Posts Tagged ‘university of nottingham’

Open Nottingham

Friday, April 8th, 2011

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).

RefWorks Trial – Volunteers Wanted

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

Jenny Coombs, Faculty Team Leader in Science and Engineering, who attended one of our recent social media sessions, informs me of a three month trial of RefWorks, the bibliographic management software, to take place in the New Year. Any researchers at the University interested in volunteering can contact Jenny at

“Nottingham Uni’s the place to be…”: The Student Experience, Video and Representation

Saturday, February 27th, 2010

Two videos have recently appeared on the Web which address the student perspective at the University of Nottingham. Jonathan Kogan and Nic Gilbert’s celebrated Student Learning Experience has amassed over 20,000 hits on YouTube, whilst the slightly less irreverent Student Voice video we made for the Visual Learning Lab (VLL) has been ‘on tour’ in staff workshops around the University. At the most recent of these events, a number of attendees – responding to some of the negative comments on teaching practice described in the video – expressed surprise and a little concern that it was showing on the University YouTube channel. I pointed out that the video had gone through the not inconsiderable vetting processes of both the VLL core team and the University YouTube selection panel, and suggested that showing students actively developing critical perspectives of their own learning experiences might actually be seen as progressive.

Though very different, both these videos can claim to represent an authenticity that is lacking in the slick promotional videos which many universities (including Nottingham) routinely distribute, and I suspect many potential students have become somewhat immune to these. The University are hardly likely to endorse Kogan and Gilbert’s film, but if you search for Nottingham University on YouTube, it’s their video that comes up first, and – at least for a certain demographic – it might be one of the best recruitment tools they have. Take it away boys…