Look Before You Build

Here’s my response to the What’s Your Definition of Content Curation? activity found within the Curator module on Ontario Extend:

As I learn more about the open movement, my new knowledge is creating a behaviour change. It’s kind of weird to step outside of myself and evaluate how my actions and attitudes have shifted in a short time, really in the past year or so, but the change has been dramatic.

As an instructional designer, I became quite used to building stuff from scratch. Faculty would bring me their ideas, and together, we’d make it happen. I didn’t spend much time looking for existing resources because those resources typically cost money and I rarely (never) work from a budget.

Fast forward to the open movement’s arrival in Ontario, eCampus Ontario’s advocacy work, and my entry into the open movement via eCampus Ontario’s Open Education Fellows. Now, my first reaction isn’t to go build the thing, but to look for what’s already out there. This is a significant change in practice and in attitude.

The more I model this behaviour, the more I see faculty doing the same. Where a few months ago “OER” wasn’t something we talked about on campus, this week alone I had three OER-related discussions solicited by three separate faculty. Even better, other faculty overheard the conversations and expressed interest in exploring OER for their courses. Something has sparked, and I think open pedagogy is about to light up the way we think about course resources and impactful teaching/learning on campus. I can’t wait to invite the larger community to an Open discussion in late May. I hate the overly used cliche “paradigm shift” – but the term comes to mind when I think about my own transition from builder to content curator, and the same transition I see in other educators who are beginning to embrace the open movement.

Baton pass

The first step in this change process is giving ourselves permission to use what is out there, to test it, tweak it, share it. Rather than running our own solitary sprints, we’re joining a relay race that just keeps getting better every time we pass the baton. This starts with content curation, with the mindset that calls us to look first rather than automatically build from scratch, or worse, buy and send our students the bill.

One thought on “Look Before You Build

  1. I love the relay race analogy for OER. What a great fit! It’s kind of like a relay race where you get to decide which way you run once you get the baton which would be hilarious to see in real track and field.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s