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Introducing TOUCANS to OERten

November 4, 2011

On 9th and 10th November, I will be attending the OERu Anchor Partner Meeting virtually. In a Skype call with Wayne Mackintosh last Friday, we discussed the possibility of me having a few minutes on the programme to introduce the TOUCANS project to the OERten network. In the meantime, I’ll use this blog entry to summarise what the project is about and why it may be of interest to OERten members.
Continued at http://toucansproject.wordpress.com/2011/11/04/introducing-toucans-t-oerten/
Via toucansproject.wordpress.com

TOUCANS OERu research project takes off

October 24, 2011

Via Scoop.itOpen learning news

I have been lucky enough to be awarded a SCORE fellowship, which I am doing from my base at the Beyond Distance Research Alliance at the University of Leicester, with the support of the Open University. This is one of several such UK-based research projects being funded by HEFCE. (See http://www.open.ac.uk/score.) The project is called TOUCANS, and will focus on perceptions and attitudes towards the Open Educational Resources university (http://wikieducator.org/Oeru) within the UK Higher Education sector, and will hopefully generate some recommendations for institutions that are considering participating in the OERu.   The project will run until the end of June 2012, and I’ll be blogging about it here (http://www.scoop.it/t/open-learning-news), along with other open learning news items as usual.   See http://www.le.ac.uk/toucans for more details.
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Blackboard to add support for CC Attribution – Creative Commons

October 20, 2011

Via Scoop.itOpen learning news

Many blogs and tweets today about Blackboard’s announcement at Educause 2011 that they are going to add a “Share” button, which will enable academics/ instructors to add a Creative Commons licence to anything they upload to the VLE, and simultaneously publish their materials on the open Web. All with just one click.   I think this will make a huge difference to academics who are interested in OERs but a bit overwhelmed by the apparent complexity of producing and publishing their teaching materials openly. And it could send the leadership of many institutions into a flurry of policy-making to try to control what gets published in their names. It’s bound to get a bit messy, but if more commercial VLEs/ LMSs follow Blackboard’s example, the end result can only be more activve involvement by senior management in the open access movement, and more academics taking responsibility for producing OERs. Which has to be a good thing.   Interesting though, that amongst all the happy blogs and tweets, there is one on the “OER Facebook wall” that retweets @OER_Center, who say that an article by The Chronicle on this development is “misleading”… They say: “Co-optation of #OER by Bb or misunderstanding? http://bit.ly/pAwrZD.” Please can someone explain?  
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So Pearson is offering a free LMS… “freer than Moodle”

October 13, 2011

Via Scoop.itOpen learning news
Vying to reshape dynamics of e-learning market, Pearson announces cloud-based learning management system that is “absolutely free” — hosting and support included.   Pearson is planning to offer a free, cloud-based LMS, along with user support, with a view to pushing sales of their digital content. A risky strategy, and a sign of an interesting shift in the publishing industry. When we did the DUCKLING project (www.le.ac.uk/duckling) at Leicester University two years ago, we could find only one publisher (Routledge) that was willing and able to provide one (and only one) of the recommended TESOL textbooks as a downloadable e-book for our e-book reader pilot. Although Pearson’s free LMS indicates a shift towards provision of more digital content, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are planning to offer more textbooks in e-book format: the aim is apparently to try to sell online support materials for traditional textbook content.   As for the free LMS, I think I’d stick to Moodle if I had the choice. Open-source code, supported by a paid tech support person or team, sounds preferable to cost-free but closed code, supported by a company that needs to profit from me in some other way in order to continue offering the freebies.   Thanks to @oldaily Stephen Downes for this link.  
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Openness and learning design in Higher Education: an online seminar on 26 Oct

October 12, 2011

Via Scoop.itOpen learning news

Speakers at this seminar include Grainne Conole, Alejandro Armellini and Terese Bird from the University of Leicester, as well as Vic Jenkins from the University of Bath and Peter Chatterton from the University of Hertfordshire. I will be co-moderating, along with Palitha Edirisingha here in Leicester, and Brenda Padilla-Rodriguez in Mexico. The focus is on how openness is influencing learning design.   It’s free and open – more details available at http://tinyurl.com/elks-ostrich-seminar. The recording will also be made available via this URL after the event.  
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Sustaining OER Activity – A SCORE event at The Open University

October 12, 2011

Via Scoop.itOpen learning news

On 17 Nov, the SCORE people at the OU will be hosting an event looking at the past, present and future of OER activity, and what it will take for all of us involved in OERs to make this activity sustainable.   This is an important question. David Wiley may have given a clue to the answer in his recent keynote address (see http://bit.ly/rliovG). He emphasised the importance of making openness work for our own institutions. This isn’t how all OER projects work – many of them have been more outward-facing – although, oddly, without any defined audience other than a hoped-for mass of prospective students. So… a shift towards meeting existing institutional needs via open practices would be something of a paradigm shift – and would, I think, make our OER activity more self-sustaining.   
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Openness, Disaggregation and the Future of Education – keynote by David Wiley

October 12, 2011

Via Scoop.itOpen learning news

David Wiley opened the 2009 Penn State Symposium for Teaching and Learning with Technology with a thought provoking keynote presentation on open education.   A few gems from this 50-minute video:   – David says focusing on how openness will benefit “us” (i.e. our own institutions, as opposed to some vaguely defined common good) is going to be the key to successful open practice.   – He has invited successive cohorts of students to contribute to curriculum decisions in a wiki over the last five years, but hasn’t had any contributions from students in all that time. Why? Something to do with the power dynamics between teacher and students?   – Institutions are falling back on their policies to defend tradition, rather than creating policy frameworks or policy petri dishes where interesting things can grow.   – We need to close the ‘daily divide’ between learning and the rest of our students’ lives. Otherwise students will Google to find alternatives, and if our institution doesn’t appear on Google (with OERs), it may as well not exist.   Thanks to Luis Rafael Armario (http://lshchange2011.blogspot.com/2011/10/change11-david-wileys-keynote-on-open.html) for the link.
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