Public Group Active 5 years, 9 months ago
This poster will show how and why the OU provides free learning via its OpenLearn and OpenLearn Works platforms as well as other third party channels and how it continues to innovate to reach potential learners. The OU ensures it provides about 5% of its course materials as free open educational content every year. It does this because informal learning is part of the OU’s Royal Charter: “Advancement and dissemination of learning and knowledge … to promote the general wellbeing of the community” In the beginning the OU shared course materials via its broadcast partnership with the BBC, however in recent years it has broadened the channels and platforms where OU free content is available to allow learners greater flexibility and help them develop new approaches to learning. Badged Open Courses (BOCs) are the new innovation offered via OpenLearn, they differ from MOOCs because they are perpetual, enabling students to return at any time to refresh their knowledge. The BOCs give users a consistent and coherent approach by providing structure to clusters of OER and complement the extensive growing portfolio of OER on OpenLearn. OpenLearn contains over 12,000 study hours of material in 12 subject areas and has received over 34 million visitors since it was launched in 2006. Informal learners can get a taste of what formal study is like by trying the adapted course extracts on OpenLearn, which helps them discover the right subject area for their needs and builds their confidence as they learn. Users mainly discover OpenLearn via the call to action in BBC/OU co-productions and via Google searches. The OU now syndicates free content to other third party platforms such as iTunes U, YouTube, AudioBoom, GooglePlay and Bibblio. This means that users have a choice of how to access OU free materials online and can participate in discussions via social media tools offered by the various platforms. OpenLearn Works is the sister platform to OpenLearn and enables users to create, upload and share their own OER materials on an OU hosted platform. The platform is currently undergoing further development to support communities and organisations make the most of OER and discover good open education practices. The developments will improve search functionality and user profiles, support alternative formats and badging and make OpenLearn Works interoperable with other platforms and technologies.
Reference: OU Royal Charter http://www.open.ac.uk/about/documents/about-university-charter.pdf