The TEL-Map European project, funded by the European Commission, has launched a survey about technology supported, innovative learning practices.
TEL-Map is a Coordination and Support Action focussing on roadmapping activities for innovative forms of learning. A roadmap can be understood as a ‘strategic lens’, through which future developments in a domain or an organisation are analysed for the purpose of channelling available resources wisely.
The aim of this new survey is to collect the views of teaching professionals to inform future roadmapping activities by probing certain statements with regards to their likelihood, desirability and – when it comes to policy measures – their feasibility.
There is no need to be an expert in all areas addressed to answer the survey, as the objective of TEL-Map is to get feedback from people with as diverse backgrounds as possible.
Question blocks have been created for each of the following innovative practices:
- Gamification: using game mechanics and elements of game design in non-game contexts in order to motivate learning. Controversial issues evolve around 'hunting for points as a distraction of learning', neglect of demographic particularities, availability of gamification strategies.
- Free Massive Open Online Course: bringing existing courses to an extended audience by driving technological and economical innovation. Controversial issues evolve around funding models, accreditation, high attrition rates and possible ways of highly automated learner support.
- Flipped classroom: inverting classroom situations so that the lecture part is moved from school to home and the exercise part takes place at school. Controversial issues evolve around managing differences between learners being more or less successful doing their homework, which requires fundamentally new types of in-class activities.
- Seamless Learning (Ubiquitous Learning): obliterating borders between different technologies and learning formats such as formal and informal learning or individual and social learning. Controversial issues evolve around the ownership of learning tools and data generated by learners' activities, or the potentially invasive character of learning technologies to the detriment of a balanced life style.
The Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) launched the Open Course Library (OCL) in 2011 in response to the impact of rapidly rising textbook costs on student success and completion. Phase 1 included 42 courses. Phase 2, released in April 2013, added another 39 courses.
The OCL offers free or low-cost materials for 81 of the highest-enrolled courses at the 34 community and technical colleges in the state of Washington (United States).
Released under the Creative Commons Attribution license, anyone, anywhere, can use, customize and distribute the course materials. Some of the OER are paired with low cost textbooks ($30 or less), but many of them are completely free. Subjects range from biology and math to English and US history.
The Washington State Faculty Association of Community and Technical Colleges (FACTC) passed a resolution in 2012 endorsing the ideal of open educational resources on economic, educational, and moral grounds.
Funded by the Washington State Legislature and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Open Course Library joins the growing movement for open educational resources (OER), setting a strong example by requiring that all materials created through the programme be openly licensed to the public to freely use, adapt and distribute.
According to an analysis released by the Student PIRGs, the OCL has saved Washington's students $5.5 million to date. Students who take OCL courses save $96 on average.
The Language Centre of the University of Cambridge offers a range of Open Courseware (OCW) learning resources under the Creative Commons Licence.
Most of the OCW resources offered by the Language Centre were initially developed for the courses run as part of the Cambridge University Language Programme (CULP). The materials were designed for use in a blended learning environment combining ICT-based learning with face-to-face learning in the classroom.
The resources can be used for self-study, but for their most effective use they will benefit from a learning environment with some face-to-face contact.
Basic and intermediate Chinese, basic German and Russian essentials are currently available in the OCW language platform.
The International Council for Open Research and Education (ICORE) is a new association bringing together interested experts and stakeholders from the fields of open education and open research. The association will be officially launched on May 16 in Rome (Italy) during the Learning Innovations and Technology (LINQ 2013) conference.
ICORE is a non-profit and requires no membership fees to join. Open to both representatives of organisations as well as individuals, it aims to promote open research and open education as a fundamental social objective. This promotion of these goals will be accomplished through the fostering of collaboration between relevant stakeholders in open research and education, such as national, European and international policy makers, researchers, educators of all levels, students, non-profit educational providers as well as commercial educational providers, among others.
The association's activities will include the administration of an online community portal for information exchange, the organisation of scientific and educational events (conferences, summer schools, etc.) and the establishment of creative partnerships between ICORE members to advance open research and open education internationally.
Interested applicants can register easily at the ICORE website, where the complete first public draft of the association’s statutes can also be found. Joining before the first official meeting of ICORE on May 15 allows new members to be recognized as co-founders.
The OpenCourseWare Consortium has just announced the winners of the 2013 edition of the Site Awards for OpenCourseWare Excellence (ACE).
The Awards for OpenCourseWare Excellence provide annual recognition to outstanding individuals, courseware and OpenCourseWare sites in the OCW Consortium community. The awards are presented each year at the global OpenCourseWare Consortium’s annual conference, to be held this year May 8-10 in Bali, Indonesia.
The ACE 2013 winners in the different categories are:
- Landmark Award for OpenCourseWare Excellence: Notre Dame OpenCourseWare (United States). The University of Notre Dame is one of the founding members of the OpenCourseWare Consortium and launched its OCW site in 2006. The site currently has more than 50 courses in 24 subject areas, and in 2012 received visits from 300,000 individuals in 211 countries and territories around the world.
- Outstanding New Site Award for OpenCourseWare Excellence: Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya OCW (Spain). Sharing material from more than 200 courses, the UPC OCW platform is also integrated with different information systems of the university, such as Prisma, Gauss and the library catalogue.
- Technical Innovation Award for OpenCourseWare Excellence: Peer 2 Peer University. The P2PU has been named the recipient of this award for the creation of an e-mail tool called the MOOC Maker, for offering Massive Open Online Courses using OpenCourseWare and other Open Educational Resources. The MOOC Maker has been recently used to structure a course through the MIT Media Lab called Learning Creative Learning, which enrolled 24,000 students.
“These three sites are outstanding examples of the creativity, dedication and generosity that are hallmarks of the OCWC community,” said OCW Consortium Executive Director Mary Lou Forward. ”We are thrilled to recognize their efforts and help draw attention to their contributions to the global body of open educational resources.”
The OpenCourseWare Consortium is a collaboration of more than 250 higher education institutions and associated organisations from around the world creating a broad and deep body of open educational content using a shared model.
Manufacturing Pasts, a project led by the University of Leicester and funded by Jisc, offers hundreds of historical sources for learning and teaching. The resources tell the story of what life was like and how quickly it changed in British industrial cities during the second half of the 20th century.
Taking Leicester as an example of how British manufacturing has changed over the last 50 years, Manufacturing Pasts provides online access to previously hidden sources about the city’s industrial history, and a range of imaginative digital learning resources which can be easily used in teaching, research, and personal study. Sources include photographs, maps, architectural drawings, oral history interviews, company publications and newspaper articles.
“Manufacturing Pasts is relevant to higher education students at all levels – supporting both dissertations and projects exploring one of the historical themes”, comments Simon Gunn, professor of Urban History at the University of Leicester.
As well as being used in teaching, these resources are also intended to appeal to historians generally.
Selected resources from Manufacturing Pasts can also be viewed on the University of Leicester’s iTunes U site.
All the resources have been released under a Creative Commons open licence and can be re-used and adapted by anyone, providing the creator of the work is acknowledged and the use is for non-commercial purposes.
The report “Data Curation in Arts and Media Research” presents the current state of data curation and data reuse practices within the fields of Comparative Arts, Art History and Media Studies. This study is one of three carried out in the framework of the SURFshare programme to determine what research data should be preserved for the long term and what data should not.
“Data Curation in Arts and Media Research” is based on a survey of the literature and a series of interviews with representatives of three types of interested parties: researchers, institutions involved in managing scholarly data, and scholarly publishing houses.
The study, published in June 2010, shows that in general researchers have a positive attitude towards sharing research data, as the availability of large quantities of data on the Internet clearly offers new scholarly possibilities.
However, the researchers acknowledged that the reuse of data is not yet common. An important obstacle is that it is currently very difficult to discover what datasets other scientists are actually producing. As for releasing data, most researchers state this can only happen after they have been discussed in a published text.
The report ends with a procedure proposal for managing research data, based on a “life cycle” which commences at the point when data is produced as part of a project.
More than 5,000 participants from 138 countries participated in the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas’ Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) “Introduction to Infographics and Data Visualization”, making it the largest class to date held by the institution.
The MOOC was taught by renowned expert Alberto Cairo between January and March 2013, as part of the Knight Center’s new MOOC initiative, which began in October last year with the first edition of the infographics course and counted with the participation of 2,000 people from 109 countries.
"As far as we know, this was the first MOOC on journalism in the world," said professor Rosental Alves, founder and director of the Knight Center. "This first MOOC was an experiment and I can now say that it was a big success. We proved the concept and now we are preparing several other MOOCs on journalism topics.”
Professor Alves said that about half of the participants were engaged in the discussion forums. "The fact that 2,214 people interacted in the forums of the course is really a good indicator of the effectiveness of the MOOC," he said.
“People from more than 100 countries have participated in this MOOC. We've had journalists, designers, scientists, economists, statisticians, developers, etc. This fact has made the course much richer and more engaging. It would not have been so interesting if the student body were not so diverse,” wrote instructor Alberto Cairo in his final message to the class.
The Knight Center’s pioneering MOOC programme has been designed especially for this new, massive format and seeks to encourage the largest amount of student-to-student and instructor-to-students interactions as possible. On March 8 the Knight Center launched its first MOOC in Spanish, "How to Improve Electoral Coverage."
The 2012 Paris OER Declaration was formally adopted at the 2012 World Open Educational Resources Congress held at the UNESCO Headquarters in June 2012.
The Declaration marks a historic moment in the growing movement for Open Educational Resources (OER) and calls on governments worldwide to openly license publicly funded educational materials for public use.
The Declaration recommends UNESCO member States to:
- Foster awareness and use of OER.
- Facilitate enabling environments for use of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT).
- Reinforce the development of strategies and policies on OER.
- Promote the understanding and use of open licensing frameworks.
- Support capacity building for the sustainable development of quality learning materials.
- Foster strategic alliances for OER.
- Encourage the development and adaptation of OER in a variety of languages and cultural contexts.
- Encourage research on OER.
- Facilitate finding, retrieving and sharing of OER.
- Encourage the open licensing of educational materials produced with public funds.
UNESCO proposed with all relevant stakeholders to design and implement a series of global activities based on all the 10 points of the Declaration. This project aims to assist Member States in developing national-level OER policies and implementing the UNESCO ICT Competency Framework for Teachers (ICT CFT) by harnessing Open Educational Resources (OER).
The Inception Meeting of the "Implementing the Paris OER Declaration" project took place on 26 and 27 March, 2013 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.
The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) is an ambitious project launched in April 2013 with the aim to bring together and make freely available to the world the resources from libraries, archives and museums across the United States.
The DPLA offers a single point of access to millions of items, from photographs to manuscripts, books, sounds, moving images and more. Users can browse and search the collections by timeline, map, format, and topic; save items to customized lists and share their lists with others. Users can also explore digital exhibitions curated by the DPLA’s content partners and staff.
The DPLA aims to expand this crucial realm of openly available materials, and make those riches more easily discovered and more widely usable and used, through its three main elements:
- First, an easy-to-use portal where anyone can access collections and search through them using novel and powerful techniques, including by place and time.
- Second, a sophisticated technical platform that will make those millions of items available in ways so that others can build creative and transformative applications upon them, such as smartphone apps.
- Third, along with like-minded institutions and individuals the DPLA will seek innovative means to make more cultural and scientific content openly available, and it will advocate for a strong public option for reading and research in the twenty-first century.