David Lammy, the Minister of State for Higher Education and Innovation, visited the Open University on Thursday 26th of February. His visit was hosted in KMi, and he was shown work from a range of innovations and elearning projects including our iTunes U. work and the STELLAR Network of Excellence.
Mr Lammy, the Member of Parliament for Tottenham, was promoted from Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills to his current position as Minister of State in October 2008. He is very interested in understanding the role of the UK in international online education, and in looking more generally at the Open University’s leadership role in elearning practice and research.
This visit came on the same day as the formal kick off meeting (also in KMi) of the STELLAR Network, which is being coordinated by the Open University and which represents a significant milestone in connecting the UK into European excellence in Technology Enhanced Learning. We were able to show the Minister how STELLAR will aim to connect to policy makers and to the government decision-makers all over Europe; so this was a very auspicious start to this work.
In addition to the work we are now starting on STELLAR, the Minister was most interested to hear about our presence in iTunes U. and our plans to expand into new channels for reaching students, and in our new mobile technologies research. We were delighted to be able to tell the Minister that our iTunes U. channel has now exceeded 3 Million international downloads. Mr Lammy finished his visit with an active and positive discussion on the future of higher education with Brenda Gourley, Denise Kirkpatrick, Alan Tait, Andy Lane, Will Swann and Peter Scott.