OpenLearn is Number 1

OpenLearn comes first in an international open courseware provider league table.  Why might it be doing well – perhaps because of a few underlying principles:

1.  LEARNING NOW. There is no wait for our courses to start, no start or stop dates.

2. LEARNING ON YOUR TERMS. Start with bite size articles or videos that might whet your appetite (e.g. a 5 minute article about David Bowie and gender identity, or a free 10 hour course on gender).

3. LEARNING WITH RELEVANCE; OpenLearn is perhaps unique in offering a topical and gentle slope onto learning journeys (sometimes starting with our BBC broadcast TV viewing). All our materials are aimed at connecting the outside world with the world of university curriculum, research and scholarship.

4. LEARNING WITH MEANING:  It offers high quality, free courses produced by The Open University (a world leader in Open and Distance Online Education).  It also offers  journeys with meaningful outcomes in terms of informal recognition of learning (e.g Badges) through to a degree level qualification.

5. LEARNING AT YOUR CONVENIENCE: As well as around 800 free courses, OpenLearn provides articles, audio, video,  activities.  Coming soon our courses will be available as downloadable ebooks/pdfs/Kindle/Word etc for offline learning.

6. LEARNING FIRST (register later): There is no registration required to take a course (see 1) but if you choose to register we can offer more services (track learning, earn badges, regular update newsletter, join forums, or keep a public - or private profile of your learning).

7. LEARNING FOR FREE: Everything is free: We want to remove as many barriers to learning as possible – so our printable statements of activity on all courses, badges, personal profile pages, newsletter, downloads are all free.

8. LEARNING TO SHARE: Wherever possible we release content under Creative Commons license – encouraging learners/educators to copy, adapt (hopefully improve or tailor to local needs) and republish our high quality materials.

Wondering what else we do like this: Checkout OMU.

Wondering why we do all this: Check out Open Educational Media Policy

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40 Millionth Learner

Last week OpenLearn had its 40 millionth visitor, that’s more than all the world’s leading MOOCs combined, and we add another 4-5m new visitors every year. Some of those visitors come from OU BBC co-productions (for example around 100k came in from ‘The Hunt’ many chasing our new augmented reality app). Others come to popular interactives like our photographic memory test (with over 500k visitors), and many to our nearly 1000 free courses (over 2.5m visitors).

Hunt

OpenLearn visitors tend to be less well qualified, and we have a high proportion of disabled learners compared to other OU channels (this is important from both a social and business mission perspective). We’re aiming to remove discrimination but also grow and sustain business and it seems OpenLearn can do both. Open creates enquiries about qualifications; this year 600K OpenLearn visitors made some enquiry about what it meant to study qualifications with the OU – that’s more than 100 times more enquirers than all the University’s other free learning channels combined.

boc

Our new Badged Open Courses (BOCs) have proved particularly successful with visitors. BOC visitors created around 300 module registrations in the last 6 months.  In particular we want to optimise the journey into the OU, and support the progression for our existing students. The OU now uses OpenLearn to retain an active relationship with deferred students. We are also seeing early signs of success with existing students: 52,000 OU students have looked at OpenLearn in the last 6 months. 11,000 of our OU students have enrolled on an OpenLearn free course, of which 5000 were on one of our ‘core skills’ BOCs.

Frog

Soon we will ensure our 1000 free courses can be viewed off-line on a range of devices.  Courses will also all have a new user printed statement of participation.

2016 is OpenLearn’s 10th anniversary and we will be re-launching OpenLearn with, amongst many other things,  a new focus on ‘skills for study’ and ‘skills for work’ alongside a more user and mobile friendly interface.  We’d also love to see some of our Alumni empowered to act as ‘study buddies’ encouraging new informal learners.

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OU is a winner at the 2015 Annual Telly Awards

Telly Award for 60 Second Adventures in Astronomy

Telly Award for 60 Second Adventures in Astronomy

The Telly Awards has named The Open University as a winner in the 36th Annual Telly Awards for their animated shorts 60 Second Adventures in Astronomy. This year the Telly Awards had nearly 12,000 entries from all over the world.

60 Second Adventures in Astronomy

Voiced by David Mitchell, this series of twelve 60 second animations examines different scientific concepts from the big bang to relativity, from black holes to dark matter.  The series also explores the possibility of life beyond Earth and considers why David Bowie is still none the wiser about life on Mars.

60 second Adventures in Astronomy was produced by Catherine Chambers, with academic support from Janet Sumner, David Rothery, Stephen Serjeant and Andrew Norton. It was funded by a Science in Society public engagement award from the Science and Technology Facilities Council,

The Telly Awards was founded in 1979 and is the premier award honouring outstanding local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs, the finest video and film productions, and online commercials, video and films.  Winners represent the best work of the most respected advertising agencies, production companies, television stations, cable operators, and corporate video departments in the world.

Watch 60 Second Adventures in Astronomy on YouTube

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The Open Media Unit and Health & Social Care Present: Wanted: A Very Personal Assistant

Faculty of Health and Social Care

Presents: WANTED: A VERY PERSONAL ASSISTANT
Friday 24th July 2015 @ 9pm on BBC THREE

Today, sees the first episode of a 2 part series on BBC Three at 9pm – Wanted: A Very Personal Assistant.  This OU/BBC series forms part of the BBC Three Season “Defying the Label” a collection of programmes tackling perceptions about disability.

Life with a disability can be one challenge after another.  Finding the right carer can open up a world of possibilities.  In this two part documentary series, four young ambitious disabled people are cared for by unemployed people their own age.

There are currently around 300,000 young disabled people in the UK who rely on carers for their daily needs.  For many of these ambitious young people finding the right carer is the difference between achieving their ambitions or a life unfulfilled.  But as a young disabled person in Britain your options are limited, as the majority of people working in care are over 40 years old.  But with three quarters of a million young people under 24 currently looking for work, could the solution being staring us in the face?

This ground breaking 2 part series explores what happens when four young ambitious disabled people put all their care needs in the hands of unemployed people their own age.  But there’s a catch, to ensure applicants come to the roll with an open mind the exact nature of the job and the employers disabilities aren’t revealed until the final job interview.

Will seeing the world from a different point of view help break down preconceptions of disability and unemployment.     Could challenging shared experiences lead to lasting friendships and even a rewarding new career?

Online:

OpenLearn has extensive resources and information on topics related to this series.  How do you think the right care partnerships can be achieved?  Have your say, share your views, and find out more visit: OpenLearn Wanted: A Very Personal Assistant

This 2-part series was commissioned by the  Open Media Unit, and is supported by The Faculty of Health and Social Care, with particular relevance to BA/BSc (Honours) Health and Social Care (Q18).

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The Open Media Unit and Social Sciences present: The Met: Policing London

The Open Media Unit and Social Sciences present:

THE MET: POLICING LONDON
Monday 8 June 2015
9pm on BBC1
10.35pm on BBC1 Scotland
Monday 8 June, sees the first episode of The Met: Policing London on BBC1 at 9pm, a new 5-part series, filmed over the course of a year.

This series follows officers of Britain’s biggest and busiest police service as they deal with life, death, crime and it’s victims, all across the capital.

Episode 1

The killing of a young black man called Mark Duggan by a Met officer sparked the 2011 riots. Now an Inquiry is about to decide if the killing was lawful and Scotland Yard is anxious about renewed racial tension and more riots in London.

In 2011, a 29-year-old black man and suspected gang member called Mark Duggan was fatally shot by a firearms office in Tottenham. The officer believed Duggan had a gun and that he might use it. The Met’s handling of the situation in the days that followed sparked some of the worst riots in London’s history. Now, an Inquiry is about to announce whether the killing was lawful or unlawful. It’s creating anxiety in Scotland Yard and tension on the streets of Tottenham, one of the most racially diverse areas of Britain and home to the Duggan family.

Management at Scotland Yard is busy planning around the verdict: whatever the outcome they are anxious that it may spark fresh riots. Victor Olisa is one of just 5 Borough Commanders in the Met from a black or ethnic background. He was moved to Tottenham after the riots to try to heal the Met’s relationship with some of the community.  When the verdict is announced, his station becomes the focus of community frustrations and the pressure is on Victor to manage the situation which he does by asking for help from community leaders.

In the weeks that follow, tensions between some of London’s black community and the Met are running high. Police think it’s time for a new approach. At the annual Splash street party in Brixton they work with the black community to police the event the way the community wants it policed.  But can this approach work when gangs have caused chaos in previous years?  And can there ever be a long-term solution to the troubled history of London’s police and some of the city’s black community.

Episode 2

Mistaken identity leaves a young father dead and detectives struggling to catch his killers. Brixton CID hunt a violent sexual offender before he attacks again and Notting Hill Carnival sees London’s biggest police operation.

A quiet after work drink ends in tragedy when a 34-year-old father is mistaken for another man and stabbed to death outside a pub in central London. With little evidence to go on, murder detective John Sandlin hopes that CCTV will give him the vital answers he needs to bring the killers to justice.

In Brixton, CID officer Tracey Miller is on the hunt for a very particular sex offender who has been targeting Muslim women in the area.  With only a photo of the man and no name, it’s a race against time to catch the attacker before he strikes again.

Notting Hill Carnival is one of the biggest street parties in the world and the biggest event in the Metropolitan Police’s calendar. With 14 thousand cops on duty over the party weekend, at a cost of £7 million pounds, the pressure is on for the officers to balance the carnival spirit with keeping the public safe.

Episode 3

London by night has it own challenges. From abusive drunks to high value robberies, burglars caught in the act and the stresses of mental health, tackling the cities crime is different after dark.

On an average night, the Met receives over 4000 emergency calls, keeping London’s 800 on-duty response cops busy from dusk ‘til dawn.

Crimes thrives in the shadows and in the residential streets of North London, a burglar has been caught in the act and it’s down to  PC Waz Din to, literally, talk him down when the suspect is found hanging from a first floor window.

8 miles away, on the busy streets of Soho, something sinister is lurking behind the bright lights. For the past two years, Detective Superintendent Kevin Southworth has been gathering evidence on the thieves and drug dealers exploiting the area. Tonight, with the help of 400 riot-trained officers, he’ll make his move.

After dark, London’s clubs and bars come alive but as the punters spill out onto the city streets, it’s up to the cops to take the abuse from punters who can’t hold their booze. And the long night can be a lonely time for those suffering from mental health issues as Constables Ian Gray and Christine Wratten rush to help two Londoners who are feeling suicidal.

Episode 4

Trident, the Met’s specialist gang unit, tackle drug dealers in South London, police in Camden are overwhelmed by violent moped-enabled attacks and officers in Brixton deal with the terrible repercussions of knife crime.

Gangs are a major problem for police in at least 20 of London’s 32 boroughs. Detectives Stuart McNaughton and Bob Dolce work for Trident, the Met’s specialist gang unit. As increasingly younger boys and girls are being lured into the gang lifestyle, Bob and Stuart have focused on London’s most dangerous gang, working undercover to take down it’s leaders and stop the lucrative drug trade thriving on the streets of South London.

Wealthy residents of Camden, North London, have been plagued by a wave of violent snatch-and-grab thefts by robbers using mopeds to evade police. Suspects are often only in their teens and cops are discouraged from chasing the criminals. Public confidence in the police is running low and it’s up to Borough Commander Richard Tucker to win back local trust and wipe out the problem.

Police Constables Tim Dawes and Steph Mills have been patrolling the streets of Brixton for over 5 years and deal with knife crime on an almost daily basis. But nothing can prepare them for the shock of a vicious knife attack in broad daylight when it’s up to them to try to save the life of an innocent teenage boy.

Episode 5

A new Met recruit must learn his way around the London streets, Camden officers deal with the highs and lows of policing the public and Homicide investigate the tragic death of a four-month-old baby.

In the past year, over 2000 officers have joined the ranks of the Metropolitan police, tasked with keeping the streets of London safe for it’s 8 million residents, 24 hours a day. Over 50% of new Met officers are from outside London and recruit, Yorkshireman Tom Hebblethwaite, has his work cut out finding his way around the city streets. During Tom’s on-the-ground training he must achieve some vital goals from making an arrest to learning to march before he can graduate and ‘pass out’ in front of top cop and fellow northerner, Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe.

The streets of London are a challenge for even the most experienced police constables and response officers Caroline Hay and Karl Davies are old hands at dealing with the ups-and-downs of policing the public in Camden, North London. Whilst putting up with verbal abuse from angry buskers is just part of the job, it’s protecting some of societies more vulnerable individuals that makes Caroline reflect on why she joined the service.

In East London, Detective Jason Weald is nearing retirement and must call on his years of experience to get to the bottom of the tragic death of a four-month-old baby. His team struggle to keep their personal and professional opinions separate as the quest to find justice in this emotional case divides the homicide detectives.

To find out more:

To accompany the series, OMU has produced a free poster looking at the way police fight crime and how it has changed over the years. Copies can be obtain by visiting OpenLearn.

This 5-part series was commissioned by the  Open Media Unit , and is supported by the Social Science Faculty, with particular relevance to Q57 BA (Hons) Social Policy and Criminology and  Q48 BA (Hons) Criminology and Psychological Studies.

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Succeed in the Workplace: free Open University course launches

Succeed in the workplace – ground-breaking FREE course

Succeed in the workplace badge

Succeed in the workplace badge

The Open University’s Open Media Unit and Careers Advisory Service have produced a free online course to help explore career opportunities and build foundations of career planning. ‘Succeed in the workplace’ is the seventh in a suite of OU “Badged Open Courses” or BOCs, all of which are completely free, accessible to anyone and available online.

The new short course (around 24 hours of learning) focusses on developing the skills to write strong CVs and application forms, and to handle different types of interviews. The course authors use their own experience and skills for employment to help learners understand the foundations of career planning to enable learners to build an action plan to help find a job and fulfil aspirations that suits their lifestyle. Enrolling on the Succeed in the workplace BOC also gives learners the opportunity to earn an OU digital badge and Statement of Participation certificate which demonstrates their interest in the subject and commitment to their career.

Clare Riding, Head of The Open University’s Careers Advisory Service describes the new course as timely and much needed –“This course will be valuable for anyone who is considering career change or career development – there are lots of practical opportunities to reconsider your future and take the first steps towards achieving your career goals”.

The OU’s OpenLearn website hosts an extensive and growing portfolio of open educational resources (OER) with over 860 free online courses.

The first six OU BOCs on OpenLearn were launched in February 2015 and are already proving very successful with over 500 digital badges issued within the first four months. BOCs are different from MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) because they are perpetual, enabling students to return to them at any time to refresh their knowledge, unlike MOOCs which have a set start and finish date. OU Digital badges issued with each BOC and accompanying OU Statement of Participation certificate demonstrate learner achievement as learners will have read full online courses and passed an online assessment.

Follow OU Free Learning on Twitter @OUfreelearning

Why we do free learning at The OU http://www.open.ac.uk/about/open-educational-resources/

What are badged open courses? http://www.open.edu/openlearn/about-openlearn/frequently-asked-questions-on-openlearn

OU BOCs with digital badges and Statements of Participation

Link to BOCs http://www.open.edu/openlearn/about-openlearn/try#Badged open courses

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The Open University Presents: Dementiaville

The Open Media Unit and the
Faculty of Health and Social Care present:

Dementiaville
Channel 4

9pm, Thursday 4 June 2015

Today, Thursday 4 June, a brave, new three-part series, Dementiaville, begins on Channel 4.   This observational documentary series, filmed over the course of a year, gains a unique insight into the lives of those suffering with Dementia.

Series overview:-

It is predicted that 1 in 3 people in the UK will be affected by dementia in the future.   This complex disease, with no known cure, can destroy recent memories but leave some older ones intact, causing patients to retreat to their past.  Dementiaville, uses archive footage to illustrate memories, whilst patients’ past and present are explored and new memories are created.

Episode 1: Poppy Lodge – Thurs 4 June @ 9pm

In the first of 3 episodes of Dementiaville the series takes us to Poppy Lodge, a care home leading the way with its controversial approach to dementia. With many residents travelling back in time to memories and places long ago, but forgetting the present, here the staff don’t correct the residents’ realities, instead they embrace what they think is true. We follow Matron Joanne & care worker Craig as they endeavour to reconnect some of the residents to their memories by recreating moments from their past. 56 year old John is taken back to his days in the Navy and for 91 year old Les, a 1940s themed day of celebration culminates in him taking a trip out in a beloved vintage car.

Episode 2: Families – Thurs 11 June @ 11pm

This film features families who are still caring for their loved ones at home.  To keep them at home requires huge commitment, love and adaptation as for them it’s like living with a new person.  It can often feel for the family that the person they love is slipping away and being lost to dementia.   This episode offers an insight into the family’s determination, the impact on their everyday lives and the inner strength that is required.  They attend a work shop run by Dr David Sheard, an expert in dementia care, who shows them ways to reconnect with their loved ones through shared memories and rediscovery of critical moments in their life, whilst building new memories.

Episode 3: Marriage – Thurs 18 June @ 11pm

Imagine if we could go back in time with our loved ones to discover the person they once were?  In the final episode of Dementiaville, the focus is on marriage, following the stories of four wives whose husbands all have dementia.  Jenny, June, Sheila and June meet regularly at Ivy House, a respite day centre in Eastbourne, run by Jane Lowe.  Jane’s approach is to help the wives hold on to their husbands for as long as possible – by encouraging them to build new memories. Whilst seventy-five-year-old Mike travels back to his time in Australia, his peer George travels to the Angel of the North.

OpenLearn has a wealth of information and resources in connection with the series, including a collection of articles and a short audio story about living with Dementia – Louise’s Story.  To find out more and have your say on a range of issues and different perspectives that arise around dementia care please go to OpenLearn

This three-part series was commissioned by the  Open Media Unit, and is supported by the Faculty of Health and Social Care, with particular relevance to BA/BSc (Hons) Health and Social Care (Q18)

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Supporting learning in healthcare practice – ground-breaking free mentorship learning

Press release: Mentorship Badged Open Course launches

Facilitating learning in practice badge

Facilitating learning in practice badge

The Open University’s (OU) Nursing Team and Open Media Unit have produced a free online course in mentorship to develop healthcare practitioners in their role supporting staff who are learning in practice.   ‘Facilitating learning in practice: an OpenLearn resource’ is the sixth in a suite of OU “Badged Open Courses” or BOCs, all of which are completely free, accessible to anyone and available online.

The new short course (around 24 hours of learning) focusses on mentorship skills and it explores the principles and best practices underpinning mentorship in healthcare practice. The course authors use their own experience in the nursing profession to help learners develop their knowledge, understanding and skills of mentorship practice which is relevant to many workplace environments. Enrolling on the Facilitating Learning in Practice BOC also gives learners the opportunity to earn an Open University digital badge which demonstrates their interest in the subject and commitment to their career via continuing professional development.

Practising nurses will find this course particularly relevant as it contributes towards The OU’s Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) approved mentorship programme (register online at The Open University website).

Professor Jan Draper, Head of The Open University’s Department of Nursing describes the new course as timely and much needed “A shortage of trained mentors is a serious challenge to the current plans to increase the registered nurse workforce. The OU’s new and innovative course will be a welcome option for employers seeking to develop mentors in the workplace and therefore help to grow the numbers of qualified nurses”.

The OU’s OpenLearn website hosts an extensive and growing portfolio of open educational resources (OER) with over 860 free online courses.

The first five OU BOCs on OpenLearn were launched in February 2015 and are already proving very successful with over 400 badges issued within the first three months. BOCs are different from MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) because they are perpetual, enabling students to return to them at any time to refresh their knowledge, unlike MOOCs which have a set start and finish date. OU Digital badges issued with each BOC and accompanying OU Statement of Participation certificate demonstrate learner achievement as learners will have read full online courses and passed an online assessment.

Follow OU Free Learning on Twitter @OUfreelearning

Why we do free learning at The OU http://www.open.ac.uk/about/open-educational-resources/

What are badged open courses? http://www.open.edu/openlearn/about-openlearn/frequently-asked-questions-on-openlearn

OU BOCs with digital badges and Statements of Participation

Link to BOCs http://www.open.edu/openlearn/about-openlearn/try#Badged open courses

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The Open Media Unit and Social Sciences present: Wastemen

The Wastemen

The Wastemen

The Open Media Unit and Social Sciences present:

Wastemen
Tuesday 28 April 2015
9pm on BBC2
Today (Tuesday the 28 April) sees the first episode of Wastemen on BBC2 at 9pm. The episode will be broadcast in Scotland at 11.50pm. This is a new 3-part series. Britain generates enough rubbish to fill the Albert Hall every hour. But once we put our bins out to be collected very few of us know exactly what happens to what we throw away after it goes in the back of the truck.

Episode 1: The Home Front – 28th April at 9pm on BBC2

Every household in the country puts a tonne of rubbish out for the bin men to collect each year. In Newcastle the people tasked with dealing with it are waging a war on waste. Landfill is the last resort and is now highly taxed. Recycling rates are now on the rise. And on the streets bin men and council enforcement officers take the fight to the people as they try and get them to throw away less and recycle more. But one time of year always pushes the entire industry to breaking point – Christmas.

Episode 2: One Man’s Rubbish One Man’s Treasure – 5th May 9pm on BBC2

The war against rubbish never stops for the waste men of Newcastle. But the things we throw away have never been worth so much. On the streets of the city no bin, skip or piece of scrap metal is safe from the opportunists who have learned how to turn rubbish into cash. But, as the waste men working at the city’s tips know, the value of waste is not simply financial. Often it’s the emotional value that means that one man’s rubbish really is another’s treasure.

Episode 3: Big Problems Big Solutions – 12th May at 9pm on BBC2

As a nation we throw away more than ever. And with increasing landfill taxes and concerns over the environment, burying it all in a hole in the ground is no longer an option. Bigger and better solutions to our waste problems are needed and Newcastle and the Northeast are helping lead the way. Giant incinerators turn rubbish into electricity, industrial plants turn waste into compost and machines the size of jumbo jets shred old cars into fragments of metal that are sold around the world and reused. A new future for our rubbish is coming.

Online:

OpenLearn also has extensive content in connection with the programmes subject areas.  For more information go to OpenLearn

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OER15 conference

The Open University is represented at the Open Educational Resources conference this year (in Cardiff, 14th and 15th April) by several projects and people.  The Open Media Unit has a poster at the conference about ‘Why and how The Open University provides free learning’.  The abstract for the poster is below:

This poster will show how and why the OU provides free learning via its OpenLearn and OpenLearn Works platforms as well as other third party channels and how it continues to innovate to reach potential learners. The OU ensures it provides about 5% of its course materials as free open educational content every year. It does this because informal learning is part of the OU’s Royal Charter: “Advancement and dissemination of learning and knowledge … to promote the general wellbeing of the community” In the beginning the OU shared course materials via its broadcast partnership with the BBC, however in recent years it has broadened the channels and platforms where OU free content is available to allow learners greater flexibility and help them develop new approaches to learning. Badged Open Courses (BOCs) are the new innovation offered via OpenLearn, they differ from MOOCs because they are perpetual, enabling students to return at any time to refresh their knowledge. The BOCs give users a consistent and coherent approach by providing structure to clusters of OER and complement the extensive growing portfolio of OER on OpenLearn. OpenLearn contains over 12,000 study hours of material in 12 subject areas and has received over 34 million visitors since it was launched in 2006. Informal learners can get a taste of what formal study is like by trying the adapted course extracts on OpenLearn, which helps them discover the right subject area for their needs and builds their confidence as they learn. Users mainly discover OpenLearn via the call to action in BBC/OU co-productions and via Google searches. The OU now syndicates free content to other third party platforms such as iTunes U, YouTube, AudioBoom, GooglePlay and Bibblio. This means that users have a choice of how to access OU free materials online and can participate in discussions via social media tools offered by the various platforms. OpenLearn Works is the sister platform to OpenLearn and enables users to create, upload and share their own OER materials on an OU hosted platform. The platform is currently undergoing further development to support communities and organisations make the most of OER and discover good open education practices. The developments will improve search functionality and user profiles, support alternative formats and badging and make OpenLearn Works interoperable with other platforms and technologies.
Reference: OU Royal Charter http://www.open.ac.uk/about/documents/about-university-charter.pdf

You can also see the abstract and the poster on the OER15 website at https://oer15.oerconf.org/sessions/why-and-how-the-ou-provides-free-learning-739/

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