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Content, Collaboration and Innovation: Past, Present and Future. Andy Lane.

Andy Lane. Content, Collaboration and Innovation: Past, Present and Future. OER can be considered...

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Patrick McAndrew
20 April 2010

Andy Lane.

Content, Collaboration and Innovation: Past, Present and Future. OER can be considered as an extension of how universities have gone beyond their borders – with outreach. Andy reviewed the motivations that The Open University had for becoming involved in OER – movement, commitment to social justice, reputation, formal/informal cross-over, test-bed, sharing in as well as out (perhaps reducing costs), and a basis for collaboration.

The three space approach of OpenLearn – route in and information, safe space for learning (LearningSpace), more experimental “educator space” (LabSpace) is changing to bring in the many other pieces of content that reaches out from the OU – the OU/BBC, iTunesU, YouTube, Facebook and SCORE. With an additional outward looking research network provided by OLnet.

LearningSpace – has allowed OU to develop experience with offering a direct learning environment for open resources (based on Moodle) and how working with content in XML has provided freedom for the user to choose the format that they need if downloading, and the environment plus additional tools the opportunity to learn with the content in situ. Findings are that “content is the hook” with the OpenLearn proving flexibility for trying content out and building their own mix and match set that interests them as individuals.

Now nearly 10m unique visitors – of whom 126,000 have registered. 60,000 download “print” versions every month. But remains difficult to assess the value – with some clear examples emerging (eg Daniel Conn Time Online) and indications of recruitment through to the Open University and bothThere are also examples of the content being reworked into new forms and delivered through alternative platforms.

Looking forward – the lasting result of OpenLearn has been to encourage Open Innovation. There are now many different projects and activity, with new links to collaboration and new plans for the way the site works.


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Patrick McAndrew
10:27am 20 April 2010

Q: From HEA History subject centre. Is there pressure to demonstrate links between OER and recruitment? If so where from?

A: Launched with substantial grant to get started as an Institutional Action Research project. Support from the top – with a need to demonstrate through research the value-added. In many different ways – not just the “bums on seat” but use alongside advisory, widening participation, marketing, regional content, …. So in justifying the value – look at many dimensions.

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