OpenFiction [Blog]

Just spreadin’ the word – conference

Posted in Open Educational Resources, OpenCourseWare by scarsonmsm on October 21, 2011


Centro Interfacoltà di Linguistica Teorica ed Applicata (CILTA)
University of
Bologna, 29-30 March 2012

This two-day conference focuses on the impact of adopting openness as a key principle in education. It explores how open resources, open practices and open communication can be integrated in language teaching and learning, and in the initial and continuing development of language teachers.


  • theories that underpin openness as a key principle in education
  • using of OER in teaching and/or course development, including reusing and re-purposing existing resources for different contexts or resource-based learning
  • integrating learner-generated content into language courses
  • developing a culture of sharing amongst the teaching community (barriers to and advantages of sharing)
  • sharing resources and/or practices in teacher education (e.g. through peer review of resources)
  • sharing resources and intellectual capital with others to raise individual or institutional profiles (e.g. through publishing resources on itunes U, or through a resource repository, open access publishing of research papers )
  • promoting learner communication in ‘open’ environments (e.g. through online gaming, virtual worlds, international discussion boards (Hanna and de Nooy), blogs …) 
  • facilitating open communication in CMC – where ‘sensitive’ topics can be broached and diverse opinions are valued.

Good news for open sharing, but also a challenge

The announcement by Blackboard that they will now be supporting open sharing on the Blackboard platform is definitely good news, but I also think it really forces the issue of developing an open education strategy at schools using Blackboard. Unfortunately, sharing educational content is much more complicated than simply clicking the new “Share” button. If individual faculty begin to advocate for the open sharing of their materials, the schools are going to have to think about a number of related issues:

  • Who will be responsible for vetting the intellectual property of the content being shared? Are we just going to let the faculty deal with it?
  • How do we want our university to be represented through open content? Is this just going to end up as a grab bag collection of the materials from faculty willing to share, or are we going to publish open materials more strategically to accomplish a larger end?
  • How will this open publication intersect with other efforts to harness digital technologies to enhance the campus experience or build distance learning programs? How can it help? How can it hurt?
  • How will we as a school communicate to internal and external constituencies about our open sharing approach?

Not an exhaustive list, by any means, but some of the questions raised. Fortunately, the OCW Consortium has lots of resources to help schools develop their answers.

Don’t miss: The new WISE OCW web documentary

Posted in MIT OpenCourseWare, OpenCourseWare by scarsonmsm on October 13, 2011

A really nice piece produced by our friends at the WISE Initiative.

OCWC 2012 Call for Papers

The OpenCourseWare Consortium and the Support Centre for Open Resources in Education (SCORE) of The Open University in the UK invite session proposals for their combined 2012 global conference, Innovation and Impact: Openly collaborating to enhance education. The OpenCourseWare Consortium is a worldwide community of universities and organizations committed to open sharing in post-secondary education by advancing OpenCourseWare and its impact on global education. SCORE is funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England and its mission is to work with the UK Higher Education sector to realise the benefits of Open Educational Resources in all aspects of academic life.

We encourage submissions for sessions that highlight developments in open education through the use of OpenCourseWare, summarize research on open learning, showcase best academic practices through the use of Open Educational Resources, discuss innovative approaches to open sharing, and encourage deep thinking about the future of the OpenCourseWare and Open Educational Resources movement for educational systems around the world.

Conference Themes

The role of open technologies in encouraging sharing and reuse of open content
Methods for researching and evaluating open academic practices
Ways in which people can be trained to utilise open content more effectively

How OCW/OER are changing the practices of teachers
The impact that OCW/OER is having on formal and informal learners
How institutional or governmental policies are supporting the open education movement

Ways in which educational institutions are effectively working together around open content
How educational institutions are working on open content with both commercial and not-for-profit organisations
How educational institutions are working on open content with professional bodies and employer associations.

Submissions Due: December 1, 2011
Acceptance Announcements: Week of January 2, 2012
Speaker Registration Deadline: February 27, 2012
Final Papers Due: March 1, 2012

You can submit the proposal at

Also, deadline for the call for proposals to host OCWC Global Meeting 2013 is extended to October 31st. You can find more information and more information at

How it all began (the retrospective edition)

Here is the video of one of my all-time favorite OCW experiences–the panel I moderated at OCWC 2011 of many of the principals involved in MIT’s decision to undertake OCW. It’s been a pleasure and an honor to get to know each one of these gentlemen and see first hand the collective commitment among them to simple do good in the world.