TRANSPARENCY IN ONLINE EDUCATION
Task: Finding, studying and sharing materials related to transparency in online education and organizing it together with ideas and thoughts in an annotated bibliography on your blog.
Searching materials related to transparency in online education, I found some articles that I want to share with you.
First, we have de articles provided by Prof. Paulsen on this activity's resources:
Morten F. Paulsen (2009, October 1). Profiling online students. Retrieved May 5, 2010 from EDEN President’s Blog: http://www.eden-online.org/blog/2008/10/01/profiling-online-students/
Shaughnessy, M. F. (2009, December 12). An Interview with Morten Flate Paulsen: Transparency in Online Education. Retrieved May 5, 2010 from http://www.educationnews.org/michael-f-shaughnessy/8076.html
Siemens, G. (2009, April 28). Teaching as transparent learning. Retrieved May 5, 2010 from http://www.connectivism.ca/?p=122
These articles are very useful for the understanding of the concepts about transparency in online education, such as:
"Transparency improves both quality and cooperation in online education.
Transparency entails that people can see information about each other. It is however difficult to decide how much information they should be allowed to see. Transparency is also an important driver for improved quality. Transparency has the following three positive effects on quality:
- Preventive quality improvement, because we are prone to provide better quality when we know that others have access to our work.
- Constructive quality improvement, because we may learn from others when we have access to their work.
- Reactive quality improvement, because we may receive feedback from others when they have access to our work.
Transparency could reduce the amount of low quality contributions and make high quality work more accessible as paragons for others. In transparent online learning environments, poor teachers and course designers cannot easily hide their work behind closed doors."
These are the principles that Prof. Paulsen puts into practice in our course. The fact that we have been asked to create a blog where we publish our work is the best example of it.
Thus, our participation will be seen by everyone who has Internet access, including our colleagues and teachers.
This is an incentive to improve our work and allows us to see what our colleagues have been doing, enabling us to learn from them.
Prof. Paulsen also has asked us to comment the ABs and the LOs created by our colleagues, with the same purpose.
For me, transparency in online education has been very helpful, since I have learned a lot, not only from the teacher and from my individual study, but also with my colleagues.
Then, I read three more articles, also very elucidative in this issue:
Dalsgaard, C., & Paulsen, M. F. (2009, June). Transparency in Cooperative Online Education. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, Volume 10, Number 3; ISSN: 1492-3831. Retrieved May 5, 2010 from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/download/671/1301/671-5807-1-PB.pdf
Christian Dalsgaard (2008), Social networking sites: Transparency in online education; Institute of Information and Media Studies, University of Aarhus, Denmark, Retrieved May 5, 2010 from http://eunis.dk/papers/p41.pdf
Dalsgaard, C. (2009). Supporting Transparency Between Students. The International Conference on E-Learning in the Workplace 2009. Retrieved May 5, 2010 from http://person.au.dk/fil/16581515/Dalsgaard_Supporting_Transparency.pdf
Of the reading of these articles, I think that the following concepts are the most important:
"We understand transparency as students’ and teachers’ insight into each other’s activities and resources. Transparency means that you and your doings are visible to fellow students and teachers within a learning environment. For instance, transparency could mean that students and teachers are made aware of and have access to each other’s interests, thoughts, concerns, ideas, writings, references, and assignments.
The purpose of transparency is to enable students and teachers to see and follow the work of fellow students and teachers within a learning environment and in that sense to make participants available to each other as resources for their learning activities.
Transparency is important to online education.
Transparency is a prerequisite for distance students to work cooperatively.
Transparency enables students to be visible to each other as potential partners and resources.
Following the outlined theory of cooperative freedom and the socio-cultural approach, an important objective is to support an individual’s consciousness and awareness of the activities of others. This can be achieved by making a variety of information transparent.
This kind of sharing can provide students with insights into the workings of other students, and, thus, give them an increased consciousness and awareness of the activities of other students.
The pedagogical potential lies within developing social networks in which students’ activities are visible to other students. The potential is to support transparency through a combination of personalization and socialization and through sharing personal information and tools within social networks.
The potential of social networking lies within transparency and the ability to create awareness among students."
In fact, transparency becomes even more important in distance learning, contributing to eliminate the effects of the lack of face-to-face contact and increasing sense of belonging to a learning community.
Making our information transparent to others and being able to access their work creates awareness among students, which is very important in the distance learning.
This can be seen in our course, where our work as been so transparent.
At last, I found two more articles about transparencyvery interesting :
Christopher Hill, (October 20, 2009), Principles for Improving Online Transparency, Quality. Retrieved May 5, 2010 from http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/distance-learning/principles-for-improving-online-transparency-quality/
This article talks about an initiative based on the premise that an informed student brings benefits to everyone, the Transparency by Design.
"Transparency by Design, an initiative from a consortium of adult-serving educational institutions with significant commitments to distance education, is based on the premise that a well-informed student - or prospective student - benefits everyone. A key focus of the plan is providing program-specific outcomes data that allows students to make informed decisions about their education investment.
Merle Harris, president of Charter Oaks State College, and her associates concluded that there were a few basic principles for institutions that really want to be transparent:
1 Make distance education a central element of your mission: Distance learning really has to be central to what the institution is doing. If it is viewed as an add-on and not part of the central mission then very often it doesn’t get the resources that are needed to carry out a quality program.
2 Accountability to stakeholders: Who are the primary stakeholders in a transparent institution? The prospective student and the enrolled student. “One of the reasons we feel it’s important to have accountability measures and to report on those regularly is because prospective students who are making a decision about where they want to go to school, where they want to take courses should have information,” Harris says.
Accountability to prospective students includes providing adequate information about the program, what it contains, and who’s teaching it. But it also includes measuring what happens to students who go through the program. Harris’ group looks at things like graduation rates, retention rates, what alumni say about the program, and measures of student engagement, with the aim of making this information readily available to prospective students.
3 Responsiveness: In practice this means nothing more or less than good customer service, so that when there are issues and questions students can get quick answers. Responsiveness in the academic process means that faculty respond quickly to a student, so that a student who’s learning online can get an answer to a question or feedback on an assignment within 24 to 48 hours, depending on the institution’s policy. Administratively, responsiveness means that if there are questions about grades going out, about registration, about fees being paid the student will get very quick response either by email or by telephone."
Here, transparency will allow students to make correct decisions. If a student who is searching a school or a university gets enough and accurate information, he will be able to make the right choice for him.
And if that student feels that he did the best choice, he will be the best ambassador of that university.
Michelle Bowles, (September 28, 2009), 5 Twitter Tips for Staying Authentic and Transparent. Retrieved May 5, 2010 from http://www.toprankblog.com/2009/09/twitter-tips-authentic-transparent/
Although this article is about transparency in Twitter and not about transparency in online education, I thought these rules were very correct and relevant.
"One of the most basic and critical rules for brands on Twitter? Be authentic and transparent in all you do.
1. Reveal who’s behind the Tweets
It doesn’t necessarily matter who it is - the CEO, the social media manager or a marketing intern. It just matters that the person is in fact a person. Putting a face and name behind your Tweets through a photo and brief bio can help followers relate to and connect with your brand.
2. Show some personality
3. Admit when you’re wrong
4. Get to know your followers
5. Don’t get carried away by your accomplishments."
The main issue here is authenticity. Reveal who’s behind the tweets through a photo and brief bio is very important to act with transparency, which is necessary to succeed and please your followers.