Open Education Team Flies to Vancouver


This time next week I shall be heading to the annual “Open Education Conference” in Vancouver. I think it will be a long old flight but it will certainly be worth while the visit with three days of meetings and talks with the open education community from all around the globe.

Creative Commons BY NC SA 2.0 Tom Magliery

What is open education?

There is a global shift toward opening up the doors to education to make sure learning opportunities are available to all. At De Montfort University we have focused on sharing health and science materials through a number of websites such as this one.

How do you make stuff open?

Well you are¬†going¬†to say there is lots of stuff on the web already, and of course you are right. But beware! You have to ask yourself is it good reputable quality? Are you actually breaking copyright law or is the item tagged with a Creative Commons OPEN licence? Can you¬†actually¬†use it or is there some¬†technical¬†problem? So to make an educational resource such as a video or animation truly OPEN it doesn’t just mean placing it on the internet. It means making sure it is accessible by ANYONE who wants to use it. This includes users on PCs and MACs, those using computers, tablet or smart phone devices.

How do we make resources open?

Our plan has always been a simple one – to release open education resources (OERs) in as many formats as needed. So for example a FLASH ANIMATION that cannot be played on a Mac or iPAD, this can be published as a video on YouTube. ¬† All videos and animations with narrations are also TRANSCRIBED and shared as documents and PDFs. You might think this is a pile of extra work, but it isn’t really. It is a case of simply saving or publishing the OER as something different. Admittedly, transcribing narrations can take time, but is important nethertheless.

CC BY SA Dr Viv Rolfe

Of course one of the amazing conference highlights to me will be the start of my international saxophone career which will take place on the Abitibi Boat Dinner Cruise on Wednesday 17th October. I look forward to joining the conference band of illustrious fellow musicians, and I’m sure there will be more blogs and photographs to follow, which we will of course share as open education resources.