Openness at the OU


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A presentation I gave at the final dissemination event of the Sidecap project in Fiji

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  • I work at the Open University in the UK, and it’s mission is to be open to people, places, methods and ideas. When it was founded in 1969 this meant reaching out to people who were excluded from traditional higher ed, using methods such as TV and print, and local tutorials.
  • We really got lucky with our name! We could have gone for something like ‘the university of the airwaves’ (I think there is a chinese distance ed university with that name) and that would have dated. In contrast the term open seems to have become more significant in education as time has gone on. If I were starting a new unversity now, and I wanted to be radical and cutting edge, then I could think of no better name than the Open University
  • While those original aims are still appropriate ‘open’ has a whole host of other meanings in education now. The OU is trying to embrace many of these changing definitions, but here are some.
  • I’ll talk a bit about openlearn – this was funded by the Hewlett Foundation and our aim was to give away course material. Whereas with MIT a lot of the content they give away doesn’t make much sense outside of the lectures, oru course material is designed to be studied by an individual at a distance, so it was a riskier proposition.
  • 21% is rest of the wolrd – so it’s not just UK and US
  • But even then we realised open education isn’t just about content, it’s about a whole different approach to education
  • Can show all these
  • Painting the dinosaur – you don’t really change what you do, and it’s just a side project, and you carry on as before
  • Openness at the OU

    1. 1. Openness at the OU Martin Weller By mag3737
    2. 2. Blog: Twitter: mweller Professor of Educational Technology Who am I?
    3. 3. The OU The Open University is open to people, places, methods and ideas.
    4. 4. We got lucky! By psd
    5. 5. If you were starting an OU now… • Open source • Open educational resources • Open teaching/courses • Open research • Open technology
    6. 6. What OERs used to look like
    7. 7. 8m visitors since launch Canada
    8. 8. Openness isn’t just content
    9. 9. An ecosystem of openness
    10. 10. Photo – Patrick McAndrew Not just a project
    11. 11. Big OER & Little OER Big & Little OER
    12. 12. Ways of encouraging little OER
    13. 13. Allow space to experiment
    14. 14. Recognise and reward digital outputs
    15. 15. Staff development
    16. 16. Openness is a state of mind…