It’s official… the Open University has now taken centre stage as one of the world’s biggest players in Open Educational Resources – launching 900 study-hours worth of learning materials freely available under the Creative Commons license immediately, and many thousands of hours of material in hundreds of different content areas to follow over the next 2 years.
Excerpts from the official Open University Press Release:
The Open University’s commitment to broadening access to education is being taken to another level with the launch of OpenLearn, its major new open content initiative. The OpenLearn website will make educational resources freely available on the internet, with state-of-the-art learning support and collaboration tools to connect learners and educators.
The site [OpenLearn] is live from today (Wednesday, October 25). This £5.65 million project, generously supported by a grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, will cover a full range of subjects from arts and history to science and nature, at all study levels from access to postgraduate.
Available to learners and educators throughout the UK and worldwide, the project will be of particular significance in The Open University’s efforts to widen access to hard-to-reach groups and tackle educational disadvantage both within the developed and developing worlds.
We had a great kickoff event in London yesterday, with key addresses from Bill Rammel MP, the Minister of State for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education; Lawrence Lessig, Professor of Law at the Stanford Law School, Marshall Smith, Director of the Education Program for the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, which sponsors OpenLearn, and Brenda Gourley, Open University Vice Chancellor.
I went down there with a strong contingent from KMi: Simon Buckingham Shum, Peter Scott, Alex Little, Michelle Bachler, Elia Tomadiki, and Ale Okada, all in place to enthuse about and demonstrate the three KMi technologies that form a key component of the companion LabSpace environment: Compendium, FlashMeeting, and MSG.
Stay tuned for upcoming developments in this space. The basic OpenLearn site is built on top of Moodle, and the key is not how it looks today, but where it is going. Take a look at Tony Hirst’s blog entry about this for a glimpse of some great new ideas, and check out the OpenLearn LabSpace companion site!