This edition of JIME sees a varied collection of papers covering a diverse range of topics. It starts with a perspective piece by the Director of the Institute of Educational Technology at The Open University, Josie Taylor, addressing the institutional approach to pedagogy and technology here at the OU. This piece was originally given as a speech internally and focuses on the OU experience, but it will be of interest to others, particularly as they seek to blend new technologies and pedagogies. Its discussion of the learning model and the connection and journey between informal and formal learning is of particular contemporary interest.
There are three papers concerned with different aspects of design: designing online learning or blended courses - and the role of learning design in developing such courses. The first of these is an article by Terumi Miyazoe and Terry Anderson, which provides a much needed theoretical basis for examining OERs and MOOCs. Using the Interaction Equivalency Theorem, they address issues such as the scalability of different MOOC models.
In the third article Canan Blake and Eileen Scanlon focus on designing for collaborative learning and provide a mix of the theoretical and practical in examining the nature of collaborative online learning and its relation with the learning environment. They note that, whilst much prior research has focused on empirical studies to understand the mechanisms, as well as the benefits of collaboration, this is not always helpful in addressing the challenge of designing good collaborative learning activities.
The fourth article, by Anna Mavroudi and Thanasis Hadzilacos, picks up on both themes of collaboration and design again in its discussion of group work in designing for adaptive learning. This paper presents an empirical case study of collaboration on a complex design text, which like Blake and Scanlon's paper above, is in the context of Open and Distance Education, and which has implications for design guidelines in contemporary teaching contexts.
A less theoretical and more practical focus is given in the final article, where Nick Pearce and Sarah Learmonth investigate the use of Pinterest as a tool for anthropology students, suggesting that its non-linear format aids the integration of material in an interdisciplinary subject.
This issue also includes a book review written by Bethany Alden about Joseph P McDonald's book "Going online with Protocols: new tools for teaching and learning".