Monthly Archives: October 2016

Reflections on topic 2

6554315179_69fbac133f_zThis topic was really an eye opener for me, and I learned a lot that I can use in my future teaching. Before this I had no idea that:

  • I can search for open material on Google, just by changing the advanced settings. I had no idea about this, and it’s such a great tool. This advanced search function is something that I will share with my students in every way that I can!
  • There are lots of open textbooks online. I had no idea that there were so many! And that they were good.
  • I can take online courses, for free, in lots of different subjects. I even found my own subject, physiology, in several courses.

I will definitely start using open educational resources in my teaching, but I think that it will take some time to fully incorporate all the new tools into my teaching. I feel hesitant to share my work with others because I am afraid that others think that my work is not good. And it is scarey to open myself up to critique from others when I’m supposed to be the teacher who “knows best”. I realize that this is not a good reason and getting critique about my teaching, even if from people that I don’t even know, can only improve my material thus making the learning process better for my students. As researchers, we get this type of input all the time when we submit manuscripts and get, sometimes very harsh, comments back from reviewers.

Online open textbooks is a great tool that I wish that I could tell my students to use. I notice that students do not to buy books to the same extent as before for several reasons; they are expensive, heavy and rigid (once you buy one book you have to stick with it because you can’t afford to buy another one) and they spend a lot of time searching for information online instead. If they could spend the time reading instead of searching, they would learn much more. Unfortunately I could not find an open textbook that is detailed enough for my medical students, but I’m sure that this might come and I will keep my eyes open. One idea would be to have the students start writing an online textbook that each new class could edit with their own knowledge.

As a researcher, I feel ambivalent about open access publishing. On one hand, open access publishing allows for many individuals around the world (especially in developing countries) to read your publication. On the other hand, how can the developing countries publish if publishing costs are almost too high for researchers in industrialized countries? Also, how can we know that the journals are serious? I get emails every week from journals that want me to submit manuscripts and it could be for a field in which I have not performed any research. There is a grave danger of open access publishing failing because of commercial interests generating unserious journals that publish any manuscript that the authors pay to publish. This will destroy the peer-review process.

An alternative to the peer-review process is peer-review after something is published. This is not a secure method because what if only an author’s collaborators comment on the manuscript and therefore not pointing out incorrect conclusions or methodological flaws? Or, on the other hand, what if only competitors comment and modify an open access article?

There are many great open access tools both for teaching and research, but we have to use our digital literacy to determine which are good and which are not. Additionally, we need to teach our students about the tools that are good.


Creative Commons guide.

Hilton, J. (2016). “Open educational resources and college textbook choices: a review of research on efficacy and perceptions.” Educational Technology Research and Development 64(4): 573-590.

Robinson, T. J., et al. (2014). “The Impact of Open Textbooks on Secondary Science Learning Outcomes.” Educational Researcher 43(7): 341-351.

Find free to use images on google


Reflections on topic 1

I learned a lot about my own digital identity (or lack thereof) during the work with this topic. Before I started this course I thought that I was pretty “good at the internet”, but I realize now that I have a lot to learn about what and how to share my work. In my private life, I am more of a resident (facebook and instagram, but I only share my profile with people that I know), but for work I am very much a visitor (David White, Visitors and Residents). At work I use the internet a lot (pubmed, wikipedia, google scholar, google images for preparing lectures), but I make sure that I do not leave a mark by posting my thoughts about work. I guess I am afraid that sharing will hurt my professional identity (Sophia Mavridi, Managing teacher digital identity).

As a teacher I have strongly discouraged my students from using online tools (such as wikipedia and youtube) to learn since they not peer-reviewed or even fact-checked for that matter. However, of course I know that the students use these tools and the black market that is created is something that really bothers me (David White, Visitors and residents – credibility). I need to learn about what’s out there and what the students are using. There are probably many good tools out there and if we, as teachers, would have the time to find and test them we could more easily guide our students to find good tools. But how do we find the time and does every teacher have to reinvent the wheel and look for themselves? Also, is it wrong to want the students to read books?

One way to assist our students without having to check the entire web ourselves, is by teaching them to be critical of what they read (Howard Rheingold, Crap detection). The quality control is no longer with the publisher, it is with the consumer and hopefully we can teach our students to be critical of what they read online. The search engine “whois” is a great way to start to see who is behind a website. To me, it’s not completely obvious that academia should “hand over” its control of knowledge to the Resident Web (Lanclos and White). I believe that universities should play a large role in assuring credibility of what is taught and learned. On the other hand, academia would very much benefit from leaving it’s bubble and try to connect with the rest of the world and I think that we will see this happening more and more over the next 10 years.