MDX (Learning Materials Online) is a cooperative repository offering open education resources produced by several universities from Catalonia and the Valencian Community (Spain).
The purpose of MDX is to make the participant institutions’ teaching production more visible and widespread, thus contributing to educational innovation, on the one hand, and free access to knowledge on the other.
The aims of MDX are:
- To facilitate the management of teaching materials and objects produced by the universities by arranging them and integrating them within a common server.
- To offer the academic staff of the participating universities a resource server that allows the materials produced to be filed and subsequently retrieved.
- To provide users with permanent, simple and fast access to the teaching production of member organisations.
- To add value to the materials collected through elements such as the permanent address, standardised citations or consultation data.
- To establish and apply preservation mechanisms in order to ensure the durability of the materials.
- To encourage the publishing and editing of teaching materials in electronic formats.
The EFQUEL Innovation Forum is the leading conference for practitioners in international quality and innovation in e-learning, training and development. The 8th EIF will take place at the Open University Catalunya in Barcelona on 26-27 September 2013.
This year’s EFQUEL conference will focus explicitly on quality issues, taking stock of where e-learning stands now, how the quality scene has evolved and what the future perspectives are and could be.
During the opening keynote session of EIF 2013 Sir John Daniel (Commonwealth of Learning) and Stamenka Uvalić-Trumbić (UNESCO) will give a joint presentation on the theme “Refocusing Quality in eLearning”. They will be surveying the online learning scene as it now is and situating the challenges of quality in eLearning in the context of quality in higher education. This presentation draws on the “A Guide to Quality in Online Learning”, published by Academic Partnerships.
Other keynote speeches will be delivered by Guy Haugh, a renowned consultant in change/modernisation in higher education and research, who will address the challenges of QA for the future, with the new wave of e-learning emerging through new and fascinating developments like OER, MOOCs and social media.
Josep Grifoll, from AQU, the Catalan University Quality Assurance Agency, will talk about the need of an effective and efficient external Quality Assurance scheme for e-learning and a clear definition of what e-learning is, as a process and as a product. An observation of the current European scenario shows an enormous diversity in the position and purpose of e-learning provision. This is probably one of the current obstacles for a higher development of an external quality assurance system in the sector.
Jon File, from CHEPS (University of Twente, the Netherlands), will present U-Multirank, a new multidimensional, user-driven approach to international ranking of higher education institutions. The dimensions it includes are teaching and learning, research, knowledge transfer, international orientation and regional engagement. Based on empirical data U-Multirank will compare institutions with similar institutional profiles and allow users to develop personalised rankings by selecting indicators in terms of their own preferences.
More than 18 million students, staff and researchers at institutions across the UK could start to benefit from a faster and more secure connection when using their institution’s cloud-based IT services, thanks to a new peering arrangement signed on 21 May 2013 between Microsoft and Janet, the UK’s research and education network..
Connecting the networks privately eliminates the need to traverse data over the public internet. This enables a high bandwidth connection for students and staff to use Windows Azure. Bandwidth is managed, ensuring high-speed delivery with no delay or latency.
The move to peer the Microsoft Windows Azure data centre to the Janet network comes as part of a new strategic alliance between the two organisations.
“Cloud computing has the potential to revolutionise research by offering vast compute resources on-demand. At Newcastle University, we already have over £20M of research projects that are supported by the cloud. However, one of the major barriers holding back further cloud adoption is the time it takes to transfer large datasets from the lab to the cloud for analysis. This new link between Janet and the Azure Cloud removes this barrier, and will allow a far greater range of research projects to fully exploit the benefits of cloud computing,” said Paul Watson, Professor of Computing Science at Newcastle University.
The alliance agreement also means any UK education institution can benefit from standard terms and conditions on Microsoft’s cloud-based productivity software suite Office 365, negotiated by Janet.
Fred Mulder talks to us about OpenupEd, the first Pan-European multilingual MOOC initiative, "We started OpenupEd to offer a good alternative to US-based MOOCs by putting the learner rather than the teacher at the centre and by delivering quality learning materials in a wide variety of languages".
Dr. Fred Mulder, UNESCO Chair holder in Open Educational Resources (OER) at the Open Universiteit in the Netherlands and former Rector of OUNL, is leading the recently launched OpenupEd, the first Pan-European multilingual MOOC initiative.
We started OpenupEd to offer a good alternative to US-based MOOCs by putting the learner rather than the teacher at the centre and by delivering quality learning materials in a wide variety of languages. We have included many European countries and also some countries outside Europe, such as Russia, Turkey, Israel and we are open to universities in other countries to join, for which we have received quite some interest already. This initiative is not revenue driven but rooted in the public domain. Moreover, it is deliberately decentralized towards institutions, and has a European flavour building on values like equity, quality, and diversity.
Does OpenupEd provide a platform to run different MOOCs? How many courses are already available?
We don’t have a central platform, the courses run on the institutions platforms that are already in place. We do have a central portal, however, which provides information about the current 61 MOOCs, the common features that hold for those courses, the institutions that provide them, the languages they are in, as well as links to the platforms where the MOOCs are running.
Does OpenupEd provide any guidelines as how MOOCs should be structured?
The MOOCs have to satisfy eight common features, the most prominent being ‘openness to learners’ and ‘digital openness’, which in its combination is both attractive and distinctive. After the launch of the portal, we received an email from some master students at a prestigious university in Portugal who wanted to explore the possibility of having MOOCs from their university under the OpenupEd initiative. It is interesting seeing students becoming an active stakeholder in favour of MOOCs.
How do you choose the universities?
We started as an initiative from the European Association of Distance Teaching Universities which, among other members, includes all the open universities in Europe. If you are a full member of EADTU you can join without any further quality check. If you are not a full member, we have to make sure that you adopt the above-mentioned eight common features, that you are a recognized institution in your national higher education system, and that the quality of the MOOCs is ensured, as well as that the MOOCs operation will be evaluated and monitored. I would, by the way, certainly encourage other European consortia to get on the move with MOOCs, thereby offering an interesting alternative to participation in edX or Coursera.
The theme of “Dynamic knowledge increase in changing times” of our past year's Corporate Universities & Ac@demies Summit in Paris attracted the forward-looking top-level enthusiasts from 28 countries. They managed to recontextualize the significance of integrating corporate learning needs in high-education and business practice.
“The conference was great, with different insights and various backgrounds – academics, people from the business, consortia..., we all could share our own experience, so it was very rich. I think this was the first time we covered only the topic of corporate universities,” revealed the Chairman of the Main Summit Day 1, Steve Fiehl, Chief Innovation Officer and Co-founder of CrossKnowledge, France.
The bar had been raised pretty high and our 2nd Annual Corporate Universities and Ac@demies Summit managed to exceed these expectations! This year we will be coming together for the 3rd edition of an even more insightful Corporate Universities and Ac@demies Summit, scheduled for 2-3-4 July 2013.
Why to start looking forward to it?
In 2013, 3 days of the 3rd Summit will divide sessions into streamed blocks and peer-2-peer learning sessions while putting the focus on 3 main topic areas.
As the corner stone for further knowledge, creative designs & development of corporate universities, including various learning cultures around the globe will be presented on the first day, followed by management and leadership skills for a successful mature CU on the second day. On the last day of the event, participants will have the unique chance to enjoy a one-of-a-kind digital learning, learning technology and corporate education exhibition.
The attendance is expected to reach 100+ senior-level participants and registrations had not been closed yet, there are still highly beneficial opportunities to join us!
25+ expert speakers and panelists and 70+ delegates from both private and public sectors are already committed to spend 3 days with us in Brussels and contribute with their knowledge, practical insights and innovative ideas!
Hope to see you there!
About Fleming Europe
Established in Slovakia, Fleming Europe represents a Pan-European B2B networking channel for specialists to collect & share knowledge. Since 2004, the company has been encouraging decision makers to share their experiences through market leading conferences, trainings and webinars. The annual audience of 10,000 Banking, Defense, Energy, Oil & Gas, Pharma, Telco and Transport peers benefit from insights on industry trends when applying them to their own business practices.
For more information visit www.flemingeurope.com
The iLearning Forum 2014, to be held in Paris on 11-12 February, will revolve around the key areas of eLearning in the Enterprise and Adult Education in the second decade of the 21st century.
The conference will include moderated sessions featuring three or four presentations on the different angles of a given subject, such as latest innovations, research findings, best practices, business cases and strategies.
The Call for Papers is now open for submissions on any of the following topics:
- E-learning deployment case studies in large and medium French companies: This year’s case studies revisited one year later, with ROI comparisons, benchmarking, performance indicators, critical success factors and learning’s.
- Learning Management Systems: Open source vs. proprietary platforms. Selection criteria, key factors, decision support.
- Pre- and post- testing and certification of learners: Evaluation criteria, what and how to measure, managing the benefits of eLearning projects.
- Storytelling, an overview of this mainstream trend in content design: What is it all about, why it matters, who to use it for, how to get started with examples and results of scientific studies.
- Serious Games - Coming of age: Case studies and analysis, when games work best, what they cost, ROI, new tools and trends, future perspectives.
- Mobile Learning - After the storm: How to develop and integrate mobile content in your eLearning courses, feedback from users, case studies, limits of mobile learning, what works best, which type of audience.
- Social Learning – State of the art of social learning in France: Comparison with other G8 countries. What does the future look like?
- eLearning and the extended enterprise, with a highlight on SMB’s.
Those interested in submitting a paper should send the following information to the conference director, Sally-Ann Moore: Title of the presentation, short abstract (one paragraph), title and role of the speaker, short career résumé (one paragraph) and a picture.
Jeudi 30 mai, au cours de la conférence eLearning Africa à Windhoek en Namibie, fut lancé le Rapport eLearning Africa 20113. Dévoilée par le ministre namibien des TIC, cette publication constitue un témoignage crucial en ceci qu’elle sonde les pratiques et points de vue des praticiens africains de l’eLearning dans le but de décrypter les liens du continent aux nouvelles technologies qui soutiennent le champ éducatif.
Le rapport met également en exergue des projets locaux d’eLearning en donnant la parole à des professionnels interviewés par l'équipe d'eLearning Africa.
Pour découvrir ce rapport en détails, rendez-vous à l’adresse suivante : http://www.elearning-africa.com/fra/media_library_publications_ela_report_2013.php
Le rapport pose un nouveau regard sur les utilisations complexes de la technologie dans l'éducation en Afrique, du point de vue des Africains eux-mêmes.
« J'ai été particulièrement encouragé par les échecs en eLearning exprimés ouvertement », a déclaré le ministre, « ainsi que par l'attention portée cette année au contenu numérique local et à l'intégration des langues africaines ».
En fournissant une vision générale unique du développement des TIC sur le continent, le Rapport eLearning Africa va au-delà des statistiques et donne la parole à des centaines d'Africains impliqués dans la pratique de l'eLearning sur le terrain. L'objectif est de refléter les « les anecdotes, les opinions et les expériences des professionnels du continent et leur contribution au grand récit africain de l'eLearning ».
Ces expériences offrent un aperçu étonnant. Si, par exemple, 40 % des personnes interrogées indiquent que ces technologies créent des contenus locaux, seul 16 % est rédigé dans les langues africaines. Tandis que les médias sociaux et la mobilité gagnent en popularité, l'accès aux ressources en ligne et l'apprentissage en salle de classe demeurent les utilisations les plus courantes de la technologie.
« Le rapport confirme que l'Afrique connaît une mobilité accrue en termes d'apprentissage et d'enseignement au niveau de l'éducation et du développement des compétences, mais que cette augmentation n'a pas encore supplanté les approches traditionnelles de l'enseignement », a affirmé Shafika Isaacs, rédactrice du rapport, qui précise « alors que nous débattons du programme de développement post-2015, la grande priorité reste de relever les défis dans le domaine de l'éducation ».
Le rapport, distribué gratuitement sur Internet en français et en anglais, est destiné à un large public non seulement d'Afrique mais du monde entier.
“We need to educate more people all their lives and we can’t do it using the elite model developed in the past”
Dr. Fred Mulder, UNESCO Chair holder in Open Educational Resources (OER) at the Open Universiteit in the Netherlands and former Rector of OUNL, and Dr. Rory McGreal, UNESCO Chair holder in OER and professor at Athabasca University, recently stopped by Rome to deliver keynote addresses at the LINQ2013 conference.
eLearning Papers has recently launched an issue on MOOCs. What is your opinion about this phenomenon?
FM: I think MOOCs are an interesting phenomenon that gained a lot of media attention recently. This attention can help make OER mainstream in education and get OER in the policies of governments. MOOCs are still in an infancy stage and they can further develop in various ways in the future, but I think they can anyway help reach this ultimate OER goal.
RM: I am very excited about MOOCs. We were involved with the first MOOCs that came out in Canada and George Siemens, one of the founders of the MOOC concept, is one of our faculty members. I have been supporting scalable education nearly all of my professional life and I think the major challenge for the 21st century is how we educate people around the world who are capable of a university education and just don’t have access, which is an issue not only in the developing world, but even in Canada and in Europe. We need to educate more people all their lives and we cannot do it using the elite model that we have developed in the past.
What are the challenges that MOOCs face at the moment?
RM: I think one that has not come yet is the revanche of the traditional universities, but MIT and their initiatives made OER respectable and they are making the same for MOOCs, a real possibility for mass-education.
FM: I think another challenge is to cherish diversity. We should think about how we can serve diversity in terms of language, cultural context, and educational models. There is not a single model that will work for every situation.
Do you think also access and cultural barriers can be other challenges?
RM: The benefit of having MIT or Harvard lead the way is the bigger impact it has on developing countries and it can be a stimulus for smaller universities to do their own. In many cases, in developing countries education is only for the elites, so this new trend breaks away the idea that in order to have an education you need to have an elite system.
FM: In my view it is a mistake to think that you can capture the whole world with US-styled courses in the English language, even if they come from reputed research universities. It’s better to have a collaborative model with universities at different continents to develop their own MOOCs. My concern is to have this at global scale indeed and to have it applied in countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America in different languages and adapted to their own cultural contexts.
Will MOOCs replace more traditional educational models?
FM: MOOCs can have different applications in different situations and some universities might decide to include MOOCs into their curriculum, but I don’t think they will replace a full curriculum. A curriculum is not just a set of courses but rather a coherent program in which courses are related and other components are included as well.
RM: I think it would be difficult, but not impossible. We have the possibility of getting a Bachelor of General Studies solely via prior-learning-assessment or challenge exams at Athabasca University. The possibility is there. As MOOCs develop, there will be numerous career paths: some of them will be MOOCs, some regular courses, some OER, and some with regular textbooks.
So, blended learning is the future. What are the keys for this to happen?
RM: One is the ability to divorce the assessment process from the delivery process. The other big issue is the transferability of your credits so that people’s acquired learning is accepted.
FM: MOOCs will be a challenge especially for open universities. That’s why we started OpenupEd: to offer a good alternative to the US-based MOOCs by putting the learner at the centre and by delivering quality learning materials in a wide variety of languages and with a decentralized model.
If you want to read some more information about OpenupEd, please read this other interview.
Dr. McGreal, in your talk yesterday at LINQ2013 you mentioned that OER should be applied and formatted on mobile devices for M-learning. Why do you think this is priority?
RM: Look around, the world is mobile. It’s not “going mobile” anymore, it is mobile! And yet we are continuing to design our OER as if people have a desktop rather than designing for a small screen, chunking your information. It’s a lot easier to take that and put it on a desktop than the other way around. This is the world we live in, and a lot of educators don’t seem to see it.
You also mentioned that there is a need for OER because we cannot effectively use commercial content. Do you think this can be solved by putting in place the right policy on property rights?
RM: I’m a bit cynical about policies because we have all kinds of policies that we don’t pay any attention to. Policies are often a diversion from doing anything. We can’t use commercial content in designing for mobile devices, and this hasn’t struck anyone yet, they think they have a choice. If you get a commercial e-text, it’ll be in one format, and you can’t switch it to another. There are a lot of people with all sorts of devices and we need to have that capability to adapt from one to the other.
What implications this could have with people with disabilities, for instance?
RM: Again, we have to have these capabilities: text to voice conversion for blind people in particular. These things we need to do and we cannot do them with commercial content. These kinds of restrictions are going to ruin it for educators: we have students in open universities from 60 countries and it’s impossible to negotiate intellectual property licenses with each of them. We cannot use proprietary content on these courses without breaking the law, so OER and Open Education are the key.
And now just a last question for both of you: what is your role as UNESCO Chair holders in OER?
FM: Using the UNESCO chair provides an interesting independent mechanism to promote OER but having the privilege to use the UNESCO label. There are four UNESCO chair holders in OER besides the two of us: Tel Amiel, from University of Campinas in Brazil, and Wayne Mackintosh, from Otago Polytechnic in New Zealand, and we of course would like to expand the number of chairs in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In 2011 we began designing a common plan of action to add value to the OER world. I’m coordinating the Global OER Graduate Network (GO-GN), a network of PhD students and their supervisors from universities in different parts of the world. Currently we have about 15 partner universities and close to 20 PhD students who all will have additional supervision from experts in different countries. The network will meet in an annual seminar where the PhD students present their research plans and outcomes and get feedback.
RM: I am coordinating the OER knowledge cloud, a repository with over 600 referred papers and reports on OER that help students on the Global OER Graduate Network and other researchers working with OER issues to find the information which is full-text searchable. Another major action is the OER University, Wayne Mackintosh coordinates 23 universities members from 6 continents to create pathways for using OER to assessment and accreditation, and Tel Amiel in Brazil is working on K-12 issues.
iSpot is a website aimed at helping anyone identify anything in nature. It has been developed by The Open University (UK) and is part the Imperial College’s Open Air Laboratories.
The “The eLearning Africa Report 2013” shows that laptops and mobile phones are now far and away the most popular new learning devices in Africa, while tablets are still lagging, only being used regularly by 20% of eLearning practitioners.
Launched on May 30th in Windhoek (Namibia) at the 8th eLearning Africa conference, the report offers new insight into the complex uses of technology in African education. “I was particularly encouraged by the failures in eLearning that were so openly shared,” stated the Namibian Minister for ICT, Joel Kaapanda, during the presentation, “and the attention given this year to local digital content and the integration of indigenous African languages.”
Providing a unique snapshot of ICT developments across the continent, the “The eLearning Africa Report 2013” goes beyond statistics and gives a voice to hundreds of Africans involved in eLearning practice at grassroots level. Its aim is to reflect “the stories, views and experiences of African practitioners and their contribution to the broader African eLearning narrative.”
These experiences offer valuable insights. Whilst, for example, 40% of respondents said they create local content, only 16% create it in indigenous African languages. And while social media and mobility are becoming more popular, accessing online resources and supporting classroom learning are the most common uses of technology.
“The report confirms that mobility in learning and teaching is indeed on the rise in education and skills development in Africa but it has not yet eclipsed traditional ways of education delivery,” says Shafika Isaacs, editor of the study. “Addressing the challenges in education continues to be a critical priority as we deliberate the post-2015 development agenda.”
A free copy of the report, available in French and English, can be requested online.