Last week I joined the OER11 conference in Manchester - Open Educational Resources 2011. This year, the conference was hosted by SCORE, through whom I am doing the SPIDER project. Not only did I present my SPIDER findings to date in the form of "Is iTunes U a successful model of Open Educational Resource distribution?" but due to scheduling gymnastics I was able to present it twice. It was fascinating to meet colleagues from Sweden's Lund University, Holland's Delft University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, all of which have iTunes U presences. I had previously heard a presentation about iTunes U at Delft, where it was stated that when a short video clip about a researcher's work was published on iTunes U or other OER channels, that researcher saw a noticeable rise in the number of PhD applicants and an improvement in applicants' quality. I also made a connection with another UK colleague, who described a more devolved use of iTunes U in which content creators at the university are able to upload content themselves to iTunes U-accessible server, rather than going through a 'gatekeeper.' It was a great chance to consolidate what I've learned so far and discuss OER implementations of all shapes and sizes with interesting and international OER folks.I hope I can attend OER12 in Cambridge next year.
Learning Technologist, SCORE Fellow, and Assistant Keeper of the Media Zoo
Beyond Distance Research Alliance, University of Leicester