10 Apr 2012

Open learning conference showcases Open University Bridge to Success project

The Open University’s international Open Learning: Bridge to Success (B2S) pilot project will be featured in a speech by OU speakers at open educational resource conference, Cambridge 2012, at the Queens’ College, from 16-18 April. Journalists with an interest in open learning are invited to attend the event(*) or arrange interviews following the conference.

B2S, which launched last year after being awarded $750,000, was originally set up to target problems in learning mathematics in US colleges to boost completion rates. However, the two courses it has produced have seen unprecedented success, being picked up by 12 institutions including schools, a charity for people with disadvantaged backgrounds and a mayor’s office for disaffected youths.

Senior Open University Lecturer Patrick McAndrew, will present recent research findings on the project in a talk titled ‘A Bridge to Success’, at the Support Centre for Open Resources in Education (SCORE)and OpenCourseware Consortium (OCWC) conference. SCORE – made possible thanks to Higher Education Funding CE (HEFCE) - is part of The Open University’s National Role activity under Shared Solutions.

Patrick McAndrew, whose other conference speech is titled ‘Learning the Lessons of Openness’, said: “We have seen rapid take-up of the courses, with a much wider range of use than we expected. We have interviewed people on the US side, and we have got great feedback. We can see how it’s helping people who have found it difficult in the past and will be talking about how open education can help people in a variety of ways.”

The international Cambridge 2012 SCORE conference is in its third year and the theme, Innovation and Impact: Openly collaborating to enhance education, will bring together academics, professionals, students and policymakers interested in advancing the impact of open education globally. Tim Seal, Assistant Director of SCORE, said: “The Open University has hosted SCORE for three years and this has supported the OER movement in the UK, which has seen unprecedented change in the higher education landscape and is directly contributing to innovation in the way education is delivered now and in the future. The OU has had a number of significant OER programmes such as OpenLearn and Bridge to Success. We are delighted to have so many OU speakers at the conference.” You can track the conference on Twitter using #Cam12.

Notes to Editors

*To arrange attendance, please contact: Alicia Babaee, Media Relations. Following the conference, e-Publications will be available for viewing. Please let Alicia Babaee, Media Relations, know if you would like access to these.

SCORE is based at the Open University and funded by HEFCE as a three year project (2009-2012) to support individuals, projects, institutions and programmes across the higher education sector in England as they engage with creating, sharing and using open educational resources (OER). SCORE draws on the OU's experience from a range of successful open license OER projects, including OpenLearn which by April 2008 had published 5,400 learning hours of course content in the LearningSpace and 8100 hours in LabSpace (an area allowing easy remixing, translation and redeposit by registered users) in a full range of Open University subject areas and levels. SCORE’s work includes 31 Fellowships undertaking research on a wide range of open educational activity, two national conferences, e-Publications of conference papers, publication of a further 1493 hours of Open University teaching material and 584 hours of non- Open University teaching material, five week-long residential courses on OER use, re-use and recreation, OER-themed events, a regularly updated website of news, tools and views, a website supporting students in determining whether they are ready to undertake postgraduate studies in the UK and a website supporting undergraduates in developing skills as independent learners.

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