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Stall: OERs

Resources to support the Brunel Blended Design Workshop

Cloud created by:

Rebecca Galley
22 October 2009

This Cloud has been set up to aggregate tools, resources and discussion around Open Educational Resources (OERs) and the finding, use and reuse of these.

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Thanks for the excellent discussion and the exchange of ideas and insights today. I hope that you get the chance to explore the links to OER repositories provided and to begin experiment more in the field.

In order to make today's experience more valuable and reflexive, I will attempt to summarise some of the points you made. Feel free to continue sharing your experiences in this space and seek support where needed.

It's intriguing that many of you have used open educational resources in the past; but as the definition varies, so too the ideas about what is free, what is licensed as sharable and what is open to reuse and engage in a reflexive dialogue around teaching and learning practices.

Responding to the question: 'what type of resources would you consider useful from your point of view', your remarks were:

  • audio, podcasts, Q&A banks around specific theories attached to a particular discipline and/or professional practice, quizzes, activity banks
  • webinars, online articles, blogs
  • resources and learning activities geared towards the development of lecturing skills, professional development, pastoral support
  • widgets and tools on debating, argumentation as well as generic resources relating to ICTs

I hope this session has slightly changed perceptions about OERs, simply as open access content or courseware to something that also involves colloboration and sharing of experiences and contents around particular interests, disciplines, learning and teaching activities. This would certainly involve a change of philosophy or educational culture and would involve support in both raising awareness around OERs and training of lecturers, tutors,students, academics in general, as well formal and informal learners.

There are certainly opportunities as well as challenges here: One opportunity is bringing research closer to the classroom and making this contribute to a less hierarchical learning experience for all. Challenges focus on finding relevant and credible resources and cognitive overoad; Challenges around sharing include lack of motivation due to time limitations, lack of confidence and digital or collaborative literacies would be. Chris (I think) mentioned that he would be delighted to share own resources, but is also skeptical of context-independent resources. This brings me to think that if resources need to be 'granular' so they can be found easily, they too need to offer explicit learning designs, and a interactive interface to enable feedback and/or dialogue about 'reuse' on other contexts. Licensing regimes is another.

Some of these issues have been addressed in several spaces in Cloudworks (i.e. regarding motivations/barriers for sharing or ways to foster sharing and collaboration. Links to other resources are also available below so feel free to contribute to the dialogue or raise issues that you want to learn about.

The  UK's Joint Information Systems Comittee has a comprehensive programme on OERs and is offering support for pilot projects and activities that foster the development of open resources. We are also working on relevant projects and the development of workshops in our very own Olnet project.

Giota Alevizou
21:15 on 9 November 2009 (Edited 10:51 on 10 November 2009)

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Giota Alevizou
11:23am 9 November 2009 (Edited 9:22am 16 November 2009)

Hi all,

I am Giota and will be the OER advisor for this activity. I am a researcher at the OU's Olnet project funded by the Hewlett Foundation. The project aims to:

tackle gathering evidence and methods about how we can research and understand ways to learn in a more open world, particularly linked to Open Educational Resources (OER) but also looking at other influences. We want to gather evidence together but also spot the ideas that people see emerging from the opportunities.

Have you ever reflected upon the ways in which you identify and re-use resources? What makes a resource more re-usable than others? How do you share you share your insights?

Take a moment to think what you want to achieve from Open Educational Resources and how they can help and/or inspire innovative approaches to developing learning.

I am looking forward to hearing your views and assist whereever possible.

David Gilchrist
2:52pm 9 November 2009

I have learnt that there are many tips with quite a few icebergs under the surface. Great to know where the icebegs are though a bit scary how large they might turn out to be!

Sue Collins
3:13pm 9 November 2009

I have been searching for a way to develop a mentor training programme for primary and secondary teachers. This day has provided me with at least some idea of how I might begin to design and implement a blended learning course. Now I need to see if I remember all I have learned today when I come to use it tomorrow!!

Chris Evans
3:22pm 9 November 2009

I think people have been struggling with the meaning/nature of OERs. I think we often think of resources as being fixed or static like a book or a video. Maybe it helps to think of them as more collaborative and evolving (like a wiki or video responses on youtube).

Gráinne Conole
3:23pm 9 November 2009

Sue  hopefully this cloudscape and associated resources will help you re-find things of us. In a sense the blended design workshop is only really intended to give you some hands on experience of some of the tools and resource to help you in your deisgn porcess. Good luck with your design!

Gráinne Conole
3:26pm 9 November 2009

Hi chris

definitions are always problematic! I think the idea of seeing them as evolving and more collaborative is an excellent approach. Inherent in the 'label' OER is the notion of "free" educational resource and implicit in this is the idea that teachers will take and repupose OERs, which fits nicely with your collaborative/evolving idea.

Giota Alevizou
3:31pm 9 November 2009

Sue, it's great that we managed to find relevant OER resources for your collaborative Compendium LD maps. I hope we can aggregate more on this site to help you and guide you through the process in the future.

Giota Alevizou
3:39pm 9 November 2009

@Chris, @Grainne I totally agree that there is a need to raise awareness about the nature, potential and affordances of OERs. Today has been a testament of that; I also have the feeling that as much as people are discovering a new and exciting field for experimentation and learning in the world of OERs, the learning curve is still steep. There's still a lot of familiriarising , convincing and trainning to address difference sets of e-literacies, confidence, etc. I will try to summarise some of our discussions points shortly.

Gráinne Conole
3:41pm 9 November 2009

Hi Giota yes good points and I totally agree, which is why events like the blended design workshop are so important in terms of providing guidance and support. Great you found some relevant OER!

Rebecca Galley
10:25am 10 November 2009

Thanks for the reflective summary Giota. I think this fundemental shift from isolated to collaborate practice is key. As you say familiarising, convincing and training will make this shift easier - I think there is also something about modelling behaviours/ attitudes too - in order to be convinced I think people need to see what collaborative educational practice looks like in terms of time management, tools used, even to how to give feedback and what to say in discussions about designs.

Giota Alevizou
5:49pm 10 November 2009

I couldn't agree more Rebecca. I think events and workshops like the Blended Design certainly can facilitate the process. But there's more than it's needed to incentivise people people to do this in public spaces. A lot happens I guess, but it's not visible...

Antonella Esposito
3:04pm 12 November 2009

A study focusing on 11 inhibitors for reuse of OERs in developing countries has just been published by a Swedish researcher. Analyzing three interpretive case studies (Teachers in Blangadesh, Content developers in Sri Lanka; UNESCO OTP’s users), the researcher reveals how not only factors related to content issues (language, quality, relevance) affect the actual reuse of OERs: also educational rules and restrictions, access, technical resources, intellectual property, awareness, computer literacy, teaching capacity, and teaching practices and traditions play a role as hindrances in the adoption of open content. Among the reported findings, for instance, teachers “see the content development process as self-development” and are often reluctant to merely use materials copied by others. Moreover, finding, assessing and modifying materials in Internet is considered time consuming and excessively complex. Educators would find it easier to utilize materials with a finer granularity. An additional issue deals with the lack of trust towards open content not provided by recognised institutions: this would imply a disclaimer of the Web 2.0 communities as accredited producers of educational open content.

Hatakka, M. (2009), ‘Build it ad they will come?  – Inhibiting factors for reuse of open content in developing countries’, in EJISDC - The Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries, Vol. 37, n. 5, pp. 1-16

Giota Alevizou
10:36pm 12 November 2009

Thanks Antonella, That's fantastic. Very interesting insights. Certainly relating to filtered insights about from the OER communities I have been researching.

Giota Alevizou
10:16am 24 November 2009

The Center for Open and Sustainable Learning (COSL) is involved in several innovative projects that push the boundaries of learning. It should be interesting to browse around relevant OER projects, tips for starting OCW and research surrounding the impact of  open learning processes.  I have added the link (see also right)

Giota Alevizou
10:39am 24 November 2009

Creating, Doing and Sustaining OER: Lessons from Six OER projects

To help foster a thriving OER movement with potential for knowledge-sharing across program, organizational and national boundaries, the Institute for Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME), developed and conducted case study research programs in collaboration with six OER projects from around the world. Embodying a range of challenges and opportunities among a diverse set of OER projects, the case studies intended to track, analyze and share key developments in the creation, use and reuse of OER. The specific cases include: CurriculumNet, Curriki, Free High School Science Texts (FHSST), Training Commons, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP), and Teachers' Domain.

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