This paper discusses co-authorship possibilities opened up by three OER projects conducted at the Open University (UKOU). UKOU has, as an institution, supported several OER projects that have also received significant external funding – from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation arguably the largest benefactor to the OER movement) the EU Commission, the UK Joint Information Systems Committee (Jisc), the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and the UK National Lottery. OER development has been (or is, in the case of on-going projects), predominantly part of large research and development, externally-funded projects. Different projects have had varied impact on UKOU´s main teaching and learning activities, since, as a large provider of distance education, the institution is tightly structured and managed, and this facilitates some types of innovation more easily than others. However, these projects place the university and some of its members firmly as major players in the OER movement, not only through the many partnerships and research collaborations entailed, but also through the astounding expertise and innovation shared and created through these partnerships.
The presentation will present evidence of knowledge exchange, collaboration and co-authorship within the scope of activities conducted by CoLearn, an international community of educators, researchers and students engaged in the use of technologies for collaborative open learning. The CoLearn network is one amongst the various partnerships and collaborations that have developed around these institutional projects. Grounded on the Freirean principle that students and educators are all collaborative learners and knowledge builders, Colearn’s participants started their research projects in Brazil in 2001 with the aim of fostering studies on educational uses of technology. Colearn has since grown into an international community of educators, researchers and students engaged in the use of technologies for collaborative open learning, which includes more than 3,500 members in Brazil, the UK, Portugal and Spain. CoLearn’s development and association with the UKOU’s OER initiatives have been most significant in three specific projects – OpenLearn, OpenScout and weSPOT. Hence, aspects of these projects have been selected for discussion, providing not only evidence of impact but also, crucially, indications of ways in which co-authorship can, and indeed does foster) pedagogical innovation.
The session will be of interest to anyone looking at or using OERs as the basis for colearning. There will be a 20 minute presentation about the experiences and impact of the projects, followed by a 10 minute discussion on the lessons learned and the way in which those attending can get more involved.
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