Archive for January 28th, 2011

Excited by learning at the OU

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Collaborate to compete. Seizing the opportunity of online learning for UK higher educationis a recently produced report to HEFCE by the Online Learning Task Force. The authors include OU Vice-Chancellor Martin Bean, Sir Alan Langlands, Chief Executive, HEFCE, a number of academics and representatives from Microsoft, Apple and also the President of Higher and Professional Education, Pearson Education Ltd. 

The report employs understandings of the history of the OU noting both that ‘this country set a world standard for distance learning by establishing, some 40 years ago, the Open University’ and that

The Open University has developed its own style of online learning called ‘supported open learning’ giving its 250,000 students flexibility to study when and where suits them best. This is in keeping with the university’s founding mission to be open to people, places, methods and ideas.

 The report also noted that

Learners are increasingly able to navigate high quality, open and online resources and can do this through social networks, which in some cases are more supportive contexts in which to develop skills. New broadcast and distribution channels such as iTunes U17, Youtube and Wikipedia demonstrate this trend. Learning environments and contexts are becoming increasingly participative and the learner’s contribution is highly valued by teaching professionals….The Open University, for example, has successfully attracted students by placing small segments of content for informal learning on iTunes U.

Can you help us explore the history of this trend of support for informal learning so that we can better comprehend it and assess the impact of the OU? (more…)