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Delivering e learning at large scale - final



Keynote presentation at 5th National and 2nd International conference on e-learning and e-teaching (ICELET2010) held on December 1-2, 2010 in Tehran, Iran.

Keynote presentation at 5th National and 2nd International conference on e-learning and e-teaching (ICELET2010) held on December 1-2, 2010 in Tehran, Iran.



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Delivering e learning at large scale - final Delivering e learning at large scale - final Presentation Transcript

  • Delivering e-learning at large scale Dr Ross Mackenzie The Open University, United Kingdom International conference on e-learning and e-teaching (ICELET2010) Tehran December 2010
  • Outline
    • The Open University
    • Learning & Teaching Online
      • OU Virtual Learning Environment
    • OpenLearn
      • Open Education Resources
  • Dr Ross Mackenzie
    • Lead the team that develops and supports systems for online learning at The Open University
    • Have been at The Open University since 1995
    • Previously at Oxford University and at Cornell University in New York.
  • The Open University
    • The OU is the biggest university in the UK with:
      • more than 250,000 students
      • more than 7,000 tutors
      • more than 4,500 academic/support/admin staff
    • Since launch in 1969 more than 2 million people worldwide have studied with the OU
    • Headquarters in Milton Keynes (80 km north of London)
      • Regional Offices throughout the UK
  • The Open University
    • Distance Learning / Supported Open Learning
    • Technology Supported Learning
      • Always using new technologies
        • TV & Radio in the 1970’s
        • Personal Computers in 1980/1990’s
        • Online in 2000’s
  • OU/LTS image
  • Learning and Teaching Solutions
    • OU Media and Learning Systems development house
    • Produce and deliver all the learning materials used on OU courses
    • 400 staff
      • editors / instructional designers / software developers
  • OU VLE
    • Based on Moodle
      • open source learning management system
    • Scale of Activity
      • 24 x 7 operation
      • More than 1M transactions/day
      • More than 50,000 students/day
  • OU OpenLearn
    • Freely distributable learning materials
    • 800 study units
      • Drawn from across OU curriculum
      • Study time 3 – 30 hours
    • OpenLearn platform also based on Moodle
  • Moodle
  • Moodle
    • Originally launched in 2001
    • Recently (this month) updated to version 2.0
    • Used by 50,000 organisations in 212 countries, and in 82 languages
    • Estimated 40,000,000 users
  • Moodle – Open Source
    • Distributed under a GNU General Public License
      • source code is always available
    • Gives the ability to any organisation to modify Moodle to meet their own needs, and if they wish to share developments back with the community
    • Moodle is PHP-based which means it is relatively easy to modify
  • Adopting Moodle for use at OU
    • Adopted by the OU in mid-2005
    • Didn’t do everything that the OU needed, but were able to modify it as needed
    • Established a development team in Milton Keynes to allow Moodle to be developed for use at the OU
      • all OU modifications shared back with community
  • Extending Moodle
    • Authoring Learning Materials
    • Collaborative Tools
    • Online Assessment
    • Portfolio
  • Learning Materials
    • Authored in XML – using Microsoft Word
      • OU custom module allows authors to create learning materials with embedded
        • Images
        • Videos
        • Quizzes
      • Don’t need specialist web authoring skills
      • Aligned with OU print production processes
  • Collaborative Tools
    • Key to much of the OU learning experience
    • Forums
      • Allows dialogs between students and learners
    • Blogs
      • Personal web log – can be limited to OU community or made open to the outside world
    • Wikis
      • Collaborative working environment
  • Forum
    • Threaded discussion environment
    • Groupings can be limited to tutorial groups, whole course or entire OU community
    • OU rewrote forum to ensure that it would be able to handle very high traffic levels
  • Blog
    • OU enhanced standard moodle blog to allow comments to be added
    • Can be set up within the context of a course or as a personal tools for students to use
  • Wiki
    • Original Moodle wiki had lots of functionality
    • OU use indicated that this overhead was distracting students from their learning activity
    • OU Wiki is a ‘minimalist’ tool tuned to the needs of the learner
  • Online Assessment
    • OU has invested heavily in the assessment elements of Moodle
    • Re-engineered Moodle Gradebook
    • Have redeveloped Moodle quiz engine (for Moodle 2.1)
    • Developed an extension to the quiz to allow richer question types (OpenMark)
  • Portfolio
    • Tools to allow students to
      • Store
      • Save
      • Share documents
    • Initial version had too steep a learning curve, later simpler version had better adoption
  • OU Moodle Architecture
    • Three layer architecture – Red Hat-based
    • 5 webservers – 4 load-balanced serving users, 1 running cron
    • Database cluster – postgreSQL 8.3
    • NFS cluster
    • Storage Area Network
  • Webservers Database servers File servers Storage Area Network
  • OU VLE - More than Moodle
    • Real time collaboration via Elluminate (now Blackboard Collaborate)
    • Google Apps for Education – providing email and other collaborative and storage facilities
    • Assignment Handling – document tracking and handling movement of assignment between students and tutors.
  • Elluminate/Blackboard Collaborate
    • Real time collaborative tools – audio / video / whiteboard
    • Tightly integrated with Moodle
    • Used with c. 12000 modern language students
    • Trial use in most areas of the University
  • Google Apps for Education
    • Being introduced for all students to provide
      • email
      • large storage capacity
      • collaborate document authoring environment
  • Assignment Handling
    • Much of the OU’s continuous assessment is based on essays – almost all students now submit electronically
    • Handling system relays essays to correct tutor
    • Returns to student after marking
    • System handles over 1 M assignments / year
  • Supporting Users
    • Critical in deploying e-learning at scale
    • Learners
    • Teachers
  • Moving to Moodle 2.0
    • Will be moving to Moodle 2.0 over the next 12 months
    • Taking the opportunity to re-engineer and improve a significant number of elements of the OU VLE
    • Adding new functionality to improve personalisation, support for user generated content, mobile devices
  • More Information
    • About The Open University
      • http://www.open.ac.uk
    • About Moodle
      • http://moodle/org
    • About OpenLearn
      • http://www.open.ac.uk/openlearn/
    • My Work blog
      • http://bit.ly/rossmac
  • Any Questions?
    • Dr Ross Mackenzie
    • [email_address]