Week 2 Initial Blog Post: Essential question: What do you see as the promise of Open Learning as an emerging technology/pedagogy/philosophy?

Emerging Technologies EDET693 Blog 2

by Aleta May

With Dr. Lee Graham

Essential question: What do you see as the promise of Open Learning as an emerging technology/pedagogy/philosophy?

 Open Learning can mean Open Educational Resources (OER), Digital Literacy, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC). One issue that came up as I read was, “while there is clear evidence for priority research in online course design and online best practices, little has been done . . . priority areas for research include defining best practices, evaluation of course design, delivery, access, and teacher training and accountability” (Graham, LaBonte, Roberts, O’Byrne, p. 5). Further, there has been much attention that recognizes the need for both students and teachers to develop minimum technology skills, and “the Standards for the 21 st-Century Learner . . . and the Partnership for 21st Century Skills published their framework describing required skill sets for a 21st Century learner” (Graham, et al., 14). Lacking, however, is genuine and concrete direction for how educators can navigate including open learning in the classroom.

The accelerated growth “in the number of Open Educational Resources (OER), making the evaluation of OER quality a pressing need” (Yuan & Recker, 2015, p. 16) led to narrow down rubrics to a review of 14 that were developed in the literature for evaluating OER. After reviewing many articles, six rubrics were found to have validity (the rubric measured what it claims to measure) and reliability (where the rubrics did not deviate over a duration of time or over diverse raters). Two of the six rubrics were subject specific (science and the other to literacy and math as well). The Educators Evaluating the Quality of Instructional Products (EQuIP) from Achieve focus on the alignment of OER with educational standards” (Yuan & Recker, p. 17). EQuIP also asked for teachers’ input while developing the rubrics for evaluating OERs.

Why does all of this matter? As both a teacher, and now a course designer for my students, I need to be able to show that the OERs, I choose to employ in blended educational environment meets standards, and is relevant and befitting to my students for individual needs as I reach them with a growth mindset. With rubrics, I am able to provide evidence that my engaged learners are developing skills based on currently researched pedagogical guideline. I would strongly encourage my blog readers to look up this article I found in the UAS library. Yuan & Recker, 2015, have provided a very useful appendix with the 14 rubrics they found in their literature reviews.

As I read more on the topic of blended learning, I noticed in an article by Smith (2016) that blended learning includes many tools in the Lawrence Public School system—when these tools are used to meet students needs appropriately, we are creating our own motivational blended learning environment:


Adobe Voice, Answer Garden, Apple TV, audioBoom, Blabberize, Blackboard, [BookFlix, TrueFlix, and ScienceFlix], Capstone Interactive, ChatterPix Kids, Explain Everything, Flipgrid, Glogster, Google Classroom, iBooks, iMovie, iPads, Khan Academy, Kidblog, LearnZillion, LessonPaths, Little Bird Tales, MacBook Airs, Mac minis, Microsoft Publisher, Padlet, PebbleGo, Popplet, SafeShare, Screencast-O-Matic, Seesaw, Smore, Story Creator, Vimeo, WatchKnowLearn, Weebly, YouTube

Means et al. (2010) found in their meta-analysis that “blended learning environments demonstrate a higher level of effectiveness than fully online or fully face-to-face environments” (p. 6). They also found that peer-to-peer support was a much more effective approach than independent study alone. In Borup (2016), one teacher found finding student volunteers to pair up with a struggling student (whether struggling with the technology itself or academically) worked well; she called the student volunteer a virtual buddy. Peer-to-peer tutoring for students that participated in the same online program helped as they met together in a brick-and-mortar setting.

blended learning header-01-01-01



According to Vygotsky (1978) “teachers, more abled peers, or both, can assist students in the learning process by modeling correct behavior and scaffolding student learning using psychological and physical tools” (Borup, 2016, p. 232). In other words, social companionship and mentoring each other brings about positive cognitive outcomes, because students are motivated by each other.

The Adolescent Community of Engagement (ACE) framework was used found that the use of discussion boards was positive overall; however, students may need to gain understanding that social isolation or grouping against another student is another type of bullying, it is cyberbullying. This brings to my mind the important role of the teacher to facilitate and instruct—even as students learn to collaboratively create in online environments.

Additionally, I believe it is vital that we as technology users learn and teach about Creative Commons (CC) liscences. I do appreciate the fact that there are different types of CC licenses: Reuse, Revise, Remix, and Redistribute” (Means, et al., p. 6), because people who create in OERs will be more likely to share their products if they feel they have control over how to license their work. For example, there are some messages that people want to send through their work that could potentially have an unintended connotation remixed into their original piece that the original creator does not want to risk having changed. Yet there may be times where remixing with their own work is invited in order to help their ideas grow from different nodes (or persons of different professions) that can add depth to the original content.


Graham, L, LaBonte, R., Roberts, V. O’Byrne, I. (2010 ?). Chapter 19: Open learning in K-12 online and blended learning environments.

Borup, J. (2016). Teacher perceptions of learner-learner engagement at a cyber high school. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 17(3), pp. 231-245.

O’Byrne, I. W., Roberts, V. Labonte, R. & Graham, L. (2014). Teaching, learning and sharing openly online. Journal of adolescent & adult literacy, 58(4), pp. 270-280.

Smith, T. (2016). New Frontiers in blended learning. www.TECHLEARNING.COM.

Yuan, M & Recker, M. (2015). Not all rubrics are equal: A review of rubrics for evaluating the quality of open educational resources. International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 16(5), pp. 16-38.




1 thought on “Week 2 Initial Blog Post: Essential question: What do you see as the promise of Open Learning as an emerging technology/pedagogy/philosophy?

  1. unicyclepro

    I agree that teachers need to instruct students about online etiquette. If we are going to facilitate collaboration and online instruction, students need to understand what is proper communication and improper communication online. Sometimes I feel that since the advent of social media where every subject under the sun is okay to share with the world, there is proper online behavior. Social media is a tool for cyberbullying, not necessarily for building positive interactions. I think students feel that it’s okay to write anything online since you can’t see the other people face to face. I hope this generation can grow out of this phase of their childhood.


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