Proposal in!

Posted on April 7, 2018

2


I waffled several times (esp. when reading about an upcoming webinar about some OER efforts in adult ed that I didn’t know about),  and then just wrote down what I have been trying to do for the past little while (didn’t go back to the   beginning and the OER-STEM project, but that’s included in my resume which I linked to), and … hit send.   I have no reason to believe that there won’t be five hundred better presentations to be selected but … you sign up for things.
Today I went to see what I had written, and … I could revise.   Deadlines, schmeadlines?  Even now I’m thinking, “Oh, I should go back and put in what I’ve been doing w/ OER these years” but a:  there’s a link to the resume and b:  that would be the upside of this still being a kinda small cloistered group. THere aren’t that many projects… and c:  stick a fork in it, it’s done.  I need to prioritize b/c OER is a “side thing” and … geogebra right now is being reasonably fun.

I ended up with:

Much of the emphasis on “developmental education” and math is on accelerating, but even the proponents of the acceleration acknowledge say that their ideas could work for “as many as half” of students who place in developmental courses. (https://www.insidehighered.com/sites/default/server_files/files/CCA%20Remediation%20ES%20FINAL.pdf, p. 5 )
Other research where instructors are interviewed include their acknowledgement that many students don’t benefit from acceleration, but from building missing foundations. For example, this article* compares the effectiveness of rules-based vs. conceptual instruction. Spoiler: Conceptual wins (see also https://www.carnegiefoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/stigler_dev-math.pdf )
I provide academic support for students in our most basic math courses. Many have learning disabilities (my area of expertise); many believe that they “can’t do math.” We have excellent teachers and materials (mostly not OER), who teach concepts and provide reinforcement and support (such as my tutoring), so I have seen that it’s possible to change minds and results.
How can that be scaled up? I believe that the OER community can and should collaborate to create resources to improve the cognitive accessibility of math, and facilitate professional development for effectively using them. THere are some very good resources already– a quick search at oercommons.org yields 249 results. Many are individual lessons (some excellent ones from Designers for Learning** service learning course, which I participated in) but there are also full courses with conceptual frameworks. I’m also participating in a “Power In Numbers” project where we have curated lessons and will be “creating OER curriculum” — but small scale curriculum; we commit to a few hours per week for not so very many weeks. The focus on this project is “advanced” math, too (algebra and above).
However, many widely used adult basic education math resources are accelerated repetition of procedural instruction, and when that proves ineffective, the student is often deemed “not able.” From the “Bridge to Nowhere” article:
“And those who seek to attend a community college with what amounts to little more than a basic understanding of fractions and decimals should be encouraged to enroll in high-quality career certificate programs that embed extra help in the context of each course and lead to jobs that pay well.”

It fails to provide any examples of these programs. I don’t wonder why.

I think the OER community can create and disseminate interactive, multisensory OER to open doors of opportunity, whether for those “high quality career certificate programs” or already established adult education. Whether it’s lessons using manipulatives (especially in rural areas or correctional institutions where internet access is limited) or interactive OER at sites such as geogebra.org , there is so much potential for reaching the adult basic education community.
That said, it requires that community. How can we make this happen?

*You’ve Got to Learn the Rules”: A Classroom-Level Look at Low Pass Rates in Developmental Math. By: Cox, Rebecca D., Community College Review, 00915521, Jul2015, Vol. 43, Issue 3

**https://designersforlearning.org/

… TOday I read a blog post “OER, Equity and Implicit Creative Redlining” and… I’m sure I’m not even a particularly painful example of this.   Still, I’m glad somebody is seeing unmet potential and the idea that yes, it’s more than giving others a space at “the table,” we need to go to more tables.

 

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