Activity 4, Week 1: Imagine you are advising a funding organisation that wishes to promote activity and research in the area of open education. Set out the three main priorities they should address, explaining each one and providing a justification for your list.
Thinking in broad terms, I would advocate research in the areas of Accessibility, Assessment and Accountability.
- Priority One- Accessibility
- Accessibility research would involve assessing who has access to Open Education and who doesn't and for what reasons. The term "accessibility" often focuses on making web information available to people who have various physical disabilities (for example hearing or visual impairments). As described by the Web Accessibility Initiative (http://www.w3.org/WAI/users/Overview.html): "Inclusive design, design for all, digital inclusion, universal usability, and similar efforts address a broad range of issues in making technology available to and usable by all people whatever their abilities, age, economic situation, education, geographic location, language". Barriers to accessibility includes lack of access to necessary technology and/or lack of access to digital information because of low income, geographic or political barriers.
- Web technology has the potential to assist in overcoming many barriers and to make education more open but also faces barriers. For example - for distance learning, the Internet makes information available in one's home but only if you live in a place where you can obtain Internet access.
- Is open education more inclusive of different learners who may not be accessing information through a traditional academic pathway? Does open education allow for collaboration between people that is different than what occurs in more traditional education?
- Priority Two- Assessment
- Assessment of learners- What are different ways to assess learners? What is the role of peer assessment and how effective is it? What are authentic learning assessments in an open education environment?
- Assessment of open education courses/materials- How should open education courses by assessed for quality? How do you measure effectiveness of open education courses beyond looking at completion rates and satisfaction rates?
- Priority Three- Accountability
- Accountability includes looking at who is responsible for the quality of open education courses. Is there transparency regarding the process in open education and intellectual property rights/copyrights? Is there transparency regarding how open education is funded and potential conflicts of interest?