I attended the POCKET (Project on Open Content Knowledge Exposition and Teaching) workshop last Thursday at the University of Derby. This event was particularly timely as HEFCE just announced an initial £5.7 million of funding for pilot projects on Open Educational Content in higher education institutions early last week. The workshop was started by Patrick McAndrew and Tina Wilson from the Open University who gave an overview of Openlearn, the workflow of open content creation and things to consider before starting an Open Educational Content project. Then we worked in groups to look at how to convert an existing course onto OpenLearn and what were the key issues that needed to be addressed.
In the afternoon session, Sarah Darley, from University of Derby, Roy Attwood from University of Bolton and Mike Jeffries-Harris from University of Exeter presented some course units they have put onto Openlearn. What was most interesting to me was Roys experience in transferring existing open content to the OpenLearn platform as an academic. He has spent the entire summer reading the XML books borrowed from the library and OU XML downloaded from OpenLearn. However, he finally found that in order to upload your course to OpenLearn, you dont have to learn XML at all, rather the easiest way is just to download a course unit from Openlearn, delete the original content and then copy and paste your own content in. I hope his experience and tips will really help those who may be thinking about putting their course onto OpenLearn.
We also explored some tools used by OpenLearn, such as FM (Video conferencing), Compendium (Knowledge Maps) and Learning Journal, etc. Tina demonstrated some examples of how Compendium is being used by educators and learners to present ideas and organise large amounts of information and resources on the web. I have just downloaded the Compendium software a few weeks ago and was hoping to create a knowledge map for Open Educational Resources which could display key concepts and issues of OER movement, visual thinking and discussing process and make accessing to various sorts of resources directly via the map.
The POCKET project is also keen to expand the existing partnership, seek partners to join this initiative and provide support and guidance for individuals and institutions to convert their courses to OpenLearn. It is expected that learners and academics at HEIs in the UK would benefit from an enlarged pool of Open educational resources. For more information about the project and workshop, please visit the POCKET web site.