New HERDSA website

What a cool new site: the HERDSA website. Tons of nice papers online, including some of a distance education theme.

And this is even more cool. A Regional Community site:

So this has both the local and the international connection.  This uses a great Open Source  CMS with forums and so on. Those of you who have been around a bit will recognise it from the image.

To my knowledge, this is the FIRST community of it’s type in New Zealand. I suspect Stanley Freilich could be behind it.  If this is true, well done Stanley!!

Open Poly wins award . . .

A ground-breaking Kiwi eLearning project led by The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand has gained a prestigious US$100,000 award from the United States-based Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The Open Polytechnic received the award for its leadership role in a project that makes it easier and cheaper for organisations to deploy eLearning platforms to support online learning for students and employees.

Supported by $1.5 million in funding from the Tertiary Education Commission, The Open Polytechnic project team selected an open source eLearning system, Moodle, and made improvements to it for widespread release.


The Open Polytechnic was one of 10 winners in this year’s Mellon awards and the only recipient in the Asia-Pacific region. It was also the only winner outside the United States to receive the maximum US$100,000 in prize money.

“From The Open Polytechnic’s perspective it is very gratifying to have this kind of recognition both for our expertise and for our ability to take a leadership role in large-scale collaborative eLearning projects.”

Project leader Richard Wyles attended the awards ceremony in Washington DC on December 11 with Open Polytechnic Chairperson Douglas Langford.

Read more at 

International Online Conference sponsored by the REAP project – Assessment design for learner responsibility

You are invited to contribute to an innovative Online International Conference exploring the relationship between the theory and practice of assessment and feedback in higher and further education.

The conference is part of the Re-engineering Assessment Practices (REAP) project, a £1m initiative funded by the Scottish Funding Council under its e-Learning Transformation initiative. REAP is a collaboration across the University of Strathclyde, University of Glasgow and Glasgow Caledonian University.  REAP is evaluating the impact of new assessment practices supported by technology at course, faculty and institutional level.

Focusing on assessment FOR learning in tertiary education the conference has three themes to be addressed through keynotes, case studies and structured discussions.

Theme 1: Assessment and the first year experience
Theme 2: Great designs for assessment
Theme 3: Institutional strategies (designs) for assessment


  • Mantz Yorke, Visiting Professor in the Department of Educational Research, Lancaster University, UK

  • David Boud, Professor of Adult Education and Dean of the University Graduate School at the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia

  • Trudy Banta, Professor of Higher Education and Vice Chancellor of Planning and Institutional Improvement at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis, USA

Submit a short reflective case study of an assessment design or institutional strategy that promotes ‘assessment FOR learning’ at course, faculty or institutional level. These should be submitted by 28th March 2007 OR Submit a set of principles of good assessment and feedback practice or some ‘questions worth asking’ about assessment theory or practice by 28th March 2007 AND/OR Join the discussions online on May 29th-31st 2007.

Registration is free but all participants must register between 10-18th May 2007

More information is available from the
conference site at:

eCDF512 outputs “Tools for Delivering Scenario-Based e-learning both Locally and across the Internet”

Terry Stewart from Massey emailed me this today. 

eCDF512 outputs “Tools for Delivering Scenario-Based e-learning both Locally and across the Internet”, detailed on the website at

1. Support Section added to Website
A new support section for the eCDF deliverables has been added to the website, containing some updated files and FAQs. Please check it out at

2. RSS feed added to site!
This site now has an RSS Feed.  That means that updates can be automatically sent to you whenever the website changes.  To subscribe, paste the URL into your RSS reader.  If you don’t have an RSS Reader, or don’t know what one is, information can be found at

Wikipedia branches out

One of the founders of Wikipedia, Larry Sanger, has announced a new citizen’s compendium called Citizendium. Citizendium will overcome some of the distortions of content which occur on wikipedia by requiring registration, and having a set of community rules which will be gently enforced by a team of editors.

Content will initially be drawn from wikipedia and the two will diverge based on their different approaches.


Commonwealth of Learning's Wikieducator

 WikiEducator is an interesting new online collaborative development and resource sharing space launched by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) earlier this year. It is open to anyone to use who shares the vision of open content. 

WikiEducator is an evolving community focused on collaboration in: 

  • planning of education projects linked with the development of free content
  • development of free content on WikiEducator for eLearning
  • building of open education resources (OERs) on how to create OERs, and
  • networking on funding proposals developed as free content.

For distance education providers this is another worthwhile resource.