Open Educational Resources and Web 2.0 for Formal Learning in Information and Computer Sciences: A Case Study

Open Educational Resources and Web 2.0 for Formal Learning in Information and Computer Sciences: A Case Study

Giselle Ferreira (The Open University, UK) and Tina Wilson (The Open University, UK)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0300-4.ch013
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Abstract

The availability of Web 2.0 and open educational resources affords the emergence of novel learning spaces, but debate on these innovations has tended to emphasise technical, logistical, and legal issues. This chapter focuses on pedagogy, reporting on the experiences from a piece of action research that has taken students’ views to its heart. The context for this research has been provided by a distance-learning project-based course in information and computer sciences, equivalent to a final year project in a face-to-face setting. The study consisted of a practical investigation into the potential of such resources to support the necessarily intense episodes of interaction required for productive supervision, whilst providing a space where students can be encouraged to identify, engage with, and discuss ethical issues that arise in their work.
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Background

This chapter draws upon a small-scale investigation in the area of teaching and learning in ICS. The context for this investigation has been provided by the Open University (OU) course M450 The Computing Project (http://www3.open.ac.uk/study/undergraduate/course/m450.htm). This is a level 3, 60 CATs points course (600 study hours) taught at a distance over a period of 9 months. M450 provides opportunities for students to put into practice the knowledge gained in previous courses as well as their professional experience, which equates the course to a final year project in a face-to-face setting.

M450 is centred on a piece of project work in which students are expected to gain “practical experience of independent learning and reflective practice (…) [and] apply advanced principles and techniques to solve problems” (Open University, 2009). The course materials are all presented online on a dedicated, password-protected Web site built within the university’s Moodle-based VLE. Tutorial support is also provided online to groups of 6-8 students, each working in their own chosen topic or area. In addition to prompting and moderating discussions as well as providing individual, tailor-made support to students whilst they work on their projects, tutors also mark and provide feedback on the 3 pieces of summative assessment completed throughout the course (Tutor-Marked Assignments or TMAs). Tutors are also responsible for marking and providing feedback on the final, examinable component of the course, the project report (End-of-Course Assignment or ECA).

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