Online Seminar on Openness!

ppdlaToday, the UNU Media Studio participated in an online seminar with the Pan-Pacific Distance Learning Association. We were talking about Open Content, Open Software and Open Learning. The presenters were Paul McKimmy from the University of Hawaii, Scott Belford from the Hawaii Open Source Education Foundation and myself from the UNU.

We used Elluminate to connect everybody and as a presented it was a really interesting experience. I am pretty comfortable now making presentations over video conferencing. However, with Elluminate you really need to multi-task since there is are plenty of options for audience interaction.

They can raise their hands for questions, give you a smiley face or thumbs down, or you can poll their opinions. It is all pretty seamless, but takes some getting used to.

We were looking to have excellent moderators from the UH College of Education – Peter Leong and Adam Tanners – who basically kept an eye on things. Thanks so much fro this valuable experience!


by Brendan Barrett on April 23, 2008 - Comments (02)  

Where to next for open educational resources?

the-oer-agendaAre you curious about the notion of open educational resources? Is it just another way of saying open courseware or open content? There is a new report from Susan D’Antoni and her team at UNESCO that goes some way to answering the above questions. There is an online version that you can explore and edit.

The report is the output of deliberations by a community of 600 interested stakeholders from across the globe who corresponded via a mailing list between 2005 and 2007 (how time flies!). The UNU was one member of this community.

I am really impressed by both the report and the way that UNESCO has developed this project – it is community based, interactive and uses open technologies, such as wikis. In my view, this is a good model for other United Nations sponsored projects.

I borrowed the slide from the Open Content Holistic Research Environment blog.

by Brendan Barrett on March 11, 2008 - Comments (00)  

Open Education and Elearning 2.0

Elearning 2.0John Seely Brown and Richard Adler have a really fascinating article in Educause Review with the title“Minds of Fire; Open Education, the Long Tail, and Learning 2.0.”

I especially like the circle of knowledge building and sharing diagram on creating, using and remixing that forms part of an open knowledge exchange zone (see picture)!

They also argue that we are witnessing the emergence of emergence of “new kinds of open participatory learning ecosystems that will support active, passion-based learning: Learning 2.0.”

The continue by stating that ..”this new form of learning begins with the knowledge and practices acquired in school but is equally suited for continuous, lifelong learning that extends beyond formal schooling. Indeed, such an environment might encourage students to readily and happily pick up new knowledge and skills as the world shifts beneath them.”

by Brendan Barrett on February 17, 2008 - Comments (00)  

Wordpress as a publishing tool for OpenCourseWare

It is really exciting to see that David Wiley has been experimenting with Wordpress to re-publish his course on “blogs, wikis and new media.” Here at the UNU we have been building courses in Wordpress for some time now and we have published three so far. In fact most of our websites at the UNU Media Studio are built in Wordpress. So it is good to see others exploring this impressive tool!

Oh yes, we have been customizing existing plug-ins like polyglot (for multi-lingual blogs) and building new ones to handling quizzes and slideshows. We are going to post them soon as a contribution back to the Wordpress community. We have also made it possible for people to download the entire course, upload it to their own Wordpress site or just run it locally. This allows them to totally customize the course.

I like the related comment regarding the use of Wordpress for course development from
Brian Lamb in his posting “Ridiculously easy and inexpensive course hosting will never fly.” He writes “This approach is fatally flawed in a number of respects and it will never catch on. For one thing, it is far too cheap, and can never justify escalating technology infrastructure budgets. Worse, instructors and students could adopt this technology with minimal assistance or oversight from instructional technology specialists. In this profoundly unserious framework, there is nothing to prevent students from previewing courses before they take them, or reviewing courses later on. Indeed, some “learner” might benefit from this content without being an enrolled student at all!.”

All very good reasons to continue with this approach to course development.

by Brendan Barrett on February 17, 2008 - Comments (00)  

OpenCourseWare in Japan


What Japan Thinks has just published the results of the goo survey on Opencourseware in Japan. The survey was conducted in December 2007 and covered 1,000 members of the goo Research monitor group and focused on materials available from universities within the Japan OpenCourseWare Consortium (the UNU plans to join JOCW in March 2008).


The respondents indicated that the main benefits of universities sharing their lectures where that universities would become more open (58%), it would be possible to compare courses (44%) and that this would raise interest in universities within society (43.5%).

Nearly 93% of those surveyed considered Opencourseware to be an extremely good or good thing, and a similar percentage indicated a desire to use the materials for either personal interest/education or as part of obtaining a qualification.

Educational materials that the respondents wanted to see most online where lecture notes/reference materials (70%) and lecture video recordings (57%). The fields of study that were of most interest were economics, information technology and business studies/marketing.

The main concerns regarding Opencourseware was that the lectures should be easy to understand (29%), should include a rich selection of courses (20%) and interesting lecture themes (19%).

by Brendan Barrett on February 14, 2008 - Comments (01)  

Launch of UN University Opencourseware

UN University OpencoursewareLast year, with support from the Joint Activity Fund, three UN University research institutes and the Media Studio worked together to develop the UN University Opencourseware portal, officially launched today, 4 February 2008. The aim of this pilot project was to publish at least ten courses as required in order to remain a member of the Global Opencourseware Consortium.
This initial collaboration brought together specialists from Macau (UNU-IIST), Canada (UNU-INWEH), the Netherlands (UNU-MERIT) and Japan (UNU-MEDIA), to publish courses on e-Governance, Innovation, Economic Development and Environmental Conservation (mangroves and watersheds).
As the platform, we selected eduCommons developed by the Centre of Open and Sustainable Learning at the Utah State University, because it is both free and open source (well, semi open source to be more precise). We managed to customize eduCommons so that it would have the same look and feel as the main UNU website.
We hope that our current suite of opencourseware will prove useful to students and educators all over the world. In the future, we plan to expand the portal with the inclusion of courses from the remaining UNU institutes and programmes.

by Brendan Barrett on February 7, 2008 - Comments (00)  

UNU recommendations to the Council of Europe

Presentation to the Parliamentary AssemblyOn 1 October 2007, the UNU Media Studio participated via video conference in a meeting organized by the Committee on Culture, Science and Education at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. The title of this event was “Realising the full potential of e-learning at all levels of education.” The UNU proposed measures to transform the world wide web into a Global Learning Space, through the promotion of openness and collaboration in relation to content, software and network infrastructure. Four recommendations were presented.
First, UNU called more overseas aid to be directed at improving Internet connectivity for universities in Africa. The average African university has the same bandwidth capacity as an European household, but pays fifty times more than their educational counterparts in Europe. Second, UNU asked for more support for the notion of an Information Society Open to All. This makes both educational and economic sense, especially for Europe, which has the highest number of open source software developers in the world.
Third, UNU requested the Committee look into the role of educational fair use in the area of intellectual property and copyright, and to consider how best to promote new models of copyright such as Creative Commons. Last but not least, UNU recommended that consideration be given to the merits of transforming the European Credit Transfer Scheme (or something similar) into a global initiative that would further support inter-institutional networking and the emergence of common approaches to online learning amongst universities worldwide.
Videos and written presentations from the meeting can be found at the website of COE Parliamentary Assembly.

by Brendan Barrett on February 7, 2008 - Comments (00)  

Presentations from the UNU-UNESCO Workshop

2007_08_30-0000702.jpgHere they are and apologies for the delay. You can now download the presentations made at the UNU-UNESCO workshop held in the Media Studio.

The first presentation was by David Wiley and is entitled E-Learning and Openness. Next, Hide Tokuda gave a talk on elearning in Keio University and this was followed by a presentation from Peter Haddawy on E-learning for Enriching the Learning Experience.

The presentation from Derek Keats focused on E-Learning in an Education 3.0 world and this was followed by a presentation by Brendan Barrett on the UNU Media Studio’s philosophy of Build Share Collaborate (beware – big file!)

by Brendan Barrett on February 7, 2008 - Comments (01)  

UNU OpenCourseWare

2007_08_31-0003802.jpgA small group came together on 31 August and 1 September here at the UNU Media Studio to discuss how best to develop the UNU OpenCourseware Portal. We are planning to use eduCommons developed by the Centre for Open and Sustainable Learning. We will give feedback in this blog on the experience we have as an eduCommons adopter.

The meeting was really interesting and we had a very useful exchange of views. We are planning to put ten courses online by the end of 2007. In this picture, you can see Philip Schmidt giving some background on the work that they are doing at UNU-MERIT and also on his experience with the University of Western Cape’s Free Courseware project. There is a project blog on the work at UWC that you may want to take a look at.
Here at the UNU, we have funding for the pilot phase of the OCW project which brings together our institutes in Macau, the Netherlands and Canada. Other institutes will join in phase 2 as we expand to cover the entire UNU network from 2008 onwards.

by Brendan Barrett on February 7, 2008 - Comments (00)  

New Course on Open Education

wileyThis is just too good to miss! David Wiley from Utah State University has a new course this Fall entitled “Introduction to Open Education.” The full syllabus is online, anyone can enroll and you can get credits.
A lot of people talk about open educational resources but this is one of the first examples where we can see a real, effective and exciting implementation.
It will be really, really interesting to see how this course develops over the coming months, to get feedback from the participants and to see how well the students perform. This could really be the shape of things to come.
We are very lucky here at the UNU in that David will be giving a keynote here later this month at a UNU-UNESCO Conference.
Sorry, the picture comes from David’s blog. Hope he doesn’t mind.

by Brendan Barrett on February 7, 2008 - Comments (01)  

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