Care more—share more—dare more: Three ways to enhance online pedagogy (Part II)

by bethanyaldenrivers

In a recent blog post, I addressed the first part of this trilogy for enhancing online pedagogy (Care More). Part two deals with ways to Share More. What is exciting about this segment is the opportunity to share (!) some of the awesome work that a few of my colleagues are doing. In particular, I’d like to highlight work related to sharing resources and to sharing ideas for enhancing online teaching practice.

1. Sharing resources

My colleague, Dr. Ming Nie, has done a wonderful job developing this web area about Open education resources (OER). As she summarises, OER are defined by UNESCO and OECD as:

Teaching, learning and research materials in any medium, digital or otherwise, that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions. (UNESCO, 2012).

Digitised materials offered freely and openly for educators, students and self-learners to use and reuse for teaching, learning and research. (OECD, 2007). 

While OER can be used across all modes of learning and teaching, a paper written by Dr. Nie and another of my colleagues, Professor Alejandro Armellini, (Armellini and Nie, 2013), explores how the reuse of OER can enhance online teaching practice (and curriculum design for online learning) in four ways:

  1. Planned enhancement
  2. Strategic enhancement
  3. Just in time enhancement
  4. Reflective enhancement

Figure 1 is provided by Armellini and Nie as one way that these types of enhancement can be understood. This framework was developed and used in other projects, including EVOL-OER, part of the SCORE programme, and in learning design, as part of the Carpe Diem programme (University of Leicester).

OER to enhance online teaching

Figure 1: Four education practices for curriculum enhancement during design and delivery (from Armellini and Nie, 2013).

Dr. Nie currently delivers workshops at the University of Northampton on how to convert existing teaching resources into OER and on developing awareness of OER and OEP (Open Educational Practice).

Other exciting work for creating, sharing, evaluating, and measuring the global impact of OER is taking place at the OER Research Hub, at The Open University. Colleagues there (including Dr. Rob Farrow, Dr. Beck Pitt, Dr. Leigh-Anne Perryman and others) have worked to develop The Open Education Handbook to support the use of Open Education. This handbook is a collaborative, living, web-based resource that provides guidance for understanding and engaging in Open Education.

The framework proposed in Figure 1, along with the guidance provided in The Open Education Handbook, offer an excellent foundation from which to understand how creating, using, and reusing OER can be impactful to one’s own teaching practice. However, there are multiple other benefits to OER, including global reach, brand recognition, heightened institutional profile, peer reviewed/tested content available freely for use in MOOCs and other online learning contexts.

2. Sharing ideas

Here, primarily, I wanted to highlighted the excellent work that my colleague Shirley Bennett has done in exploring online peer observation—both in theory and in practice.

In her paper, (Bennett and Barp, 2008), the authors make a case for collaborative peer observation of online teaching. Advancing previous theories on peer observation, which commonly focus on an ‘expert’ supporting a ‘novice’ teacher, Bennett and Barp suggested:

Thus the Peer Review Model typically involves teachers observing each other’s practice, and specifically assumes an underlying dynamic of equality and mutuality of learning where feedback from the observer is non-judgemental and constructive, in a spirit of coparticipation reminiscent of Lave and Wenger (1991) locating professional development within Communities of Practice. Hence the trend within Peer observation mirrors developments within Peer Learning (Topping 2005). (Bennett and Barp, 2008, p. 563)

Shirley has designed and currently delivers workshops for online peer observation at the University of Northampton:

Peer observation for development

These two areas of work and the insights shared by these colleagues are very inspiring. How can we increasingly and systematically draw on the principles of Open Education and on the collaborative learning that happens through structured online peer observation to enhance our own online teaching practice?