Learning for the 21st Century Open Learning Project

A project we are currently working on with Shaanxi Normal University is taking a participative action research approach to developing a course with Masters level students working in the field of education technology. Although primarily using asynchronous learning approaches, we had our first synchronous session this week and this is just the start of us moving to a position where this is made available as an Open Learning course released under a creative commons licence. This is of particular interest to us as we seek to respond to the current economic climate by exploring new models & approaches for higher education as a part of the Universities Coeducate project.

Some of the research questions we have are:
– how to develop a sustainable business model that allows us to continue engage with learners from different Chinese universities at a cost that is not prohibitive to them
– how to allow anyone to participate in the course on a sliding scale from £0 – £cost of accreditation & support
– how to coordinate activities to retain the key element of synchronous conversational practice with proficient English speakers
– and what are the cultural, technological, pedagogical differences between Chinese teaching & learning and the UK.

Many people are well ahead with some of these questions and we are making the effort to learn from them, but at the end of the day what is possible is very context specific so we shall have to work out our own answers as well.

For this first iteration, we have a payment from our Chinese colleagues to cover the work we have undertaken in developing the course and for our facilitation of the online community & expert input into ‘hotseats’. In this particular case, we will also assess the students but credit awarded will be from the Chinese university not Bolton – lots of variations around teaching & assessment & accreditation are possible!

And of course no YouTube, but we do have the local equivalent youku…
Introductions from IEC staff

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