Open Access Journal & Academic Magazines

Combined post on ALT’s decision to make its journal open access and a collection of academic publishing links I’ve been meaning to share for a while!

ALT’s Open Access Journal

Earlier this year Research in Learning Technology, the journal of the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) switched to open access. I’m a Trustee of ALT and I’ve written a blog post on the LSE’s Impact of Social Sciences blog about why ALT made the switch: By freeing our journal from the ghetto of academic library subscriptions we will foster discussion and impact.

Academic Magazines

It’s been a very long time since I blogged here – over half a year (the shame!). I’ve been meaning to write a post around a bunch of links I’d been gathering since January 2011!

The initial article from a year ago was An academic angle on issues in a periodical for the people in the Times Higher Education which featured The Public Intellectual and started:

Between peer-reviewed journals and popular journalism lies a gap in which “the new knowledge, valuable critical insight, and fresh perspectives that academia produces” can be brought from behind pay walls to the wider readership it deserves.

Since then I’ve come across  a few other similar formats / approaches.

The similarities, seem to be:

  • Blog format but not necessarily recognisable or described as a blog
  • Authors mainly working in academia
  • Multi-author (& beyond a single institution)
  • Reviewing by editorial team
  • WordPress as the publishing platform

Disappointingly most are not licenced under creative commons with notable exceptions of ALT’s Journal, LSE Impact Oxbridge blogs.

As I’ve now switched from the world of Social Sciences to that of Computing, Information Science, Engineering & Maths, I’ll be on the lookout for more examples in that area.

If you’ve any examples of any kind please feel do add them below.

The Rights’ Future

The Rights’ Future is a new ‘book’ being published online in weekly installments via a blog & YouTube by LSE’s Conor Gearty.

I’m currently advising Conor Gearty, a Professor of Human Rights at the LSE on his use of social media for The Rights’ Future project.  Conor is writing a ‘book’; except it’s not a book, it’s a website, but Conor is writing a website just doesn’t sound quite right.

The Rights' Future Banner

It’s an online publication which will unfold over the coming weeks with the final version being launched at LSE’s Literary Festival in February 2011. Each Monday Conor will post a new essay with a webcam-recorded introduction via YouTube. Then, on Fridays, Conor will expand the original essay incorporating any comments/feedback received on the blog.

Continue reading The Rights’ Future

OERs: what’s stopping us?

The recent  M25 Learning Technology Group meeting focussed on Open Educational Resources (OERs).   Despite my somewhat limited knowledge of this topic it fell to me, as the meeting’s organiser, to provide an intro.  So here it is once again if you missed it.  OERs are teaching & learning materials available for reuse without charge. They are one element of a much wider Open Education movement (not sure that’s quite the right word but it’ll do). While reading about OERs I came across an interesting video lecture Openness, Aggregation and the Future of Education (50-mins) by David Wiley that’s worth a look.

In my introduction I gave examples of 4 different  OER-related areas as well as highlighting some upcoming OER conferences & UK projects: Continue reading “OERs: what’s stopping us?”

VL-istically speaking

Yesterday Steve Wheeler raised a two fingered salute to open another chapter in the ongoing VLE-PLE debate  (see VLE vs PLE fight club for an earlier installment).  It’s an excellent post but I’m not wholly convinced.

Firstly, some points that Steve and I probably agree upon:

  • Personal Webs have an important & central role in the future of technology enhanced learning
  • Wherever appropriate teachers should be given freedom to teach with the web technologies of their choosing
  • Students should also be encouraged to use the web technologies of their own choosing to support their learning
  • More focus is needed on the teaching activities and not the tools that enable them

However, unlike Steve, I believe that VLEs (institutionally managed webs for teaching & learning) are here to stay and have an important role in the future:

  1. Not all teachers are tech-savvy ‘edupunks’.  Many are not interested in developing and teaching with their own personal webs.  Some would need considerable support to do so.  This will undoubtedly change over time but for a good while to come many teachers want to be provided with a single, simple, managed & supported platform. Continue reading “VL-istically speaking”


Cloudworks is a project from the OU’s Institute of Educational Technology.  It’s described as:

a place for people to share learning design tools, resources and examples of learning activities…. a place where people can showcase their designs and related work, and obtain inspiration and advice when creating new designs

Although the site is essentially a repository, the developers are keen to make it feel less like a repository and more like a social networking site.  It encompasses a lot of web 2.0 elements: tagging & cloud tags, comments and RSS feeds.   I like the way the site is progressing and look forward to seeing how it develops.

Cloudworks Logo
Cloudworks Logo

Having said that, I remain somewhat of sceptic with regard to the re-use of learning material and activities (or designs).  For me it only works so far… I’ll happily incorporate others’ resources into teaching materials so for example, if I need an image I often search and grab photos from Flickr.  But that never extends to a whole activity as I tend to think it will take longer to find and adapt something than to create it from scratch.

While I think I would find it useful to browse sites such a Cloudworks for ideas for activities, rather than the activity in its entirety, I’m not convinced I would.  I think I’m more likely to stumble across ideas in conversations with colleagues and other educators or at events such as conferences and staff development sessions.   Of course, that’s just me.

Having highlighted my scepticism you might be surprised to learn that I’m working on a similar project!  Similar in that like Cloudworks it’s a repository of learning materials and uses Drupal.  But different in that it’s small-scale & unfunded – currently a repository of learning materials for teaching French at the LSE but that’s just the acorn…  Having liked what I’ve seen at Cloudworks I’m feeling inspired to throw some more energy into our Drupal project, nab some ideas and kick-start some plans we’ve had in the pipeline for a while!

It almost goes without saying these days but I came across Cloudworks on Twitter…