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This project is part of the individual strand of JISC’s and the Higher Education Academy’s Open Educational Resources programme. This pilot programme has been designed to support institutions, consortia and individuals to release open educational resources for use and repurposing worldwide, by assisting the development of appropriate processes and policies to make this process an integral part of the learning material creation workflow. What follows is an extract from the aims and objectives of this project.

Aims and objectives

  1. Leo Belgicus : famous representation of the Low CountriesThe project will turn a comprehensive survey course in Early Modern Low Countries history, from the late Middle Ages to the end of the 18th century, into a multimedia and Web 2.0 enriched Open Educational Resource (OER), published on the internet and freely available for anyone. In doing so it will create an important teaching and learning resource not only for the strategically important and vulnerable subject area Dutch Studies (as part of Modern Foreign Languages, as defined by HEFCE) but also for all learners with an interest in this European neighbour region of the UK, whose early modern history was closely intertwined with that of Britain (e.g. for students of British or European history). Consequently, a special focus of the OER will be put on relations between the Low Countries and the Anglophone world.
  2. Drawing on the expertise UCL Dutch Department has accumulated as the lead institution in the inter-university cooperative teaching and learning programme VirtualDutch, the project aims at integrating the existing learning and teaching materials from the proposer’s survey course in early Low Countries history, DUTC1011 Aspects of the history of the Low Countries which is currently taught as a web-enhanced face-to-face course to undergraduate students at UCL, and a series of multimedia learning objects which have been created in the context of VirtualDutch, within a seamless open learning environment. A range of Web 2.0 services and tools will be used including MIT’s timelines, VUE, Flickr, Google Groups, Youtube, SlideShare and VirtualDutch’s own self-access study packs.
  3. The existing teaching and learning materials of this course (worth 0.5 UCL course units = 7.5 ECTS) will form the basis of the proposed Open Educational Resource (OER), providing a general survey of economic, social, political and cultural developments in the Low Countries. They include: a) Intended learning outcomes and objectives; b) course outlines, reading lists, and digitised course readings; c) session presentation slides and lecture texts; d) a primary source workshop; e) an essay-writing workshop; f) a directory of commented web resources and background readings; and g) self-test quizzes, essay tasks, revision and exam materials.
  4. Multimedia teaching and learning objects which have been created in the context of VirtualDutch in previous years and which will be incorporated in the proposed integrated open learning environment are: a) two self-access multimedia study packs, one on beginners and one on advanced level, using a key historical document from the period, the Act of Abjuration of 1581, the formal declaration of independence of the Low Countries from the Spanish king, Philip II, and related pictorial material to help understanding the Dutch Revolt in the 16th century (in both English and Dutch); b) two study packs on the self-conception of the early modern Netherlands: the first on the ‘Batavian Myth’, tracing the way the Dutch, from the sixteenth century onwards, defined their collective identity with reference to their ancestors, the Batavians of Roman times; and the second on the maritime colonial expansion of the Netherlands which has acquired canonical status in Dutch historical consciousness; and c) a self-access reading skills course in 17th century Dutch, aimed at English-speaking university students and researchers who want to teach themselves to read early modern Dutch sources.
  5. These resources will be complemented by an interactive multimedial timeline on Anglo-Dutch relations from antiquity to 1830, which will be created using MIT’s Simile technology on the basis of the 300-page manuscript The Stranger’s case : a timeline of Cross-Channel Interactions by Jaap Harskamp, curator of the Dutch and Flemish collections at the British Library, in which he has compiled and annotated a comprehensive list of over 800 events relating to Anglo-Dutch relations throughout the centuries, drawing on a huge variety of sources. Dr Harskamp has donated this manuscript to UCL for this purpose.
  6. All elements will be synergetically combined in a resource-rich but directed learning environment, which will also involve some adjustment of the existing contents and formats. The project will use freely available Web 2.0 tools and services and be based on open and transferable standards (e.g. SCORM, AICC) which can be delivered by a variety of platforms and Virtual Learning Environments, e.g. via UCL’s or VirtualDutch’s own Moodle server (freely available without login requirement) and deposited on JISC’s JorumOpen server. The outputs will be licensed under a suitable CreativeCommons license (e.g. CC attribution licence) and open for re-use and re-purposing.


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