“LITTLE STEPS – GIANT LEAP”: CREATING KNOWLEDGE COLLABORATIVELY WITH OPEN FREEWARE
The emergence of new tools and technologies are constantly reshaping our world. As mechanical machinery brought Industrial Revolution, information and communication technologies have changed the very way we think, operate and communicate in the 21st century. “The future is not what it used to be” (Valery). The years 2010-2011 mark the shift from what Materu (2004) calls the “o-decade (open source, open systems, open standards, open archives, open everything)” towards the culture of active participation, collaboration and co-creation, i.e. “collective intelligence”. (Varis, 2007)
In the spirit of the time, Finnish higher education institutions, like many other institutions worldwide, are turning to technological and social innovations. One of them, Open Educational Resources, alternatively referred to as “open source approach” (Kurshan, 2008) or “Open Educational Resources (OER) movement” (Geser, 2007), are currently gaining more and more attention.
Aalto University, created in 2010 from the merger of three Finnish universities, Helsinki School of Economics, Helsinki University of Technology, and the University of Art and Design Helsinki, takes serious interest in promoting Open Educational Practices. In 2010, Aalto University joined Open Educational Quality Initiative (OPAL) project with aim to promote innovation and quality in higher education through open Educational practices (OEP). On smaller scale Aalto University encourages any individual initiatives to create, use and re-purpose Open Educational Resources. One of the examples is teaching Business Communication using Open Source Web-based platform ‘booki’ to create electronic books collaboratively, Open source web-based Content management system Wiki and social network ‘Facebook’.
Integration of web-based technology with conventional teaching methods got overwhelmingly positive feedback from the students who highlighted such benefits as abundance of active, constructive, collaborative interaction both inside and outside working hours and great accessibility of quality content.
The presentation will provide information on how Open Educational Resources can be created, distributed and re-purposed with the help of the free and open Web 2.0. technology including an overview of the real case practice with focus on:
• reasons, motivation and inspiration behind the initiative
• openness, transparency and collaboration and their transformative potential for teaching and learning
• benefits, challenges and limitations of free web ware used for educational purposes