Flying ostriches

OER Sustainability through Teaching & Research Innovation: Cascading across HEIs (OSTRICH)

After the successful completion of the OTTER project at Leicester, which released 430 credits’ worth of Open Educational Resources (OERs) during the pilot phase of the OER programme, the JISC and HE Academy-funded OSTRICH project (UKOER Phase 2, cascade strand), got off to a flying start. The Leicester project team (Gabi Witthaus, Tania Rowlett and myself) visited our counterparts at the University of Bath last week, where meetings and workshops took place. In addition to extensive and valuable discussions with Andy Ramsden, Vic Jenkins and Julian Prior, we had the opportunity to discuss a range of IPR and copyright issues with Bath’s Library colleagues and their legal advisors. Drawing on the experience of OTTER and its sister projects, we also ran a workshop that attracted many of the project’s Bath-based OER contributors and a few potentially new ones.

We agreed that the CORRE framework (one of OTTER’s deliverables) may need to be refined to accommodate Bath’s requirements and context. For example, it would need to include a form of learner validation right at the start of the process. It would also need to reflect a devolved transformation process that does not depend on a central team – the new version could be called D-CORRE and it could be one of OSTRICH’s key deliverables.

Ostriches don’t usually fly. These ones do. The cascade process has begun.

Alejandro Armellini
Beyond Distance Research Alliance
18 October 2010


DUCKLING: The Great Exhibition

Last Tuesday, October 12 2010, Gilly, Ale and I attended JISC’s curriculum design and curriculum deliver joint programme meeting at Nottingham. The theme of the meeting was Delivering the benefits: from project to institutional enhancement.

In the afternoon, there was a one-hour demonstration session called The Great Exhibition: Enhancing Curriculum Delivery through Technology. In this session, the curriculum delivery projects had the opportunity to showcase how they have helped to transform and enhance some aspects of curriculum delivery through technology. The idea behind the exhibition was to ‘sell’ project benefits to a wider audience. As one of the curriculum delivery projects, DUCKLING presented a poster and a leaflet, both called DUCKLING in an eggshell, and highlighted key outputs and deliverables of the project. See the DUCKLING poster below:


DUCKLING also showcased other key outputs and findings in a variety of formats, including:

  1. Key findings of student experience of using DUCKLING technologies
  2. A video produced by Dr Ray Randall, showing staff experience
  3. A summary of benefits to key stakeholders
  4. The Teaching Fellow model
  5. A  guide for converting Word documents into ePub format

DUCKLING exhibition was well received by the audience. People were really interested in DUCKLING’s technology-enhanced solutions. Four projects won the exhibition award. SpringboardTV, an internet TV station, at the College of West Anglia, won first place. The Integrate project at the University of Exeter was second. Congratulations!

Ming Nie              18 October 2010

Redevelopment of the Media Zoo Island in Second Life

In line with the launch of the new Media Zoo website, now with a great new banner designed by Emma, I have started work on redeveloping the Media Zoo Island in Second Life – with help from Paul, of course.

The island was built originally to serve as a place to showcase all the projects of Beyond Distance, as well as specifically to run the Second Life MOOSE project. As we move into 2011, and especially because of the requirements of SWIFT, the time has come to move the island into what I’ve called Phase II of its existence.

Part of the DUCKLING project, the oil rig has proved an popular artefact and simulation, and will be part of the 2010 JISC online conference. It is the main feature in the lagoon and, because it wasn’t needed for Phase II, we removed the boat house. The pier has been kept, and the motor launches used to ferry visitors and students to the rig will moored along it.

boat house

Selecting and removing the boat house

Another significant change in the lagoon has been to move and reshape the beach that formed such an important part of our 2010 Learning Futures Festival. The beach now forms part of the penininsula that contains the Saami tent.


The new beach

The main work, however, will come with readapting what were the Safari Park and Breeding Area domes. One will be used to  showcase the projects from all four quadrants of the Media Zoo while the other – at the moment – is likely to become an auditorium/lecture hall/gathering place.

Phase II, which builds upon the success of Phase I, is partly about adapting the island to current needs, but also preparing it for future work and projects.

Join us on Media Zoo Island at

Simon Kear

Keeper of the Media Zoo

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