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Helen Whitehead
29 March 2011

1. Practical Re-use

Much is spoken about the potential for OER to reduce design time and to reduce costs, but is this really the case and where is the evidence?

  • Gabi Witthaus (University of Leicester, OSTRICH) & Jamie Grace (University of Derby)
    Some thoughts on OER reuse from Derby to Kabul
    This is a two-part presentation from members of the JISC and HEA-funded OSTRICH Project at the Universities of Leicester and Derby. Gabi Witthaus will start by reporting on the experience of delivering two workshops on OERs for Afghan academics and students in Kabul in February 2011, as part of a DfID-funded collaboration between the University of Leicester, the Open University and Kabul University. Approximately 30 academics and six students attended the workshops. Most had never heard of OERs before, and all were eager to find additional sources of teaching and learning materials that could be legally copied, adapted and reused. The workshops involved participants in conducting a search for OERs relevant to their fields of study and then reflecting on the potential advantages and barriers to reuse of OERs in their context. Their reflections on both the process of searching for suitable OERs and the potential reuse of OERs in their learning and teaching, and some implications arising out of this for the wider open access community, will be discussed.
    Jamie Grace will then present on the case for the use of OERs in legal pedagogy, with reference to his experience of using OERs in his teaching at the University of Derby.
    Transparency in the law and transparency in pedagogy: Firstly: ‘The law’ is freely available (it is a human right, of sorts, to have access to the law in the UK, so that one might engage with one’s right to freedom of expression and right to a fair trial), and typically freely available through texts of decided cases and legislation on the Internet. Secondly, individuals have the legal right to access our teaching materials through the Freedom of Information Act 2000, where the accessibility of teaching resources is determined by ‘prejudice to commercial interests’. Thirdly, the publication of more information in a more competitive HE environment, not less, over time, means that it could be in our institutional interests to be more open the world at large about our educational resources. What we must conclude is that any barrier to the uptake of OERs cannot currently be said to be legal or financial, and must only be due to institutional reticence and an ideology of academic freedom that promotes the development of pedagogic values behind closed doors.
  • Timos Almpanis (Learning Technologist/ Associate Lecturer in Blended Learning
    Southampton Solent University)
    How OER were embedded in the module 'Developing the Online Learning Experience'

    The purpose of the 'Developing the Online Experience' module is to increase participants' awareness of blended and online learning techniques so that they become familiar with the various ways in which technology can be used to enhance the students' learning experience. Increasing awareness about OER enables lecturers to enrich their materials further and focus more on the ways in which students engage with the materials and in facilitating learning. OER have been used in various ways in the module 'Developing the online learning experience'; OER were integrated with other subject-related learning resources such as journal articles, book chapters and presentations from the face-to-face sessions.
    To encourage participants’ own use of OER, they were featured in a face-to-face session in which participants were asked to work in groups to evaluate the use of some of the most common OER material on websites such as OpenLearn, Jorum, MIT Courseware and more. Furthermore, learning activities - both group and individual - were based around Open Educational Resources as participants were asked to search, identify and evaluate an online, publicly available, structured activity that could be relevant to their subject area.
  • Tim W Lowe (Department of Mathematics and Statistics, The Open University)
    Use of OER by an Open University Maths Course
    The Open University launched a new Level 1 mathematics course: MU123, Discovering Mathematics in February 2010. Whilst the course assumes students have some basic mathematical skills already, we are aware that many students, especially those returning to study, may need some preparatory revision. To help address this, we created a set of "Maths Help" resources on the OU OER site OpenLearn. This allows our students to begin to prepare for the course before they receive their course materials, and provides a resource for others. The material contained in the resources is based on a previous OU course.
    The presentation will discuss these resources together with usage details and feedback from students.

2. Impact of OER

An ever growing number of education providers are joining the OER revolution, but what is the impact and who is benefitting the most?

  • Dave White (Project Manager of the JISC  OER Impact Study, University of Oxford)
    Broadcast or Conversation: What does ‘openness’ mean to universities?
    Drawing on the initial findings of the JISC funded OER Impact project this presentation will explore how OER is being used/reused and the implications of institutions claiming to be ‘open’ in their engagement with the web.
  • Andy Lane, (Senior Fellow, Support Centre for Open Resources in Education (SCORE), The Open University)
    The Support Centre for Open Resources in Education: Fostering community actions and reflections
    The recent Online Learning Task Force report was called Collaborate to Compete and included recommendation 6, which says' Investment is needed for the development and exploitation of OER to enhance efficiency and quality' and suggested that this should be the responsibility of the JISC, HEA and the Open University (as part of its national role). The OU involvement is through the HEFCE funded SCORE initiative which is working with other English HEIs to:
    Publish more OER or relevance to the HE sector Provide information, advice and guidance through publications and events alongside JISC and HEA Run a Fellowship programme that enables HE staff to engage in active scholarship around the use of OER
    This presentation will explain in more detail these strands of work and also highlight the wider set of organisations and activities throughout the world that are trying to foster communities around the use of OER and get those communities to reflect upon the value of OER for transforming teaching and learning practice.
  • Steve Stapleton (Open Learning Support Officer, University of Nottingham)
    Open Educational Resources do save time and students do use them
    This presentation offers two case studies focused on the use and re-use of OER by staff and students at Nottingham. The first provides evidence of re-use by an academic from the School of Geography. The case study includes survey results showing that OER can save time with no compromise on quality. The second case study shows how students at Nottingham’s campus in China have been using open resources to support their studies, to learn how to evaluate academic resources and to support them on their journey to becoming global citizens.
  • Rob Pearce (Learning and Web Technologist, HEA Engineering Subject Centre, Loughborough University)
    Tracking OER
    In partnership with the JISC, the HEA Engineering Subject ran a pilot programme to support Open Educational Resources. The goal of the programme was to make a wide range of learning resources available as OERs. The project outputs were placed in the Jorum Open and a number of “web 2.0” websites such as YouTube and Slideshare in order to maximise their exposure to the community and for ease of re-use. The pilot project set in place a number of methods for attempting to measure and track OER usage and re-usage. Towards the end of the project a tracking code prototype system, named Date of Birth codes (DOB codes) was applied to several released resources as an experiment. The code is added to the copyright notice of an OER to maximise the likelihood of its reproduction.
    Example code: © rcp:140510:a0001
    The system has no resolver service and no central regulatory agency; usage and code creation and management depends on the ubiquity of the Google search engine. In one sense it’s a librarians nightmare – loosely controlled, no vocabulary with a small chance of accidental duplication etc. but on the other hand it’s a pragmatic response to a process that is impossible at the moment to regulate. Details of the technique can be found via this link: http://icesculpture.wordpress.com/make-evolved-oer-discoverable/.
  • Joel Duffin (via Skype (CEO, OER Glue)
    OER Glue
    OER Glue is a uniquely open approach to online learning that lets content be used where ever it is found rather than requiring it to be copied into a new system. OER Glue can be used to efficiently find content, assemble courses, and teach online by “glueing together” open education resources and integrating with popular online services including Google Documents, Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and discussion and assessment tools. OER Glue’s web browser add-on approach lets you gather video, images, and text from web pages and put them and widgets into existing web pages. Authors and teachers can use this functionality to wrap context and navigation tools around online content and to integrate content and services from multiple sources in a coherent manner. This approach addresses licensing issues by modifying content and integrating services "in place" after they are loaded in the web browser. OER Glue is in private beta right now and looking for partners who are interested in enhancing existing courses and building new ones using OER Glue as well as providing feedback and input on the design of the tool. OER Glue website

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