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Institutional context

Page history last edited by Lou McGill 9 years, 10 months ago

Institutional context (Conventions, guidelines and rules regulating activities in the system)


Main questions Additional questions evidence comments
 What are the resource implications?  

Four years ago when I first opened my photography classes online the big issue was 'free' - if you 'give your classes away for free then no one will pay for them'. My answer to those people was that the classes weren't what people paid for - they paid for the learning experience, of being in the room - this online version - this open and connected version just meant that the room they paid to be in now sat at the middle of a network. And that network is now significant. Yesterday it trended on Twitter - I don't know many classes that do that. http://boingboing.net/2013/11/14/phonar-a-massive-free-photog.html


Time and content proliferation: Open Classes produced under a CC BY SA  license and in pulling in large networks and diverse resources need ‘feeding’ – all the time. They can become  “real-time” beasts.   (COMC Final Report)



We have recognised that there is a gap between institutional auditing and time/resource allocation and how to deliver OER successfully  -  e.g. Early in the project the Picbod team time-managed their approach with reference to the JISC funding, making the mistake of treating the open classes as normal  classes by giving one full day over to “open” the class on top of the F2F class. But open classes don’t run like that, they need constant (multi-timezone) low-level attention (you can’t bank a week’s worth with an eight hour day). Most prominent in the external differences was the WIRED article, which pushed thousands of people to the class, a sudden increase in the level of engagement that we could not capitalise on.  

The latter could be both a challenge and an opportunity in that the classes are time hungry compared to traditional face-to-face classes; but the Open classes are simultaneously teaching, networking, collaborative practice/research, marketing and recruitment. From the perspective of this extended function the cost of Open seems more viable, BUT, this requires a very different HE costing model.    (COMC Final Report)



There is relatively little sense of wider awareness of the emerging issues posed by Open Education in the HE sector – by which we mean the broader implications indicated above - as well as the specific ones raised by Open classes. The new economic/cost Models are not at all developed within the HE sector. There is very little discussion of this, or of the potential impact on HE of the proliferation of new, distributed educational resources and their largely ‘non-educational’ sources. This constitutes a significant risk, both to the near-term development of OER/OEP and to the medium term development of HE.    (COMC Final Report)






managing time and changing nature of course support


change in type of support needed



different costing model






general lack of understanding in the sector about the resourcung implications/cost models



 How does this model relate to existing institutional strategies and policies? Are adaptations required or new ones needed?  

Senior managers Associate deans or faculty and above are supportive and welcoming of this as one innovation

At CU  there is no institutional position or push on this - there has been a long-standing and broad support to technology enhanced learning and to participatory / student -centered Teaching and learning strategies.

For the moment this balance is working for our project  and works for others on some related development - e.g. mobile learning wrt Educational Apps etc.   But it is not at the level of developing an institutional policy yet. This will come in the near future. (source call for information during UKOER)


Having not told the university that he'd given his first class away for free online, Worth was prepared for the worst. But it turned out to be just what Coventry University was looking for.

"The VC came to us and asked how we were going to raise the course profile, improve the experience for the students, grow their international opportunities and save money. Well, I was able to show how we'd been very successful attracting large numbers to #phonar and that we've had people go on to assist Annie Leibovitz, Trent Park, Steve Pyke, Elinor Carucci. It's now the hardest course in the uni to get onto, and by using existing social media environments it all came at no extra cost."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-20495489 dec2102

any movement on this - any new policy or strategy


any ammendment to existing strategy




 What are the issues around ownership?  

The open classes can only work with a CC license, which was a big deal for the university because it turns out education establishment are avid All Rights Reserved users too. Much like me thinking I was just an image maker, the uni thought its product was 'knowledge' and their old business model relied on keeping a tight grip on that.

"Well, I knew it wasn't my product as a teacher. My product is the learning experience and opening the doors online meant that I turned that product into an outward-facing asset.

"In a world where everyone with a smartphone is a potential supplier of image content, I had to work out what I did that was different, and it turns out there's a whole bunch of stuff both as an artisan and as a mediator and publisher.

"On a personal level I also found out that this stuff has applications in other areas too - education being a case in point, where I realised the real thing of value was not the knowledge but the learning experience. The message of that experience is amplified by opening it up - hence the success of the open classes."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-20495489 dec2102
changing model - not the content the experience
 Do existing course validation and quality mechanisms need to be changed?  What has had to change in getting the new course validated?

The schedule also identifies focused practical/technical specialist skills sessions, which are of course delivered Face-to-Face, but which also often have permanently recorded version in the form of the activity brief, audio, or video recordings. Each of the sessions is also supported by other resources such as pdf notes and guidance, as well as external links to further guidance and/or to the practitioners web-site.    (COMC Final Report)


Whilst making resources such as lectures, seminars, professional master-classes, skills workshops and assignment tasks freely available is an important step in ‘opening our educational practices, giving an open window  onto what we do, a more significant aspect of these Open Classes is the extent to which they are actively networked and connected - and the new kinds of relationships and activities this enables.      (COMC Final Report)

 How do we brand and market the course?      
Are new operational or organisational structures needed to support this model?   big institutions inhibit innovation - big systems that are efficient and not being questioned. in photography and teaching the systems need to change as the problems have changed. innovation is expensive - have to go in with your eyes open. not going to be easy.however institutions fail - my advice - unpick everything we’ve done and don’t make our mistakes twice… 
 http://connectedlearning.tv/phonar-massive-free-open-undergraduate-class-hybrid webinar March 2014
complex issues as traditional institutional systems may hinder innovation









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