This is the blog for the eSTEeM project: Using OpenStudio in STEM learning.

OpenStudio, developed by the Open University, enables students to create and upload audio-visual resources, and to engage in dialogue with their peers, their tutors and their module team around these resources.

This project aims to explore the use of OpenStudio in STEM disciplines across the Open University, to investigate how it is already being used in modules, and to collate evidence of good practice.

Project leader: Elaine Thomas

Team members: Leonor Barroca, Helen Donelan, Karen Kear and Jon Rosewell

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T189 Digital photography: creating and sharing better images

OpenStudio was originally developed to support the T189 Digital Photography, although it has undergone several revisions and renamings since then. T189 was a 10-point, 10-week short course in the Relevant Knowledge Programme, and ran from 2007-2013 with cohorts of up to 1500 students.

Peer review and sharing of photos is central to the module. There are no tutors; although there are forum moderators who are all keen/expert photographers, they are not expected to comment on images in OpenStudio.

The module aims include developing student’s ability to critically evaluate others’ work, which in turn helps develop self-evaluation skills, and allowing students to experiment with photography in a supportive community.

The pedagogical proposition is that providing and receiving critique helps students collaboratively learn how to analyse images using the techniques and skills taught in the course. This helps them to develop their ‘seeing’ — the visual skill needed to compose and take good photographs. Students are encouraged to give and receive feedback as a ‘virtuous circle’ of improvement which will allow them to improve their final assessed portfolio.

Peer critique in T189

Peer critique in T189

In OpenStudio the comment is visible next to the image – this is a different feel from e.g. a forum posting with an image attached. Images can be tagged and camera EXIF data such as exposure is automatically extracted.

Small groups are created afresh each week

Small groups are created afresh each week

Students carry out photographic tasks each week. They work in a different set of students each week, automatically created from those who have very recently submitted work.

At the end of the module, a portfolio of photos is submitted for assessment together with some written reflective questions. The portfolio is submitted via the eTMA system, not OpenStudio.

See the workshop presentation on T189 for further detail.


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