By way of introduction please let us know who you are and why you've joined this seminar.
In your view what should we aim to achieve during this seminar?
Wayne here from the OER Foundation.
The OER Foundation is the education charity coordinating the OER Tertiary Education network (OERTen) -- the group of accredited colleges, polytechnics and universities who will be implementing the OER university initiative.
By the end of this seminar, I hope that we will identify a list of implementable suggestions for selecting, developing and instituting the inaugural credential of the OER university.
The suggestions generated by this open forum will be presented to the leaders and decision-makers attending the OERu anchor partners meeting scheduled for 9-10 November 2011 in Dunedin, New Zealand.
You will find more information about the OER university in
I hope that all is well. My name is Ken Udas. I have been professionally involved in a variety of roles in distance and online learning learning since the mid-90s. I am currently serving the University of Massachusetts (UMassOnline). I have also been, at various times, a passive advocate and an active participant in the freedom culture.
I see efforts like the OERu as important high potential models to positively catalyze actionable alternative thinking in an education sector that desperately needs change. Through participation in this dialogue I am keen to contribute to conceptualizing a credential (meeting Wayne's needs) and better understanding what this approach brings broadly to global capacity development that is also of institutional value.
Thank you Wayne for providing this opportunity. I am looking forward!
I think it would be helpful for this group find strategies to include key accreditation bodies and groups such as the Saylor Foundation who are attempting to build open courses which students could complete for credit by colleges and universities.
I am looking forward to the discussions of this group moving forward.
I agree -- it would be very useful to include accreditation bodies -- given your former experience as distance education reviewer for US-based national and regional accreditation bodies would you be able to invite colleagues from these networks to join the seminar.
Speaking for the OER Foundation - -we subscribe to a philosophy of open philanthropy and would welcome participation from all interested people.
Coincidentally -- we invited the Saylor Foundation to join us during the first meeting in February and Alana Harrington from the Saylor foundation was kind enough to submit a video recording. We posted a copy of the video in the meeting summary here: http://wikieducator.org/OER_university/First_meeting
The UAA is part of a network of other Mexican universities dedicated to improving the teaching and learning of foreign languages (RECALE). Our next meeting is at the end of September, so my aim in taking this seminar is to get up to speed on the latest developments in order to see if other Mexican universities share similar interests. I also hope to strengthen my PLN in this area in hopes that I might establish personal contacts that would aid in answering questions that I might have along the way. :)
As far as background, I wear a number of educational hats:
- I manage academic operations for the School of Computer Information Systems and Online Education at Virginia International University in Fairfax, Virginia, U.S.
- I blog about higher education and distance learning for eLearners News.
- I design and teach online computing and business courses for LCO Ojibwe Community College in Wisconsin, U.S.
- I'm an elected member of the Community Council of WikiEducator.
- I'm a doctoral student in International Higher Education at Northeastern University.
Patricia Fahrni (MDE Athabasca), working outside academia at MOSAIC - a large settlement organization in Vancouver, BC. The development of OERu credentials is relevant to adult immigrants I work with - mostly internationally trained professionals and skilled workers. I'll be learning from the sure-to-be interesting discussion. Thanks in advance.
We at Open Doors Group are delighted to see OER University now supported by 7 institutions in 4 countries. We posted this SCoPE seminar on the College Open Textbooks (COT) Community and we will blog about OER U on the COT blog in the next day or two.
My own background: electronics engineer, project/program manager, service/support executive. I have lived in Canada, Germany, and the USA. For a couple of years I served as Director of College Open Textbooks. Now I have returned to industry as an operations director for a marketing automation company. In my spare time, I act as coordinator for the Open Doors Group and I am managing COT's participation in the Mozilla badges beta trial.
I'm David Porter, Executive Director at BCcampus. We're big supporters of the OERu concept and are very interested in seeing it develop and succeed.
For quite a while now we've being seeing a synergistic opportunity emerge that links self-directed learning, OER and prior learning assessment. What OERu has done is bring these pieces together into a conceptual framework that can invite additional participation and bring the required rigour to open new pathways to accreditation and credentials for learners.
We're really interested in the ideas that will emerge in these discussions. Our approach in our own BCcampus work is through challenge-driven innovation, a big part of which involves crowd-sourcing innovative solutions to well-described problems. OERu is a perfect fit for this sort of innovation rubric, and these discussions will hopefully provide diverse input for the OERu challenge.
It's great to see this discussion taking place and I'm sure we will share and learn many things. I'm particularly interested in the mechanisms that turn OER into courses, as I work in the instructional design field. I'm very pleased that we at Thompson Rivers University are now members of the OERu Foundation.
Director, Instructional Design
Thompson Rivers University - Open Learning
I am participating so that in addition to expanding my knowledge and clarifying my own position on the use of OERs, I can report back to my fellow learning designers on the proceedings here. And if I add something of value to the discussion, so much the better!
We're very interested in learning more from your experiences with the Peoples-uni and your relationship with the Manchester Metropolitan University. Thank you for your kind offer to share these experiences :-).
Very keen to hear your advice on lessons learned, what OERu should avoid, ideas for selling the concept to conservative institutions etc. How does QA work in your model?
Thanks for sharing. A phenomenal story and example of what can be achieved through dedicated individuals with a passion to make a difference.
An independent charity with an interest in improving skills for public health practioners has developed and assembled OERs into courses utlimately leading to a Masters degree at a conservative university. An this within a few years. Amazing -- well done Dick.
At some point in the future, I'd like to explore and talk a little more about the QA processes and a few of the pragmatic issues.
For example - -at what point in the process do Peoples-uni students become registered students at Manchester Metropolitan University. How do the student costs compare with traditional MMU students etc. We can explore the detail later.
My name is Bernard Nkuyubwatsi from Rwanda. I work for Kigali Health Institute as a language instructor. I have no experience in Open and Distance Education other than MA training in the field and an online English language course offered to one of my colleagues at work who is currently in China. The course started late last months.
I offered to volunteer in Rwanda Education Board which was established in July, 2011 (last months) especially in its Open, Distance and eLearning unit. My interest is in OER and OERu accreditation strategies that can be used for teacher education and nursing qualifications at bachelor's degree level. This will probably help operationalizing the visions of the Rwanda's Ministries of Education and Health to upgrade in-service teachers and nurses' training via ODeL.
I look forward to learning a lot from the seminar.
I'm Mary Burgess, and I'm the Director of the Centre for Teaching and Educational Technologies at Royal Roads University and our resident OER advocate. With support from BC Campus, we've been working on an OER project here at RRU for the last couple of years.
We use PLAR here for gaining entry into our programs, but mostly it is based on professional experience, not the use of OERs. That change could be very interesting for us and other institutions I think!
Looking forward to continuing the discussion!
As the PLA Coordinator for Kwantlen Polytechnic University I have a strong interest in how OER are being used what their potential is to support self-directed learning, particularly as it related to the acquisition of credentials as well as knowledge.
Most of my correspondents are people who work in NRENs; the network operators who (try to) provide services to edu institutions in each country. My interest is in the development of the OER support infrastructure.
By the end of this course I hope to have a list of applications (and maybe a framework) which OERers will want to access and share on a global virtual network. I've got "Moodle" so far.
They will access this via their institutional account. The NREN managers call these apps, "services". And they would be "federated" across networks. This will give you an idea of what one NREN is doing.
Let me just quote from one of my correspondents.
IMHO the biggest challenge facing NRENs and indeed service providers is what I term as the human firewall, for NRENs this is typically the IT Departments (of institutions) who guard their own customers to varying degrees and as such make it difficult for NRENs to find use cases and leaders to drive the early adoption of customers towards critical mass which then makes the service valued.
Please explain the abbreviations for those of us not in the know. It'd help me (at least) make better/faster sense of the correspondence.
Thank you, Chris
Simon will do a better job of explaining the acronym.
NREN: National research and education network
Many countries have dedicated academic collaborations to provide a broadband Internet backbone to support research and teaching. You can can think of an NREN as a special kind of Internet service provider which focuses on serving universities and colleges.
SImon -- you'll need to correct me if I've got this wrong.
They're critical to the development of the OERu because your institutional credentials will, over time, enable participating institutional members to share domains and services rather than this round robin we have at the moment. i.e. institutional centric.
I haven't figured out the cost savings to the individual institutions as it's the same arguement as all OER - Produce once, share forever. Software/services often gets missed. You can imagine why the institutional IT guys are a bit nervous.
I'm Gina Bennett, & I coordinate distance learning & curriculum development for College of the Rockies in Cranbrook, BC. I am also involved in a partial secondment for an exciting online science project (focussing on the development of remote lab experiences).
I'm joining this seminar because of my long-time interest in OERs which only gets stronger each time I return from an educational consultancy in a developing nation. I believe that education really is the key to sustainable development & until we can provide some equity in who gets to learn & who gets to be credentialled, we continue to cripple development efforts.
I am thrilled that Empire State College, now named the Open University of New York, is an anchor member of OERu. We have always been a learner-centered institution. As we've grown in size, innovation has become more challenging. I see our participation in OERu with other innovative institutions as a way to keep us energized and innovative.
We are very pleased to have you and ESC join us in helping to design and plan OERu futures.
We will benefit tremendously from the foresight and values of Ernest Boyer and your experience at the Open University of New York.
I am Joyce McKnight, an Associate Professor at SUNY/Empire State College a new anchor partner with the OER-u. I have been involved with wikieducator for a couple of years and now with the OER-u at least since the initial dual conference in February. It has become one of my main passions in life...but I do tend to be opinionated. Please remember my opinions are the ideas of just one ESC faculty member but I have been around quite awhile both at the college and in US higher ed...and have the gray hairs to prove it! As Wayne says "exciting times". JMcK