Tagged: W12A24

Week 12 – Activity 24: Considering open learner literacies

Timing: 5 hours

  • Draw up a set of open learner literacies.These should be based on what you have experienced and researched so far in this block. They should cover the types of skill you feel are important for an individual to learn successfully in an open learning context (whether that is using OER, in a MOOC or through informal, lifelong learning).The level of detail is at your discretion: you may choose to operate at the abstract level, such as Jenkins’s list, or at a more detailed task level if you prefer. You could use the web literacies as a starting point, or approach the task from a more learner-centric perspective.

    The number of skills is up to you, although they should cover most of what you feel is important in being an effective open learner. Each literacy should be accompanied by some explanation and justification.

  • Blog your list of literacies and look at those suggested by others. You should reflect upon the following:
    1. Are there literacies that are particularly related to the open element, or would your list apply to all learners?
    2. Did you find literacies suggested by others that you would like to add?
    3. If these are important literacies, how would you go about developing them for learners?


Personal note: This table can be found as a Word document under Week 12. 


Literacy Explanation Justification
Navigating the web Can you find what you are looking for in a timely manner? Do you know where to start to gather the particular type of information you need? Furthermore, do you possess enough experience of searching to conclude/predict the quantity of the information you might receive ahead of time? When doing any form of research, finding information quickly is of great importance. Are you aware of what websites will be good starting places?

I.e. If you are looking for a brief introduction, and links to further materials, searching Wikipedia will provide more useful than Google Scholar.

Using search terms Can you use search engines in a more advanced manner? Do you understand the basics of how search engines work? For example, that ‘site: Wikipedia.org’ will limit results to only Wikipedia entries. Or that conjunctions and particles will have limited effects on results. In navigating the web, a starting place is normally, and should be, search engines. Therefore, knowing what to type to provide a broad or specific set of results is important.
Evaluating materials Can you differentiate between high and low quality resources? This includes the knowledge of how certain types of websites are constructed and developing a certain attitude towards these sites. For example, if a website is ‘something.tumlbr.com’ not only is it likely to be a self-published article with little critique, but the hosting service (Tumblr) is known for lesser academic material, so some wariness should immediately arise. In contrast, if the website has a ‘.edu’ domain, it will be a registered educational institution, and therefore quality is likely assumed. With a web that is increasingly easy for any to contribute to, through sometimes very well rounded and good quality production, it becomes difficult to separate unbiased fact from opinion. This can greatly effect online research and the information the searcher holds as true, and very likely result in wrong information being believed.
Understanding licensing Are you aware of different online licensing? For example, if a website or material has a CC license it is more likely to be legally copied by you, however the letters below it (or often clicking on the licence logo) will provide more information about the legal use. This extends to more standard copyrights. When looking for open materials, and in being mindful of not breaking any laws, having a knowledge of the different online licensing is important. Furthermore, if you own your own material, understanding what licensing you wish to use can define the type of educational material (open or not) you share.
Creating your own materials Are you able to create your own online materials, including the ability to copy or embed other materials into another website? Are you able to make videos, blog posts, or edit wiki’s? It is of value to be able to contribute to a learning community. This can be done through discussion, though having your own online presence through personalized material allows for increased interaction with the community.
Remixing Are you able to take copyright free materials and remix them to suit your needs? This includes the ability to rework materials to be explained in new ways, as well as the technical ability to understand formats and accessibility. In addition to being able to change documents and blend online content together to form new materials, we also need to be aware of the restrictions some formats/coding languagaes/connections inflict. For example, reworking multiple videos into a larger package can restrict learners based on internet speeds, and those with disabilities due to transcripts or other aids being required.
Sharing Can you successfully broadcast your own to an audience? Do you know how to use the various channels, such as Twitter, to connect with others? As the rise of constructivism, connectivism, and other more interactive pedagogies arise with the affordances of the internet, knowing how to publish your own materials and have others engage with them can significantly improve your reach and influence in an area of interest/expertise.
Safety Are you aware of the dangers of being online? These are not limited to viruses, but include the oversharing of information through location tracking, privacy controls, and overall awareness of the potential harm what/how you publish could arise. As more of our learning and lives is occurring online, our online presence is growing. Along with this, we are exposing ourselves to an unprecedented number of strangers. Keeping your online identity in check, such as hiding personal information, and evaluating the trust within an online community is of importance.
Design Can you create online spaces, such as blogs, wikis, and videos? Are you aware of the tools on offer and the limitations of the tools? Creating a blog or editing a wiki is becoming a more common task in formal education. Chosing between different options depending on your aim is a an important skill in forming your online presence.
The open world Do you know what OER are? Are you aware of where to find ‘free’ learning materials? In addition, are you aware of common websites, such as YouTube or blogs and their learning potential? Not online can making use of OER benefit you financially, but also for students wishing to learn more about a topic having a knowledge of where to find free learning online can assist in improving scores and understanding.
Contributing Are you able to contribute to other’s learning materials? Can you make commencts on blogs, respond via forums, or even create responses to what you have read online? This goes beyond creating your materials, as it involves with direct interaction with an individual or whole community. Being able to gather what you have learned your opinion in an appropriate manner is important in expanding your engagement and understanding of different content online.


  1. I would apply them to all learners. However, the bolded points above relate to skills that are particularly useful for the ‘open environment’.
  2. Many of these literacies can be taught/experience through simultaneously through a single task. For example, requiring students to post their responses on blogs, encourages sharing, contributing, remixing, designing, evaluation of materials, and other skills. It would be necessary for the teacher to provide some instruction initially, through much of these literacies take time to develop (evaluating resources) and require experience.