The Battle for Openness: Professor Martin Weller

We recently hosted Professor Martin Weller from the UK Open University. Martin holds a UNESCO Chair in Open Education and is Director of the Open Educational Resource Research Hub. He is author of a seminal open access book on the Digital Scholar and is well known for his EdTechie blog, which is one of the most widely read in the field. Martin is also a valued member of the NIDL International Advisory Board.

After spending time talking about areas of mutual interest with members of our Digital Learning Research Network, Martin gave a Visiting Scholar Presentation, which was open to DCU and Linked College staff, and anyone else in the Education sector who wished to attend. Martin drew on the content of his recent book on the Battle for Open and discussed how Open approaches in education have started to move into the mainstream. However, he demonstrated how the term has strong commercial interests and went on to explore some of the issues Openness now faces.

Scholarship to Visit Shanghai Open University

Last year, Colum Foley from the NIDL was awarded a scholarship by the Shanghai Open University to visit as part of an international delegation. He took up this scholarship just before Christmas in joining ten other people from a variety of online/distance learning institutions around the world on a study tour. The aim was to spend two weeks at the Shanghai Open University discussing various aspects of online/distance learning. Other scholarship recipients making up the delegation included:


• Humaira Jamshed from the Virtual Institute of Pakistan

• Muhammad Ajmal Chaudhry from Allama Iqbal Open University, Pakistan

• Lina Gurung from Kathmandu University, Nepal

• Saumya Pandey from Indira Gandhi National Open University, India

• Aniban Ghosh from Netaji Subhas Open University, Kolkata, India

• Imre Mátyás from University of Miskolc, Hungary

• Zlatko Kovacic from the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand, New Zealand

• Yasir Riady from Universitas Terbuka, Indonesia

• Irsanti Widuri Asih from Universitas Terbuka, Indonesia


The delegation had the opportunity to hear how the Shanghai Open University supported a very large number of online/distance students and then shared their own country experiences. As Colum wrote in his report on the experience, “The participants were a lively, witty, challenging and entertaining group of individuals, all with an interesting story to tell with a wide and varied experience of distance learning. At the end I think we have far more in common than what separates us”. We would like to particularly thank the Shanghai Open University for supporting this invaluable experience and look forward to further visits in future years.