Moving On: How might students in different learning situations interact in an Open Educational Resource environment?
In: SOLSTICE Conference 2007: Researching eLearning for Innovation and Development, 11 May 2007, Edge Hill University, United Kingdom.
The widening participation agenda encourages academics and teachers to provide a wide variety of learning situations and experiences for the changing student population. The OpenLearn project (funded by the Hewlett Foundation) is taking open learning in a new direction. Indeed OpenLearn has the potential to increase learning opportunities for those with non-traditional educational backgrounds.
The OpenLearn environment makes Open Educational Resources (OERs) and online forums freely available worldwide. The environment was launched on 25th October 2006 and worldwide access continues to increase.
The project is adapting multiple media materials for delivery as OERs on the Web. These materials are taken from the original Supported Open Learning version of a course (which includes tutorial support and assessment). In the OpenLearn context the materials called ‘Units’ will be standalone, without tutorial support or assessment.
The environment includes units of accessible learning material which provide between 4 and 20 hours of study time. The learner can interact on an individual basis with the material in the eleven different topic areas or work in groups with other learners. A learner is considered to be anyone and everyone.
OpenLearn provides an observatory which affords the exploration of the range of different types of learning. The focus of this paper is on the different opportunities provided to those with non-traditional educational backgrounds to engage in learning.
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