Archive for the ‘Pedagogy’ Category

Systems and students

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Often the OU is seen in terms of systems. It also needs to be understood in terms of students. (more…)

MOOC News

Friday, December 21st, 2012

There has been a lot of coverage of Massive Open Online Courses, MOOCs, of late. Stories have been run about the millions invested and the numbers interested in these free online courses open to all with electronic access.

MOOCs have also gained attention because the OU has joined with 11 other UK HE institutions to form a company, FutureLearn, which will offer a range of free, open and online courses on one learning platform. The OU’s Vice-Chancellor has declared that FutureLearn’s aim is to provide the “best quality student experience of any of the MOOCs on the planet’. (more…)

Massive online lectures?

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

The world of online free teaching materials, Massive Open Online Courses and Udacity has been much discussed over recent months. The OU is rarely seen as a precusor to these attempts to democratise education and other developments in this field. There is a history of MOOCs and the OU yet to be written. However, here Shirky  (who popularised the term ‘cognitive surplus’ when describing the potential uses of the web) calls makes a connection and calls the OU ‘remarkable and interesting’. See Clay Shirky, Cognitive surplus: creativity and generosity in a connected age, Penguin, New York, 2010. According to this report Udacity appears to aim to upload lecture theatre talks. This is not the technique favoured by the OU which has developed ideas about online collaborative learning and has popularised student engagement. One of the OU’s lecturers in educaitonal technology discusses the implications here.

Unobservant journalism

Monday, November 12th, 2012

 Writing on 11th November journalist Carole Cadwalladr argued

When the Open University was launched in 1969, it was both radical and democratic. It came about because of improvements in technology – television – and it’s been at the forefront of educational innovation ever since. It has free content – on OpenLearn and iTunesU. But at its heart, it’s no longer radically democratic. From this year, fees are £5,000.

Her analysis of how the OU has supposedly lost its’ way is supported by personal testimony (more…)

Former OU PVC goes online

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

Coursera  calls itself a ‘social entrepreneurship company’ which aims to deliver online courses. Founded by two academics from Stanford University and funded to the tune of $22m by the computer industries, it claims to offer ‘education for everyone’ by providing courses from its partner universities. These include  the California Institute of Technology, Duke University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Virginia, Rice University, UC San Francisco, University of Illinois and University of Washington and also Toronto in Canada and the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland. Coursera does not offer degrees, but students can be awarded certificates. (more…)

Open learning is a movement that isn’t going to go away

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

The idea that technology can be deployed to support learners isn’t new to those who work at the OU. Suddenly, however, it is in the headlines because Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have formed a $60m (£38m) alliance to launch edX, a platform to deliver courses online – with the modest ambition of ‘revolutionising education around the world’.

(more…)

Asa Briggs and the OU

Friday, May 18th, 2012

In a few days Asa Briggs will launch his book which includes material on his relationship with the OU. This is a good moment to reflect on three contributions that he has made to the OU. (more…)

Before Life on Mars, and Other Roman Gods

Thursday, May 17th, 2012
The 1970s are conventionally associated with apocalyptic heradlines, ’3 million face the dole queue’ screamed The Sun (15 01.79), redicting the impact of the events in the ’80s. Others phrased their views as questions: ‘Is anyone running Britain?’ asked the Daily Express (08.02.79) and ‘Is everyone going mad? was the Daily Mirror‘s poser on 05.12.73. However, amidst the petrol and bread shortages and the closedown of TV at 10.30 (due to power cuts and strikes) the decade also saw some exciting use of television for educational purposes. Now associated with the strange messages from another era beamed out to the central character in ‘Life on Mars’ the OU’s TV output was pf significance to many more than this fictional late-night learner. To find out more check out the 22nd International Screen Studies Conference, 29th June – 1st July 2012 at the University of Glasgow. It is there that Amanda Wrigley is to give a paper on ‘Theatre, education, television: the BBC and the Open University in the 1970s’. (more…)

OU 70s drama: first time as tragedy. Rerun and analysis

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

On 22nd June a symposium at the University of Westminster will consider the presentation of Greek tragedies on television. The speakers include Professor Lorna Hardwick of The Open University. She will talk about the use of television transmissions for the teaching of drama by The Open University and how this has developed and changed from 1971 to the present, drawing on her personal experience working in the Department of Classical Studies during some of this period.

Other confirmed speakers: (more…)

Decades of impact: TAD292 lives on

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

TAD292 Art and environment (1976-85) was a distinctive course chaired by Simon Nicholson (1934-1990) who had studied at the Royal College of Art, London, and the University of Cambridge and between 1964 and 1971 taught at the University of Berkeley, California. It sought to develop ‘strategies for creative work’ and it dealt with

the processes and attitudes of art not so much as these were evidenced in products of art but as they underlie the very act of doing art. This can be seen already from the titles which were given to some of the units in the course: ‘Boundary Shifting’, ‘Imagery and Visual Thinking’, ‘Having Ideas by Handling Materials’.

TAD292 students were offered a range of projects on this 30-point course. These included the suggestion that the student stop activity and engage in listening. Another was to compose a score for sounds made from differently textured papers and a third was to enumerate the household’s activities and categorise these in terms of role and sex stereotyping. The aims of the course were attitudional, sensory and subjective rather than cognitive, relating to feeling rather than knowledge. They were ‘more phenomenological than conceptual in nature’. Assessment involved a student not only submitting the product, such as a self-portrait photograph, but also notes describing the process and rationale. The criteria were not specific but involved formulations including enthusiasm, imagination and authenticity. See Philippe C. Duchastel, ‘TAD292 – and its challenge to Educational Technology’, Programmed Learning & Educational Technology, 13, 4, October 1976, pp. 61-66. The course received considerable publicity. In 1976 The World  At One, a BBC radio news programme, reported on TAD292 at one summer school:

Bizarre games and happenings formed a part of experimental residential course for a group of students at Sussex University. They were encouraged to make prints of various parts of their bodies. Some made bare bottom prints, other dragged rubbish through the streets and one group appeared to be aimlessly kicking a giant rugby ball about. (more…)