User:James Neill/Moodleposium/2009/Kirkpatrick

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Moodle at the OU

Denise Kirkpatrick

The Open University (UK)

The Open University (UK) - 40 years old; only educational institution across 4 countries (England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland)

  • Open to people
    • No prereq/entry requirements
    • But there are exit requirments
  • Open to places
    • Can study whether they happen to be
  • Open to methods
    • Using whatever approaches/technology/pedagogy will help to deliver effectively
  • Open ideas
    • Research-institution (top 50 in UK)
    • Researching own pedgagogy is essential

JN note: This seems to be institutional-emodiment of flexible learning.


  • 220,000 students
  • 1200+ academics: Develop materials
  • 8,000 associate lectures/'tutors': Face-to-face and online contact with students, marking etc.
  • Technologies are central to what we do
  • International reputation for quality
  • International research profile
  • International partners

DP indicated separation of material development and material delivery (separately bundled) is somewhat problematic - OU wants to bring the designers closer to the students.

JN: Comment; surprising separation by OU; maybe its a legacy of the British class thing?

Management of academics / material development

  • Team teaching; long course production (typical course is 3 years in development) - quite different from individualised Australian approach with a v. short lead-in
  • OU challenge is to speed this up.
  • Courses are very structured / industrial (may have up to 5,000 students enrolled in a subject)
  • Feedback is critical
  • Calendars feature strongly - and multiple calendars with
  • Lots of democractic consultation, getting student feedback, piloting, trialling etc.
  • Scalability is v. important - therefore, say no to lots of techological opportunities and tools
  • Strong emphasis on high quality feedback - OU see it as central
  • Different kinds of feedback for different tasks, wide range


  • Helps with instant, automatic assessment and feedback, working on building the tools for feedback
  • Staff bill is the biggest proportion of budget - feedback
  • Moodle has helped to provide standardisation of delivery tools etc.
  • If you want to use a blog in your teaching, you must use OU-blog (ditto OU wiki)


  • OU has been working on translating material into e-books

L120 - Learnosity

  • Voice training / development tools