Tuesday, January 13, 2015

POTCert Week 7: Class Resources & Intellectual Property

This Post is Incomplete but I may work to complete it later. Find out more here 

As a trainer, I had some experience with copyright issues both as a user and as a creator. As a user of material and resources I respected copyright for three main reasons.

1- Being a part of a reputable organization I felt responsible to uphold their policies of respecting copyright.
2- From an ethical point of view, I felt that copying or using for free something that someone had created and was selling for a price is a form of stealing.
3- I understand people's right to make a living from their intellectual property and support the laws that protect that right and their properties.

When it comes to learning and educational material, it's frustrating to see some companies and publishers turning it into a commercial profit making business. I can accept that the corporate world can and should pay for the learning, but people in general and teachers and students in particular should not be discouraged or prevented from learning by the price tag on the learning tools.

How to reconcile these two idea?

I am grateful that more and more educators and educational institutions are creating open material and resources and I hope they continue providing more variety and higher quality OER.

As a creator there were two sides
1- The policy of the organization I worked for stated that whatever material I created while in their employment was owned by them. this didn't feel right at the beginning because it meant that I had no right to use outside or after leaving the organization. Luckily they didn't mind it much, did nothing to prevent anyone from taking copies of whatever they or other trainers created. While I was lucky that I worked for a fair employer I still don't like the idea of the law protecting such policies. I understand that they should have the right to use it even after  leave but why should I not have the right to use it too if it was created by me? I am not sure if this is a common practice or not.

POTCert Week 14: Sea of Time

The following are links to the 13 blog posts that I created for the POTCert14 course with a brief comment.


I think I succeeded in this post to make my introduction brief but contain some information about me as a person and as a professional. I tried to make personal but also include something about my experience. I kept thinking "what would I be talking about with colleagues face to face?". I've just realized that I'd published this post but never posted it in the discussion area for the week. :( will do it just to keep the course record complete.

This turned out to be too long. The original assignment was to reflect on the result the I got from completing the questionnaire about my teaching/training style. What I did was reflect on all the thoughts and ideas that all the material I went through for the week triggered and why. The required reflection is embedded there but perhaps not obvious. I usually use experiential/constructivist style but I use all the other styles including connectivist depending on the situation, learning objectives, group, subject, time etc.
So the short answer should have been "usually experiential but it depends".

I mainly felt panic then a sense of a better understanding. Enjoying being connected online, feeling comfortable experimenting and using different tools for casual and social purposes may make things easier but designing and running an online course will still require a lot of serious planning and work (duh, it works the same way on the ground). It was interesting to look at using the web vs an LMS and the shift that had happened in the availability of tools.

I learned by looking at all the material as a learner/user. Clarity, limiting the number of clicks to any destination, consistency, repetition are some of the way to make a syllabus useful and easy to use, but most important is regularly getting feedback and noticing if there are issues/difficulties that are common among students.
It takes planning and time to create a video that looks and sounds natural and good.

Tools must be in the service of the learning objectives and allow a variety of engaging activities. Researching and looking at the available tools, in my opinion, must start during the planning and designing phase. Again it struck me the difference between the availability and the type of tools in LMSs vs on the web. I tried Soundcloud and again to create an audio takes some planning and time to sound natural but good. Still don't know why is the word "facilitation" is bad.
From a blogging point of view, for some reason I like this post but I was still writing for me and co learners only (those who know what I was referring to in the post).

Community was big on my mind, otherwise what is the point of being in an online "class" with cohorts. I focused on activities that in my opinion can create a supportive environment and encourage a collaborative learning community. Another important thought was how to encourage and help learners who struggle to write or reluctant to participate in other ways.

I started writing about Copyright several times but could never really put down in writing all my reactions and thoughts, and therefore never published the post. I found it easier to discuss it, explore my opinion and voice it in the different conversations about others' posts. Now that I've visited my private post again, I still don't feel like writing much more about it. I think I will leave it at that for now and post it for the record as it is.

My thoughts about tools and about being on the web. It's important to have a well equipped tool box and to keep it always updated with the most useful. While tools are in the service of the learning they can sometimes inspire new activities. We start learning how to be in the world from an early age from family and then from school and it's important to learn how to be on the web too and while there are things that are transferable and constant, there are also some things that are at least different if not very particular to the web.

I was not very convinced of the results of the research. I can understand the findings but I don't think that they can be generalized. I am glad that there are more scientific studies about learning in general and the effects of the online environments and their distracting or otherwise effect.

Learning objectives are what should guide the course design. the availability or the lack of tools will influence the design but it should not dictate the teaching methodology. A good knowledge and understanding of what is available and the different way it can be used allows for more flexibility and creativity.

I think I sound frustrated in this post. There's no perfect educational theory nor an obsolete one and a teacher can benefit from multiple or all the theories while designing and teaching one course. 

I reflected on the concept of the Flipped Class and what educational theory it applies. Whether it's a new idea or a methodology that has always been used by many teachers just revamped, renamed and perhaps a bit modernized.
I also reflected on Open Education, what it means and on MOOCs as one of the biggest types of open. I looked at the different types of MOOCs and my own experience with them and also on what educational theory/style they represent. I enjoyed and appreciated George Siemen's post on theory and MOOCs as it was informative, balanced, fair and inclusive.

It was interesting to look at what I thought is my Personal Learning Network and recognize the different nodes. Another interesting realization or renewed conviction was the fact that I considered myself to be a resident of the web. I believe that there are many types of web residents.

To complete this post I had to go through what I'd written during the course which got me to relive or wonder about some of the reactions, thoughts and feelings that I experienced after going through each week's material and reflect on the words that I used to express them. It allowed me to re examine my opinions and my learning. I've seen the progress from writing just for the course to starting to write for the web, from writing an assignment to the tentative first steps into blogging. I am grateful to all my colleagues and to all the facilitators from whom I learned and whose posts and comments helped me clarify my own thoughts and added to my understanding.