Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Open University launches OpenLearn

On Wednesday, October 25, the Open University has launched OpenLearn. "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. 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". The launch of OpenLearn is the major open content initiative that follows the MIT OpenCourseWare (MIT OCW) initiative.
The OpenLearn website is based on the open source course management system Moodle, as announced by Martin Dougiamas, Moodle community leader and lead developer in November 2005.

This Open University OpenLearn as well as MIT OCW initiatives are good steps towards the democratization of learning, however I believe that learning is more than content and learning object repositories or technologies. Learning is about communities and knowledge sharing. It would therefore be great to also get access to students and knowledge brokers at Open University and MIT rather than only to get access to content.

1 comment:

Laura said...

Hi... We at OpenLearn agree! Using Moodle has meant we could easily set up discussion forums to connect learners, and we have integrated social networking/ social presence tools developed by the Knowledge Media Institute at The Open University such as MSG, an instant messaging service and FlashMeeting, online video conferencing software. As a distance education institution The Open University has always focussed on how to connect learners and educators who are physically remote from each other and a lot fo our technological innovation has stemmed from the need to recreate the social learning that occurs when learners and educators meet face to face. In OpenLearn we will be looking closely at how learners and educators connect online in a more informal learning setting.