educational Resources: Lifelong Learning for Engaged Ageing
Chapter 17
Rebecca Ferguson, Simon Buckingham Shum
This chapter examines the meaning of “open” in terms of tools, resources, and education, and goes on to explore the association between open... Sample PDF
Towards a Social Learning Space for Open Educational Resources
Chapter 18
Martin Wolpers, Martin Memmel, Alberto Giretti, Miquel Casals, Katja Niemann, Marcus Specht
This chapter discusses the use of technology in supporting the study of architecture and design in Higher Education. Digital (often open)... Sample PDF
Supporting Collaborative Learning in the Architectural Domain
Chapter 19
Andy Lane, Andrew Law
Open Educational Resources comprise many types of assets, including rich media. However, dynamic rich media offer different opportunities and... Sample PDF
Collaborating over Rich Media: The Open University and BBC Partnership
Chapter 20
Christophe Salzmann, Denis Gillet, Francisco Esquembre, Héctor Vargas, José Sánchez, Sebastián Dormido
This chapter presents challenges in deploying remote and virtual laboratories as open educational resources with application to engineering... Sample PDF
Web 2.0 Open Remote and Virtual Laboratories in Engineering Education
Chapter 21
Teresa Connolly, Elpida Makriyannis
The Open Educational Resources (OER) community supports the belief that knowledge is a public good and, combined with technological advancement, can... Sample PDF
OERopoly: Collaborative Learning about Open Educational Resources through Game-Playing
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