Opening up access to teaching resources is becoming ever more popular in UK higher education with the changing landscape of funding making transparency ever more important for universities, students and their families.
By implementing the Open Nottingham programme, the University has embraced the opportunity to increase the use, re-use and publication of Open Educational Resources (OER) by staff and students, as well as all those interested in the teaching delivered at Nottingham.
The launch of the Open Nottingham web-pages means that, for the first time, the numerous open learning initiatives available from the University and to its students will be available in one place.
These initiatives include U-Now, a site containing a growing number of modules taught at the University, as well as Xpert — an independent OER website which provides learning materials from education providers across the globe.
U-Now, which was first published in 2007, already contains over 150 learning resources, with all academics now encouraged to publish module handbooks showing the content and methods of delivery utilised in their teaching.
In making this freely available to anyone who wishes to access it, the University hopes to increase learning opportunities for those who, for whatever reason, are unable to undertake formal qualifications, significantly contributing to the advancement of pedagogy across the academic community.
To help to achieve this, project leaders have teamed up with OER Africa and the UK OER community to support developing nations in the expansion and improvement of their education provisions.
By publishing the handbooks the University also hopes that academics will share resources and attract research collaborations from around the globe, while current students will gain easy access to lecture notes and reading lists as well as more information when selecting their optional modules.
Open Learning Support Officer, Steve Stapleton, also believes that the initiative will help the University to attract prospective students, informing them of what to expect from the courses on offer.
He explained: “All schools have the opportunity to publish a significant amount of their content in the form of module handbooks. This allows a view of a school’s activities to be made available to the world and provides an understanding of how the modules are delivered.
“By accessing these handbooks prospective students will gain an insight into the teaching and learning activities at Nottingham and will be better prepared for making decisions about the University and which courses are right for them.”
The University’s commitment to opening up its teaching, which also encompasses channels on iTunes U and YouTube Edu, has been strongly supported by Vice Chancellor, Professor David Greenway, who explained that this focus on free online resources has huge potential to further develop the way that students are taught.
He explained: “The core business of Universities is creating and disseminating knowledge. Historically that has been done through face-to-face contact and the printed word. The internet has changed all that and we have responded by taking advantage of the opportunities it provides in order to take what we generate here to a wider audience.
“UNow gives us the opportunity to provide an alternative source of access to materials for our own students to complement their face-to-face interaction in the lecture theatre or lab. It also offers access to the resources our inspiring educators produce to a much wider audience, here in the UK and internationally.”
To access Open Nottingham, please visit www.nottingham.ac.uk/open
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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings. It was named ‘Europe’s greenest university’ in the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking, a league table of the world’s most environmentally-friendly higher education institutions, which ranked Nottingham second in the world overall.
The University is committed to providing a truly international education for its 40,000 students, producing world-leading research and benefiting the communities around its campuses in the UK and Asia.
More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranked the University 7th in the UK by research power.
The University’s vision is to be recognised around the world for its signature contributions, especially in global food security, energy & sustainability, and health.
More news from the University at: www.nottingham.ac.uk/news