Celebration of Athabasca University Open Access Week, Oct 24-30, 2011.

Athabasca University is participating in its third international Open Access Week – October 24-30, 2011 – to broaden awareness and understanding of open access.

For Events, please visit our site at http://openaccess.athabascau.ca or e-mail tonyt@athabascau.ca.  We look forward to seeing you between October 24 and October 30, 2011.

About Open Educational Resources (OER)

To celebrate the appointment of Dr. Rory McGreal as the UNESCO/Commonwealth of Learning Chair in Open Educational Resources (OER), Athabasca University is presenting a series of five noon hour webcasts exploring major issues and opportunities presented by OER. Each session will feature an internationally known promoter and developer of open educational resources, research, or ideas.


Monday, October 24 – Fun and Fear in Open Spaces

This presentation presents  the theory and practice of Open Learning as implemented in Athabasca University’s Beyond the LMS social networking system. The presentation discusses the motivation , design and challenges encountered in the first two years of Athabasca Landing (an elgg-based social networking environment). Reference will be made to the disruptive nature of the technology in regard to  the limits of openness, resistance to sharing, context-sensitivity, controllability, ownership, responsibility, soft security, distributed design, managing complexity and  crossing the formal/informal divide etc.

Prof. Terry Anderson  overviews open scholarship and his work as author and editor of open books and the International Review of Research on Open and Distance Learning (IRRODL).

Dr. Jon Dron researches ways to enable crowds to become teachers, using shared content, behaviour and connections. He has been providing and using open educational content on the Web since 1993 and has authored several open source tools and systems.

Noon to 1 p.m., Mountain Time (Canada)
Launch Webcast


Tuesday, October 25 – Post Secondary Leadership and the OER Movement

“OER provide both opportunity and anxiety to University Administrators.  While they see possible savings, at the same time they see new expenditures without accompanying revenues.  Little understanding exists by either University administrators or by OER specialists on new economic models.  While some studies have been done, there has been little in depth research as to what these new models might be and then how the post secondary system has to restructure itself to create a sustainable OER eco system.  This within a post secondary system that has an inflation rate of 6% in a funding model that has allowed approximately 2 to 4% or even negative increases.  This discussion will attempt to provide the OER movement with some insights as to alternatives.”

Dr. Frits Pannekoek is the President of Athabasca University and President of the International Council on Open and Distance Education. He is an advocate for the open distribution of scholarly works and has been the driving force behind Athabasca University Press- Canada’s first Open Access Press.

Noon to 1 p.m., Mountain Time (Canada)
Launch Webcast


Wednesday, October 26 – Making Sense of Complexity in Open Information Environments

In the pursuit of openness, the cognitive experience of the learners and educators are often overlooked. Open educational resources present fragmented views of topics: a TedTalk video here, an Open Yale lecture there, an OCW lesson plan here, and an open online course there. This fragmentary experience can be taxing for individual learners as they try to make sense of various concepts in order to form a reasonably coherent view of the topic. This presentation will present new research on the sensemaking and wayfinding activities of learners in complex online information environments. Needed skills and strategies of learners will be reviewed. Implications for educational design will also be explored, particularly in the formation of participatory pedagogical models in course development.

George Siemens, with Athabasca University’s Technology Enhanced Knowledge Research Institute (TEKRI), is best known for his development of the pedagogical model of networked learning known as Connectivism. He and Steven Downes have pioneered the development of massive open courses, in which many hundreds of students study and learn in open and networked contexts.

Noon to 1 p.m., Mountain Time (Canada)
Launch Webcast


Thursday, October 27 – Panel on Moving to Open Educational Resources at Athabasca University

Dr. Cindy Ives, Director of the Centre for Learning Design and Development (CLDD) at Athabasca University, discusses recent projects in the CLDD that have focused on open educational resources including initiatives to produce and share open educational resources, to use open resources in course materials, and to find and aggregate open materials for adaptation and inclusion in program development. Design principles underpinning the OER projects will be discussed and examples will be demonstrated.

Dr. Lisa Carter, Interim Director of the Athabasca River Basin Research Institute, Tony Tin, Head of Digital Initiatives and Electronic Resources, and Colin Elliott, Digitization Co-ordinator discuss the Bibliography of the Athabasca River Basin (BARB), which is being developed as an open educational resource to aid in the study and dissemination of research done within the basin. This presentation will focus on the ways in which open educational resources will benefit the BARB project.

Noon to 1 p.m., Mountain Time (Canada)
Launch Webcast


Friday, October 28 – OER’s and Sustainable Innovation: Low Cost, Low Risk but High Impact. 

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This session will include a description of the UNESCO Chair in OER network including an update on the mandate of the Chair and the  developments so far. These include agreement on support for a network of UNESCO Chairs in OER with Chairs on each continent; an international PhD for scholars studying OER and a Knowledge Cloud for OER research resources including a mapping of OER organizations. The OER University initiative will also be described. This is a project to create/assemble/develop pathways for informal learners using OER for assessment and official accreditation of the knowledge they have gained. This includes investigations into Prior Learning and Assessment as well as challenge examinations and other non-traditional forms of evaluating learner achievement.


Prof Rory McGreal is the UNESCO/COL Chair in Open Educational Resources (OER). He is also the Assoc. Vice President of Research at Athabasca University. He is a researcher in OERs and their application. He is also the editor of a bestselling book on educational learning objects and has research interests in mobile learning.
Dr. Wayne Mackintosh is the Director of the Open Education Foundation based at Otago Polytechnic in New Zealand, a member of the Board of Directors, and founder of the WikiEducator project. He is an internationally acclaimed advocate and organizer of systems and communities to collaboratively build quality course materials

Noon to 1 p.m., Mountain Time (Canada)
Launch Webcast



A draw for AU ball caps, T-shirts and USB hubs will follow the conclusion of each presentation. Everyone from Athabasca University and beyond is invited to participate.