Webinar: The Promise and Perils of creating open courses

Please join us via Adobe Connect for an event we are running at the University of Wollongong (UOW) for International Open Education Week.

“International Studies Online: the promise and perils of creating online,
open-access courses”

Date: Thursday 10 March 2016
Time: 12:30-1:30pm (Sydney, Wollongong),

NOTE this is Wednesday evening for our US/Canadian friends: 7.30pm in
Vancouver, 8.30pm in New York.

Presentation by Dr Deborah Mayersen, Law, Humanities and Arts, UOW. Deborah has
been instrumental in creating 3 of the 4 new courses that UOW are providing via
Open Education Resource Universitas (OERu).

This presentation will be webcast to all via Adobe Connect. Please login at least 5 minutes early to allow for any browser plugins and setup. If you would like to ask a question, please use a headset microphone if possible as the audio quality is vastly improved.

Open Education is an International Phenomena

To celebrate International Open Education Week this year, I organised a couple of events on campus. At one of them  – a panel discussion on the topic of free vs open – I introduced the event with an overview of some interesting international OER cases. Here is the PDF of the PPT if you are interested.

Other contributions came from Mr Kenton Bell regarding his CC-BY ie totally open and free-to-the-world Sociology Dictionary, and from Dr Tillmann Boehme regarding working with the library to source an online resource that would be free for our students. This was to support an online simulation based subject. It was a lively discussion, which I enjoyed very much. And woke up at 3am the next morning with all together too many idea for innovative projects to extend the good work that we are doing at UOW.

MOOCs, MOCs, SPOCs and other emerging terms for different open education experiences

Really impressed with the University of Cape Town’s MOOC website which features concepts, new terminology, strategy, all distilled into info-graphics regarding how it fits in with their overall teaching program. Using their terminology, the course we recently ran as MOOC parallel to a formal subject INTS201 “Model United Nations” would be a “Open Boundary Course”. I like it!

You can read their full paper: “Developing World MOOCs: A curriculum view of the MOOC landscape” for a fuller exposition of this approach.

Types of MOOCs diagram from the University of Cape Town CC-BY

Image CC-BY University of Cape Town

Practical copyright/licencing resources to help Australian unis compete globally

Swinburne and UTas doing a great job so far with their OLT project: The Open Education Licensing Project http://www.oel.edu.au/

They are investigating the copyright and licensing issues around online higher education and developing practical resources to help Australian universities compete globally.

I am looking forward to their copyright and licencing tool, a major outcome of the project.

Open Education Week 2015

This week is the Open Education Week (9 to 13 March) (openeducationweek.org/). Open Education Week is a celebration of the global Open Education Movement. Its purpose is to raise awareness about the movement and its impact on teaching and learning worldwide. Participation in all events and use of all resources are free and open to everyone. This is the event’s fourth year and it’s organised by the Open Education Consortium (oeconsortium.org/).

Athabasca University will host a series of webcasts celebrating Open Education Week. All webinars are from noon-1:00pm MT (6am – Sydney time) and will be held at:  http://connect.athabascau.ca/oew2015

The event details are:

  • Tuesday March 10 – The Battle for Open, Martin Weller, Professor of Educational Technology, the Open University.
  • Wednesday March 11 – The Campus Alberta Open Educational Resources Initiative, Janet Welch, Assistant Dean, Academic Technologies, University of Alberta.
  • Thursday March 12 – Open Education Initiatives in Australia, Carina Bossu, Lecturer – Learning and Teaching, Univeristy of Tasmania.
  • Friday March 13 – Preparing for the Digital University, George Siemens, Assistant Professor, Athabasca University.

MOOCers and Shakers: eLearning Ecologies

At our latest MOOCers and Shakers Forum Emily Purser (Lecturer, Academic Language and Learning Development) and Dr. Marcus O’Donnell (Senior Lecturer, Journalism) discussed what the latest MOOCs have to offer for research in elearning environments.

Emily and Marcus have recently participated in MOOCs focussing on learning about elearning and reflect on their experiences.

2 Australian government OLT grants with OER focus have been announced

The first grant focusses on open-licencing.

Grant Title: “Effective open licensing policy and practice for Australian universities: making online education really work”

Value: $222,000


The second has more of a student and curricula focus. It is led by OERu partner Charles Sturt University (with UTas and UTS), will prepare a National Policy Roadmap and evidence-based case

studies to support universities in creating, adapting, and incorporating OERs in their technology-based curriculum.

Grant Title: ” Students, universities and open education”

Value: $238,000


UOW’s Manager, Open Education is pleased to be on the Project Reference Group for the latter grant project and was involved in writing the grant application when the project leader, Prof. Sandra Wills was still at UOW.

Our first UOW-built MOOC exceeds expectations

UOW’s first locally developed and hosted MOOC “The Reluctant Mathematician” was run in the 4 weeks prior to Autumn session in 2014.

We were expecting around 50 students might enrol in the fully online maths refresher course, however we were pleased to find around 200 students were enrolled at the start of the MOOC and in the following 2 weeks a further 5o students enrolled mainly due to positive word of mouth referrals.

About 85% of participants had English as their first language, with around 15% stating English was their second language. About 60% of participants were tertiary students refreshing skills ahead of study, with the remaining 40% made up of community members.

All participants were emailed an 8 page Guide to the MOOC, however nobody needed help using the website and nobody took up the online coach options that were heavily promoted. Very positive feedback was received about the ease of use of the fully online course. Here are 2 quotes from participants:

“I like the video tutorials. Also, I like the fact that the working out is broken down into a very simplistic form. I am finding it easier to understand now and I can’t wait until the next module :)”

“I have been pleasantly surprised. The videos are good and I find it better than face to face when I can pause and think it through for myself before continuing.”

The MOOC itself is openly accessible and can be perused at all times: http://blogs.uow.edu.au/reluctantmathematician  Due to popular demand we decided to run the MOOC again in March.

Contact Sarah Lambert, Manager, Open Education for further information or if you are interested in developing a UOW MOOC.