Show & TEL 13th Dec 2022

Tuesday 13th December (9.30am – 12pm)
Link to Recording

Join us for the last time this year for openTEL Show & TEL seminar, chaired by Jessica Carr and presentations from Duygu Bektik, Francisco Iniesto, Jenna Mittelmeier, Maria Aristeidou, Fridolin Wild, Koula Charitonos, Andrew Brasher and Paul Astles.

All are welcome!


9:30am – 10:00am: Steering Group – OpenTEL ’23 onwards (Updates from the Chair Eileen Scanlon)

10:00am – 11:30am: Presentations

10:00am – 10:30am: Updates from previous and current OpenTEL fellows

10:30am – 11:30am: Updates from SIG leads and OpenTEL members on current and future projects

11:30am – 12:00pm: Goodbye from Eileen Scanlon


EdTech Forum
Fridolin Wild

Joint webinar series with UNHCR
Koula Charitonos

Module Maps
Andrew Brasher

The role of Learning Design at The Open University in supporting student retention and success
Paul Astles
This talk would begin by framing what the role of a learning designer is at The Open University (OU). We would then move to focus on the work that the OU Learning Design (LD) team have been doing around workload and retention. A brief overview of how real time student feedback is used within module presentation is followed by the impact that course workload, specifically overloaded or unbalanced content, has on student retention and how we use a specialised tool to map workload, activity types and constructive alignment.  We then will discuss the role LDs play in the identification and implication of design decisions, communicating outcomes with module teams and application of the ICEBERG model (this model is used at the OU as a rationale for our approach to impact student retention and success).

open & Inclusive SIG: Expanding the notion of accessibility? Linguistic accessibility of educational materials

logoopen & Inclusive Special Interest Group
Tuesday 1st November (14:00 – 15:30 BST)

To all our speakers and attendees who always take time out to join us for the Open & Inclusive SIG, we say “thank you it has been an eventful year”. For the last time this year, we have our very own Dr. Irina Rets who will be discussing about her recent Research Project. All are welcome as usual!

                                                   Link to Recording

The C-19 pandemic has given momentum to the pedagogy of care approaches – approaches which demand flexibility and sensitivity, for instance, with deadlines and individual needs of learners, and which emphasise that access to learning should be seen as part of a societal issue or an institutional approach to teaching, rather than as a deficit situated within the learner.

While accessibility research has been mainly addressing the needs of disabled learners – in the aftermath of the pandemic – should accessibility research focus more in-depth on other groups of learners, such as, for example, international learners?

This interactive talk will present the linguistic accessibility framework developed in a doctoral thesis (Rets, 2021). We will discuss why there was a need for this framework, and what research methods were used to develop it. We will also talk about how to apply this framework to teaching, and what implications this will have for the learner, teacher, and the educational institution.

Author Bio:
Dr Irina Rets is a Doctoral Researcher in educational technology, based at the Institute of Educational Technology (IET), the Open University (OU), UK. She also holds a doctorate in applied linguistics from Volgograd State University (Russia). Irina’s research interests lie at the intersection of education, technology-enhanced learning, and applied linguistics.

As part of her PhD, she investigated the accessibility of online education to English learners. Irina has used a variety of methods to explore this topic, as well as the topics of other research projects she has provided research consultancy for: eye-tracking, online measures of learner behaviour; statistical modelling, advanced qualitative analysis of the data from over 40 interviews she has conducted to date; cluster analyses; analysis of longitudinal reflective learner diaries; analysis of surveys; participatory research.

Irina is a Fellow of Higher Education Academy (FHEA). Before her PhD at the OU, Irina taught a variety of academic university courses to undergraduate and graduate students in English-medium settings. She was involved in all stages of the teaching of these courses: from course design to course delivery and assessment.


Connected Higher Education in Crisis Contexts Webinar (October)

Knowledge Exchange event: Financing for scale
Monday 31st October (14:00 – 15:30 BST)

We are excited to announce that our next CLCC / UNHCR / OU Knowledge Exchange event will be held in collaboration with the Humanitarian Education Accelerator’s Community of Practice.  This session will focus on Financing for Scale and will be at 3pm CET on Monday 31st October (please note the from Sunday 27th October the clocks will go back in Denmark which may cause some confusion in calendars).

The session will explore the options for funding of innovative education initiatives and will be based on a Financing Scale Learning Paper by Kate Dodgson, who will be one of the presenters.  We will also have a presenter from Kepler, who have recently managed to scale out into Ethiopia, and who will share some of the learnings from this process.  We will also hear from a donor on their perspective of this scaling process and who will share some insights from their side.

For more information about this series of events please get in touch with Dr Koula Charitonos, Institute of Educational Technology, Open University at koula.charitonos at or Francis Randle, Division of Resilience and Solutions, UNHCR at RANDLE at

If you would like to be sent a meeting request for these events please contact openTEL.

Open & Inclusive SIG: Understanding the Different Perspectives of MOOCs Accessibility


Join us for the next open & inclusive Special Interest Group on Tuesday 11th October 2022 (14:00 – 15:00 BST)  to hear Dr Francisco Iniesto talk on Understanding the Different Perspectives of MOOCs Accessibility. All are welcome!

Link to Recording

An accessible MOOC environment should consider every learner’s abilities, learning goals, where learning takes place, and needs for specific devices to facilitate the learning experience. Learners with accessibility needs can face difficulties in using certain technologies, and different MOOC designs may also affect their self-regulation skills, engagement, and communications with their fellow learners. Unfortunately, technologies and pedagogies used in MOOC platforms are not necessarily accessible. This presentation will showcase my doctoral and related research about MOOC accessibility. The investigations involved conducting interviews with a range of stakeholders (providers and learners), analysing survey data, and conducting an accessibility audit. The results provide an insight into the understanding of how MOOC providers cater for learners with accessibility needs, the motivations of learners participating in MOOCs, and ways to improve the accessibility of MOOCs.

During his time as an employee in IET Francisco has been a full-time research associate for OpenTEL for one year. OpenTEL is a priority research area that brings together researchers across the university, with existing research capabilities and established excellence on TEL projects. He was responsible for coordinating OpenTEL several lines of research and events including the creation of the special interest group “Open & Inclusive” which still coordinates.

Other projects where he has been involved part-time include the early stages of ACCESS, a project which is drawing on existing and emerging evidence to inform the design of the programme through an adaptive, people-centred approach through co-creation for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. In this case, Francisco was responsible for investigating the latest methods on codesign within the area of educational technology and health education. More recently he has overseen the trials and research of the most up to date technology in educational virtual assistants for Assistants to the Disclosure and Management of Information about Needs and Support (ADMINS) a project which implies using participatory design, to build a virtual assistant as an alternative to the forms disabled students complete to access study support.

One of the projects Francisco invests currently more time in is the GO–GN Global OER Graduate Network (GO-GN) a network to support PhD candidates around the world whose research projects include a focus on open education. I this case he coordinates the fellowship scheme, where IET is supporting the research of nine alumni of the network with a strong focus on the Global South and EDI values. GO-GN has started a mentoring program in Latin America named Collega.

Other international projects that complement Francisco’s research in Open Education and Inclusion are Erasmus + funded projects Accelerating the transition towards Education 4.0 in HEIs (TEACH4EDU4), European MOOC Consortium Labour Market (EMC-LM) and Relevant assessment and pedagogies for inclusive digital education (RAPIDE), these projects include the use of Microcredentials in the labour market and new concepts such as Education 4.0 in Computer Science.

During his time at IET, he has got teaching experience, since 2019 he is an associate lecturer for the School of Computing and Communications, currently tutor at the modules TM354 “Software Engineering”, M269 “Algorithms, Data Structures and Computability” and TM470 “The computing and IT project”. He has been involved in the creation of the OU Microcredential in FutureLearn “Online teaching: accessibility and inclusive learning”. As well he is tutor for the Master in “Secondary Education, Professional Training and Language teaching” (HE teaching certificate) and the two modules on the development of accessible mobile apps, all these posts are at the School of Computer Science, UNED.

How can we leverage open education and OER for access and participation in HE for refugees

We are pleased to invite you to our monthly Connected Higher Education in Crisis contexts series, taking place online on Wednesday 14th September 2022, from 15:00 to 16:30 BST. The events are held by the Open University UK in collaboration with the Connected Learning in Crisis Consortium and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.

Presentation Title: How can we leverage open education and OER for access and participation in HE for refugees?

Link to Recording

Professor Martin Weller, Institute of Educational Technology, The Open University
Jamie Alexandre, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Learning Equality

Presentation 1 by Professor Martin Weller: How do we leverage open educational resources for learning in crisis contexts?

This talk will examine how Open Education Resources (OER) and Open Educational Practices (OEP), can be utilised in different contexts to improve access, social justice and their role in responding to the online pivot. Different aspects of open education will be considered, and their relation to formal education. The talk will explore the benefits and issues relating to open educational practices for learners, educator, and institutions.

Presentation 2 by Jamie Alexander

Open Educational Resources (OER) are free of cost, adaptable, and able to be remixed and openly distributed. Despite these clear benefits, they have yet to realize their full potential to support refugee and host community learners and educators, and others in low-resource settings. This presentation will explore some of the barriers preventing broad and effective adoption, including limited infrastructure and lack of contextualization and alignment. We will also discuss the work we are doing with UNHCR and other partners to address these challenges, including the creation of open-source tools for supporting completely offline distribution, teaching, and learning, as well as enabling the process of aligning resources from a large offline-ready OER repository to national curricular standards, through both manual expert-driven processes and semi-automated methods.

Author bios:
Jamie Alexandre has a Ph.D. in Cognitive Science from UC San Diego, and is co-founder and Executive Director of Learning Equality, an education technology non-profit that creates and supports open source tools to address the infrastructural and resource equity gaps that further marginalize populations with limited or no Internet access. Kolibri, Learning Equality’s open-source offline-installable education platform, has been installed in 220 countries and territories, in rural schools, orphanages, community centers, refugee camps, prisons, and homes. A lifelong tinkerer with a passion for social justice and animal rights, Jamie’s career has been driven by a desire to build a more equitable world.

Professor Martin Weller is Professor of Educational Technology, in the Institute of Educational Technology (IET) at the Open University. He is currently the Chair of the Open Programme, the Open University’s flexible, multi-disciplinary degree, and the Director of the GO-GN, a global network of Doctoral students in the area of open education. He developed the OU’s first fully online course in 1999, which attracted over 15,000 students annually. He was the OU’s first VLE Director, and is the Director of the OER Hub team, who undertake research into aspects of open education. He is the author of The Digital Scholar, 25 Years of Ed Tech and Metaphors of Ed Tech. He maintains a popular blog at

Recordings: Link to Recording

For more information about this series of events please get in touch with Dr Koula Charitonos, Institute of Educational Technology, Open University at or Francis Randle, Division of Resilience and Solutions, UNHCR at RANDLE at

If you would like to be sent a meeting request for these events please contact Yemi at openTEL at

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