Niall Sclater talks with Talis

February 16th, 2010 - No comments - Posted by in General News.

In this podcast, Sarah Bartlett talks with Niall Sclater, Director of Learning Innovation at the UK’s Open University. Niall reviews over four years at the Open University embedding a Moodle-based VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) and the use of e-learning more generally across the institution. He describes the Open University’s transition from its origins in 1969 when it produced its own learning materials and sent out packages of books to its distance learners. In the adoption of learning technologies, the Open University is constrained in its freedom to allow teaching staff to introduce technologies independently, and Niall explains why that is. Niall also explores issues around student diversity – the growing importance of consistency of student experience, and the problems putting a minimum technical specification for home study in place in view of the institution’s traditional mission of inclusivity. The Open University is Moodle’s largest educational site, with around 200,000 students on the system, and 50,000 unique users over a 24 hour period, so it’s useful to hear about the institution’s experiences with Moodle, and Niall’s viewpoint on the future of the VLE. Niall also talks about learning technology futures more generally, focusing on cloud computing (exemplified by the Open University’s recent adoption of Google Apps for Education) and mobile learning.

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