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Tuesday, November 10 • 2:00pm - 2:25pm
Reimagining Open Education Resources

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This session introduces and demonstrates content-addressable resources for education, a set of tools and processes for the creation and storage of learning resources in a distributed peer-to-peer network.

Closed and commercial models of education are often based on the argument that open learning is not sustainable, and thus, must be supported by means of professional content creators and some mechanism for subscription fees or other revenue-based models. This presentation argues that there are community-based models supporting open educational resources and learning technology that offer a response to this argument.

Specifically, the presentation will describe the use of hash algorithms to create a unique address for every resource, describe mechanisms for resource revisions, combining aggregations of resources, and identifying the provenance of resources. Participants will see for themselves how such a system works through a demonstration of open source tools.

The authors recently developed and used these resources in a MOOC, which will be shared. Participants can see how content-addressable resources could be used in combination with other graph-based technologies to create such features as learner-generated content, activity records, and digital badges. Because these records are stored and linked as one-way encrypted data, they are private and secure. Participants can determine for themselves whether any course-related activity is shared to a wider audience.

The presentation will then describe the application of these mechanisms to support a global distributed network of open educational resources as an alternative to centralized resource repositories. It will suggest how educators can access, reuse, and contribute to the global network.

The presentation will argue that content-addressable resources offer an alternative to license-based resources by offering new community-based models of sustainability as well as being able to guarantee provenance and authenticity.

An important aspect of these resources is that they can be developed or modified by anyone. This supports not only content revision but also a common mechanism for community-based meta-tagging or content reviews and to, optionally, provide data on context and use. Thus participants will be able to appreciate how content-addressable resources can inhabit a rich ecosystem that provides an open alternative to published-based and controlled repositories.

Learning Outcomes:
Participants will learn about content addressing for open educational resources as an alternative to URL and domain-based addressing. They will be able to:
- describe how content addressing works-
- describe the use of content addressing to enable a secure and distributed resource network
- create and add their own open educational resources to the network
- access and reuse resources from the network
- appreciate how content addressing provides an alternative to license-based OER

avatar for Stephen Downes

Stephen Downes

Researcher, NRC
Stephen Downes works in the fields of online learning and new media. Downes has explored and promoted the educational use of computer and online technologies since 1995 and continues to focus on researching how educators approach internet-based education. His major goal for the future... Read More →

Tuesday November 10, 2020 2:00pm - 2:25pm EST
Concurrent 3
  Strategies, Presentation