Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2011

Resolutions for 2012

Ensure substantial decline in the use of carbon fuels. Rather than pondering on national and global targets, let us set personal (individual) targets!
More thrust is given to establish and manage efficient public transport systems to reduce the use of private vehicles.
No more deforestation.
Intelligent use of available land for agriculture and further popularisation of environment friendly agricultural practices as a dignified profession among the young generation.
No more destruction of water sources and resources.
Ensure substantial decline in the use of products that cause environment problems during production, storage, use or disposal – of course we have to keep away from consumerism.
More concerted efforts for effective implementation of scientific methods to reduce the rate of population explosion.
Concerted efforts for introducing healthy lifestyles among children.
Initiatives for ensuring environment friendly practices in healthcare (like Ayurveda) and to promote further researches…

How open was 2011?

How open was the world in information/knowledge sharing in 2011?Naturally this query takes us to review the advancements in OER domain. While thinking about OER, the first thing that comes to my mind is the statement “ 2011 would be a quantum shift year in the mainstream adoption of OER” that Dr. Wayne Mackintosh usually adds in his emails. Definitely, 2011 is a quantum shift year for OER. Following are some major developments in this respect that I noticed.

(Please be reminded that this is just one side of the coin. The other side - the domain of open technologies, chiefly, Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), was perhaps more dynamic and eventful as usual. The advancements in FOSS dramatically enhanced the quantity, quality and reach of OER. Therefore we can't leave FOSS unmentioned here)
Evolving of OERu
Some important OER/ODL events in 2011
First strategic open international meeting to plan OERu, February 23 The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation's 2011 Open Educationa…

OERu anchor partner and stakeholder meeting; prototype courses in 2012

Inaugural open planning meeting of the founding anchor partners and stakeholders of OER Tertiary Education Network (OERTen) for OER university was held at the Council Room of the Open Polytechnic, Dunedin, New Zealand on 9th and 10th November, 2011. There was also global virtual participation (both synchronous and asynchronous) supported by online streaming (funded by UNESCO), ether pad (provided by BCcampus - Canada) and back channels like and twitter.
There were 22 face to face participants at the Council Room, who represented University of South Africa, Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology - New Zealand, Southern New Hampshire University - USA, Commonwealth of Learning (Intergovernmental organization) - Canada, Otago Polytechnic - New Zealand, University of Canterbury - New Zealand, Thompson Rivers University - Canada, OER Foundation (International Organization) - New Zealand, Athabasca University - Canada, Empire State College (SUNY) - USA, Thompson Rivers Unive…

Guidelines for OER in Higher Education by UNESCO and COL

Yesterday (Nov 1, 2011) UNESCO and COL together have brought out the ‘Guidelines for OER in Higher Education’ at the UNESCO General Conference at Paris Headquarters. It is also a natural outcome for UNESCO as it had coined the "OER" phrase in 2002.  Perhaps an ideal memento to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the phrase - which has been working as a catalyst in converging and strengthening the efforts for open and inclusive higher education system all over the world. The UNESCO Open Educational Resources Platform was also launched in the same function. The platform offers selected UNESCO publications as open educational resources.
The introduction to the guidelines clearly states its purpose as “ encourage decision makers in governments and institutions to invest in the systematic production, adaptation and use of OER and to bring them into the mainstream of higher education in order to improve the quality of curricula and teaching and to reduce costs.”
The raise of k…

Living in a 10 billion plus world

A UN press release dated May 3, 2011 says: "The current world population of close to 7 billion is projected to reach 10.1 billion in the next ninety years, reaching 9.3 billion by the middle of this century, according to the medium variant of the 2010 Revision of World Population Prospects, the official United Nations population projections prepared by the Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs..." 
(See full text at

We officially touched the 7 billion mark yesterday (31/10/2011), and likely to touch 10 billion mark as predicted. In this context, a thought comes to my mind is: “What will be the greatest challenge before the 22nd century people?"
I think that living among ten billion plus population will be the greatest challenge before 22nd cy people. Therefore, it is high time we started to teach ourselves and our children to live in large crowds. Because it will take at …

US - INDIA joint statement on Higher Education & exploring models for 21 cy institutions

The joint statement issued at the conclusion of  the US-India higher education summit held in Washington on 13th October 2011 lists proposals for many forward-looking initiatives, which the two countries endorsed to take up, based on the resolve of the stakeholders  from academia, government, and industry.
Two things in the statement that attracted me the most are:

the the proposal to support “Exploration of models for ‘educational institutions for the 21st Century’ (such as ‘meta’ universities)”, andthe proposal to set up an India-U.S. higher education platform
I hope this will open up tremendous opportunities to explore the possibilities based on the experience of innovative initiatives like VUSSC and OERu. Research and discussions on innovative models for educational institutions  are very important because:
current educational environment, in response to the existing socio-economic and labour market trends, demands hassle free movement of students across the globe and related trans…


As US and India are getting ready for the Higher Education Summit on October 13, 2011, two important things come to my mind are:

Possibility of collaborative efforts to develop OER

Availability of effective systems to make use of existing OERs and the ability to further build on it would be crucial factors in leading future higher education systems to success. Perhaps, India and US can work out ways for collaboration in this sector.
Already there are some major initiatives in this respect in both the countries. For example, the National Knowledge Commission (India) on 2nd November 2007, had made many progressive recommendations on Open Educational Resources (see ). Similarly in USA their Labour and Education Departments have decided to promote the development of OER through their Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Program ( see…

VUSSC; the start of a revolution in transborder education

The Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth (VUSSC), through its Transnational Qualifications Framework,  has marked the start of a revolution in transborder education. Now it is the turn of Open Educational Resource university (OERu) ! The Virtual University for Small States of the Commonwealth  (VUSSC) is a mechanism for the small countries to collaboratively develop courses in post-secondary education sector. The materials produced are non-proprietary and therefore trouble free contextualisation of the materials for the requirements of specific countries are possible. Courses are developed in skill related areas such as tourism, entrepreneurship, disaster management, life skills, use of information and communication technologies, and small fisheries management.
The idea for VUSSC was conceived during the triennial conference of the thirty-two Ministers of Education of the small Commonwealth states in Halifax, Canada, in 2000. Following the Halifax meeting, the Comm…

UNESCO-COL Guidelines for Open Educational Resources in Higher Education

As we have discussed many times earlier, the Higher Education Sector (all over the world) has not yet started to exploit the merits of Open Educational Resources in its full ambit and true spirits.  One of the major reasons for this situation is the absence of appropriate guidelines/policies/statutes at the level of Governments and Higher Education providers on the production and use of OER.
Now UNESCO along with Commonwealth of Learning (COL)  has taken up the challenge of developing guidelines for Open Educational Resources in Higher Education to help the entire key stakeholders in the sector to establish a successful Higher Education system with the support of OER. The preparation of these Guidelines was a continuation of the COL-UNESCO initiative 'Taking OER Beyond the OER Community: Policy and Capacity' that involved a number of face-to-face and online workshops in 2010 and 2011. A Policy Forum on OER was also held at UNESCO, Paris on 1 December 2010. The present Guidel…

EduMOOC; Online Learning Tomorrow 2011-2021

The final week at EduMOOC was a time for forecasting (the future of online learning) based on the logically coherent discussions and documents we went through during the past seven weeks, and of course, based on further references as well.
I firmly believe that Open Distance Learning, with the support of Open Educational Resources (OER) and Information and Communication Technology (ICT), is going to build an inclusive higher education system in the immediate future. The world has already started to view online learning and e-learning synonymous to Open Distance Learning (ODL). But I see online learning as an ICT enabled method of Open Distance Learning, which is fast becoming predominant of all methods of ODL. Therefore I prefer to call it online ODL, rather than calling it e-learning or online learning.
As we have discussed many times earlier, how long we can keep on building infrastructure for traditional classroom type higher education? Whether such efforts can cater the ever in…

EduMOOC; Collaboratives, Collectives and Clouds

Hi friends,

Topic for the seventh week at EduMOOC was “Collaboratives, Collectives and Clouds”. Giving simple and easily understandable definition to all the three words in the topic name seems to be  very important to approach the subject from the right angle.
A collaborative means working together to achieve a common objective (s), whereas collective means collective works in a domain with individual goals. Now what is a cloud? In simple terms, cloud computing is a comprehensive online store of various digital services, that include operating systems, application programs, hardware (like server) and various related services that will be made available online (just-in-time) on demand. Clouds also  let the end user free from all the technical complexities of Information and Communication Technology systems like configuring, customizing etc.
I think it will be rather easy to explain collaborative and collective efforts in a corporate context. For example, corporates have managing part…

EduMOOC; Personal Online Learning Networks

I think, in the sixth week at EduMOOC, we touched the core of online learning - the Personal Online Learning Networks.
We can find that every thing in this universe transmit some kind of information and It is eternal. Again every living being has some facility to receive and store information that are vital to their existence. But in the human context, owe to  the genetic peculiarity, human beings collect all sort of information, whether it is vital to their existence or not, and build knowledge by connecting this information sequentially and logically. This knowledge building process happens in every minds. Therefore the easiest way to acquire knowledge is connecting with people. In the distant past, man traveled by foot many months in search of knowledgeable people to acquire knowledge as well as knowledgeable people traveled a lot in search of learners. Therefore the hypothesis is that man cannot goes on without acquiring as well as sharing knowledge.
In the history, man has alway…

EduMOOC; Public, Private & Open - Online Learning.

Hi friends,

Fifth week at EduMOOC was a week for reviewing the business process  and their social implications relating to various business models of ODL systems - Public, Private & Open - Online Learning. I found the following two blogs written by Sir John Daniel, President and Chief Executive Officer of Commonwealth of Learning ( very much relevant to the fifth week’s EduMOOC topic. eLearning and for-profit provision of higher educationObserving Private-Private and Public-Private Partnerships in Higher Education In the first blog Sir John Daniel discusses three important findings in a report by Tony Bates titled “2011 Outlook for Online Learning and Distance Education”. This includes (1) 21% expansion of enrolment in fully online (distance) courses in the USA between 2009 and 2010 compared to a 2% expansion in campus-based enrolments,(2) the fact that despite this growth institutional goals for eLearning are unambitious (3) in the USA the for-profit secto…

EduMOOC; Online Learning Apps and Mobile Learning

Hi friends, we had a challenging topic for the fourth week at EduMOOC - “Online Learning Apps and Mobile Learning”. Have the technologies once again changed the way we teach and learn? Is the Learning Management System dead - replaced by apps and mobile access?

If you google for apps - the short name we use to mention applications or  application programs, you will see that, in majority of the top search results,  apps is highlighted along with mobile, iPhone, iPad , iPod etc.
I take it as a strong indication of the current trend. Yes, the world is moving towards open distance learning systems that are well connected by mobile devices and wonderful applications that provide amazing learning  and networking experiences.
Though the image of mobile equipments come to our mind while talking about mobile learning, the basic concept in mobile- ie, the mobility - is already there in the LMS. The mobility concept has two factors viz, mobility of the learner and mobility of the equipment. In …

EduMOOC; Online Technologies Today and Tomorrow

During the first two weeks , because of the pressures of daily works, I was able to add my blogs on EduMOOC weekly topics only at the end of each weekly discussion. I believe that blogs are suggested to be added during the course of the weekly discussions itself. Therefore, in this week I prefer to be a good learner :) ...and hence this blog now.             
While thinking about the topic for the third week of our EduMOOC, that is, “Online Technologies Today and Tomorrow”, we cannot proceed without reviewing some basic information related to the earlier topics in the series. Virtual learning activities gained amazing pace in 1990s with the advent of Internet. Internet based online education originally began through various business houses using online training courses to prepare their newly recruited employees. Subsequently this method got popularity among universities and other academic bodies. Later with the advancements in Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Open Dis…

EduMOOC; What the research tells us

“Economic pressures and new models of education are presenting unprecedented competition to traditional models of the university. The twin challenges of providing high-quality services and controlling costs continue to impel institutions to seek creative solutions” -  The Horizon Report 2011
Second week's topic for EduMOOC was- "What the Research Tells Us", which is really an interesting topic!  I think, we should start from the success as well as failure stories from corporate sector in this respect. Because the possibilities of ODL including its eLearning variants are being greatly made use by the Corporate Sector and hence most of the researches on the effectiveness of e-learning systems are greatly depending on the corporate experiences for data.
For example, when you go back by a decade as our weekly topic suggests, you may love to read "An Assessment of the Effectiveness of e-learning in Corporate Training Programs" - International Review of Research in O…