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As her birthday is coming up, she decided to ask that I make a birthday gift of the recommended textbook for the open biology course. Unfortunately the textbook was not open (perhaps another discussion). I, of course, have happy purchased, and will forward the physical text to her.

So, she will have a “course” that has been designed with the full complement of objectives, learning outcomes, assessments, etc. providing some structure to her learning. She will also have some content in the form of the online course and the textbook. What else though might she need to make the best use of her efforts while engaging in self-study and improvement? What would she have received if she were doing this within the context of a traditional learning environment (university)? What if she wants to formally apply her independent learning to a University sanctioned curriculum in the future? How can she access those things that she finds valuable relative to her personal development aspirations?

Off the top of my head, here are some of the things she might get if she were studying in a traditional manner at a university:

  • An assigned professor/tutor (facilitation and support)
  • A peer group (formal and informal social learning opportunities)
  • Assigned credit for demonstrated knowledge (external motivator, recognition and portability learning, etc.)
  • Student services/support (tutoring, library&research services, etc.)

I would assume that all of these could be very valuable. So, as an independent learner and user of open courseware, how might she access these valuable services? Is SocialLearn and ROLE intended to support independent (life long) learners like my daughter (who I am sure will study at some time at a university) or is it principally about opening opportunities for learners who decided to study at a university?

So many questions… my last one is:

Can we disaggregate the university for independent learners, but not fragment the experience?

8. davidmcquillan - october 21st, 2008 at 3:48 pm

Thanks for that Martin.

I’d be interested to test-drive the environment, as I’m sure would some of my collegues here at Otago Polytechnic, New Zealand. Could you please let me know when it’s available? david AT tekotago.ac.nz


9. summary: exploring new ways of being open | terra incognita - a penn state world campus blog - november 4th, 2008 at 9:40 am

[...] “Exploring new ways of being open,” the 24th installment of the Impact of Open Source Software Series, was posted on October 14, 2008, by Martin Weller. Martin Weller serves as Professor of Educational Technology at the Open University in the UK. He chaired the OU’s first major online course with 15,000 students, was the VLE Project Director and is now Director of the SocialLearn project. His interests are in elearning, web 2.0 and the implications of new technologies for higher education. He blogs at edtechie.net. Thanks, Martin, for a great posting! [...]

10. » para qué es la web: más docentes deberían hacer esto…- oldaily octubre 15/08 el blog boyacense: el sitio de referencia de tod@s l@s boyacenses - november 12th, 2008 at 4:08 am

[...] Bueno si se trata de criterios personales ¿no se deberían llamar “entornos personales de aprendizaje”? [L][C] [...]

11. systems for supportive open teaching | terra incognita - a penn state world campus blog - november 26th, 2008 at 4:26 am

[...] over lately. They also follow on well from the recent contributions from Martin Weller around exploring new ways of being open and Cole Camplese on embedding student [...]

12. summary: systems for supportive open teaching | terra incognita - a penn state world campus blog - december 30th, 2008 at 7:19 pm

[...] again, special thanks to our recent contributors, Martin Weller, Cole Camplese, and Andy Lane. I will ask a few more guests to participate in the OER and OSS [...]

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