Open Educational Resources Continued :: Richard Baraniuk and Connexions @ Rice University

Over the last few weeks I’ve posted a few times about OER and Open Textbooks. As I continue to think about where OER might lead and working out ideas for an upcoming faculty brown bag on the topic, I stumbled across the following TED talk.  In the video below Dr. Baraniuk explains the vision behind Connexions, the OER platform at Rice University.  Connexions was one of the first sites I spent a good amount of time with months back when I started looking into OER.

While I’ve seen more than my share of great Ted talks this year, this one hit close to home.  I only whish Dr. Baraniuk would have spent more time addressing peer review and tenure/promotion in the context of OER. I found that the presentation passed by these issues a bit to quickly.

And if you don’t know about TED –  Technology, Entertainment, Design – check them out.

On a separate note, I had a great conversation with the folks at OER Commons today via Twitter (@oercommons). Although I missed the OER conference down the road in Monterey a few days ago (use #oer2009 for a Twitter search), I’m catching up with the proceedings online. And since OER Commons is local, I hope to find ways to work closely with them down the road.

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We live in Shakespearian Times

Ok. I had one of those weeks. Drama, sloth and “we’ve always done it that way” spirit all around. But I just kept pressing… ’till Friday when I just a bout took my toys and went home. I resisted. But why?  Fast forward to this morning. The indomitable Jenny Levine posted this:

Block me, and I will go around you. Build a wall, and I will build a door. Lock the door and I will break a window. And if I don’t have have a leader to inspire me, I will lead. If I don’t have a team that will support me, I will recruit a team from beyond the organizational boundaries – every policy has a loophole, every system has a hidden reward.” [Dave Lankes ::  The Participatory Librarianship Starter Kit]

Thanks Jenny and Dave. Much apprecaited.

Just joined GradShare

I enrolled in GradShare today (shawncalhoun). The service is hosted by ProQuest and is intended to be an online community of scholars (grad students) looking for help in their studies. From the site, thats about as specific as it gets.  My take is the service is a peer-mentorship model of community. A few of the discussion areas include

  1. Thesis topic selection
  2. Proposals
  3. Committee selection
  4. Writing
  5. Defending
  6. Submitting
  7. Publishing
  8. Advisor relationships

So far, there have been a few posts in my area (Curriculum and Instruction), but not much that I can use to gauge the utilitiy of the site… yet. So, stay tuned and I hope to have more after a few weeks onboard.

Open Textbooks Follow-up

I presented earlier in the week to USF’s Provosts Council on Open Textbooks.   The presentation was well received and it looks like a group of us will continue to develop the idea at USF.  The VP of IT and the academic leadership team were very supportive (of open textbooks specifically and the library as a whole) and I got a nice shout-out for my presentation here.

Thanks to Shawn Calhoun for bringing up the topic of Open Textbooks for discussion at the Provost’s Council this week. Shawn gave a very informative presentation, which I have provided a link to in the new “Resources” section in the right hand column. I am now finding open textbook and e-book sites all around. Some of the more interesting ones: Flatworld Knowledge and Connexions.

Thanks Tracy!

I’m releived that the prospect of open textbooks (an idea that is evolving into ‘open education resources‘ – thanks to J.P. Allen) was well recieved and its time to start gearing up for the next phase.

Open Textbooks – Preparing for a Presentation

Following up on a post I made here a week or so ago, I have a presentation next Tuesday to our Provosts Council on Open Textbooks. A few of my colleagues have heard me test-drive this presentation a few times and it is coming together. While feedback so far has been good, I still don’t think its as solid of a case for considering open textbooks as it could be. If you have some time, please take a look and let me know what you think.

A little background on the logistics of the presentation – I’ll be handing out printed examples I (McAfee) and II (Illowsky & Dean) at the beginning of the presentation (paper copies/examples of open textbooks) and I have about 15 minutes to make my case.

Update: There seems to be a problem viewing the embeded Slideshare with Firefox. Works for me in Safari. Direct link here.

Tweets with my Tweeple in the Twitterverse

I’ve been on Twitter now for about 3 weeks and the learning curve has been steep. Twitter is not IM, or Facebook, or a blog – I think it’s all of those things and more. This week I finally got to a point where I feel comfortable using it and more importantly contribute to the Twitterverse along the way. All this Twitter talk new – there are good introductions all over the web try here and here.

A few examples if how Twitter is working for me. Yesterday, I started a conversation on Twitter with a gentleman in New Mexico (I’ve never met him in person, but I have been following him for a few weeks) about library schools. After a few Tweets, the discussion moved from Twitter to Facebook. The same day, another conversation started on Twitter about the future of technology in libraries with a great guy I’ve know for 5+ years but had never connected with on Twitter. Once again, the conversation moved to a prolonged discussion on FB.  In both cases, the conversations began on Twitter and moved into longer, richer conversations.

I have done my best to keep my little network as manageable as possible. At this point, I am not interested as much in the number of followers  I have or the number of Tweets I make. For me it’s all about the connections –my network of library folks and education folks.

Here’s a little visualization of my network.

Twitter is an awesome tool, if you’re willing to invest the time and are just a little curious.  While it’s not as user friendly as Facebook or MySpace, it has its own unique vibe. If you’re on the fence – give it a try. And if you’re just jumping in, give it some time. Either way – hope to see you there.

Went to a meeting in Denver today

The good folks who put together the LITA ALA Midwinter Top Tech Trends (TTT) meeting in Denver today did a great job providing virtual access to the committee discussions.  This year my classes started the same weekend as mid-winter, so being there in person was not an option.  Between the live blog, Twitter and Ustream attendance from my living room was a snap. Plus, I could continue to follow the various TTT threads via twitter as the rest of my day unfolded.  Well done LITA, @griffey and everyone else who pulled this one off – thank you!