Part 2 - Driving Disruptive Innovation (DDI) at the OU

in conversation with Dr Angela Coe
Kristoff van Leeuwen

Kristoff van Leeuwen

Product Development Manager (Learning Innovation)

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In the second part of this series Kristoff van Leeuwen continues talks with Dr Angela Coe, module team chair for S309 Earth Processes, about Open edX and in-presentation updates.

Do educators need to get their hands dirty? How does the production role change as we truly become digital first?

A closer look at Open edX

In this video Angela demoes S309 Earth Processes on the Open edX platform and discusses how she managed to organise 600 hours worth of content in just a few days.

We discuss how the module team, only one of whom had any previous experience working in HTML, were able to create activities with some basic training from LTS, putting the academic authors front and centre.

“We had a one hour workshop on basic HTML coding, focusing on some of things that we might like to do…”

In-presentation updates

When I meet teachers I like to ask them the same question, “What’s the most successful lesson you’ve ever taught?” The answer is more often than not the same: “The one I didn’t plan for.”

In my final discussion with Angela we talk about one of the most innovative parts of this project – realigning the production budget. In the past we typically spend the entire budget on pre-presentation production work. This new model reserves part of that budget for in-presentation content creation. As Angela describes in the video there are two reasons for this:

  1. We can respond to real life events such as erupting volcanoes and topical news on climate change in rapid time.
  2. We can dynamically respond to trends in live student analytics and tackle them in new and exciting ways before it’s too late.

I also ask Angela to demonstrate just how easy it is to author in Open edX and ask her the all-important question:

“Is it that you’re from a high performing module team or can we scale this across campus?”

So, what’s next?

DDI has now been selected as an early adopter project for the newly re-focused LTS. This financial year the project is transitioning from the Learning Innovation team to the new LTS Commissioning sub-unit to become one of the first modules to be managed with an agile, adaptive approach.

I will remain part of a steering group, and hope to continue to drive new ways of working. I look forward to watching the module progress towards October 2016 and I’m already on the hunt for new Module Teams to take on some of these practices.