Open Education

Coming soon-ish

The annual Horizon reports track emerging technologies that are likely to have an impact on teaching and learning in the future.  The predictions of earlier reports are available elsewhere on this blog: 2009 2008 2007 and if you want to go further back see the Horizon website.

A short preview of the 2010 report (PDF) is already available.  The technologies it highlights (time frames for becoming mainstream to be taken with a pinch of salt perhaps) are:

  • Mobile Computing & Open Content (mainstream in the next year)
  • Electronic Books & Simple Augmented Reality (2-3 years)
  • Gesture-Based Computing & Visual Data Analysis (4-5 years)

If you want to know more about any of these then the preview is short, worth a look and has links to examples.  The other aspect of the Reports are the key trends and challenges that it highlights:

December 10th, 2009|Open Education, Reports & Papers, Research Skills, Teaching & Learning|Comments Off on Coming soon-ish|

Learning & Teaching Competition Winners

The Jorum* Learning & Teaching awards are given to innovative learning and teaching resources that have been created under a Creative Commons license. You can find out more about all six winners on the Jorum website and below I have highlighted two in particular.

All of the resources are free to use and can be linked to from within Moodle.

Making group work workMaking group work work

This video resource is aimed at giving students and tutors a better understanding of the challenges of group work and how to overcome them!  There are 10 episodes such as Managing conflict and Assessing group work which can be used independently or worked thru’ in order.

The website includes help for students and staff.

Reading Skills Tutorial

Produced by the Skills@Library team at the University of Leeds, this is an online tutorial to help students (and staff!) improve their reading skills.

*Jorum is a JISC-funded online repository service for teaching and support staff in UK colleges and universities.  It exists to encourage sharing, reuse and re-purposing of learning and teaching materials created by the community for the community

Language Box

Today I’ve been attending a Language Box event at Kings: Rethinking Teaching and Learning Repositories. Language Box is a JISC-funded e-repository. I arrived, as is my way, with a healthy scepticism (and a scepticism that’s always higher when it comes to repositories)! However, I think I’ve been won over.

In essence Language Box is an online location for teachers to upload, store, find & share teaching materials.  Resources (videos, links, worksheets, powerpoints etc) are added to a single collection but you can then easily manage your own sub-collections and favourites.

The project has three approaches that I particularly like and that might just make it a success:

  1. Asking the practitioners what they actually want. (Current repositories don’t seem to work, why not?)
  2. A focus on making it work for individuals to manage their own resources… and if sharing & re-use occurs then that’s a bonus
  3. Simplicity (we were asked to fill in a usability survey 🙂 )

Language Box has some similarities to the work we have been doing with Columbia University: French Language Teaching Resource but also some key differences:

  • Our project provides lists of tags to choose from to classify material when adding it to the collection, whereas choosing tags in Language Box is left to the user.
  • But the real difference and one that perhaps gives Language Box more potential is that the material can be visible,  accessible & usable by students without needing to transfer it to the VLE (although you can also do that if you want to, but why bother when you can link).

One of the most interesting debates today was whether or not students should be allowed to add material to Language Box. There seemed to be a 50:50 split on this one., with some feeling that giving students an opportunity to create resources would be a great learning activity but others wanting it kept as a teachers’ collection of ‘quality materials’.

This is not the first time this week that I’ve been looking at storing stuff.

Ireland's National Digital Learning Repository

Sunset over Galway BayI had a really interesting meeting this morning with Paul Gormley & Michelle Tooher, staff at CELT, NUI Galway. We were swapping notes on our respective teaching material repositories. On the face of it the projects are very different but as we discussed there are lessons to be learnt from each other and ideas to pinch!

The National Digital Learning Repository (NDLR) is a national project bringing together all Irish universities & Technology institutes. It is similar to the UK’s Jorum in some respects and also based on the Intra library software. I don’t know much about Jorum but a key difference to the NDLR approach has been to base it around communities of practices and devloping these communities first in the hope that the use of a shared repository will follow. The guys at Galway are the leads for the Modern Languages’ Community of Practice. Each community has a blog (see previous link) which acts as a focus for the community. Before ‘selling’ the repository across the institutions the MFL team populated it with 100 locally avialble resources (mp3s, PPT files etc). The collection has now grown significantly (I forget exactly!).

I was introducing them to our more informal joint project with the University of Columbia which is being piloted with LSE French teachers having worked successfully in NYC with other languages. Earlier this week we held the first training session for teachers so that they could start uploading resources. The repository is based on drupal and is open to all to browse resource titles and descriptions but retrieving a resource requires a login.  It uses a predefined taxonomy which staff use to ‘tag’ their resources.  Items can be located by searching or by browsing the tags.

The NDLR Galway team mentioned they are looking at introducing creative commons licensing for the repository and this is something we should look at too as well as joining in there existing community of practice.

The other area we touched on and both want to explore further is how we encourage staff to provide feedback on how they’ve used each others’ resources without diminishing their desire to make their stuff available and subject to comment.


June 26th, 2008|Open Education, Teaching & Learning, Tools & Technologies|Comments Off on Ireland's National Digital Learning Repository|

Open Education

I have just come across the Cape Town Open Declaration, a “statement of strategy and …commitment [to open education]”. The focus is very much on the development and sharing of ‘open educational resources’ but there is stuff about the sharing of teaching practices too. It all seems quite reasonable but there is a bit of a debate around it of course, see Downes vs Wiley – Cato and Cicero revisited and Open education and the cape Town declaration. The declaration is supposed to spark dialogue so it’s off to a good start, although I suspect that particular dialogue was already there!

We’re currently working with the French department here at LSE and colleagues at Columbia University on a repository for sharing French teaching resources and while the teachers behind the project are keen to share the fruits of their labour I know that other teachers here and elsewhere are not, particularly when sharing goes beyond the dept / institution. I’m off to become a sceptical signatory if they’ll allow such a thing!

Coincidently, I also came across U-Now: an open courseware initiative at Nottingham university this week.

PS When did Martin Dougiamas relocate to Austria 😉 (See Cape Town signatories)


Launched earlier this week and using Moodle but perhaps not to the untrained eye!

The OpenLearn website will make educational resources freely available on the internet, with state of the art learning support and collaboration tools to connect learners and educators.

Interesting both in terms of content – though i haven’t really looked yet – and to see how Moodle is being developed at the OU. Changes i have spotted so far:

  1. The look – this is something we must explore…
  2. The ‘Happy’ face has gone – the defalut is now no image. Much better I think.
  3. The blog tool has been renamed learning journal which makes sense as it’s a more accurate description as the Moodle Blog doesn’t include a comments function
  4. Lots more I’m sure

No mention of Moodle at all… Time to explore some content…

PS Just spotted a link to this: OpenLearn content via RSS on the Wales Wide Web

October 27th, 2006|Open Education, Teaching & Learning, Tools & Technologies|Comments Off on OpenLearn|

Open University announces £5.65 million project to make learning material free on the internet

The Open University today announced a GBP £5.65 million (US $9.9 million) project to make a selection of its learning materials available free of charge to educators and learners around the world. Supported by a grant of US $4.45 million from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation the University will launch the website in October 2006.

March 15th, 2006|Open Education, Teaching & Learning|Comments Off on Open University announces £5.65 million project to make learning material free on the internet|