WOU mulls adoption of OpenLearning to enhance learning

WOU is eager to partner with OpenLearning to use the latter’s platform to deliver engaging and socially-interactive courses to its students, and present Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) to the public.

Adam Brimo, co-founder and CEO of OpenLearning, briefed WOU’s top management about the platform during his visit to the main campus today. Among those present were Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) Prof Madhulika Kaushik, Chief Operating Officer Yeong Sik Kheong and Deans of the Schools.

Brimo elaborates on the benefits of the platform.

Brimo elaborates on the benefits of the platform.

Brimo said OpenLearning has delivered more than 2,500 courses to 400,000 students across over 180 countries for pursuing fully online MOOCs and blended accredited courses.  In Malaysia, they are working with the 20 public universities, through the Ministry of Higher Education, and 6 private universities. “The 20 public universities started with four MOOCs in September 2014, and now they have 62 MOOCs or blended courses and about 160,000 students across the public universities who use OpenLearning for their courses.”  

He shared that OpenLearning helps teachers to be not just a content provider but a facilitator, guide and curator of content who gathers from different sources and designs a learning experience that can be replicated every semester/year. He added that these individually and socially constructive creative courses allow students to create, share and collaborate. “The user experience is much better as every page in Open Learning has the comments integrated with the content.”

The co-founder and CEO of OpenLearning.

The co-founder and CEO of OpenLearning.

He stated that they prefer enabling the teacher to build high quality courses by providing a template or offering free courses on instruction design to build a world class course on their platform, rather than they building courses for universities. In making assessment efficient, “the assessment report will automatically pull in the student’s evidence and artifacts for formative activities and map it to the learning outcome, and produce a page for the assessor to quickly see all of the students’ progress”.

He said public universities and others generally use the platform for free for existing students, and when they offer certification through their platform, then OpenLearning charges for certification. “We offer accredited qualifications online, unlike most MOOCs. Our goal is to offer a high quality course that an institution is prepared to accredit, and industry will readily accept.”

Brimo answers queries regarding the uploading of content onto the platform.

Brimo answers queries regarding the uploading of content onto the platform.

He highlighted that collaboration with OpenLearning can be for a support licence to get additional support, for building of courses, and for certification.

“If WOU builds an MBA programme, and offers to students on OpenLearning, you can do that for free.  Now if you want to take that same course and create another MOOC class for the general public, and they pay for certification, then we get a percentage,” he said, adding that their goal is to help universities deliver accredited education outside of the existing business. 

Prof Madhulika (2nd from right) has an informal chat after the meeting.

Prof Madhulika (2nd from right) has an informal chat after the meeting.

Prof Madhulika said WOU would like to explore working with OpenLearning to take existing courses online, to develop a new course online, and possibly in future to support overseas students online

OpenLearning has an office in Sydney with 20 staff and another in Kuala Lumpur with 25