IET TCM Event: Learning from Bridge to Success

15 May 2012

Location: Jennie Lee Building Meeting Room 1 Ground Floor

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Lynda Davies
2 March 2012

Abstract: The Bridge to Success project has allowed the OU to work with US Community Colleges and Universities to see what happens when we take content from the UK to the US and apply it to meet some of their challenges. In this session we will look at the overall process that has resulted in the content being available and adopted, the plans that have emerged for the best ways to make use of open content in the US context, and the services that have been valued in the partnership and broader group of colleges involved.

The OU leads the research aspect of the project as well as the project overall. The research has provided an important structuring element for the whole project but has also been able to gather a range of data from the extensive piloting process. That research is emerging during 2012 but already indicates the flexibility required by those planning to use open methods, the key element will be to be able to back up the initial positive impression with data showing the value of the courses to learners. We hope to be able to demonstrate the lessons learnt and the extent to which we have met the challenge given to the project by its funder.

Presented by several members of the OU team with recorded aspects from some of the US team members. Likely participants include: Patrick McAndrew, Patrina Law, Tim Coughlan, Beck Pitt with input from David Lascu and Nassim Ebrahami at AACC.

Location: Jennie Lee Building Meeting Room 1 Ground Floor

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Simon Rae
2:59pm 16 May 2012


An interesting session, I found the discussion around the amount of work necessary to rework the OU courses for a US presentation very enlightening. At first, the whole OER initiative promises so much, after all authoring/designing/writing worthwhile academic content is a large part of the cost of presenting a course so the idea of picking something 'off the shelf' would seem to solve the cost problem (or a large part of it) at a stroke.

Hearing about the work that was done to translate the 2 OU courses from English to English :-) so to speak does raise questions as to the potential savings possible - or at least it serves to remind us that we cannot just delete all authoring/designing/writing costs from the equation.

There were also some interesting comments about who worried about some of the contextual issues - I think that I got the message that the students weren't too worried if the activities were UK-ish but that the teachers were ... am I right?

Elizabeth FitzGerald
3:51pm 16 May 2012


Yes, thanks all for a really interesting session. Great to hear how the project has progressed and interesting to find out about the internationalisation work that had to be done to covert the content - although, as you say, it is maybe now too 'Americanised' for a truly global audience. I can see why the work has been so rewarding and wish the project team the best of luck in securing future funding! (hopefully should be fairly easy to write the section marked 'impact' :) )

Patrick McAndrew
11:01pm 16 May 2012


Thanks both for the comments. 

@Simon - I think the issue of cost and effort is quite complicated. As I was saying in our conversation at the end of the presentation, the potential for reuse is now there and the running of courses based on different parts of the content is happening without further investment. So open release is an enabler for reuse. But the extra investment in making the content available reflected a mixture of moving online, matching to new context and also gaining shared ownership and understanding. From work on other courses I do believe that learners have less concern about some issues of cultural references and context than teachers may have on their behalf - but I cannot say for sure in the case of the B2S materials. 

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