Aczel, James; Cross, Simon; Meiszner, Andreas; Hardy, Pascale; McAndrew, Patrick and Clow, Doug
Some issues affecting the sustainability of open learning courses.
In: EDEN 2011 Annual Conference: Learning and Sustainability: The New Ecosystem of Innovation and Knowledge, 19-22 June 2011, Dublin, Ireland.
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While there has been much excitement in recent years about the potential of Web 2.0 principles, open educational resources (OER) and cross-border educational programmes to catalyse enhanced pedagogies, the world economic downturn has focused attention on the sustainability of open learning initiatives. Can making content more widely editable, reusing learning resources and sharing responsibility for course delivery result in higher production speeds, better materials, and lower costs?
The openED 2.0 project is trialling a hybrid organizational framework of open inter-institutional course production and global open course delivery that seeks to explore these issues. Seven European organisations have collaboratively generated a Free/Open online business studies course, based on existing and freely available materials, and with professional and academic strands. The course has been run once so far; further rounds over the next 18 months will make the materials more widely editable and will explore charging for facilitation, assessment and certification.
Questions to be addressed in this research include: How do materials generated by such open initiatives develop over time, and what are the drivers? What learning takes place, and what are the drivers? What issues arise associated with cross-cultural and multilingual settings? How are differences between formal and informal education exhibited? What are the factors affecting speed of production, effectiveness and sustainability?
This paper presents preliminary results in relation to three aspects of the openED course relevant to achieving more sustainable learning opportunities: (1) international and inter-institutional curriculum design; (2) designing learning for international online participation; and (3) reuse of OER within an open online course.
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