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Fred Mulder
John van der Baaren
Jannes Eshuis
Robert Schuwer

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  1. 1. OpenER: A Dutch Initiative on OER Fred Mulder John van der Baaren Jannes Eshuis Robert Schuwer
  2. 2. Agenda <ul><li>Why this experiment? </li></ul><ul><li>Major goals </li></ul><ul><li>Organisation </li></ul><ul><li>Activities </li></ul><ul><li>Courses </li></ul><ul><li>Research </li></ul><ul><li>Results </li></ul><ul><li>Current status </li></ul><ul><li>Lessons learned </li></ul><ul><li>Future strategy </li></ul>
  3. 3. Mission of the OUNL <ul><li>Working together within networks and alliances, OUNL develops, provides and promotes higher distance education of top quality . </li></ul><ul><li>The university is a pioneer in the innovation of higher education and aims at the wide-ranging needs of its students, the market and the community at large. </li></ul><ul><li>OUNL seeks to be an institution that is strongly anchored in the Dutch higher education system through its educational, research and innovation activities. </li></ul>
  4. 4. OUNL and Life Long Learning <ul><li>The OUNL is a major initiator, together with the national educational broadcasting company and the national infrastructure organisations for education and research, of a national initiative in the field of lifelong learning in which the employer’s organisations, the trade unions and the various educational branch organisations participate. </li></ul><ul><li>This national program aims at realizing a national learning infrastructure for lifelong learning, targeting individual learners and thereby bridging the gap between formal and informal learning . </li></ul>
  5. 5. Why this experiment? <ul><li>2000 / Lisbon Agreement : How can we increase the number of people with higher education? </li></ul><ul><li>Three courses of action : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>creating a wider range of learning tracks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>creating more diversity in higher education </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>bringing more nontraditional groups (i.e. employed and unemployed people) to higher education by extending opportunities for lifelong learning based, amongst others, on an e-learning approach </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Main characteristics <ul><li>OpenER is flexible, open, time-independent, easy accessible (standard PC, Internet access, web browser are sufficient) </li></ul><ul><li>OpenER requires an individual to invest time and effort but does not incur any out-of pocket expenses. The content is self-contained. No materials have to be bought </li></ul><ul><li>Research and measurements of effectiveness around the project </li></ul><ul><li>Almost all learning material offered is in the Dutch language </li></ul>
  7. 7. Intended outcomes (1) <ul><li>16 courses of 25 study hours each (= 1 EC ) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>or > 16 courses (= 400 hours) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>a user-friendly on-line delivery system </li></ul><ul><li>user-friendly on-line facilities for selfassessment </li></ul><ul><li>substantial marketing and PR to create awareness with the Dutch population about OpenER and the OUNL </li></ul>
  8. 8. Intended outcomes (2) <ul><li>free available academic learning materials </li></ul><ul><li>opportunities for those with limited experience and confidence to prepare for formal education </li></ul><ul><li>opportunities for formal assessment and certification as a starting point for a Higher Education study </li></ul><ul><li>extra enrollments in Dutch Higher Education </li></ul><ul><li>knowledge on the effectiveness of open content delivery for stimulating participation in Higher Education </li></ul><ul><li>research and evaluation results on open content delivery and community forming among users </li></ul>
  9. 9. Financials <ul><li>The OpenER-experiment received grants from </li></ul><ul><li>The Directorate Learning and Working, established by the Dutch Ministery of Education, Culture and Science and the Ministery of Social Affairs </li></ul><ul><li>The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation </li></ul><ul><li>To a total of approx. €660,000. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Organisation
  11. 11. Activities to start <ul><li>Selection of Content Management System </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Independent of regular IT infrastructure </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Formulate course characteristics </li></ul><ul><li>Faculty tour </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Three courses already available </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hesitation to cooperate </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“Give away your crown juwels for free“ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>No room for unplanned activities </li></ul></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Course characteristics: initial <ul><li>Size of 25 study hours </li></ul><ul><li>Given the target group: initial Bachelor level </li></ul><ul><li>Content handles a complete subject (no ending with a “cliffhanger”) </li></ul><ul><li>Intellectual properties on the material owned by the OUNL </li></ul><ul><li>In form and content representative for a regular OUNL course. </li></ul><ul><li>Course material in Dutch (to avoid creating a potential barrier when using the English or German language) </li></ul><ul><li>Derive a course for OpenER from an existing regular course </li></ul>
  13. 13. Course characteristics: adjustments <ul><li>Duration different from 25 hours </li></ul><ul><li>Course in English </li></ul><ul><li>Courses developed from scratch </li></ul><ul><li>Add a read aloud version of some courses </li></ul><ul><li>Add courses on an advanced level </li></ul>
  14. 14. Course development <ul><li>Jannes: hit the floor! </li></ul>
  15. 15. Communication <ul><li>Press releases around publication of new course </li></ul><ul><ul><li>National newspaper </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Internet newssites </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>OUNL website and intranet </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Weblog project leader </li></ul>
  16. 16. Feedback <ul><li>Feedbackforms </li></ul><ul><ul><li>General </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Linked to a course </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Registration (voluntarily) </li></ul>
  17. 17. Research: question <ul><li>Characteristics of use of open content </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Anonymous users </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No formal support </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Noncommittal </li></ul></ul><ul><li>How to ensure users take teacher and experts role? </li></ul><ul><li>How to make users more committed? </li></ul>
  18. 18. Research: support <ul><li>Two kinds of support: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>ForumXL </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>notes added to text </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Next step in an evolution </li></ul><ul><ul><li>’80s Books </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>’90s Extension with CD-ROM </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>’90s (late) use of Internet to communicate with tutor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>21st century communities </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Focus on group process </li></ul>
  19. 19. Results (1) <ul><li>Launch on December 5, 2006 generated a lot of publicity </li></ul><ul><li>Some figures: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>650,000 unique visitors, 12% returning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>24 courses online (4 – 45 hours / course) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Creative Commons by-nc-sa 2.5 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Some objects excluded </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>5500 users registered </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Costs for creation €3000 - €30,000 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2000 surveys submitted </li></ul></ul>
  20. 21. Results (2) <ul><li>Five courses offered the possibility to do a formal examination and to earn a certificate. This service costs €50 for a user. About 80 learners applied for a formal examination. </li></ul><ul><li>One course was linked to a series of broadcasts about Dutch history on an educational channel on Dutch television. Each chapter of the course was linked to a broadcast in this serie. Each broadcast was afterwards available on internet, with the course linking to it. </li></ul>
  21. 22. Proof of the pudding <ul><li>Question on electronic order form for regular OUNL courses: </li></ul><ul><li>Was taking a free OpenER course a cause to order this course? </li></ul><ul><li>During period of 13/2/2008 to 15/4/2008: 10,5% of about 900 buyers answered yes. </li></ul><ul><li>Measurements are still going on </li></ul>
  22. 23. Research: results <ul><li>Workshop – 15 participants </li></ul><ul><li>Experiences </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Seeing mistakes and problems from others can be very motivating, making the learning more active. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Notes need editing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Some notes do not have value for other learners (e.g. pointing to spelling errors) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Notes can distract attention from learning text </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Toggle on/off </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Notes should be rated by other learners </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Respond to notes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Do you really want this? </li></ul></ul></ul>
  23. 24. Lessons learned (1) <ul><li>For some users another language than the Dutch language is a barrier. </li></ul><ul><li>Courses of 4 hours were considered too short to get a good idea of what it means to study a subject on this level of education. </li></ul><ul><li>For courses that were fully webbased and did not offer the possibility to print out the course text, users asked for a printed version. </li></ul><ul><li>Errors in the courses were reported by the learners. </li></ul><ul><li>The read aloud versions were hardly used. Main cause reported was the automatic generation of a read aloud version of a webpage (using Readspeaker) with errors in pronunciation. </li></ul>
  24. 25. Lessons learned (2) <ul><li>Objectives for publishing open courses for faculties </li></ul><ul><li>The courses should give a good picture of the main subject areas in our faculty. </li></ul><ul><li>The courses should show how entertaining learning can be </li></ul><ul><li>The courses should also be attractive for our own students. </li></ul>
  25. 26. Lessons learned (3) <ul><li>Rely on quality awareness of authors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Authors are already used to making self study material </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Support of top management is crucial </li></ul><ul><li>Producing courses should be a regular task at faculties </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Higher delivery reliability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not dependant on few enthusiastic people </li></ul></ul>
  26. 27. Future strategy <ul><li>Minimum option: continuation for marketing purposes </li></ul><ul><li>Additional perspective: OER is basis for development of National LLL Network Open Polytechnics (blended learning) </li></ul><ul><li>Extra: Spinoza series: Hall-of-Fame of Dutch scientists (Spinoza Prize Winners) </li></ul><ul><li>New: debate on free schoolbooks in secondary education to be converted in OER? OUNL as advocate and expert in OER </li></ul><ul><li>Overall strategy? </li></ul>