The objectives of this session are to:

  • Update new members of the OERu family
  • Review progress during 2019 with the implementation of the OERu 1st year of study
  • Update members on the OERu open technology infrastructure
  • Conduct a critical friend review of OERu operations and corresponding progress to inform the strategic plan.
  • Identify meeting priorities.

Webstream OERu Feed  |  Hashtag: #OERu19 (Twitter or Mastodon)

Time Details
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The year in review

Facilitator: Wayne Mackintosh
30 mins

  1. The OERu open source, component-based delivery platform – Learning on the internet (rather than via a single software application)6 mins
  2. Designing for scalability – 6 mins
  3. OERu courses and statistics – 6 mins
    • Key statistics
      1. 5,858 unique learner registrations from 148 different countries
      2. Course site web statistics record that 79% of learners who engage in OERu courses do not register – OERu has served 28,500 unique visitors
      3. Analysis of the LiDA100 cohort: 60% of registered learners reside in developing countries.
    • OERu new participant survey data (pdf)
      • 43% English second language learners
      • 27% Unemployed
      • 40% Have not taken an online course before
      • 69% Have not created a blog before
      • 75% Cite Professional / personal development as primary reason for taking the course
      • 30% Taking the course for academic credit
      • 30% Thinking about academic credit
      • 44% Want to acquire a micro-credential
      • 34% Thinking about a micro-credential
  4. Courses for 2019 – 28 micro-courses
  5. Launched the OERu Outreach Partnership initiative with founding partners from Botswana, India, Namibia and Nepal
  6. Established the New Zealand Centre for Open Education Practice
    • Survey on textbook affordability: 90% of learners are not aware of the concept of “Open Educational Resources”; 50% of respondents indicate that lack of access to textbooks has had a negative effect on academic performance.
  7. Finalising credit transfer agreements for the Certificate of General Studies, Thompson Rivers University

Webstream OERu Feed
OERu new participant survey  |  Example of OERu credit transfer and course articulation agreement  |  About the Outreach Partnership Programme  |  MOU Outreach Partner

11:00AM11:30AM The OERu open source technology platform

Facilitator: Dave Lane
35 mins
We will provide insight into the OERu’s technology stack, used to assemble our rigorous fully-OER courses, deliver them for learners, and support their interactions. We will

  • We have created a rich set of functionality to support our OER creators and learners, built entirely from a remarkable array of Free and Open Source Software services.
  • Our major focus for this year has been “preparing to scale up”
    • Our apps, and the FOSS stacks on which they depend are already tried and tested at “Internet scale”
    • We can enable maximum flexibility and opportunity for graceful capacity growth by consistently using Docker to “containerise” our services – this allows us to keep our services well segmented, manageable, and the role-based recipes that containerisation requires make it easy for us to make use of additional computing resources. We can also “graduate” to Kubernetes (a heavyweight containerisation management environment developed by Google) if we need to automate managing computing resources on a massive scale.
  • provide an update on the status of the global OERu infrastructure – re-factored, updated, “technical debt” paid.
    • moved from Microsoft Azure (Sydney, AU) and Amazon EC (Portland, Oregon, US) to four Digital Ocean (San Francisco, California, US) compute instances: make, learn, share, about.
    • all hosts are current Ubuntu Long Term Support 18.04, supported until 2023
    • removed all production services from high power server co-located at Hetzner in Germany. The server, “try.oerfoundation.org”, is now used exclusively for development and staging as well as off-site, encrypted, incremental backups from all other servers onto its bountiful (nearly) 5TB of disk space.
    • added sponsored (fully FOSS) NZ-based infrastructure from Catalyst Cloud
  • new FOSS capabilities
  • review the performance of the learner and educator-facing systems
    • 5000+ registered users enrolled in courses
    • almost 30,000 learners supported (including anonymous)
    • little or no unscheduled down-time
    • no performance issues – no system currently exceeding (on average) 50% of CPU, Memory, or Disk allocation which means headroom for growth. Also, all hosts can have specifications increased in situ by paying for more capacity (doubled specification = double cost).
  • review updated costs (prices in USD) = $312/month or $3744/year
    • Digital Ocean Servers: (4 x 8GB RAM + 4 CPU + 160GB disk @ $48 each/month including automatic backups) + 400GB extra disk space @ $40/month = $232/month or $2784/year
    • Hetzner co-located server: (1 x 16GB RAM + 16 CPU + 4.8TB disk @ $35/month or $420/year
    • Kanboard (FOSS kanban Software-as-a-Service): $30/month or $360/year
    • Zoom (proprietary video conferencing tool): $15/month or $180/year (we are looking at FOSS alternatives)
  • look at new custom developed capabilities
  • OERu partner opportunities
    • trial new technology – point your IT teams at our tech overviews and howtos and our FOSS source code repositories. We’ve created many Docker recipes, too, which make it very quick and easy for a skilled IT person to set up a new system for a organisational pilot (or for production).
    • before spending large on a proprietary technology… ask us – you can think of us as your “open technology ally”! We’re practised at making the case for open technologies and can offer our experience to help provide confidence to your organisation. Remember, too: adopting one of the FOSS technologies we’ve proven could save your institution many years worth of OERu membership fees in a single year – we’d be happy to help you do trial it!
    • software maintenance: a problem shared is a problem halved. We would love to work with your teaching and IT departments to help your institution select and maintain useful FOSS services.
    • all of our technologies, especially with commodity FOSS cloud hosting, are within reach of our Outreach Partners.

Webstream OERu Feed

Critical friend review, priorities and issues

Facilitator: Wayne Mackintosh
30 mins
Participants randomly assigned to 4 groups plus one virtual group and tasked to:

  • Identify what the OERu has done well
  • Identify areas where the OERu can improve
  • Agree the top 3 priorities this meeting should address
  • List any issues you would like to be tabled at the OERu Council of CEOs meeting.

Webstream OERu Feed
Group 1  |  Group 2  |  Group 3  |  Group 4  |  Virtual participant group (UN: oeru PW: open4all)  |  Issues4CEOs
Help for virtual participants

12:00PM12:30PM Report back on critical friend review and meeting priorities

Facilitator: Claire Goode, Learning & Teaching Specialist / Principal Lecturer at Otago Polytechnic
30 mins
4 groups plus one virtual group report back (5 minutes each)
Webstream OERu Feed