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UNIR iTED contributes to the Open Education Global Conference

In April 24-26 took place the Open Education Global Conference 2018, in Delft, The Netherlands, a diverse conference focused on open education where researchers, policy makers, educators and students from more than 35 countries discussed and explored about the topic. Along the event, Daniel Burgos, UNESCO Chair on eLearning, ICDE Chair in OER and director of Research Institute for Innovation & Technology in Education (UNIR iTED) contribute to an expert panel. This initiative was organized by a group of UNESCO and ICDE Chairs in Open Educational Resources (OER) in cooperation with a few related organizations, such as Open Education Consortium (OEC), Creative Commons (CC), UNESCO IITE and ICORE.

The panel, called “How can the OER community put he UNESCO OER Action Plan into practice?”, addressed the them “Open Educational Practices/Open Pedagogy” to improve Open Education for better learning quality, and it was part of the discussion about how opening in education helps us achieve universal access, equity, innovation and opportunity in education. In the panel also participated Christian M. Stracke (ICDE Chair in OER, Open University of the Netherlands), Zeynep Varoglu (UNESCO Programme Specialist responsable for OER Action Plan), Jane-Frances Agbu (ICDE Chair in OER, National Open University of Nigeria) and Tel Amiel (UNESCO Chair in Open Education, University of Campinas, Brazil).

The panel was part of the discussion about how opening in education helps us achieve universal access, equity, innovation and opportunity in education

Burgos commented that “Open education is the key for sustainable education. The smart combination of open and proprietary research, data, content, tools and, specially, licensing, means the innovation breakthrough towards an improved educational paradigm. If we can combine formal and informal settings so that we take the best out of both approaches, in a collaborative way, all the stakeholders win.

This panel was a first follow-up activity of the common panel “The Role of the OER community” byt the UNESCO and ICDE Chairs at the UNESCO World OER Congress 2017, that brought together more than 500 stakeholders from over 100 Member States, including 14 Ministers of Education. The expert panel discussed how innovative open pedagogies and open educational practices using OER can support and increase the implementations and practices of the Ljubljana 2017 OER Action Plan adopted in that Congress.

 

– Eva Ferreras

 

 

The paradox of too much support

13 years ago, a colleague from Utrecht University (in the Netherlands) and I wrote the article The paradox of the assisted user: guidance can be counterproductive. The bottom line looks simple:  if somebody gets too much help, they will learn less. Too much support might be counterproductive. Even my grandmother, with no school education, who grew up in a mountain village in central Spain, shared the reflection immediately. As a reminder, I will highlight that 13 years ago means no Whatsapp and Instagram, and almost no Facebook, Skype or Netflix-ish services, not to mention so many other daily tools that today jam the global communication networks with silly smileys, excessive selfies and typo-ed short, cryptic sentences. The students now collect more means, channels and tools to get connected, retrieve and post information, share, create, explore, and spend the time. University teachers, in turn, complain about that diversity and how the individual’s over-exposure to the ICT matrix kills the desire for learning, the ability to focus, the deep thinking process, and so many other beautiful features of a grown-up human being.

The most common self-analysis of our performance shows an over-attention, over-support, over-concerned attitude from the teachers

However, we should look into ourselves. I think that university teachers (and teachers, at large, in every level) spoil our students. We patronize them, summon them, tell them off, and reward them. Sometimes it is as if Pavlov in person was guiding our actions. Instead of teaching we do radical parenting with them. In every workshop, in diverse countries, from East to West, North to South, the complaints resound: the students do not deliver, do not pay attention, do not focus, do not perform, etc. Recently, I was sharing a vivid work session with my colleagues at An-Najah National University (Nablus, Palestine), and the same feeling was discussed openly, irrespective of culture, language and context. And what about us, the faculty members? What about the academic layer? Are we doing just ok, good, excellent or lousily? The most common self-analysis of our performance shows an over-attention, over-support, over-concerned attitude from the teachers; I guess that it comes from some sort of childhood trauma or complex or lack of opportunities when we were younger. However, we are not their parents, priests or parole officers. We support their effort if they show that effort, but we cannot lower the bar just because they do not reach it. We accompany them the full way, if they want to run that extra mile. However, we cannot be pulling up all the time. If we do so, we epically fail, as teachers, as mentors and as supporters. If we support too much, the supported will not be developed by themselves.

We must stop so much care, concern and students spoiling. We play poorly and we complain later about the result. Even worse: we blame others. We blame them. This is not the way. The student is responsible for their learning as a learner, and they are responsible of their lives as persons. We can get along, walk along and come along; however, we cannot do their job and replace their joy for learning by ours. It is immature and ineffective, and I mean from the teachers, and not from the students. We all need to fall, raise, try, fail, win, lose and, in short, grow up. Let the student be a student. Let the learner learn.

Daniel Burgos
Nablus, Palestine
19 de febrero, 2019

Workshop HELMeTO 2019

Online university courses are nowadays widespread, both at traditional and at full distance learning institutions. This phenomenon affects both European and American institutions. As an example, in Italy, about 10% of university students are enrolled in online courses and the figures are increasing. The academic staff involved in online teaching is growing as well and the research about the teaching methodologies in virtual learning environments is undergoing a marked increase. On the other hand, the exploitation and analysis of learning data are becoming a fundamental prerequisite for supporting strategic decisions in several contexts, such as predicting dropouts and improving student experience and success rate.

International Workshop on Higher Education Learning Methodologies and Technologies Online

This led to the organization of HELMeTO 2019, the first International Workshop on Higher Education Learning Methodologies and Technologies Online, which aims to bring together researchers and practitioners working in Higher Distance Education Institutions or studying Online Learning Methodologies to present and share their research in a multidisciplinary context. The workshop provides a forum for the discussion of new research directions and applications in these fields, where different disciplines could effectively meet.

The location of the workshop is the headquarter of eCampus University, one of the main Italian distance learning univeristies, located in Novedrate (CO), Italy.

HELMeTO 2019 is technically sponsored by SIREM, Società Italiana di Ricerca sull’Educazione Mediale

PS: Call for papers

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