Nov 20, 2007

OpenLearn 2007 - Panel session about the future of OER (day 2)

Research Panel Toru Iiyoshi, M. S. Vijay Kumar, Andy Lane, Diana Laurillard & Stuart Lee: Opening Up Education: Removing Barriers, Fostering Participation, and Promoting Sustainability.

Currently, there seems to be an abundance of ‘open’ educational initiatives, many with the potential to radically transform the ecology and economics of education. These initiatives address various pieces of the educational landscape, including infrastructure, tools, resources, practices, and knowledge. Yet, despite the availability of tools and resources, we risk missing the ‘transformative’ opportunities from a wide range of perspectives—from improving teaching and learning in a single classroom to creating the necessary educational capacity for nation building. As a global educational community, we can benefit from a deeper understanding of how open educational tools and resources are being created and used, what local educational innovations and challenges are emerging, and how we can learn from and build upon each other’s experience and knowledge.

The panel starts with advertising a new book, published by MIT Press, which addresses the open education movement. They say it will be available on PDF, but I have not found it so far. The main pillars of openness relate to technology, content, and knowledge. Would like to see a definition of all, but since the book is still unavailable as OER, I cannot tell anything about it.

Throughout the panel discussion, a number of examples or initiatives are mentioned, such as

Keep Toolkit

The KEEP Toolkit is a set of web-based tools that help teachers, students and institutions quickly create compact and engaging knowledge representations on the Web. With the KEEP Toolkit you can:

  • select and organize teaching and learning materials.
  • prompt analysis and reflection by using templates.
  • transform materials and reflections into visually appealing and intellectually engaging representations.
  • share ideas for peer-review, assessment, and collective knowledge building.
  • simplify the technical tasks and facilitate knowledge exchange and dissemination.

LAMS International (Learning Activity Management System) (pretty similar to OU's Knowledge Mapping Tool called Compendium )

LAMS is a revolutionary new tool for designing, managing and delivering online collaborative learning activities. It provides teachers with a highly intuitive visual authoring environment for creating sequences of learning activities. These activities can include a range of individual tasks, small group work and whole class activities based on both content and collaboration.


ENCORE is an Educational Network and Community for Open Resource Exchange. It is created, managed, and maintained by volunteers from within the learning sciences. Our goal is to support researchers as they exchange open source or open content materials, including relevant support documentation, constraints to implementation, and contact info. ENCORE is implemented in an enhanced wiki format, allowing for easy maintenance of small thematic spaces and collaborations. Researchers may find great materials here, and get support from colleagues to embed or intermingle those materials effectively and appropriately. Instructors or students in learning sciences courses may find and contribute reviews of papers, technologies, or other resources. Small groups can form "Collaborations" to support their efforts to exchange materials or develop new ones.

PHOEBE Pedagogic Planner

The aim of the project is to guide practitioners working in post-compulsory learning (FE, HE and ACL) in designing effective and pedagogically sound learning activities. To realise this aim, the project team proposes to:

  • Develop a prototype online planning tool that will offer users both flexible and guided paths through the planning process and enable them to access a wide range of models, research findings and examples of innovative learning designs, intended to encourage them to explore new approaches and tools in their pedagogy;
  • User-test the planning tool for functionality and usability; and
  • Investigate the feasibility of further development and the integration of the planning tool into pedagogic practice by embedding use of the planning tool into a specific context for piloting and evaluation: namely, initial practitioner training and/or continuing professional development.
The London Pedagogy Planner
The London Pedagogy Planner is a prototype for a collaborative online planning
and design tool that supports lecturers in developing, analysing and sharing
learning designs.

Andy Lane explains that the value of OER is determined and influenced by

  • Availability (how many and in what forms)
  • Accessibility (where found and by whom)
  • Level of use (degree of participation)

The influence for teaching and sharing concern the following factors:

  • Granularity of offerings (size & interdependence);
  • Resource-based learning, stand-alone;
  • Tuition and support separated from content;
  • Versioning & localization.

On the conference blog, Anesa further mentions the implications for learning:

  • Judging the appropriate mix between (i) pedagogic support (built into content), (ii) personal support – self reflection and guidance, (iii) professional support – expert reflection and guidance;
  • The importance of new social computing technologies in facilitating support and interaction;
  • Co-creation of learning experiences in a dull partnership of being a learning broker for self designed programmes;
  • Assessment only or ApL (Applied Learning) courses.

The talk ends with the question whether higher education is ready for open education, mentioning two things: inertial frames (scarcity vs abundance/pundit-pupil vs peer-peer...) and enabling structures (sense making/accountability/accreditation). An interesting panel discussion with some informative slides.


  1. Hallo, hoe gaat het.

    I am just randomly commenting on this post, because I wanted to tell you that I found all of your conference posts quite interesting, almost all of them had one or two new ideas to me, I will be referring to some of them in my opened post. THanks for sharing this for people who could not attend.


  2. thanks Stian, you are very welcome.. for me as well it is a learning experience, I feel honoured that other people find it interesting. Good!

  3. and BTW, I don't know where you're from, so I cannot ask how you are in your language.. :(

  4. Hi ... Just came across this - because was searching my name - and you mentioned my blog posting on the OCHRE blog ... It's good how you were able to summarize everything and make some meaning out of it - my research is a tad bit differnt from the OpenLearn stuff - but I like to keep an interet. Oh yeah ... think I remember you - but not certain :D.