• open access,  openness

    You don’t get openness for nothing

    <Warning, post may be a bit preachy – photo: https://flic.kr/p/8PRgdC> This isn't a post about the financial cost of open education, but rather the reciprocal, moral cost. As I mentioned in my last post, I've been working through a lot of OER publications for the OER Impact map. I've also been reading a lot of MOOC, open access & open scholarship publications for my Battle for Open book. One thing that surprises and irritates me is the number of such publications that aren't published under an open access licence. It is a tad ironic to say the least when you encounter an article along the lines of "How OERs will transform…

  • oer,  oerresearchhub,  Open content

    Hits & thoughts ain’t evidence

    This week we've been populating the impact map for the OER Research Hub. The impact map (http://oermap.org/) has been developed largely by Rob Farrow and Martin Hawksey, and features lots of Hawksey-goodness. You can do the following on the map: Look at evidence for any one of our 11 hypotheses (eg. for hypothesis A regarding performance) Look at the flow of evidence Examine evidence by country Filter evidence by sector, polarity, hypothesis, country Explore the map for OER policies (a work in progress) So, as well as putting our own evidence in there, we have been trying to add in the research of others that really demonstrates evidence for one of…

  • battle,  digital scholarship,  MOOC,  open access

    Battle for Open webinar

    As part of Open Education week, the OER Research Hub organised some webinars. One was around my Battle for Open idea/forthcoming book. It was my first attempt to condense the book into a presentation. The areas I covered were: the roots of open education; Open access publishing; OERs; MOOCs; Open scholarship; The Silicon Valley narrative; some warnings, and conclusions. For the 4 areas of openness (OERs, MOOCs, OA and open scholarship) I tried to set out the success of the open approach and also the key areas of battle.  You can watch/listen to the webinar here. The slidedeck is below: The Battle for Open from Martin Weller

  • Research

    Art of Guerrilla Research workshop

    On Monday I ran a workshop with Tony Hirst on the Art of Guerrilla Research. This was a vague idea I'd floated a while back, and Rhona Sharpe of ELESIG got in touch, asking if I could run one of their masterclass workshops on it. This was a good opportunity to think through the idea with others. With tongue a bit in cheek I proposed a manifesto for Guerrilla Research which was:  It can be done by one or two researchers and does not require a team It relies on existing open data, information and tools It is fairly quick to realise It is disseminated via blogs and social media…

  • Research

    Open research ethics – the puppy killer scenario

    Yesterday I ran a workshop called "The Art of Guerrilla Research" for ELESIG, along with Tony Hirst. I'll blog it later but basically it was about what sort of research can you do without permission and funding, eg asking questions of open data (hence Tony describing the things he does). One issue that was raised a few times was that of the ethics of it. The assumption has long been that anything openly available is fair game. So for instance there is a lot of research that uses travel blogs as its data source, and they don't require the permission of these people to analyse them or interpret them. In…

  • battle,  digital scholarship,  higher ed

    Open scholarship, social media & libraries

    I gave a presentation to a conference of university librarians in Aarhus, Denmark last week. Social media and the role of the librarian was their theme. I won’t pretend to be an expert on libraries, but taking Shelby Foote’s quote that “a university is just a group of buildings gathered around a library” you could argue that the factors affecting higher ed are the same for libraries. The talk was kind of a cross over between my Digital Scholar book and the new Battle for Open one. My argument was that openness represents a key direction for libraries, and that social media plays a vital role in this. I then set…

  • Asides,  financial crisis

    Pity the austerity natives

    Mike Caulfield has a post on how automation of middle-class jobs, increases competition for poory paid job, which removes the incentive to innovate in technology for those jobs. It made me think how many postgrads going into an academic career now don't really expect it to be well paid, or secure. They approach higher education career with a very different mindset than I did. When I came into academia it was with the hope of getting the "cushiest job on the planet". Professors used to be part of the prosperous middle class, now they hover just above the precariat. This chimed with another thought I'd had which was that for my…

  • battle,  openness

    Politics of openness

    [The following is an adapted extract from the upcoming Battle for Open book, which I'm bouncing off you lot first]. I am not by nature an overtly political person, in that I don't interpret everything through a political lens. So, rather like Clay Shirky and higher ed, writing on politics is not my strongest point. Which is by way of saying, sorry of what follows is a bit rubbish. I often avoid given a tight definition of open education, because I want to admit degree and variation in practice. Whilst some areas, such as OERs, have a very clear definition, others such as open scholarship, represent more of a general approach…

  • battle,  open access,  Open content

    Build it and they might come

    Some of you will have seen a report about a survey conducted on the use of Open Course Library (OCL) free, open textbooks. The findings were that use was "extremely limited". Over the 42 courses that could use the textbooks, this amounted to 98,130 possible students, but only 2,386 did, some 2.4%. All that is rather disappointing to say the least, and it left me a little puzzled. Why would uptake be so low? Given the question "do you want to buy this $100 textbook or have this free one?" one might expect more than 2.4% to go for free. Tony Bates posted a very good response to it which…

  • higher ed,  politics

    Increased university costs and admin

    One of the common themes you'll see when people complain about rising university costs is the increased cost of administrative staff. This is usually portrayed as simply greed, or laziness on the part of universities, for instance this Wall Street Journal article reports a 37% increase in admin staff from 2001 to 2012. The Center for College Affordability and Productivity has little doubt about the lack of value admin staff add, stating: "You can have a university without administrators, but not without students or faculty. The minimization of administrative costs and bureaucracy should be sought in any university reform. A few decades ago, few universities had more than a small centralized public…