Open Access Week at Athabasca – Oct. 24-28, 2011

For the 3rd year Athabasca University is participating in Open Access Week by sponsoring a series of free Adobe Connect sessions from 12:00-1:00 PM Mountain Time (GMT-6). This year we are highlighting activities associated with our new UNESCO/COL Chair in Open Educational resources.

All are welcomed.


To celebrate the appointment of Dr. Rory McGreal as the UNESCO/Commonwealth of Learning Chair in Open Educational Resources (OER), Athabasca University is presenting a series of five noon-hour webcasts exploring major issues and opportunities presented by OER. Each session will feature an internationally known promoter and developer of open educational resources, research, or ideas. Everyone is welcome; please join us for these webcasts. For more information, please contact Tony Tin, Head, Digital Initiative and Electronic Resources. E-mail:, Phone# (780)675-6486.

Please visit the links below for more information on each presentation, presenter’s biographies, and to find the links to the Adobe Connect Sessions on each day.

Click on: Launch Webcast

From noon to 1 p.m. MDT


Monday, October 24th- Fun and Fear in Open Spaces

Presenters: Dr. Terry Anderson, Dr. Jon Dron


Tuesday, October 25th- Post Secondary Leadership in the OER Movement

Presenter: Dr. Frits Pannekoek


Wednesday, October 26th – Making Sense of Complexity in Open Information Environments

Presenter: George Siemens


Wednesday, October 26th – Making Sense of Complexity in Open Information Environments

Presenter: George Siemens


Thursday, October 27th – Panel on Moving to Open Educational Resources at Athabasca University

Presenters: Dr. Lisa Carter, Dr. Cindy Ives, Tony Tin, Colin Elliott


Friday, October 28th – OER’s and Sustainable Innovation: Low Cost, Low Risk but High Impact

Presenters: Dr. Rory McGreal, Dr. Wayne Mackintosh

These presentations are among many events taking place internationally to highlight Open Access Week.

One Small Step for Athabasca

I participated in an interesting meeting of the Athabasca University Academic Council (our senate equivalent) this morning and the most contentious item concerned our option for ‘challenge for credit” alternative, that is offered in most of our undergraduate programs.
By way of background, Athabasca undergrad programs are offered as continuous enrollment and mostly self study programs that follow the old correspondence model. We offer support from an individual tutor, a study guide (that roughly serves as an interpretation of the study materials), a FEW interactive options (little used) via Moodle and a course pack that typically consists of a reading package and a text or two.  Students are given 6 months (can be extended with $$$ to a year), as much access (phone and email) as they want to an assigned  tutor, tutor marked assignments and an invigilated exam. We have recently been offering ‘optional’ networking and support via our elgg based social networking system (the Athabasca Landing) but the take up by tutors, faculty and students has (to date) been modest.
Credit for challenge (as opposed to seat time or completion of course activities), is an old idea first institutionalized by the University of London in the 19th century. Continue reading