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'Learn About' Fair 2013

27 February 2013
Jennie Lee Building, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom and online

The annual Learn About Fair for OU staff took place on 27th February 2013

Cloudscape created by:

Anna Page
23 October 2012

Learn about innovating pedagogy in the 21st century

This year's 'Learn About' fair took place on 27th February 2013 in the Jennie Lee Building at Walton Hall campus from 11:30 am - 2:30 pm.  Some online participation was available for those based in regions/nations and working at home.

Please note that photos and video was taken at the fair by various members of staff.  Some of this material is likely to be published online after the fair, for example:

Photos of the fair can be viewed at and

REPLAY of the Presentations can be found at

The winner of the Kindle Fire is Marcus Brodeur, Science Associate Lecturer and Research Student.

The 2014 Fair will be on 26 February 2014

Your Feedback please

We have sent out requests for feedback to everyone who registered at the door.  If you watched the presentations online please complete the feedback questionnaire at by 22 March 2013.

About the fair

IET, Library Services and LTS collaborate in the planning and running of this annual drop-in event for all OU staff which gives an informal opportunity to find out about the latest developments of using technology in education.  Originally launched as a way to showcase the Learn About Guides the fair has grown over the years to keep abreast of new tools and methods of teaching and learning, it has always been 'topic' rather than 'department' or 'project' focussed.

Topics were chosen to interest a wide variety of OU staff including associate lecturers.  Whether you are involved in teaching students, conducting research or supporting module teams, you will have found something to inspire you and which would be useful for your work.  The fair gave you a great opportunity to network and exchange news and views with colleagues.  The fair was offered as a occasion for you to expand your knowledge of the topics both for your work and professional development.

If you have any questions about the fair, please email  There was no need to register your attendance in advance, though we always invite people to sign in at the door so we can request feedback later.  Online participants were invited to email us or tweet #learnaboutatOU and provide feedback about the event too.

There was a free light lunch available for those who attended the event face-to-face, if you visited the fair this way we ran a competition in which participants had a chance to win a Kindle Fire (unfortunately we could not extend this offer to those participating online).

OU Associate Lecturers who attended the fair were asked to check the procedures for claiming travel to Walton Hall which are explained at

Stalls at the fair

in the atrium and the Ambient technology lab - view topic posters and ask questions

There were a number of stalls hosted by various 'experts' who talked about their topic, demonstrating new technologies and explaining how they are used in learning and teaching:

  • Accessibility
  • Collaborative Assessment/Learning
  • Data visualisation
  • Digital and Information Literacy (including MyReferences)
  • Discussion forums
  • eBooks (including OU Anywhere app)
  • Elluminate replacement (OU Live, powered by Blackboard Collaborate)
  • iCMAs
  • Learning Analytics
  • Learning Design
  • Learning Systems
  • Mapping mashups
  • Mobile Learning (including Mobile Learner Support)
  • MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses)
  • OERs (including how the OpenScience Lab uses OERs; the OU OER research hub; Open & Broadcast Media/OpenLearn)
  • Pod/pen/screencasting (with demos and a podcast in the Observation Lab 'Subtitles for Accessibility')
  • Raspberry Pi
  • User generated content (Open Studio/photo sharing/Platform/OU Annotate)

Participants were encouraged to visit the stalls to ask questions. 

Presentations at the fair

The presentations took place between 12 noon and 2:00 pm

Face-to-face In Jennie Lee Building Meeting Room 1 (overlooking the pond)

Also available online on the day via - remote viewers were able to ask questions during the presentations via email (  After you watched the presentations online, please complete the feedback questionnaire at

  • 12 noon - OU Live, powered by Blackboard Collaborate (Elluminate replacement) (Rhodri Thomas, Sharon Monie)
    This presentation introduced the features of Blackboard Collaborate, which replaces the Elluminate tool for synchronous learning & teaching at the OU.
  • 12:30 pm - Digital Literacy Framework (Katharine Reedy, Robin Goodfellow)
    This presentation introduced the new Digital and Information Literacy Framework developed by Library Services and IET. This framework is intended to help OU students to demonstrate the ability to operate confidently in online study and social spaces, and OU module and programme teams to design the learning opportunities that will support this.
  • 13:00 pm - OU Anywhere (Kristoff vanLeeuwen, Stewart Nixon)
    'OU Anywhere’ is a strategically funded University wide initiative that is designed to offer students an additional, convenient means of studying their core module materials on a range of tablets and phones. (Online viewers: please note that the slides for this presentation were only visible on the general overhead camera room view - they were not streamed).
  • 13:30 pm - FutureLearn (Mike Sharples)
    An overview of current progress with Futurelearn, with a focus on how its platform will support innovative teaching, learning, assessment and analytics.

Four regional/national centres indicated that they are booking rooms for those based in regional/national offices to watch the presentations together (the stadium view will be on screen in the rooms booked, it is not a video conference).  

  • RC05 (East Midlands - Nottingham)
  • RC07 (North East - Leeds)
  • RC09 (North - Gateshead)
  • RC11 (Scotland)

After the fair the recorded presentations will be available at

Your feedback

We appreciate your views on the fair and every year collect feedback about the fair via an online questionnaire after the event. The participant version of the questionnaire can be found at, and after the event we emailed all staff who attended inviting their comments via this questionnaire.  Presenters and stallholders were emailed after the event with a link to their version of the questionnaire.

If you joined us online to watch the presentations we will be very pleased to receive your feedback on this aspect of the fair, so please complete the feedback form and tweet using the hashtag #learnaboutatOU, as we will have no other way of finding out what you thought of the event, unless you email to tell us you attended the online presentations.

Previous Fairs

You can read comments about previous fairs under the heading comments from those who have attended previous fairs.

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