Open Educators and Colearners as DJs: Reuse, Remix, and Recreate OER Collaboratively!

Open Educators and Colearners as DJs: Reuse, Remix, and Recreate OER Collaboratively!

Alexandra Okada (The Open University, UK) and Scott Leslie (BCcampus, Canada)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0300-4.ch005
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Abstract

The aim of this chapter is to examine key factors for facilitating the development of reusable learning content (RLC) from the perspective of open educators and collaborative learners (colearners). Reusability is an essential feature of online resources for users having the facility and flexibility for adopting and/or adapting them. Authors then investigate the benefits and challenges that educators and learners may face when producing RLC collaboratively through an open and flexible framework called “the Flow,” using the knowledge mapping software Compendium. Results indicate there is good evidence that the OER Flow becomes a clear and flexible approach for users being aware of key steps to reuse and recreate new OER having reusability in their mind. With an easy-to-use visual technology, such as Compendium, which can be applied in several steps to adapt OER in order to represent different styles of learning paths, reusability might be more widely promoted in different and more diverse communities and institutions.
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Introduction

The new territory of Web 2.0, built on the principles of openness, collaborative resources and large-scale sharing of information, enables users to become active participants and creative coauthors. This collective space for authoring is marked by transparency and indicates new ways for users sharing not only their production, but also new ways of producing it. The freedom for re-using and co-creating Open Educational Resources (OER) together through the spirit of collaboration then allows the production of extremely diverse yet relevant content with millions of learners and educators acting as contributors.

Findings in several studies (Collis and Strijker, 2003; Harley et al., 2006; Petrides et al., 2008; Connolly and Scott, 2009), however, highlight some significant barriers in reusing learning content and it is very clear that the majority of best practices in Higher Education (HE) show more evidence about ‘first use’ quality aspects rather than specifically presenting evidence of ‘re-use’. Recent research about recommendations for extending effective reuse (Okada, 2011) remarked upon significant issues to be overcome, particularly the lack of a culture of reuse, which includes social, technical, pedagogical and legal aspects. Several examples in this report were highlighted, such as the lack of interest for reusing and developing OER, the need for efficient tools to facilitate and simplify reusability, the low communication among different stakeholders, as well as the importance of social collaboration for discoverability and credibility around the content. In addition, several other barriers were indicated, such as understanding and meeting the changing learners’ needs, designing reusable resources by taking into consideration several requirements, implementing appropriate legal aspects and disseminating clear issues with respect to copyright.

The aim of this chapter is to examine key factors for facilitating the development of reusable learning content (RLC) from the perspective of open educators and collaborative learners (colearners). The definition adopted in this study of RLC is based on the content development for reuse research (Connolly and Scott, 2009; Okada 2011). Thus RLC is defined as “digital content designed to be reused, therefore, reproducible, addressable and flexible to be adapted multiple times in multiple ways, in multiple purposes, in multiple formats and in multiple contexts by multiple users. RLC can, therefore, include “content of learning,” “learning objects,” “teaching materials,” “rich media content,” “interactive components” and “open educational resources” (Okada, 2011).

Reusability is an essential feature of online resources for users having the facility and flexibility for adopting and/or adapting them. In this context these terms can be defined as follows: adopting can mean selecting the material or part of the material as it is. Adopting involves finding, accessing and making a resource available to be used. Adapting includes small or significant changes in the content. Thus, the process of reusing learning content can be described in numerous forms (such as those listed below), which define, and therefore, clarify the many different ways in which learning content can be reused (Okada, 2010):

  • Assembling: Integrating the content with other content in order to develop a module or new unit

  • Decomposing: Separating content in different sections, break out content down into parts

  • Contextualizing: Changing content or adding new information in order to assign meaning, make sense through examples and scenarios

  • Personalising: Aggregating tools to match individual progress and performance

  • Re-authoring: Transforming the content by adding your own interpretation, reflection, practice or knowledge

  • Redesigning: Converting a content from one form to another, presenting pre-existing content into a different delivery format

  • Remixing: Connecting the content with new media, interactive interfaces or different components

  • Repurposing: Reusing for a different purpose or alter to make more suited for a different learning goals or outcome

  • Resequencing: Changing the order or sequence

  • Summarising: Reducing the content by selecting the essential ideas

  • Translating: Restating Content From One Language Into Another Language

  • Versioning: Implementing specific changes to update the resource or adapt it for different scenario.

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