Last week saw the kick-off meeting of the FORGE project (Forging Online Education through FIRE). FORGE is a 3-year FP7 project led by the Open University. The consortium consists of 7 partners highly experienced in eLearning and FIRE (Future Internet Research & Experimentation). The meeting was hosted by the University of Patras in Greece. John Domingue, Aneta Tumilowicz and me represented the Open University.
FORGE will develop methodologies and best practices for offering world-class FIRE facilities to learners and educators, related both to communications and IT, but also to other disciplines including social sciences. Within the FORGE project we will:
- Study and develop new processes and approaches to online learning based on the integration of FIRE facilities and eLearning technologies.
- Inject into the higher education learning sphere the FIRE portfolio of facilities and tools.
- Introduce the learning community to the concepts of Experimentally Driven Research.
- Increase the overall accessibility and usability of FIRE facilities through the layering of how-to-use resources over the FIRE platforms.
From a learning technology perspective, FORGE will build upon new trends in online education. Firstly, in online educational platforms such as iTunes U, as well as in MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) we see the large-scale take-up and use of rich media content. These include video in a variety of formats including webcasts and podcasts and eBooks, which can contain multimedia and interactive segments. eBooks provide a new level of interactivity since specific learning text, images and video can be closely integrated to interactive exercises. FORGE will enable students to setup and run FIRE experiments from within rich related learning content embedded as widgets inside interactive eBooks.