Mobilizing The Open University: case studies in strategic mobile development

Thomas, Rhodri Curwen (2010). Mobilizing The Open University: case studies in strategic mobile development. Journal of the Research Center for Educational Technology, 6(1) pp. 103–110.



This paper presents an overview of many activities undertaken in the Mobile Learner Support project area in The Open University (OU). Please note that while many of the project strands involve strategic development that is embedded in the OU’s institution-wide teaching and learning systems, some of the data and findings we hope will be of use to others undertaking work in related areas. In addition to the core work in implementing a Mobile VLE and associated resources, an overview of related mobile audio eAssessment and eBook format development project strands are given, leading to development of a blend of web application software and native or client applications.

The OU delivers significant proportions of online content and collaboration as part of its supported open learning distance education model to over 200,000 part-time students at any given time. In particular, over the past 4 years, adapting open source technologies for around 600 course websites has delivered the requirement to support course activities for up to 4,700 students per course cohort with a corresponding 250 variations of a single course to provide online tutorial spaces. The OU has also throughout its history adapted to increasingly flexible and personalised modes of delivering and interacting with multimedia and audiovisual content as part of a blended approach, most recently aiming to disaggregate content and allow remixing through its open educational resources initiative.

For updates on the Mobile Learner Support project, please visit

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