Monday, 28 February 2011

Use and Reuse of Open Educational Resources (OER)

In a recent meeting of SCORE fellows at the Open University, discussion arose about exactly what do we mean by reuse of OER. We agreed there are two issues: 1) is the OER being used, and 2) is the OER being adapted and then is the new version being used. Which of these two kinds of use consititutes 'reuse of OER' may be a question of semantics. To my mind, the real question is whether the OER is being used at all, adapted or otherwise.

I am therefore looking forward to a joint LORO-SCORE impact event on 23rd March 2011 at the Open University entitled, 'OER in learning and teaching: Does it make a difference?' I plan to present some of my early findings regarding the use of learning materials distributed via iTunes U. It seems that iTunes U-distributed material is much more likely to be used as-is rather than adapted and repurposed. Some would say this proves that iTunes U-distributed material is therefore not true OER. Personally, I would state that the point is whether the material is used at all, and I am hearing many great stories from users of learning materials from iTunes U.

If you would like to take part in my survery regarding this particular topic as well as gathering data on mobile device use, I would be very grateful indeed:

Photo courtesy of Noah Scanlin on Flickr

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Having a "Mobile Strategy"

I have been to two conference-type gatherings recently, in which the question arose, "Does your university have a mobile strategy?"

The first was the European Apple Leadership Summit which took place 11 January 2011 and about which I blogged in two parts for the Beyond Distance Research Alliance blog -- part 1 and part 2. In that meeting it was stated that 40% of USA universities have an explicitly-stated mobile strategy. The second time I heard this was when I attended the Open University Winter Mobile Learning Festival, a wonderful showcase of the various ways in which the OU is beginning to address students' growing assumptions that they should be able to access their learning materials on their mobile devices.

Having a mobile strategy is a policy that is, in a way, being forced upon educators. While central service providers of institutions struggle to consider which platforms, if any, to support, especially during a time of economic downturn and possibly less resources with which to launch new systems support of any kind, students are arriving on campus with iPads, iPhones, and Android phones -- and soon Android tablets... not to mention Windows 7 phones which are making a slow start but seem to be a pleasing product.

Does your institution have a mobile strategy? If not, what sort of mobile strategy would you like to see being adopted?

Terese Bird
SPIDER Project, Beyond Distance Research Alliance