Oxford OER examples: OpenSpire

Peter Robinson led off a session demonstrating the OER work from Oxford University.  The...

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Patrick McAndrew
20 April 2010

Peter Robinson led off a session demonstrating the OER work from Oxford University.  The OpenSpires work had the dual aims of making talks and lectures available as OER, and to share the institutional implications of that work.. This built on the successful release of content by Oxford on iTunesU with >3million downloads. The iTunesU licence limits to “personal use” which is more restrictive than desirable. Content across all topics and different types – with success in recording student-tutor discussions. Examples shown from publc speakers (Gordon Brown), museum collections, straight lectures, illustrated lectures, … . The central podcasting service used a role out approach to bring in self-recordings as well as supported recordings.  Aim to minimise the time required – ideally to the time the event takes. Overall a syndication approach has been taken with the vision that eventually an ensemble of content from different providers can be constructed.

Reasons to share: personal, reputation, altruism, reward. The contributions should be sustainable as impact is fairly high.

Examples included:

a Philosophy lecturer (Marianne Talbot) who released a podcast of a lecture that then became the global No.1 on iTunesU. Making her possibly the “most heard philosopher in the world”.

An Art historian (Martin Kemp) described a seminar on how to validate whether or not a Leonardo Da Vinci manuscript is in fact genuine. Important to him was to be able to release his content with the implied quality of the Oxford University and also to then lead into further funding from the Gates Foundation. His own personal profile as a speaker, writer and broadcaster is supported by the free availability of his work.

Tristram Wyatt described how existing work on online study skills from Oxford and South Africa to be openly available and adaptable. The switch to having a changeable resource made them more useful. The investment in the content was fairly high compared to podcasts which has restricted how they have been able to go beyond an initially funded activity.

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Patrick McAndrew
11:13am 20 April 2010


Q: Owen Stevens (from The Open University). Is there a distinction between personal reuse and institutional use? In addition is the non-commercial licensing restricting take up.

A: Images can be problematic as there is a revenue model. The CC aims to make it clear what can be done without asking. Taking advantage of this may take some time to become embedded. Time will allow us to face more of the challenges and opportunities.

A: Brett (English Faculty) – OER will only be sustainable once embedded in academic practice.

A: Robert (Warwick) – for existing undergraduates there may well not be a need for more content, rather better services - tutoring and quicker feedback. Humbot supports quick peer review and feedback.

A: Emma – podcast of undergraduate lectures simply self-recorded.  First target was the within university audience. The outside audience was secondary. Could be impact

Comment: Medical OER brings in additional consent issues – happy for use for education, not happy for completing open use. Biomedical material on influence replacing expensive lab material – but needs annual updating to be useful. Teacher pack approach has a mismatch to student access that is being encouraged.

Comment: OER does offer a route for communication – but some academics are not such good communicators.

A: OER does offer teachers a chance to see how others teach and opportunity to learn.

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