Saturday, April 25, 2015

Week 2 #justlakeit #oeglobal #rhizo15: assess this

I'm a big fan of open education resources (OER) and an even bigger fan of Banff National Park, so I welcomed the opportunity to attend the Open Education Consortium's 2015 conference with open arms. I'm primarily attracted to Banff due to its proximity to some of the best skiing in the world, and mine to it (it's a 100 km from my door). 

I played hooky from the pre-conference workshop and did some professional development at Lake Louise Ski Resort. I learned a lot (and yes, I did share the notion of "learning subjectives" with my instructor during the lesson). #jusklakeit

We worked on technique which had me turning my skis as I'd never before (remarkable to me given my 30+ years skiing experience, and the previous certification as both a coach and an instructor). 

This change in technique also meant the use of different groups of muscles in my legs, which turned to rubber in very short order. Both of these were very subjective forms of assessment; however, my instructor, Tom Bazley was able to see the difference in the turns and we got all subjective from there.

After the lesson, I fired-up TraceUp. See below for the "objective" assessment results:

Managed to tear myself away from the Inn and get myself to the Lodge for:

This was my first trip to #oeglobal and I didn't know what to expect.....

My first impression of the conference common space itself, was: 
"Whoa, there are lots of suits in here...." 
Why this was the case? My best guess was that many attendees held "more senior" positions within their respective organizations. 

NOTE: While the pre-conference Open Advocacy Day at Open Education 2015 required formal business attire, that was on Capitol Hill, Washington, DC and organizers had prescribed the dress code in that instance)

As you might have already guessed, many of those wearing suits were older, most were Caucasian, and nearly all were male..... 

[Full disclosure: I pretty much fit the profile, right down to the suit--although I did opt for jeans, t-shirt (of the #ForkU #rhizo15 variety no less ;-)) & jacket on the last day of the conference].

Stephen and me

I've long been interested in "accessible" and "open" most particularly in information and communications technology implementations.

I have a tiny instructional design and learning development company. My work with corporate clients allows me to pay my bills, and to be a patron of the arts. 
I often refer to myself (and I'll leave it to you to decide how much of a joke this is) 
as a corporate whore. 

Notwithstanding the degree to which I have to "sell out" to keep the lights on,  it's important to me to conduct myself in a socially responsible manner and remain a contributing member of my community. More about that later....

I see a big part of my work toward "social responsibility" to be in fostering openness when and where I can. As I see it, this means spreading the word to whomever will listen  and to educate anyone who'll listen on the value of Creative Commons licensing of materials, and particularly CC-BY and CC-0.  

On the topic of CC licenses--to both the amusement and consternation of some at the conference, because I kept bringing it up--I have particular issues with the CC-NC license. 

Before embarking on my rant, I'll recognize the fact that developers and producers are free to license their materials however they wish. That said, I'm not sure how many consumers and developers appreciate the implications of the "non-commercial" license.

For example, one of the graphics rolling over on the front page of the conference website--the pretty scenery one with the lake, mountains and trees, entitled Banff, Alberta Canada--is tagged with a CC-BY-NC-SA license. 

Since organizers charged a fee to attend the conference, the NC prescription of this license means that it shouldn't be used here--or whatever agreement reached with the photographer would have made a caption/title "used with permission" more apt. Who cares? This amounts to no more that a tempest in a teapot--right up? I'd say sure, it does. Right up until it doesn't....

Notwithstanding my obsession with licensing, its gratifying to see overall attitudes toward small businesses changing for the better:

  • notions of revenue and sustainability aren't as dirty or untouchable as they've been 
  • small businesses which believe in the efficacy of open are welcomed to the table
  • there's space for all who support development, research, and use of all things OER 

Since Week 2 of #rhizo15 week has been brought to you by the word measurement, I'll measure #oeglobal as successful as evidenced by this list of open educational resources-based small businesses. 
Each run by a real person, who's passionate about open. 
Each intent on making OER accessible, relevant, and sustainable:

I'll sign off with one more measure of success. 
These organizations provide resources, strategies and support for those looking to adopt and leverage open educational resources for self and community: