Online and Open at GCU

Last week Sheila MacNeill and I attended the Association for Learning Technology conference (ALTC) in Manchester.  The theme of the conference was ‘Shaping the Future of Learning Together’.  The keynote speakers were excellent, and you can get a flavour of them in Sheila’s recent blog post.

Given the current interest in online learning and especially moocs, it shouldn’t be surprising that online and open education featured strongly throughout the conference programme.  Although GCU is not going down the route of large scale Mooc development, we are making progress in our approach to openness as an integral part of the curriculum design process for new online programmes.  The recent approval of an interim Open Education Resources (OER) policy, led by Marion Kelt in the Library, is also a major step towards moving this forward.

My presentation outlined the strategic approach we’re taking to developing online programmes and open learning at GCU, viewing them as complementary to each other and integral to the development of learning and teaching across the campus.  They also chime well with GCU’s Common Good mission and our commitment to social innovation.

There was quite a lot of interest in our approach from colleagues in other universities, so it looks as if we’re moving in the right direction.  Often it’s only when you go to a conference and find out what’s happening elsewhere that you get a sense of where your own university sits in relation to sector wide developments.

I concluded that we are indeed making progress, but that we still have some way to go to transform thinking and fully embed both online and open across the curriculum. We know from colleagues that time and resource for staff to engage in these kinds of developments is still a key issue.  I summed this up with the ACE model (slide 18) – Awareness, CPD and Examples – which shows some of the steps we’re taking to move forward with online and open at GCU.

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