Open Nottingham

Thanks to everyone who organised and contributed to yesterday’s Open Nottingham Seminar. Whilst Open Education Resources (OER) are on the periphery of my own research focus, the event provided a useful overview of current initiatives and some of the key issues and challenges. The University of Nottingham’s activities in OER were briefly showcased alongside several case studies of adoption at Faculty level. Wyn Morgan, Director of Teaching and Learning, gave an honest appraisal of the University’s “social corporate” agenda for open education, as one that values promotional and cost efficiency benefits as highly as any related to pedagogy or widening participation.

Earlier in the day, the University had finally made the inevitable announcement that it is to charge the maximum £9,000 undergraduate fees in 2012. In response to Dave White’s ‘tumbleweed’ question, Morgan suggested that attending a University like Nottingham provides a richer learning experience, enabling access to resources and expertise.

In a previous post, I wrote how Weller and Dalziel (2007) identify the key functions of universities as providing:

  • Structured learning frameworks (i.e. curricula)
  • Access to resources and educators
  • Social learning environments
  • Formal accreditation

This corresponds closely with David Wiley’s categorisation of the universities’ role as an aggregation of:

  • Content
  • Support Services
  • Social Life
  • Degrees

Wiley argues that the development of OER supported by an increasingly social web represents a potential ‘dissagregation’ of these categories, and suggests universities need to present clear arguments for the value of their continued monopoly.

The issue of institutional accreditation of OER was central to the following presentation, an inspiring talk by Wayne Mackintosh, founder of WikiEducator, who described how OER can provide learning opportunities for students underserved by formal education, and the role of the OER University (OERu) in developing pathways to quality assurance for accreditation and assessment services.


Weller, M. J. & Dalziel, J. (2007). On-line Teaching: Suggestions for Instructors. In L. Cameron & J. Dalziel (Eds.), 2nd International LAMS Conference: Practical Benefits of Learning Design, 26 November. Sydney: LAMS Foundation (76-82).

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One Response to “Open Nottingham”

  1. Andy Coverdale Says:

    Videos of all the sessions from Open Nottingham 2011 are now available on the University YouTube channel.

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