OUseful.Info, the blog…

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

A Gust of Wind Blows Across HE…

From various sources (@kavubob, @mweller via @peter_scott, @downes and others), I notice:

A couple more riffs on the above:

  • Pearson are playing multiple sides, offering testing for both the upstarts (eg Udacity) and the incumbents’ response (edX). They also have a major stake in school (i.e. K12) and further education content (textbooks, curricula) and assessment (e.g. EdExcel is a Pearson company), and they seem to be testing the waters with their own HE offerings in the form of Pearson College. Start to twitch a bit more if they start offering campus management solutions. Also look out for them bulking up their learning analytics offerings
  • Although the OU has started offering academic wrappers around imported vendor certificates, I don’t think an equivalent course wrapper yet serves as a way of wrapping informal and semi-formal online courses, such as offerings from P2PU, Coursera, Udacity etc etc. There is at least one “officially” offered MOOC on “Learning Design”, though… (One of the models I wanted to explore with the T151 Game Design and Development 10 point short course in its final presentation was a fully open presentation with an additional for credit component based around the submission of a portfolio for credit bearing assessment. The legacy would have been a 10 point wrapper for importing informal online course activity, “proven” using an OU presented course. Maybe there’ll be a similar sort of finesse around the Learning Design MOOC? I’d certainly hope so…
  • I note that the OU runs exams at a wide variety of examination centres (often in local colleges), so to an extent the OU already models the behaviour being adopted by edX. There are, however, a couple of notable differences: a) the OU, rather than a commercial operation such as Pearson, manages exams at local centres; b) the OU offers tutor and/or moderated forum based support to students on OU courses. Providing tutor/associate lecturer support (including face to face tutorials at local centres) to students on a 1:320 ratio or so is expensive though… I’m not sure how the costs associated with providing online moderation at a ratio of 1:100 or so scale up with increasing course sizes (eg when you factor in recruitment and briefing/training costs, as well as the costs of assessment/marking related moderation exercises etc).
  • I should probably say something about badges here, but don’t have the will to!

See also: Checking HE for Cracks.

PS re: the outsourcing of campus facilities management, I thought I’d better check… and came across this (Sussex Uni tenders for campus services) from May, 2012 (contract notice):

The University of Sussex is seeking bids to manage its estates and facilities services, which are run in-house at an annual cost of £20 million.

The move, to be completed by August next year, “is expected to bring wider market experience and expertise to the university to enable it to meet the increasing demands of a highly competitive environment”, according to a statement.

The story is still running… Unions left ‘in the dark’ over outsource plans. Companies in the ballpark – Carillion, maybe? eg they appear to have been contractors for construction works at UWE, Hertfordshire.

PPS Facilities talk reminds me of this, which relates in part to management of facilities data: Facilities and Equipment Sharing Network.

PPPS via @brlamb, Pearson ‘Education’ — Who Are These People?, which looks at some of the lobbying going around around US teacher performance assessment.

Written by Tony Hirst

September 6, 2012 at 6:15 pm

6 Responses

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  1. Re the Equipment Sharing Network (UNIQUIP) link at the end, some more info for a bit of context. It’s not exactly London Met territory…

    http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/ourportfolio/themes/researchinfrastructure/strategy/Pages/equipment.aspx

    http://mrnking.wordpress.com/2012/05/24/kit-catalogue-and-the-uniquip-project

    You’ll see this is particularly aimed at boutique items of specialist kit. If the guy down the road has an fMRI machine, and I only need to use one occasionally, perhaps we could do a deal? (or bang heads together if you’re the funding council – no you can’t have the money for one of your own, work something out! :-)

    If we do it right (and @cgutteridge is on board, so I’m sure we will), then there should be some very interesting mashup opportunities.

    It also makes a lot of sense for folk to collaborate in areas where skills are in demand but hard to come by, HPC (supercomputing) being a prime example.

    • Hi Martin – thanks for the clarification about the Uniquip context… Looks like it could be a Good Thing?

      Tony Hirst

      September 6, 2012 at 10:22 pm

  2. [...] See also A Gust of WInd BLows Across HE on Pearson’s VUE assessment centres being used for open online course supervised [...]

  3. MIT not for profit
    Pearson for profit commercial company with the object of making profit, money.
    They do not go together

    mgozaydin

    September 8, 2012 at 1:17 pm

  4. MIT will lose its reputation due to making a collaboration with a commercial company pearson.
    MIT has technology 100 times better than Pearson .
    What is the reason to collaborate with pearson ?

    mgozaydin

    September 8, 2012 at 1:20 pm

  5. As an employer, I will not hire anybody who has taken his exams from pearson .
    I cannot trust a commercial company providing grades . They canb give away good grades very easily nobody knows. At the end they will make money .

    mgozaydin

    September 8, 2012 at 1:22 pm


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