The Impact of Open Source

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“Learning is the only thing the mind never exhausts, never fears, and never regrets.” – Leonardo Da Vinci

This blog post has been intended to comply with week 5 assignment for EDUC 6135 Walden University Instructional Design and Technology Distant Learning Class. A current trend in distance learning is the use of Open Course websites. Open Course offerings allow anyone to take quality courses entirely for free. The incentive for taking these courses is not college credit, but rather to simply acquire knowledge or engage in a unique learning experience.
Stanford University offers a collection of lectures to form one class call Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders. Of course, I do believe the lectures were pre-planned before being facilitated to learners. On the other hand, I do not believe they were designed for distance learning. Most of the classes are being offered as podcast for learners interested in the course. Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders open course is a collection of entrepreneurial leaders’ lectures. The course does not have assignments or quizzes.

The course is based on a collection of lectures from leaders who have been invited to give a lecture to Stanford Technology Venture Programs students during face to face instruction.
One of my favorite lectures was Build Your Personal Charisma by Olivia Fox. Olivia Fox wrote a book on how to build your charisma. Her lecture was interesting and very well organized. She began her lecture with a Marilyn Monroe story and continue to provide interesting stories during her lecture. The lecture began with story and ended with inspirational positive statements for learners, just to learn how to build charisma and change their everyday lives. I noticed many of the courses presented on iTunes from Stanford University were design the same way.

They offer a collection of lectures, however not assignments or quizzes. Also many of them offering only podcasts not videos. There were a few with assignments and quizzes. However, the courses sessions ranged from 15 to 48 depending on the course length. For this purpose of this assignment, to complete a course effectively a week is not enough time.

I was not able to complete one of those. While most of the course classes were created as podcasts, I was able to complete one of the videos of the course called How Ideas Take Flight. The course was facilitated and designed by Stanford University Instructor Jennifer Aaker. Professor Aaker stated the reason to build momentum for ideas to take flight are happiness, meaning and stories. According to Aaker, happiness is a single contrast. Happiness is based on current circumstances and interest of the person at the present time. It changes as people grow older. Professor Aaker, explained how technology is being created to keep us engage and connected. However, it is actually doing the contrary. The lecture was long and I lost interest with time not able to finish the lecture. In reference to How Ideas Take Flight, I was truly happy to be in a distant learning class, versus a face to face class not being able to quit the class. The class was long and it seemed not very well organized, very distracting. The instructor makes a big difference when instructing the class, in this case, as a learner, I lost interest. How Ideas Take Flight is perfect for a face to face environment but it would not be effective for a distant learning class.

On the other hand, Yale University open course PHIL 181: Philosophy and the Science of Human Nature, was designed according to Simonson, Smaldino and Zvacek (2015), in their text book Teaching and Learning at a Distance. Yale open courses facilitates learners with a menu. The menu has the following parts: Syllabus, Sessions, Survey, Buy Books. As it is explained in Teaching and Learning at a Distance explains syllabus is the most important communication tool for the instructor to communicate with students at a distance. PHIL 181 syllabus advises, the description of the course, the professor name and specialization. It also provides the required resources needed to complete the course. Most important, the syllabus advised the requirements for students to meet. It also includes assignments and tests expectations as well as grading score percentage calculations based on student participation, two midterms test scores, essays and final exam.

For the purpose of this week assignment, I found to complete an entire open learning course, you would definitely need more than one week. I found a list of open courses, I completed in 2007, 2008 which took from one month to two months depending on the length of the course. Based on EDUC 6135 week resources, I compared Stanford iTunes courses versus Yale open courses. Yale open courses are designed following the recommendations made by Simonson, Smaldino and Zvacek in Teaching and Learning at a Distance. Yale open courses, self-led asynchronous instruction which provide a syllabus, facilitate active learning practices included on assignment, lectures and tests, use instructional materials during class sessions.

References:
Simonson, M., Smaldino, S., & Zvacek, S. (2015). Technologies, the internet, and distance education. In Teaching and learning at a distance (6th ed., pp. 77-124). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.
Szabo Gendler, Tamar (2011). Open Yale courses. Retrieved from: http://oyc.yale.edu/philosophy/phil-181
Stanford University Technology Venture Programs, Center for Professional Development (2010). Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Seminar. Retrieved from: https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=414065759#ls=1

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