OUseful.Info, the blog…

Trying to find useful things to do with emerging technologies in open education

Educative Media?

Another interesting looking job ad from the OU, this time for a Web Assistant Producer with Open Learn (Explore) in the OBU (Open Broadcasting Unit).

Here’s how it reads:

Earlier this year the OU launched an updated public facing, topical news and media driven site. The site bridges the gap between BBC TV viewing and OU services and functions as the new ‘front door’ to Open Learn and all of the Open University’s open, public content. We are looking for a Web Assistant Producer with web production/editing skills.

You will work closely with a Producer, 2 Web Assistant Producers, the Head of Online Commissioning and many others in the Open University, as well as the BBC.

You need to demonstrate a real interest in finding and building links between popular media/news stories, OU curriculum content, research and more. You must have experience of producing online educational material including: Researching online content, writing articles; sourcing images or other assets and/or placing and managing content text, FLASH and video/audio content within a Content Management System.

(I have to say, I’m quite tempted by the idea of this role…)

One of the things I wonder about is the extent to which “news” editorial guidelines will apply? When the OU ran the Open2.net website (now replaced by the revamped OpenLearn) content was nominally managed under BBC editorial guidelines, though I have to say I never read them… Nor did I realise how comprehensive they appear to be: BBC Editorial Guidelines. (Does the OU have an equivalent for teaching materials, I wonder?!)

As a publisher of informal, academic educational content, to what extent might editorial guidelines originating from a news and public service broadcaster be appropriate, and in what ways, if any, might they be inappropriate? (I think I need to try out a mapping from the BBC guidelines into an educational/educative context, if one hasn’t been done already…?)

Anyway, for a long time I’ve thought that we could be trying to make increased mileage of news stories in terms of providing deeper analysis and wider contextualisation/explanation that the news media can offer. (In this respect, I just spotted something – now a couple of days old: oops! – in my mailbox along exactly these lines. I’m working towards inbox zero and a shift to a new email client in the new year, so fingers crossed visiting my email inbox won’t be so offputting in future!) So it’s great to see that the new OpenLearn appears to be developing along exactly those lines.

A complementary thing (at least in the secondary sense of OpenLearn as open courseware and open educational resources) is to find a way of accrediting folk who have participated in open online courses and who want to be accredited against that participation in some way … and it just so happens that’s something I’m working on at the moment and hoping to pitch within the OU in the new year…

PS in passing, as the HE funding debate and demos rage on, anyone else think the OU should be license fee funded as a public service educator?!;-)

Written by Tony Hirst

December 9, 2010 at 3:36 pm

Posted in Jobs, OBU, Open Content, Open Education, OU2.0

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3 Responses

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  1. I think there might be a link between your main idea and the PS…
    Here’s the pitch:
    If we recognise that educational content needs to be more dynamic, needs to respond to what people want to learn sometimes, or needs to keep up with new trends (*cough* data visualisation *cough*), then we need to look at how this dynamic content can be really well deployed.
    There exists a wealth of good material available but there are several barriers to the less than determined would be student (searching data, verifying data, and especially appropriateness of data are just some of these, but there’s probably loads more).
    None of this material is coordinated in the sense that a ‘proper’ course would be coordinated (i.e. ‘before studying calculus you should first try to get your head round limits’, or ‘if this is too hard, try reading this’).
    But it is still good stuff – it maybe just needs a ‘tour guide’ to point to it. Perhaps to add in the little missing bits or to act as a referee or Devil’s Advocate on parts.
    Imagine being able to create a ‘course’ in weeks rather than years, using skills that are common to all subject categories – learning design rather than learning content creation. Then backing it up with tutors who were enthusiastic polymaths rather than specialists – able to understand learning, not the memorisation of content. (tutors who were also able to say ‘I don’t know, let’s find out the answer together…’ and be competent in methods of doing this).
    So rather than paying to do a course, you might subscribe to a ‘course team with tutors’ – who are all prepared to see dynamic content and subjects as areas of potential learning playgrounds.
    So, for your ‘license fee’, you might get a ‘lifelong learner’ teacher? You might be able to subscribe to course that has yet to be invented or that have vague subject ‘areas’ rather than specific names (e.g. the OpenLearn module ‘Analysing Skidmarks’ springs to mind).
    To be honest, convincing the powers that be might actually be easier than selling ‘U111 – A vague course about something interesting’ to students…

    I’ve gone too far again, haven’t I?

    PS really like the extended news ‘education’, btw – that would be excellent. And people are starting to get the fact that information is by itself is really, really dumb – but when you connect information together you get something else entirely… (you need to catch Joy of Stats on iPlayer)

    Derek Jones

    December 9, 2010 at 8:58 pm

  2. [...] This could manifest itself in a couple of ways. For example, long form news articles could feature “academic” breakout boxes using OERs sourced from the course, or course discussions could be positioned around issues raised in recent news articles; in a wider context, entry routes to the course may be provided through the news media, from readers who want to know a little more about the issues involved within a particular consultation area (c.f. News, Analysis, Academia and Demand Education or Educative Media?). [...]


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