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# OCW Launched
Ever since MIT launched their Open Courseware initiative I've though
that USQ should show them how it's **really** done. MIT's courseware
tends to be materials that support face to face teaching, whereas USQ
has **real distance education materials**.
It has taken a while to organize (and I didn't do any of the hard work
myself) but our [Open Courseware site](http://ocw.usq.edu.au/) is up.
There was [an
we're [linked from the Open Courseware Consortium
site](http://www.ocwconsortium.org/use/index.html). Professor Jim Taylor
launched the USQ Open Courseware site over afternoon tea noting how
helpful it is to come from a country that starts with the letter 'A' so
we're up the top of the list.
Vice Chancellor Professor Bill Lovegrove asked me afterwards if it
required a lot of technical effort. Actually, I told him, it didn't. It
was technically straightforward for USQ to put courses online because we
have them in HTML, and in many cases PDF already. The major achievement
is not technical – it's USQ's long
term commitment to creating distance learning materials.
**There was a fair bit of editorial effort** involved in checking over
the courses and making sure that copyright materials licensed for USQ
use were not inadvertently included. There was also some re-factoring of
material into more digestible units and removing USQ specific content.
But the bottom line is that USQ has lots of courses available in HTML,
so on a technical level it was just a matter of putting it on the web
(it's in [Moodle](http://moodle.org/), but that's no trouble for our
Moodle guru). What we put up is not just used power point presentations
either, most of it is real distance education material that you could
work through on your own, whereas many other OCW offerings tend to be a
One exciting thing is that this is the first time I've been able to
point to real-life [ICE](http://ice.usq.edu.au/) materials that are out
in the open, see the list below. There are some courses in there that
were created using a previous publishing system known as GOOD. And
there's one course, [Creating Interactive
Multimedia](http://ocw.usq.edu.au/course/view.php?id=15) that was
written in HTML – it's the only one
for which there is no PDF available for any of the content. Both ICE and
GOOD can create PDF and HTML from a single source, although in ICE
someone has to set up a 'book' version of the content if you want a
single PDF for all of it – this has
not yet been done for all of the content.
One reason that Open Courseware is good is that with many eyeballs typos
should be easy to spot. I found one in the [General
Science](http://ocw.usq.edu.au/course/view.php?id=10) course and
reported it via the feedback form.
# The courses
Here's the current list: I hope we'll see a lot more courses in the near
future. Note that the last three are really important – these are tertiary preparation courses
– we think we're among the first to
release this sort of thing under an OCW banner.
1. [CMS2016 Communication, Technology and
2. [CSC2402 Object Oriented Programming in
3. [EDU5322 Teaching Students with Special Needs: Behaviour
4. [ENG2002 Technology and
5. [FET5622 Creating Interactive
6. [TEA5101 Exploring Teaching and Learning in Tertiary
7. [TOU1003 Introduction to
8. [TPP7120a Studying to Succeed: Part
9. [TPP7120b Studying to Succeed: Part
10. [TPP7155 General
# The future
There are several things we're looking at for the future – one of which is a major surprise that I
can't talk about. But there are some things that I can share.
At the moment it's not particularly easy to DO anything with these
courses, but because many of them are in ICE we should be able to make
it simple to download a copy of the course and change it. **We're
thinking about hosting an ICE repository** where you can clone a
course and edit it, to make it easy for people to adapt,
fix, improve or remix our materials.
In the current release we're also putting up just static HTML, but I see
this body of material as a great place to start developing ways that
people **can interact more directly with content and with each other in
the context of the content**. If I spot a typo, wouldn't it be nice to
be able to report it in-situ, or to carry on a discussion within the
content. Or tick-off activities and readings as I go and have the
**table of contents for the course adapt** to show me the bits I have
left to do.
I think that if USQ were to put a lot more content online then it would
bring a lot of web visitors, and would probably **result in more
enrollments**, which we really, really need, but there are fears that
large scale opening of the content might lead decreasing enrollments, so
we're going to have to work that issue through and see how open
courseware fits with our institutional focus on flexibility.
On a more mundane level we're looking at how to improve the integration
with Moodle, and maybe get rid of the frames which make it hard to
bookmark a particular part of a course.