This white paper published in March 2013 sets out to help decision makers in higher education institutions gain a better understanding of the phenomenon of Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs), trends towards greater openness in higher education and the implications for their institutions.
Authors Li Yuan and Stephen Powell describe the phenomena of the MOOCs, placing them in the wider context of open education, online learning and the changes that are currently taking place in higher education at a time of globalisation of education and constrained budgets.
The “MOOCs and Open Education: Implications for Higher Education” report is written from a UK higher education perspective, but is largely informed by the developments in MOOCs from the USA and Canada.
A literature review was undertaken focussing on the extensive reporting of MOOCs through blogs, press releases as well as openly available reports. This identified current debates about new course provision, the impact of changes in funding and the implications for greater openness in higher education. The theory of disruptive innovation is used to help form the questions of policy and strategy that higher education institutions need to address.
The Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) has published a white paper analysing the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and other forms of online education.
Authored by Brian Voss, vice president and CIO at the University of Maryland’s flagship campus in College Park, “Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs): A Primer for University and College Board Members” is an effort to give board chairs, presidents and others some context to help guide discussions on their own campuses.
The paper is based upon a presentation given to the board of directors of AGB and includes several appendices, including a set of key online terms and concepts and a selection of useful articles.
The Awards for OpenCourseWare Excellence provide annual recognition to outstanding individuals, courseware and OpenCourseWare sites in the OCW Consortium community. This year's winners are Professor Barbara Illowsky, Professor of Mathematics at De Anza Community College in California (USA), and Professor ChiKaung Pai of National Chiao Tung University.
The OpenCourseWare Consortium is a community of more than 250 universities and associated organizations from around the world committed to advancing open education worldwide. It yearly awards individuals who have helped expand educational opportunity worldwide.
Key to these initiatives are OpenCourseWare, free and open digital publications of high quality university-level educational materials—often including syllabi, lecture notes, assignments, and exams—organized as courses. While OpenCourseWare (OCW) initiatives typically do not provide a degree, credit, or certification, or access to instructors, the materials are made available under open licenses for use and adaptation by educators and learners around the world.
The final candidates for the 2013 awards are Professor Barbara Illowsky, selected for her work in creating an open statistics text book used by more than 20 colleges in the US, Canada and elsewhere, and Professor ChiKaung Pai,chosen for her efforts in establishing NCTU Open CourseWare and leading the Taiwan OpenCourseWare Consortium.
Read on for more information.
This third conference on learning analytics will be designed to bring the many voices involved in leveraging the availability of data about learning with powerful computational, representational and visualization techniques into dialogue in a “middle space” under the overarching theme of “Dialectics in Learning Analytics”.
The first two conferences have established the range of issues and approaches of concern in leveraging the availability of data about learning with powerful computational, representational and visualization techniques. This third conference will be designed to consolidate the field by bringing these many voices into dialogue in a “middle space” under the overarching theme of “Dialectics in Learning Analytics,” which has these facets:
The Middle Space: The conference will explore the “middle space” within which Learning and Analytics intersect, and seeks proposals for papers and events that explicitly connect analytic tools to theoretical and practical aspects of understanding and managing learning.
Productive Multivocality: Learning analytics is multidisciplinary, drawing on theories and methods from diverse research traditions. Our community includes educators, learning scientists, computer scientists, administrators, and policy makers, among others. The middle space serves as a topical “boundary object”, enabling productive discourse between these many voices.
The Old and the New: We are facing a centuries old problem: to improve learning, but we are trying to solve it using a new set of tools, not available before. We address these problems in the city of Leuven: centuries old, lively new.
“eKnowledge Project: Developing and piloting a forum tool to support the collaborative construction of knowledge on the UOC's Virtual Campus” is the final report of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya’s (UOC) eKnowledge project.
eKnowledge is an online forum tool that offers consultants and students the chance to create spaces for asynchronous communication and collaboration in pursuit of different goals and at different levels of structuring by teachers.
The project (2009-11) followed a user-based design concept and a flexible and collaborative learning model. Its development was based on the open-source phpBB Forums platform.
eKnowledge is an eLearn Center innovation project developed in collaboration with the UOC’s Office of Learning Technologies. The design of the tool has involved faculty from the UOC’s Information and Communication Sciences; IT, Multimedia and Communications; Economics and Business Studies, and Psychology and Education Sciences departments.
“Build it and they will come?– Inhibiting factors for reuse of open content in developing countries” is a paper written by Mathias Hatakka, from Örebro University (Sweden) and published in 2009 in the “The Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries.“
Open content has the potential to change the playing field when it comes to every individual’s right to education. However, despite the benefits of OER, the usage is very low in developing countries. Understanding why content developers choose not to use it is the first step towards finding a solution to the problem.
Mr Hatakka focuses his qualitative study on the question “Which inhibiting factors for reuse do content developers in developing countries experience with open content?” To find an answer, interviews, questionnaires and observations have been made with content developers from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and from UNESCO’s Open Training Platform.
Findings show that many of the inhibiting factors with reuse of open content do not necessarily relate to the actual content. Educational rules and regulations, lack of infrastructure, teaching practices and traditions etc. are major obstacles that need to be overcome if the usage of open content should increase.
The UPV OpenCourseWare online platform offers teaching materials related to more than 100 subjects taught in the Universitat Politècnica de València (Spain).
Open, free and accessible to everybody, this initiative is part of the international OCW Consortium and aims to show UPV's potential to attract the best students and to train professionals with a recognised standard of excellence.
Humanities, Law and Continuing Education subjects are included in the UPV OCW e-catalogue of free learning material.
The Universitat Politècnica de València UPV is a public educational and research institution with over 35,000 students and 2,600 faculty and research staff.
Essen, April 2013 - To discuss this matter, the University of Duisburg-Essen invites educators and researchers to a European conference on May 16 and 17, 2013. Some main points of dialogue will include defining quality in learning and innovations in learning resources.
Recently Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have shaken up the blogosphere and media reports on higher education. These courses make use of open digital resources for learning and have attracted hundreds of thousands of online learners at no cost. A digital resource for learning can be a written text, pictures, slides, videos, a 3-D simulation or a website combining all of them into ready-made curricula including tools for (self-)assessment for educators or learners. More and more digital resources with open licenses facilitate educators and learners in editing, improving, and adapting to different learning situations inside or outside of the classroom and in turn share their own work with the online community. These open digital resources provide the foundation for a borderless exchange of teaching and learning methods in many different fields. But a potential conflict exists between open learning resources and the quality of those resources. Restrictions on the certification of the creators of such content or the access to learning materials through paywalls have to some degree defended the quality of those resources in the past. How can creators ensure that their digital resources meet an appropriate level of quality and how can users be certain that said resources are worth their time?
The LINQ conference will bring together current initiatives from all areas of education - schooling, adult learning, informal and on-the-job learning - to demonstrate their online resources and methods of quality development and thereby address this potential conflict. An example of such an initiative is VOA3R (Virtual Open Access Agriculture and Aquaculture Repository), a European research project consortium of a variety universities and research centres. This group is building a hub for resources in agriculture and aqua-science through a social network in which researchers can share, comment and rate content. Through the VOA3R platform advances are being made in the sharing, reciprocal reviewing, and rating of learning innovations in the aforementioned fields, thereby addressing the important aspect of learning quality which should accompany learning development. These advances have proven of great interest to the Global Headquarter of United Nations' organization Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) - LINQ conference host and supporter of the VOA3R project.
In Rome, discussions will deal with the following questions:
· How can the quality of resources be improved and what does “quality” actually mean for teachers, learners and institutions?
· Are teachers and educational institutions ready to make use of the wealth of resources and how do they find the “right” thing?
· Will the future of digital resources be determined by metadata, i.e. the data about data, feeding databases and search engines?
· What must be done to ensure that we can still access valuable resources in 15 years from now (think about your files from 1998)?
· Do more easy-to-find resources lead to better learning?
Especially but not exclusively for those who do not plan to travel to Rome in May, the University of Duisburg-Essen is inviting interested parties to exchange views on the future of digital resources on Facebook: www.facebook.com/LINQConference. Two conference fee waivers will be given away to Facebook-Followers.
The “Policy guidelines for mobile learning” developed by UNESCO seek to help policy-makers better understand what mobile learning is and how its unique benefits can be leveraged to advance progress towards Education for All.
UNESCO believes that mobile technologies can expand and enrich educational opportunities for learners in diverse settings. Yet most ICT in education policies were articulated in a pre-mobile era and they do not seek to maximize the learning potentials of mobile technology. The rare policies that do reference mobile devices tend to treat them tangentially or ban their use in schools.
Today, a growing body of evidence suggests that ubiquitous mobile devices – especially mobile phones and, more recently, tablet computers – are being used by learners and educators around the world to access information, streamline administration and facilitate learning in new and innovative ways.
Developed in consultation with experts in over 20 countries, UNESCO’s “Policy guidelines for mobile learning” have broad application and can accommodate a wide range of institutions, including K–12 schools, universities, community centres, and technical and vocational schools.
Policy-makers are encouraged to adopt UNESCO’s policy recommendations, tailoring them as necessary to reflect the unique needs and on-the-ground realities of local contexts.
The document was presented during the UNESCO Mobile Learning Week 2013, held from 18 to 22 February in Paris.
Born in Athens, European Union (EU) Special Representative for Human Rights Stavros Lambrinidis is an attorney, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece and a former Vice-President of the European Parliament. The speech he delivered at the Tech @State High Level conference in Washington, USA, highlights the EU's commitment to protecting human rights and democracy by promoting internet freedom.
Democracy cannot exist without both offline and online freedom of expression, according to Stavros Lambrinidis, EU Special Representative for Human Rights. To that end, the EU must uphold its norms, principles, and values in both offline and online worlds, he stressed. In his speech, delivered at the Tech @State High Level conference, Lambrinidis outlined the EU's action plan for reaching this objective.
One of the next steps will be to develop and publish a set of EU guidelines on freedom of expression—online and offline—that will include the protection of bloggers and journalists. The handbook will help unfurl the EU's view on the restriction of freedom, access to the Internet, and the arrest of bloggers, already made public through repeated condemnation of such acts.
Other planned action includes sending clear political messages against increased internet censorship, and possibly curbing the export of materials intended for internet monitoring and/or telecommunication surveillance in violation of human rights. The EU has already adopted sanctions prohibiting the export of this kind of technology to Syria and Iran, in hopes of preventing authoritarian regimes from using them against human rights defenders.