A Mission-Based Ecosystem for OER

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Robert Farrow
26 October 2011

Jeffrey Hausman &  Joel Thierstein
Jesuit Virtual Learning Academy

"The purpose of the Jesuit Virtual Learning Academy is to serve as a collaborative platform for the community of Jesuit secondary schools.  We do this by providing innovations in the delivery of credit-bearing courses for students, professional development opportunities for faculty, and the provision of a technology platform that encourages communication and collaboration among our schools.

The current focus of the JVLA and the Ignatian Academy of Excellence is serving the network of North American schools. However, the OER movement provides us an opportunity to engage the larger network of over 400 Jesuit schools worldwide."

The starting point for their 'bottom-up' approach is teachers, who are under considerable pressure already.  Barriers to innovation include time, personal investment, compensation, etc.

We need a 'culture of generosity' or 'cognitive surplus' (Clay Shirky).

The motivation behind this kind of sharing was portrayed as something entirely consistent with - or even inspired by - religious beliefs surrounding charity/generosity and Christian love.

The different aspects of the ecosystem under consideration are as follows:

  • Connexions (lens program)
  • Moodle (VLE)
  • Conenza (social network)
Improving access is not enough... to support OER it is necessary to focus on the program and the people (especially teachers) within it.    The JVLA personal development rubric distinguishes Context, Process and Content Elements, and the Professional Learning Community (PLC) provide opportunities for peer engagement.


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Robert Farrow
4:44pm 26 October 2011

In the Q&A it was noted that there is not currently a formal system for evaluation in place.

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