I participated in the 29th Annual Conference on Distance Teaching & Learning in Madison, Wisconsin from August 7th to 9th. The focus of the conference is distance learning. Dr. Richard Baraniuk, Director of Connexions and OpenStax College was the outstanding Thursday keynote speaker presenting “Disruptive innovation via open education resources.” He motivated the attendees (hundreds in person and others virtually) on the value and path of OER, now and in the future.
Following Dr. Baraniuk’s address, I was honored to participate with four national OER leaders as a panelist in the highlighted session Open Educational Resources (OERs): Potential and pitfalls. David Carr, Editor, InformationWeek Education, moderated the session. The other panelists were Richard Baraniuk, Gerry Hanley (Executive Director, MERLOT and Senior Director, Academic Technology Services, California State University Office of the Chancellor), Mark Morvant, (Executive Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence, University of Oklahoma) and Ray Schroeder (Associate Vice Chancellor / Director, Center for Online Learning, Research and Service, University of Illinois Springfield and Sloan Consortium Fellow). To prepare for this panel, Mr. Carr previously chatted with each of us, as well as sent us a list of questions he would ask us. We also took audience questions. The best part of being on this panel was the valuable information I learned from my colleagues. In fact, I love to present at conferences because I do learn so much from my colleagues!
The previous day, I facilitated a Community of Practice workshop on Open Educational Resources. The majority of the attendees in this session were relatively new to OER. About half of them were institutional instructional designers. We shared effective practices on educating faculty about OER and searching through some of the better-known repositories. We also discussed the political maneuvering to switch from expensive hard copy texts to OER. Finally, we debated the merits of “low cost” versus “free” in serving our students.
There were many other excellent sessions at the 2.5 day conference. Many of them focused on mobile technology applications. For me, though, one of the most interesting sessions was a panel discussion on competency-based assessment, due to the controversies surrounding granting credit in the age of MOOCs.
You can watch the keynotes and our panel discussion via:
Posted by Dr. Barbara Illowsky
Math Professor De Anza College, California Community College Chancellor’s Office
2013 OpenCourseWare Consortium Educator ACE Recipient