Thursday, July 16, 2015

OER for Mobile Ubiquitous Learning

Greetings from the Second International Conference on Open and Flexible Education (ICOFE 2015), at the Open University of Hong Kong, where Professor Rory McGreal, Centre for Distance Education Athabasca University, is speaking on "Why OER are essential in mobile and ubiquitous learning". He argues that open is essential to mobile education, not optional and mobile is essential to education, due to the rapid adoption: "Educators need to get with it".

Professor McGreal argues we should design educational materials first for mobile devices, not for print on paper, as "That is the way the world is". He pointed out that until the invention of the printing press books were scarce and this was the reason for classes and "lecturers" (readers).

Professor McGreal suggested that MOOCs were of benefit, even where there is a much higher non-completion rate than conventional courses, because many more students can complete. I don't agree with this: even if the MOOC costs little or nothing, being a student is a very time consuming activity. Students who invest their time in study need to complete to get the maximum benefit. Obviously students will learn something even if they do not complete a course, but for maximum personal and economic benefit, need courses which most students can complete.

One point I did agree with is that Professor McGreal noted that universities are already on-line, to a larger extent than many other modern organizations. I get asked regularly about when lectures will be replaced with on-line education, but the reality in Australian universities is that it already has. Typically only a minority of students turn up to lectures.

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