Category: Week 1

Week 1 – Activity 4: Reading an article and searching for relevant references

Timing: 10 hours

  • Read Seely Brown and Adler (2008), Minds on fire: open education, the long tail and learning 2.0.
  • Seely Brown and Adler explicitly mention a number of innovative projects. Select one of them and use the internet to find more information about it. For instance, is the project still running? Have any more papers been written about the project since the Seely Brown and Adler paper was published? Also investigate whether the innovative project you have chosen to research was adopted by users other than those in the original institution where it was developed.Researching for information and tracking down papers on the web is not such a trivial task as it may first appear. Therefore, we recommend that you use one of the tools provided by the Open University Library Service to help you evaluate and filter your search results. Even if you have used the PROMPT criteria before, it might be beneficial to take a second look.
  • Record your findings in your blog. Compare your research to that of others in your tutor group by reading their blogs.

If you have any difficulties please post a comment in your tutor group forum for help. It would also be good to share insights during the course of this activity.





Due to my general interest in education for developing countries/poor communities, I looked into the Digital StudyHall (DSH) project in India.


DSH record live teaching videos covering the Indian curriculum and distribute them to rural and underprivileged schools across the country. The aim is to assist not only in providing better quality instruction to students, but also training and material for teachers. They work through a ‘hub and spoke’ system, where the hubs create the video content, and then share this too the the numerous spokes (poorer schools). Content is provided in local languages, and all content is kept in a database

Is the project still running?

Yes it is.

Have any more papers been written about the project?

Anderson, R., Robertson, C., Nabi, E., Sahni, U., & Setia, T. (2012). Facilitated video instruction in low resource schools. Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development – ICTD ’12, 2.

Saxena, A., Sahni, U., Gupta, R., Arora, A., Anderson, R., & Linnell, N. (2010). Evaluating facilitated video instruction for primary schools in rural India. Proceedings of the 4th ACM/IEEE International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development – ICTD ’10, 1–10.

Roberts, J. (2009). Turn on the TV, Class. Stanford Social Innovation Review, 7(2), 60. Retrieved from

Martinez, M. (2011). Undeveloped world taps technology for learning. Phi Delta Kappan, 92(7), 70–73.

Global Solution Networks. (2013). Digital Study Hall – Lighthouse Case Study. Global Solution Networks. Retrieved from

Was the project adopted by users other than those in the original institution where it was developed?

No new users per se, as the institution itself was developed for hundreds of users from the start. It can be noted that there has been an expansion in contributors, users (now over 6000 schools), and focus since the Seely Brown et. al paper was published. In addition to the brief information given in the paper, the DSH project has expanded its focus to address issues such as gender equity, domestic violence, and other problems faced by women in India. They currently have over 2000 recorded videos according to their website (

Personal thoughts:

  • Could the project work in Sub-Saharan Africa? Similar challenges to India are present, and with DSH’s expansion into social issues, a similar model could be adopted to work with both education and social welfare institutions.
  • How successfully could the videos created through this project be useful for those outside of India? If multiple DSH’s were set up in other countries, could there be a form of collaboration?
  • How could OER and MOOC development benefit from this project? It would also be great if more content could get developed for feature phones, such as what has been done in SA through tools like Mxit Reach.
  • Do ISPs work with the project to ensure reliable and affordable internet access for the schools? As surely this is the most efficient compared to DVD sharing and distribution.







Week 1 – Activity 3: Setting up your blog

Timing: 2 hours

  • Set up your blog by following the instructions in the Computing Guide. Some of you probably have experience of writing blog posts. If so, please let your colleagues know about your experiences with writing a blog. Perhaps post some hot tips about this topic?
  • If you have not used a blog before, try writing your first post to the thread in your tutor group forum about how blogs are being used to assist the publication of research. Refer to Weller (2011), Kirkup (2010) and Conole (2010) to help you write a short paragraph for this post.

Week 1 – Activity 2: How to document reflection

Timing: 2 hours

  • Read Michaud’s models of reflection, in particular the Gibbs Cycle of Reflection.
  • Think about how the Gibbs Cycle of Reflection could be useful when writing the reflective parts of your TMAs, as outlined in the Assignment Guide.
  • Post a comment summarising your findings to the relevant discussion thread in your tutor group forum. Your post should be between 150 and 200 words in length and include your ideas about how you will record reflective practice in your journal.




Two things stood out to me in the article and Gibbs’ Cycle of Reflection. Firstly, in one of my first OU modules we were encouraged to use a blog. Not with any specific emphasis on reflection, but rather to become familiar with blogging itself, as well as visiting and commenting on other’s posts. I quickly found myself keeping my blogging activities rather private, as I started to write more and more ‘personal takes’ on tasks. Reading through the Cycle of Reflection, the idea of sharing your feelings and what was good or bad about the experience (activity), stood out as something I had begun doing over the years, although with next to no structure in doing so.

Secondly, linking to the analysis, conclusion, and action plan parts to “help make sense of the situation” stood out for me. With almost every task, including this one, I first write my response in a blog, often including additional notes and ideas. In addition to editing what I write before posting on the forums, this process has become somewhat of a barometer to measure my understanding of a task. If the thoughts and answers come quickly, what did I do this time that was different? Likewise, if I am finding it challenging to remember the reading, or a particular concept we should be discussing, did something change in my personal approach to this activity? 

Going forward, I would like to keep the six points as a starting point before answering each activity, and try to blend it in with my current slightly haphazard approach. Hopefully jotting down more reflection in a set sequence will help boost my recollection when coming to TMA’s and definitely the EMA, as well as the ability to compare and contrast how I approached each task and what tends to work best for me.