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I’ve just stumbled across a new initiative ‘Open Education powered by Blackboard’, which I found because of the Commonwealth Games. To celebrate the Games, Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) has launch the GCU Game On. This is a way for people to come together and participate in online learning. It seems like a really good way to break down barriers for people to engage with a form of learning that they might not have encountered previously. Also, tying in a learning initiative with a global sporting event is inspired.
The platform being used for this Open Education powered by Blackboard, which “is a free, fully supported cloud offering for Blackboard customers who are interested in offering Open Online Courses and MOOCs to the public.”
(https://help.blackboard.com/en-us/Open_Education_powered_by_Blackboard/Administrator/010_Get_Started Accessed 23 July 2014)
It is based on the latest version of Blackboard LearnTM and provides free access to Mobile Learn. ‘Open Education powered by Blackboard’ seems to be different from their ‘CourseSites by Blackboard’. I’m not sure at this stage how or if the two fit together.
For an institution already using Blackboard for their VLE platform, ‘Open Education powered by Blackboard’ could provide more outlets for expansion of that institutions brand. Outreach to the community is one interesting possibility. It could also allow a parallel model for distribution and running of MOOCs alongside another platform like FutureLearn.
Whilst there could be debate about the use of ‘Open Education’ as a term, I can see possibilities for using the platform effectively.