Thursday, 27 March 2014


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Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Our Magical Open Box to Enhance Individuals' Learning Ecologies

Two months ago Chrissi Nerantzi and myself received an email from Professor Norman Jackson to ask if we could be persuaded to write up our course design and experience of running BYOD for Learning to go into an ebook Lifewide Learning and Education in Universities and Colleges. It will probable come as no surprise that we responded immediately to say we would love to. 

Chrissi and I used social media tools to plan, write and review the chapter. The key tools used were Skype/Google Hangouts for discussion, Twitter DMs for updates/Q&As, and Google Drive for writing. This enabled us to work both synchronously and asynchronously. 

It was an incredibly useful learning experience and one through which I personally got so much from.

Our chapter is titled BYOD4L - Our Magical Open Box to Enhance Individuals' Learning Ecologies


Nerantzi, C. and Beckingham, S. (2014) BYOD4L - Our Magical Open Box to Enhance Individuals' Learning Ecologies, in: Jackson, N. and Willis, J. (eds) Lifewide Learning and Education in Universities and Colleges E-book.

Lifewide Education :

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Saturday, 15 March 2014

Openness In Education: An Online Open Course

Last week I participated both as a Facilitator and Learner in a new short open course. I'm really grateful to Chrissi Nerantzi for offering this opportunity to join her team. The team included: Chrissi Nerantzi, Paul Booth, Peter Reed, Alex Spears, Carol Yeager, Anne Hole, Simon Thomson, Lenandlar Singh, Neil Currie, Helen Webster and Betty Hurley-Dasgupta.

The five-day course ran from 10-14th March and was led by the North-West OER Network and Chrissi Nerantzi from the Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching at Manchester Metropolitan University, to celebrate Open Education Week 2014. The course used Open Educational Resources by reusing the Openness in Education course developed by Dr. David Wiley at P2PU. The course uses some of the content and the course outline, combined with other resources, social media and a team of academics who volunteered to help facilitate the course across the week. All resources are given a Creative Commons Licence so that anything can be shared and re-used. A Facebook group, Google community and Twitter all formed useful spaces to share. Individuals also blogged and shared their posts via these forum. 

During the week there was a webinar, Google hangouts and three Tweet Chats. I led a Tweet Chat with Peter Reed on Thursday evening on Open Practices. The hashtag used was #nwOERchat. 
The hour flew by and was an engaging discussion prompted by the following questions:
  • Q1 Have you ever taken an open online course (before this one)? What was your experience like?
  • Q2 How important is the orientation period and what aspects did you value most?
  • Q3 How would you redesign open online courses, if you could?
  • Q4 How might open learning impact on teaching? Or how can they evolve to impact teaching more?
  • Q5 What barriers prevent sharing and how can we make our teaching more open?
The transcript of tweets was storified by Peter and can be found here. Despite having facilitated a number of Tweet Chats now, there still comes a sense of doubt. Did we ask the right questions? Did we manage to ensure that participants were made to feel welcome and included in the conversations? I am always conscious that newcomers to this new communication forum can feel lost initially. It was good to receive Chrissi's affirmation that all had gone ok!
NWOER is a HEA funded project to help develop, support, share and build a community around Open Education Resources in the North-West of England. I have no doubts that this work will continue and grow!

Open Education Week

Open Education Week is a global, community event that seeks to raise awareness of the benefits of Open Educational Resources and open educational practices. 

Educators from all over the world have been hosting open courses, webinars, Google hangouts, Twitter chats and sharing blog posts of numerous open resources and case studies of use. Via Twitter you can see the many links via the hashtag #OpenEducationWk.


JORUM is a place where you will find free open educational resources produced by the UK Further and Higher Education community. It is a Jisc funded Service in development in UK Further and Higher Education, to collect and share Open Educational Resources (OER), allowing their reuse and repurposing. This free online repository service forms a key part of the Jisc Information Environment, and is part of the wider landscape of repositories being developed institutionally, locally, regionally or across subject areas. JORUM can also be found on Facebook and Twitter

Educators may upload educational resources to the site. To date I have made a small contribution of two lectures:

The Power of OER

Professor David Wiley shares his thoughts on open educational resources. Key messages are the value of Creative Commons licences to allow:

  • Reuse: Use in a wide range of ways
  • Revise: Adapt, modify, and improve
  • Remix: Combine two or more
  • Redistribute: Share with others 

The Power of Open Educational Resources from David Wiley

Why Open Education Matters

From a personal perspective it has allowed me as an Educator the opportunity to learn so much from others through the sharing of their practice. Open courses and social media have provided forums to discuss, debate and share new ideas. It has opened an entirely new ethos for open social learning. 

Throughout Open Education Week numerous resources have been shared. I was interested to pick up contributions from the US. The U.S. Department of Education held a contest to create videos on “Why Open Education Matters". Below are the winning entries. 

Within a statement made by the White House on Expanding Opportunity through Open Educational Resources there is a clear steer on how universities can be involved.
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) are exploring an effort to inspire and empower university students through multidisciplinary OER focused on one of the USAID Grand Challenges, such as securing clean water, saving lives at birth, or improving green agriculture. This effort promises to be a stepping stone towards leveraging OER to help solve other grand challenges such as the NAE Grand Challenges in Engineering or Grand Challenges in Global Health.
The opportunities for collaborations to solve international and local issues are endless. 

The Creative Commons Education Programme

As Educators, by giving our own work a Creative Commons licence, we are paving the way to creating a rich library of open educational resources that others can put to good use. It has to be the way forward. The Creative Commons education page states the following:

With the internet, universal access to education is possible, but its potential is hindered by increasingly restrictive copyright laws and incompatible technologies. The Education program at Creative Commons works to minimize these barriers, supporting the CC mission through consulting, education, and outreach on using the right technologies and licenses to maximize the benefits of open educational resources (OER) and the return on investment in publicly funded education and research programs. Our work cuts across all levels of education (K-12 to postsecondary) and sectors of industry (nonprofit to corporate).