Thursday, September 7, 2017

OpenUpResources's Not Quite OER Common Cartridges

The recent Edscoop piece about OpenUpResources's Illustrative Mathematics is one of the best that I've seen on that great new offering.

It would be a service to educators, however, if the piece had explained in more detail the idea of platform neutrality. The suggestion appears to be that teaching and learning is the same when content is presented as:

A: Paper with student work collected and scored on paper

B: html pages with student work collected and scored on paper

C: OneNote with student work collected and scored via OneNote

D: an LMS with student work collected either on paper or via the tools available in the LMS

I have yet to get a look at the files that OpenUpResources are promising via Common Cartridge, but how the files are structured will make a difference as to how  easy they are to implement in various LMSs. Larry Singer, the OpenUpResources CEO, called me this afternoon to explain that I would need to sign some agreement that their very expensive lawyers were drafting before they could make the Common Cartridges available to me. Apparently those very expensive lawyers are having a hard time drafting that agreement. Making people sign agreements is not exactly in the spirit of open educational resources, either. He also explained to me that OpenUpResources thinks that professional development is the same no matter which of the five types of instructional models above are used. He further explained that it didn't matter to them because OpenUpResources is just a broker of professional development; they don't actually provide it.

It appears that Google Classroom has been left out of OpenUpResources’s mix, too, because I have yet to see a way to import either OneNote or Common Cartridge files into Classroom. Google Classroom is the most widely used platform (it's not really an LMS) so I'm not sure why OpenUpResources chose to have a OneNote version and not a Google Classroom version. It appears that Microsoft may have been able to exert a little influence despite the claim of platform neutrality.

SABIER will be creating versions of OpenUpResource's Illustrative Mathematics utilizing all of the features for discussion and collaboration in addition to the various methods of doing assessment that are available with Moodle. We chose to create the LMS versions in Moodle because it's the LMS that is truly open source and it is the most widely used LMS in K12 globally. Because it's open source and has an open repository that is capable of maintaining full courses, users of other LMSs such as Schoology and Canvas will be able to download the full LMS courses and convert them to their LMS including the collaborations and assessments.

1 comment:

  1. We've still not received any common cartridges from OpenUpResources and have decided to postpone the fully Moodle-ized versions until the 2019-20 school year. We'll focus, now, on secondary science courses.