Open Up Math project
The Open Up Math project team would like to share with you some of the recent findings from the project, which is drawing to a close. This 4TU.AMI flagship project has supported the ambition that all lecturers share their educational resources openly by 2025.
Start of the project 2017
In the beginning of 2017, the project started with the approval of the project proposal by the Ministry of Education. Through various activities, including workshops, surveys, roadshows, the Open Education Global conference and InterTU study days, the project team has been collecting input from their constituency to explore how and under which circumstances math lecturers are willing to share their educational resources openly.
During the project, it became clear that it is hard to grow a culture of sharing, and even more so one of reusing materials. Results of the survey showed that sharing is easier with people you know. Therefore, it is important to extend people's network across the boundaries of their own university. Being part of a broader community also helps lecturers to understand and respect the cultures of other universities. According to feedback from the first survey, in order to keep the 4TU math community alive, it is necessary to have face-to-face meetings at least once a year.
The InterTU study day, held each year at one of the four Dutch technical universities, is perfect for sharing experiences and building a community. Additionally, the pilot of EQUELLA demonstrated that this platform is an interesting and simple to use solution to facilitate the sharing of materials and set up an online community.
During the coming months, it will be of key importance to find out whether this platform will benefit TU Eindhoven, TU Delft, University of Twente as well as Wageningen University and Research. So, if you have not already done so, we urge you to take a look.
There is already a considerable amount of material available on the platform for you to use. You can request access to EQUELLA through https://oncourse.tue.nl/equella/4TU.AMI/. To find supporting information about open learning materials and community building, please visit: https://www.4tu.nl/ami/en/Education/Open-Up-Math/
The lessons learned from the project will be taken into account during other projects, including the innovation project Prime and the 4TU.AMI Blended Learning project.
The Open Up Math project team members would like to thank you all for your contributions to the project. We highly appreciate all the feedback we received and we hope to see you all at the next InterTU study day, which will be held in the spring of 2019 at the University of Twente.
Open Up Math project team members
- Hans Cuypers
- Annoesjka Cabo
- Martijn Ouwehand
- Julie Beardsell
- Caroline de Wit
Community meeting 2018
On February 1, 2018 a community meeting for Mathematics lecturers took place in the Teaching Lab at TU Delft. This meeting has been organized by the Open Up Math project team. All members of the project team (Hans Cuijpers, Annoesjka Cabo, Julie Beardsell, Martijn Ouwehand and Caroline de Wit) were present. This meeting was part of a roadshow across the four Dutch technical universities.
In January, an inspiring meeting took place at Twente University of Technology. In February/March, the project team will visit Eindhoven University of Technology and Wageningen University & Research. The visits are mainly to follow up the survey, initiated last November by the project team, and to discuss the coming InterTU Study Day. The ambition of the project team, and of the minister of education, is for all lecturers to share their educational resources openly in 2025. The finding of and ensuring the quality of materials requires special attention.
The project team visited Delft to collect ideas on how to assess those materials. Additionally, community building is part of the program. Concerning the survey, it seemed that responses were given by 95 participants in total. The results of the survey were discussed briefly. It turned out that community members discover educational resources mostly through a fellow colleague. This observation resulted in the following discussions.
The first discussion point was: how do you strengthen this community? Therefore, the InterTU Study Day, held in June each year, has been discussed. All those present found this a very valuable day, mostly because they are able to physically meet colleagues from other Dutch technical universities.
Practical issues emerged too. In recent years, the last quarter of the academic year has become busier with many educational obligations for lecturers. As a solution, linking this community day to the Dutch Mathematical Congress was suggested. The reason for highlighting this option is that the target group is already called upon. Another idea, to plan the InterTU Study Day during a weekend, did not get many positive reactions. In addition, fresh ideas are needed to breathe new life into this event. It has been suggested to hold parallel sessions instead of a plenary session to make this day more interesting.
This event is an ideal moment to catch up with fellow colleagues and to share new developments. As far as the event is concerned, the informal side of a community meeting mustn’t be forgotten. An early (due to travel times) dinner will be a welcome end of the day.
Thereafter, the repository EQUELLA was demonstrated. A pilot of this repository takes place within the Open Up Math Project in Eindhoven. EQUELLA is software from Pearson and has been available as an open source for a couple of months now. Searching and downloading in the demo environment takes place through a handy dashboard. The fact that EQUELLA can be linked to other existing learning environments is an interesting aspect that benefits all four technical universities. Discussion revealed that different formats (not just PDF) can be uploaded.
It has been mentioned that project funding is available to hire student assistants for help. It became clear that EQUELLA is an interesting option to facilitate the sharing of materials. Furthermore, copyrights were brought into discussion. How should these rights be dealt with? By all means, it is very important to discuss this aspect together before (re)using materials. In a later stage, for example on the coming Education Day in April, Creative Commons will be discussed further.
In conclusion, the preference of most community members is to share materials with colleagues they already know. Seeing each other face to face at least once a year is necessary to keep the community alive. A date for this day has to be planned with great care. Parallel sessions and a closing dinner should make this day interesting for every lecturer. On the subject of the online community: the project team is now busy with the pilot of EQUELLA.
PS: The Open Up Math project team is still looking for participants in the demo of EQUELLA.
The project members of Open Up Math are looking forward to meeting you (again!) at one of the four universities to exchange ideas (and materials) further.
Date: 1 February 2018