Gone with the web? Share your learning material and lose it forever – or not

After the second week we had a reflection week, which is a great idea from the ONL organizers to help participants gather their thoughts and catch up! However, at least I ended up catching the other things but ONL, because… no deadlines, less self-discipline.

Our second topic was about open learning and sharing which sparked interesting discussions in our PBL group. To many of us, open learning material, textbooks, videos, and sharing were quite new themes and we had not been practicing very much of openness ourselves. We were curious but somewhat reserved.

I had used a few open resources for preparing my teaching, because there is quite a lot material about chemistry online. My perception was that the quantity overwhelms quality in open chemistry material. Over the course of the topic 2, while reading the literature and the background information, I first realized that “going open” is a trend. Maybe not so much in chemistry yet, but certainly in humanities and societal science. I was surprised by the research results [1, 2] that open material can be better than the commercial “old school” textbooks, for example. Encouraged by this finding, I wanted to find “if there are any seriously taken” chemistry textbooks out there open. I found a very good open resource, openstax,[3] which provides titles that compare well to those commercial textbooks I have been using. Wow! I started seriously to consider using that resource on my own courses.

Using open material as a resource for your teaching is one thing to adapt to but the next, more “serious” and harder-to-take, step is to open your own material. Looking at that, I feel today quite reserved like many of our PBL colleagues. This is definitely an interesting opportunity, but I see it as something that could happen after some time. Especially a model where part of the course material is published and opened is appealing from the advertising point of view. It would be a good opportunity to attract more interested students to the elective course I am teaching. At this point (in the middle of adaptations related to the pandemic), opening my learning material is however too much, I feel. Now I have to allocate my resources in making the online/blended/hybrid learning experience as good as possible. Once the pandemic is over, I will think of the opening question again. Learning about how to use creative commons license was very useful. With CC licensing there are clear principles in place which should be respected.

The controversial nature of topic 2 was clearly visualized by our PBL group presentation [4], which refined to a fun but realistic comic strip where two teachers have a debate on the benefits and disadvantages of opening and sharing the learning material. At least to me, the comic strip reflects well on my own feelings: which way to choose after all?


[1] John Hilton III et al. Review – Open Education Group (openedgroup.org)

[2] Hilton, J. Open educational resources, student efficacy, and user perceptions: a synthesis of research published between 2015 and 2018. Education Tech Research Dev 68, 853–876 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-019-09700-4 and references therein

[3] OpenStax hosted by Rice University

[4] https://share.pixton.com/qrv7hkb

Posted by Ville Miikkulainen

Uncategorized - 3 Comments

Big bang!

You all know the pain and the intensifying feeling of guilt of not getting started with a massive writing task aiming to produce something that you have never actually done before… Like trying to get the first lab report done (on time!) back in the days of my first year of studies and in front of writing the first chapters of thesis. But this time it very soon feels different, the pain is off the shoulders after the first lines! I am writing my first ever blog post smoothly and fluently, and yes, with confidence!

So, this blog post should be a reflection about the first topic that we worked on with our amazing PBL group 4 on ONL211. The course kicked off with topic “Online participation and digital literacies”, which I felt so up to date in these COVID times and so felt the group mates. The scenario resonated well with us and it was easily approached. The scenario was supported by the videos by David White and an interactive webinar. The conceptualization of “digital presence” i.e., the resident-visitor/institutional-personal space[1],[2] was an eye-opener to me. I saw myself as a textbook example of a visitor, through the personal-institutional axis! Being aware of this I started thinking of am I really this old or just old-fashioned, I need to move towards the residence, or I am lost. With small, safe steps though, I decided.

I must admit that I was a bit scary in the start of this course, during the first introductory weeks. I remember thinking: how on earth is this going to really work??? I mean people from different time zones working online, different backgrounds, going to work with set of online tools new at least to me. But our PBL4 group was amazing from the first meeting, and it was a huge relief to hear that many of the colleagues shared the same anxiety with the online teaching reality: the fear of making a fool of oneself, becoming a meme or going viral with a major fail during an online lecture. It was also comforting that some of us were fluent in their digital expression and could help us less fluent. The two weeks with the topic one flew at speed, and the project materialized easily onto the padlet and I love the outcome What the FISh?…The raw and uncut story about how PBL group 4 started to use digital tools.. Thanks to the whole group, amazing work! Learnt how to use padlet and realized that memes are quite efficient in delivering your message on digital platform, much more so than just plain text or “official” figures.

When looking back to the two weeks on topic 1 with the group, I feel that all the doubts are gone, and I am sure that the coming weeks will be of great fun. I became more confident with leaving social traces into the digital space, started to move towards the resident identity as I hoped at the beginning of the first topic. I certainly will use memes more and started to consider how I could use padlet or mural in my teaching. I know already that my next courses will change with these lessons learnt. Even when we eventually get out of the pandemic, the digital items we familiarized with will remain as tools in the box – or places to visit 😉 as in the visitor-resident space.

Like the other massive writing tasks: the first lab report and the thesis, so was this very first blog post of mine not so massive after all, but much more of another learning experience. The next post won’t be that massive anymore!

[1] White, D. & Le Cornu, A. (2011) Visitors and residents: A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, 16(9). Available here

[2] http://daveowhite.com/vandr/vr-mapping/

Posted by Ville Miikkulainen

Uncategorized - 4 Comments

Hello world!

Welcome to Aalto. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

Posted by Ville Miikkulainen

Uncategorized - 2 Comments