Research Panel Discussion on Opening-Up Education

October 30, 2007

Stuart’s Distributing Learning Slide
Originally uploaded by openlearn2007

Came in a bit late … forgot there was this session …he is now talking about libraries for some reason and public libraries at that and who hasn’t been to one. Seems to be something from the Carnegie foundation for the advancement of teaching.

One of the questions they have here is “How can we advance teaching and learning by taking full advantage of open education” – they’re talking about some book now that maybe is coming out so called “Opening up education” – it think there are 30 chapters and they say from 38 prominent leaders and visionaries. – great place to try and sell your book :D.

The book was supposed to be released by now but it hasn’t ….

The book talks about opening up education (what else is new?!) – he had a nice picture with three circles – but as usual they flip too quickly for me to take a picture …

Here are some key points:
“Making tacit and local knowledge of effective teaching and learning visible and useful to others (both globally and locally) is not easy.”
“Open sharing of knowledge of teaching and learning dramatically incr4eases the role of ….” Darn it can’t type fast enough.

There is a picture saying the KEEP toolkit ( – wonder what that is – must be the thing they’re using for helping people to learning – where people can publish things and share with each other using web 2.0.

Diana is now up … not sure what the guy was called who was talking before – think it might be Toru.

She is saying that we cannot depend on the government to make any radical change in the system – i.e. no top-down approach and mentions that technology is still “an interesting sideshow”.

Her hope lies on open education – not sure how … because it seems to be directed to university and students again – probably I’ve got the wrong end of the stick here – I thought the open education or rather open learn approach was being designed for informal learners. Perhaps by using this label, then university teachers can design or explore the curriculum and pedagogy and be as innovative as they want without having to meet the policies or guidelines of the university?

She is saying that the mainstream teaching in HE must become more like research … and is encouraging and open repository of materials etc … She is now showing a link to a pedagogy planner ( – I think). Now talking about something called Phoebe (not sure what that is – think it is a repository) … – here is something called the learning activity management system … looks a bit like compendium ( … it is about linking repository etc. … she is saying that these kind of things allow the students to tinker and they become not only a ‘learner’ but a participant as well…

Stuart is now up … he is making a quote from Thomas Hardy … He is talking about the barriers in open learning.

Particularly looking at the technical problems and as also cultural problems.

He is explaining that most of the information is being sent out through a VLE/LAMS to a learner (distributing learning resources)… which I get he does no like since “the VLE pigeon holes you into the role of tutor, learner or sys admin.”

Solutions should be through the increase quality of tools, open source code and hence there is no problem with licences which happens with such things as WebCt. The VLEs should not have ay fixed roles and has a fine-tune control of access allowing closing and opening up at all levels – since this would be the only way to be sustainable. Where would they get the money to continue with OpenLearn – is a question to be asked!

Cultural gates:
1) Active engagement of teaching workforce
2) Increased competitiveness
3) CLA (no idea what this is!)
4) Not everything is in a fit state to share
5) There is limited willingness to share (e.g. letting other people see how they teach – fear of criticism etc.)

Talks about his apprehensiveness about his podcasts being downloaded by people all over the world and getting people emailing him …

Ok next person to talk is Andy Lane … my neck is killing me from blogging all day … hope the dinner is good enough to compensate 😀 … but will have my head down again if the dinner is great .

He’s talking about the value of the OER’s and what they’re influenced by:
1) Availability (how many and in what forms)
2) Accessibility (where found and by whom)
3) Level of use (degree of participation)

Granularity of offerings (I think he is referring in respect to the courses that is available on OpenLearn) – the size and inter-dependence of modules and this influence the teaching or rather what the student is learning …
Ok … I think I’ve just lost the thread of his argument – it’s been a long day so far … ok waking up back and paying attention hopefully :).

He’s talking about how tuition and support is separated from content and now about generating many versions of the same content for particular contexts. This is all with respect to implications for learning.

Now he has moved onto implications for learning:
1) judging the appropriate mix between: a) pedagogic support (built into content), b) personal support – self reflection and guidance, c) professional support – expert reflection and guidance (this seem to be similar to what Joel Smith and Candace were doing in their courses and how they were building these things in).
2) The importance of new social computing technologies in facilitating support and interaction
3) Co-creation of learning experiences in a dull partnership of being a learning broker for self designed programmes
4) Assessment only or APL courses (not sure what APL means)

He’s now talking about opening up educating requires – and reflecting on a new social and market economy and different regulatory regimes. Also, now a broad recognition of learning particularly informal vs formal vs work-based.

Vijay is now up … wonder what he is going to talk about –he is an editor of the book that they introduced earlier.

He’s looking at the reflections and perspective of opening up education. He is using what used to be my favourite ppt style (blue background and white font) – obviously my favourite one now is the OU ppt templates :P.

I just saw that Gill has just posted her blog up on this session and she is saying she is just blogged out … I think I’m sharing that sentiment … my brain is somewhat dead at the moment.

Anyway, back to Vijay – got to give myself a pep talk to keep alive and pay attention … he is talking about blended learning and boundariless education (this is not in the geographical sense) but rather such as research-teaching, teacher-learner or courses. I thought blended learning was a given in the open learn context … well actually I think it tends to be mostly via the internet … hmm … how can we have open learn education not via the internet (or is that just too ludicrous to think about?).

He just put up an example about a student who didn’t have enough information on metallurgy but went to the open content initiative (I think) and downloaded a course and was able to gain insight on this … neat!

Hmmm. … talking about labs at MIT becoming online … he is calling them iLabs ( Again missed the picture of a diagram on how it is connected … I’m just too slow – but perhaps if one really wants it can get it from his slides if he decides to give it to Patrick to be placed on the OpenLearn conference website. Wonder if these iLabs are anything like the remote observation?

Talking about something called the Open Knowledge Initiative (OKI) now

He is questioning whether higher education is ready for opening up education? And he mentions two things inertial frames (scarcity vs abundance, pundit-pupil vs peer-peer, prepared for the passive) and enabling structures (sense making and accountability and accreditation).


2 Responses to “Research Panel Discussion on Opening-Up Education”

  1. James Says:

    CLA might have been “Copyright Licence Agreement” or “Copyright Licensing Agency” (a UK organisation)
    APL is usually “Accreditation of Prior Learning” (i.e. credit for what you already know and can do)
    Enjoy the dinner.

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