Next up in our Consulting Professor Profile series, I’m pleased to introduce you to Dr. G. Andrew Page, a professor working from Anchorage, Alaska. In this interview, he talks a bit about his experience, why he’s excited for the future of the open education movement, and what advice he has for educators looking to get involved in open education.
Please tell our readers a bit about yourself.
Since 2004, I have been fortunate to live and work as a professor, consultant, and researcher in the “Last Frontier” of Alaska. This is 5636 miles from my past life and warmer comfort-zone in South Georgia. While I have not yet appeared in any of the numerous Alaska “Reality Shows” that have bombarded the airwaves these past few years, I have been fascinated with developing creative strategies for facilitating meaningful learning with emerging technologies. This would include virtual and augmented reality, m-Learning and e-Learning, as well as, assistive and mainstream tools. Witnessing firsthand the intersection of “Native Ways of Knowing” and what has been called “21St Century Learning” is an interesting juxtaposition of styles and gifts.
I completed my doctoral studies in 2004 at the University of Georgia where my focus was in the fields of Adult Education, Instructional Technology, and Research Methods. My work examines the systemic issues of isolation and identity, urban affluence versus rural disparity, and effectively using information and communication technologies that promote inclusion, collaboration, and communication. However, it is the pedagogical strategies for facilitation with these cognitive tools that intrigues me most.
What are you working on for Saylor.org?
So far, I have worked in a limited capacity on course design and development and occasionally an advisory role. I eagerly await my next assignment!
What has working for Saylor.org taught you?
It is refreshing to be associated with dedicated individuals who are passionate about addressing the systemic barriers in our world and who want to make a tangible difference in the lives of others through the open access to quality educational materials. I often say that “we”, as a society, can only advance as quickly and effectively as we can share our ideas. I have found this vision and commitment true for Saylor.
What are you looking forward to for the open education movement?
Several things. First, I would like to see even more individuals and educational institutions make their courses, e-books, and other digital learning objects openly available. This allows learners the access to overcome the dispositional emotions such as fear of failure and to make well-informed decisions with an empowered locus of control that fosters creativity and imagination. How many people do you know that are unhappy about their job and current knowledge base? Most, if not all, have not fulfilled their dreams and aspirations, and arguably, this is based many times, but not always, on decisions that were not informed.
Currently, we are witnessing an educational diaspora of ideas as the definition of “access” continues to evolve and gain even greater impetus. Learners are experiencing firsthand the unquestionable importance of lifelong learning and the appreciation raising the consciousness through the open education movement.
Secondly, I envision courses becoming increasingly interactive and the hybridization of asynchronous and synchronous, blended e-learning becomes more pervasive. E-Learning does not take place in a vacuum and the technology exists to expand our conceptualization to include robust synchronous and asynchronous “teachable moments”, whereby, real-time feedback, collaboration, and construction of knowledge lead to positive and tangible outcomes.
And finally, as learners become more accustomed to this interactive engagement, the overall inherent quality of the learning is enhanced (e.g. Personal Learning Environments or PLEs). It has been my experience that the Open Educational Movement (OER) is, has been, and will continue to be, a vital means to address inequalities and promote positive and lasting change.
What advice would you give to educators looking to participate in open education?
Do more than merely “look” or scan the website. If you genuinely value altruism over egoism and truly want to my a significant, non-esoteric, but rather, an exoteric contribution to a movement that directly impacts humanity today and tomorrow, then you should seriously consider participation. If, on the other hand, you are satisfied with the status quo and daily reproduction of a rigidly classist society accompanied by marginalization and disenfranchisement…well…there are planes departing for North Korea on a daily basis. But beware, just perhaps, very soon, North Korea may likely experience an “Arab Spring”.
Want to meet more of our professors? Stay tuned to the Saylor Journals for future professor profiles!