Hewlett OER meeting in Monterey

March 6, 2009

The annual Hewlett conference on Open Educational Resources (3-5 March 2009) has just finished. It has been a great conference for us as it provided a platform to launch OLnet and the team from the project (Candace Thille, Grainne Conole, Andreia Santos and myself) had quite a high profile in kicking off the Wednesday sessions and bringing things together at the end.

The main challenge for us was that we used Cloudworks throughout the conference. This did make us a bit nervous as the software is still alpha and in development by Juliette Culver alongside the olnet.org site being built in Drupal by Nick Freear. there are a few rough edges (mainly edit limitations and user interface design) but overall it was a great success. The aim was to create a conference experience that persists and it delivered: there is now a great collection of comments, clouds, interviews and feedback on cloudworks for the OER Meeting, Monterey discussions. I was especially impressed by the way the hosts (Ruth Rominger and Gary Lopez from the Monterey Institute for Technology and Education) adopted Cloudworks not just for this conference but also for their own NROC conference that preceded it. They took ownership of the site and had a great idea in organising a team to report alongside the attendees. Those students (led by Jonathan Lopez) did a very good job.

It is also worth reflecting on why we were able to get Cloudworks adjusted to our needs so quickly. We needed a site that could handle video, slides, audio, live twitter streams, blog aggregation, etc. In the past that would have meant a lot of setting up – now though we very much drew on the power of embedding and used public sites (YouTube, Flickr, Slideshare, internet archive) alongside homegrown tools Compendium and Cloudworks. A little HTML goes a very long way!

We got a lot out of this experience with some real feedback but also initial data for our research. It shows the value of being brave and embracing the go with beta (ok alpha in this case) appraoch of Web 2.0. We are now discussing ways to use these tools to make ideas persist and are hoping to find a way to run a distributed event across the time zones.

For OLnet we now can tick off a whole set of early milestones: launch, leaflets, day-one collaboration system, input from the community and some connections with people wanting to feed into our sub-projects.

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4 Responses to “Hewlett OER meeting in Monterey”


  1. […] Environment, March 6, 2009 [Tags: Hewlett Foundation, Open Educational Resources, Experience] [Link] […]


  2. […] its early stages and is built on Drupal, an open-source CMS. More from Patrick McAndrew at his blog OCHRE: The aim was to create a conference experience that persists and it delivered: there is now a […]


  3. […] Patrick, Open Content Holistic Research Environment (entorn de recerca de continguts holístics) [L’enllaç] [Etiquetes: Fundació Hewlett, recursos educatius oberts, REO, ERO, […]


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