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Wednesday, November 19 • 3:45pm - 4:15pm
Supporting the adoption of Open Educational Practices in Australian higher education through capacity-building

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This paper will present and discuss a small research project funded by the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching. The project aims to design, develop and test a free, open and online professional development course focussed on supporting curriculum design in Higher Education. The course will have a specific aim to develop the capacity of academics in Australia to adopt and incorporate Open Educational Resources (OER) and Open Educational Practices (OEP) into curriculum development for more effective and efficient learning and teaching across the Australian higher education sector. The initiative will address an identified gap between awareness of OEP and implementation of OEP, particularly the production, adaptation and use of OER to support the design of innovative, engaging and agile curriculum. This course will be a micro Open Online Course (mOOC) where "micro" refers to a sub-component of a full course. mOOCs (hereafter micro-courses) are a different concept than Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), which tend to be courses/units or part of a unit purposely developed to be delivered to thousands of learners across the world. The large majority of MOOCs do not provide clear articulations or pathways towards degrees. The micro-course developed in this project will lead to micro credentials, which are recognition of learning on a smaller scale than traditional university provision courses. The advantage in this case is that the micro course would be focussed on curriculum design and therefore able to provide just in time development for academic staff involved in curriculum design and renewal, but could also be assessed and validated for articulation into larger courses for credit. Such recognition of learning in a small batch, is perfect for a model of course design which brings together learning from across many partners and beyond and can be readily adapted and incorporated into professional development programs of different universities.

Despite recent federal investments and important developments in OER and OEP, the Australian higher education sector lags behind other countries in these endeavours. The US, UK and some other European countries have regulatory frameworks and institutional and national support, including funding, that are widely available to academics and educators in general. Considering the evolving pace and demonstrable impact of OER and OEP on the international higher education sector, the need for further professional development and capacity-building to facilitate the adoption of OER and OEP in Australia is critical. In fact, previous research on OER and OEP have identified a lack of appropriate academic staff professional development programs available for academics as one of the main reasons for the limited adoption of OER and OEP in Australian universities (Bossu, Bull & Brown, 2012). This project offers a strategic approach to bridge this gap and make a significant contribution to the adoption of OER and OEP in learning and teaching in higher education in Australia and beyond.

Bossu, C., Bull, D., & Brown, M. (2012). Opening up Down Under: the role of open educational resources in promoting social inclusion in Australia. Distance Education, 33(2), 151?164. doi: 10.1080/01587919.2012.692050


Carina Bossu

University of Tasmania

Wednesday November 19, 2014 3:45pm - 4:15pm EST
Virginia Ballroom

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