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University College Falmouth openSpace JISC OER project final report
di Savoia, Alex

PublishedMay 2010
PeriodicalPages 1-46
PublisherJoint Information Systems Committee

The innovation capital for the openSpace pilot rests on two key components: 1) subject matter; and 2) its community approach to open education. Both are key elements in the level of interest the openSpace project has gained to date. openSpace is the first open education virtual learning environment to provide vocational OERs from creative subjects in higher education. The OERs in our beta version have been provided by University College Falmouth's MA Professional Writing course. The learning materials include MA Professional Writing’s Taster Sessions (introductions to specific areas of writing) and a full Screenwriting Unit. The full suite of OERs include lesson notes for each unit or session of study, videos, podcasts, assignments, peer feedback and critiquing areas, collaborative projects, software, online applications and other tools and materials used to support access to knowledge.
Our open education pilot was developed to be an interactive, open learning experience incorporating online community areas for students. openSpace is about OE students taking responsibility for their own learning. They can share their course work online, solicit peer feedback, contribute feedback to their peers and work together on projects in the collaborative workspaces that have been provided.
UCF tutors and OE students both benefit. On the one hand, UCF is illustrating the confidence it has in its learning materials and the pedagogic approaches of its academic staff and technicians (hereinafter referred to as ‘tutors’). It is one of our assumptions that sharing course materials in an open fashion will invite feedback from the end users: students, professionals, academics from other higher education institutions using our materials to supplement their course materials. Feedback fosters tutor reflection, encouraging our tutors to approach their subject with a fresh perspective. This has been our experience via distance learning.
There are a number of additional objectives which are also benefits. Tutors gain new transferable skills when learning how to digitize their lectures and course materials. eLearning pedagogy is enhanced through discussions between academic teams and departments which include Learning and Teaching, Learning Technology, Academic Services and Senior Management. This has been our experience via distance learning.
Internationalisation is another key benefit. Through openSpace, UCF can create international
partnerships with institutions where a traditional relationship wouldn’t ordinarily be possible. These partnerships are mutually advantageous. While our open education partners benefit from UCF sharing its course materials, UCF gains access to thinking and experiences not available in the UK.

Keywords business case · case study · pedagogy · policy · professional development

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