I spent about 30 minutes today listening the entire first chapter of the video resource that comes with the Collaborative Statistics open textbook. I had read the chapter that it referenced about a a month ago, but hadn’t done anything since, so it served as a very useful refresher. In fact, I really appreciated the video, since it allowed me to fold laundry, and do a bit of yoga while I listened. Most of the video was listenable (no looking at talking head required) but occasionally I had to jump back to the video when something was being demonstrated. What was nice was that for the most part, the speaker gave an audio cue as to when something was about to be demonstrated, making the process a bit more seamless. I’m not sure this was deliberate or not, but in the context of OERs, mobility, and usability, I thought this was something I would want to remember. Video was clearly the good choice of tool for this chapter, since the visual demonstrations (which, pen on paper, were extremely low tech but effective) really enhanced my learning. But I found myself imagining myself with my nano on a lunch hour walk, or on the bus somewhere, and these cues coming being really useful.
Since I have a strong interest in the feasibility of OERs being adapted in low resource locations where translation from English is required, I found myself reflecting on what might be required to allow for localisation of this particular resource. A few things stood out when I thought about it with this lens, although I’m fully aware that the intended audience of this resource might have been much smaller.
First, there were several useful examples being used to demonstrate key concepts of statistics, such as sampling. In this particular case, the notion of sampling a few vs entire population was described in terms of using a toothpick check a batch of brownies cooking in the oven to see if they were done. This example really worked for me, since a: being North American I know what brownies are and; b: I have done a fair amount of baking and know what it means to put a toothpick into a pan to test for readiness. But I was reminded that the entire year I lived in Malaysia I never once saw a brownie, nor saw an oven used (if they had one) in any of the kitchens, since baking in tropical weather doesn’t really appeal.
One of the features of the video that I quite like is that it provides close captioning, which I can see of huge value to a more global audience, in that it provides a way of checking what you’ve heard. I can think of how this can be useful at least one situation. Regardless of whether English is your first language, when encountering new terminology or concepts, the close captioning provides a feedback system on your own understanding of what you’ve heard on a linguistic level. Providing a text transcript (which shouldn’t be hard since the cc is already there) would be a huge bonus with anybody actually tasked with translating the audio–it’s much quicker to translate with a text transcript than having to actually generate one first for translation. Since translation is pretty resource intensive/costly, this would make the reuse of this OER a little more accessible.
One final point: the video opened with a reference to Math 10, which wasn’t in keeping with the title of the OER-Collaborative Statistics, but also left me feeling a bit sheepish that despite a PhD in Education, I’m still at a Grade 10 math level. It’s really an ego thing, and quite trivial, but again, what does Math 10 mean to somebody from an entirely different education system?
My rating for this OER: 4 out of 5 stars