The afternoon of Day 1 was jam packed with good sessions to choose from. The conference sessions were 90 minutes long with 2 – 4 speakers in each session. For my first afternoon session, I selected a segment titled, “Consider MOOC’S”. MOOCS are a hot topic of the conference and the session I attended was packed to the rafters.
Presenters included individuals from MIT, Kansas, Taiwan, and Australia. I took lots of notes and will be using the information to inform some reading and research I am doing on MOOC’s this summer. The jury is still out here, as it is everywhere, per the effectiveness of MOOC’s. However, I can say that the open resource community is very interested in re-establishing the true idea of open (as in open, free materials) in the context of MOOC’s. Often the word MOOC and the idea of OER are confused in the minds of students and faculty. Many MOOC’s do not have free materials. The foundational philosophy of the OER movement and the OCWC organization is “access to education for all” and the means to that access should be free (or at very low cost) in all aspects including enrollment AND materials.
The second afternoon session was on the topic of OER and Access to education. I was pleased to be one of the presenters in this session and to provide information on the wonderful things going on at Scottsdale Community College per our OER efforts in the math department.
Dr. John Hilton, from BYU, also presented and discussed research he has been working on around three key ideas related to OER:
⁃ Do students save money
⁃ Are the success rates for OER courses as good or better than those of traditional texts
⁃ What are the student and faculty perceptions of OER
John presented research from studies with 8 schools that are part of the Kaleidoscope project. He also presented as part of my session on work that we have been doing to research the effectiveness of OER at Scottsdale CC.
The takeaway from his studies with project Kaleidoscope community colleges, as well as with Scottsdale community college, are that:
⁃ Students are saving a tremendous amount of money through the use of OER
⁃ Student success rates with OER are not significantly better or worse than the rates with traditional textbooks
⁃ Students and faculty are both overwhelmingly positive and supportive of OER efforts and materials and feel that OER materials support the learning that is part of their courses