Unesco World Open Educational Resources Congress

Unesco OER CongressFrom 20th to 22nd of June UNESCO is organising a World Congress on Open Education Resources.

The goal of the 2012 World OER Congress is to invite Governments to view and discuss the merits of open educational resources and to adopt a Declaration that calls on Governments to support the sustainable development and dynamic use of OERs.

In preparation of the conference they are working on an Paris Declaration on OER. Version 7 is now available for review. The draft declaration calls governments to:

  • Foster awareness and use of OER
  • Facilitate enabling environments for use of Information and Communications Technologies
  • Reinforce the development of strategies and policies on OER
  • Promote and adopt legal frameworks for open licensing
  • Support capacity building for the sustainable development of quality learning materials
  • Foster strategic alliances for OER
  • Encourage the development and adaptation of OER in a variety of languages and cultural contexts
  • Encourage research on OER
  • Facilitate finding, retrieving and sharing of OER
  • Encourage the open licensing of educational materials produced with public funds

During the conference there is also a parallel programme:

To provide an opportunity to civil society organizations, academia, and individual experts to present on their OER initiatives, UNESCO is organizing a parallel Open Seminar & Exhibition from Thursday 21 – Friday 22 June.

I will be present there to promote OpenCourseWare in general and our OpenCourseWare in Europe in specific.

Anka Mulder #19 on the 100 most creative people in business for 2012

Anka MulderYesterday Fast Company announced their list of the 100 most creative people in business for 2012. The President of the OpenCourseWare Consortium and Secretary General of TU Delft Anka Mulder is listed 19 on the list.

Fast Company is a US magazine that emphasizes change in business, and focuses on leadership, technology and social dimensions of business.  Fast Company has a strong readership and is regarded as the voice of innovation in business in the US.

We are very proud of her listing. It will certainly help to to get more attention to OpenCourseWare, the Consortium and hopefully also TU Delft's OpenCourseWare website.

Interesting to see is that we get a lot more international attention for Anka as president of the consortium than in the Dutch media.
The last couple of months there are 2 articles in New York Times/International Herald Tribune (#1, #2), article in Times Higher Education, and an article in the Guardian.

Walter Lewin in DWDD

Na het succesvolle optreden van TU Delft-alumnus Walter Lewin vorig jaar heeft het tv-programma De Wereld Draait Door hem weer teruggevraagd en dat hebben ze geweten. Hij heeft de uitzending mooi op zijn kop gezet. Hieronder het gesprek en een tweede proef hij na de uitzending nog heeft gedaan.

Walter is nu ook gevraagd om een college te geven in de DWDD University-serie. Het is nog niet bekend wanneer dit gaat plaatsvinden.

Ik vind het prachtig om te zien hoe Walter de boel op stelten kan zetten. Hij heeft geen haast in tegenstelling tot DWDD, dus loopt het allemaal uit. Matthijs had er duidelijk moeite mee.

MOOCs round-up

Due to the introduction of edX and the start of the MOOC of Coursesites quiet a lot of interesting articles have appeared about MOOCs this last week. Here is a selection:

edX: the day after

EdX logoThe announcement from MIT and Harvard caused quiet some stir around the globe. It even was mentioned in the Dutch media (normally they are not interested in Open Education). A couple of observations and questions I have about this initiative:

  • What's New?
    They made it a big announcement, but if I look at it, the only difference is that they spend a lot of money on it. So what is the fuss about?

  • Platform
    Why do all those Open Education initiative (Stanford, MIT) develop their own platform? Now we have Udacity, Coursera and EdX. The first two provide open education, but are not open-source platforms. EdX certainly is open-source. But there are already a couple of platforms that are used around campuses, which are suitable for Open Education. The Open University UK uses Moodle, Blackboard is doing a MOOC on their Coursesites platform (which is a standard Blackboard Learn with some additional building blocks) and there are more platforms.

  • Sustainability
    MIT and Harvard are both investing $ 30 mln. That is enormous amount of money. It puts Harvard recent announcement about the costs of journals in other perspective. I personally think that with that amount of money you never can get it sustainable. Especially because it get financially self-supporting in a couple of years. It would be much more impressive if they could do this for less then $ 1 mln.

  • Connect online and offline learning
    I'm really interested in the research they are going to do within the project: “research how students learn and how technologies can facilitate effective teaching both on-campus and online. The edX platform will enable the study of which teaching methods and tools are most successful. The findings of this research will be used to inform how faculty use technology in their teaching, which will enhance the experience for students on campus and for the millions expected to take advantage of these new online offerings.”

  • Certification
    In the FAQ they write: "As determined by the edX board, MIT and Harvard, online learners who demonstrate mastery of subjects could earn a certificate of completion, but such certificates would not be issued under the name Harvard or MIT." What does this mean exactly? You will get a certificate, but it is not issued from MIT or Harvard? Is this worth anything?

  • Connect the dots
    I like the concept they announced to connect residential education with OpenCourseWare and Open Education. This is something that is interesting for a lot of brick-and-mortar universities.

  • What do their own students think about it?
    I would be interested to hear what the students of MIT and Harvard think about it. The big question is, what could they have done with 30 mln to improve residential education? In this regard it is interesting to read this weeks posts in The Chronicle.

So, I like the initiative and really appreciate the steps Harvard and MIT are making. But I'm not sure if this is as disruptive as we would like it to be.


edX: platform for online education by MIT and Harvard

Today MIT and Harvard announced a new platform edX. This is a platform for online education:

edX logoHarvard University and MIT today announced edX, a transformational new partnership in online education. Through edX, the two institutions will collaborate to enhance campus-based teaching and learning and build a global community of online learners. 

EdX will build on both universities’ experience in offering online instructional content. The technological platform recently established by MITx, which will serve as the foundation for the new learning system, was designed to offer online versions of MIT courses featuring video lesson segments, embedded quizzes, immediate feedback, student-ranked questions and answers, online laboratories and student-paced learning. Certificates of mastery will be available for those who are motivated and able to demonstrate their knowledge of the course material. 

Below is the official press conference:

Video streaming by UstreamI agree with Susan Hockfield that Online Education is not an enemy of residential education. It offers new possibilities and make higher education better accesible for those who need it, but can't afford it.

I'm a bit jealous in the amount of money ($60mln) they put in this initiative. That certainly helps to get this started and make it into a big succes and maybe even be disruptive.

Overview of the Online activities of #CAM12

Overview of the Online activities of #CAM12

Last week I was in Cambridge (UK) for the 2012 OpenCourseWare Global Conference combined with the UK OER12 conference. Below is a list of online articles, blogs and others that have been published (if you miss an article, please leave a comment or tweet):

There is also an archive of all the tweets and the pictures I have taken. Other pictures are on flickr.

The wordcloud is CC-BY mhawksey.

OpenCourse hosted by Blackboard

Yesterday Blackboard announced the first Free, Open Course on their CourseSites platform:

<p >Please join us in CourseSites for a unique opportunity to learn with Dr. Bonk -- and from each other -- in our first open course focused on increasing student engagement and motivation online. We know your time is valuable and limited, so in this course you choose your level of participation. Whether you simply drop in or fully engage, we hope to see you online!

Course Title: Instructional Ideas and Technology Tools for Online Success

Description: Motivating students and creating community within blended and online learning environments are crucial to academic achievement and success. This open course will provide both theoretical concepts and practical tools for instructors to improve motivation, retention, and engagement within blended and online courses.

Course Objectives
  • Identify and apply relevant motivational strategies and instructional techniques
  • Construct thinking skill options for different types of learners and subjects
  • Design and share innovative thinking skill activities as well as unique cooperative learning
  • Map and apply instructional models and ideas to online learning tools
Course Duration: April 30th- June 4th ( A total of 5 weeks)

Not only is it an interesting subject, but also good to see that Blackboard is taking the initiative to host an open course. I'm certainly participating in the course, not only to learn from Curtis, but also to see how the platform works for an open course.

Global OpenCourseWare Conference in Cambridge

Last year the OpenCourseWare Conference was in Cambridge (Ma, USA) organised by MIT. This year the conference is again in Cambridge, but this time in the 'real' Cambridge as those UK-folks say.

The theme of the conference is Innovation and Impact - Openly Collaborating to Enhance Education. The conference starts on Sunday with pre-conferences and ends on Wednesday. For the die-hards (I'm one of them) there is another conference organised by the Open University of Thursday.

It will be a busy time for me. On Sunday I have a project meeting of my EU-project, on Tuesday we have the OCWC-boardmeeting and I'm asked to make photo's during the conference.

Interesting is that on Tuesday the regional forum of UNESCO is taking place at the conference. This is a preparation for the UNESCO world congress on OER in June.

Banner conference

Trend Report: Open Educational Resources 2012

ReportThe Dutch Special Interest Group Open Educational Resources has written a trend report about Open Educational Resources. The original report was written in Dutch, but is now translate to English.

The authors of the report are:

  • Martijn Arnoldus – Creative Commons NL
  • Cora Bijsterveld – Delft University of Technology
  • Anda Counotte – Dutch Open University
  • Wim Didderen – Dutch Open University
  • Sofia Dopper – Delft University of Technology
  • Ria Jacobi – Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences
  • Ben Janssen – Dutch Open University
  • Hester Jelgerhuis – SURF
  • Ellen Kuipers – Arnhem/Nijmegen University of Applied Sciences
  • Fred Mulder – Dutch Open University
  • Martijn Ouwehand – Delft University of Technology
  • Wilfred Rubens – Dutch Open University
  • Robert Schuwer – Dutch Open University
  • Willem van Valkenburg – Delft University of Technology
  • Steven Verjans – Dutch Open University
  • Nicolai van der Woert – Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre

This report describes the trends in the Netherlands and elsewhere in the field of Open Educational Resources. It comprises twelve articles by Dutch experts in the field of OER in higher education. It also contains twelve “Intermezzos” giving interesting examples.

I would say that this report is a must-read for everyone who is interested in OER. Download the report here.