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You're attending - or wish you could? Come and tell us who you are!

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Sandrine Aguerre
16 February 2011

Before meeting on 23rd March, let's introduce ourselves!

You can tell us who you are, the projects you're working on at the moment, the repositories you use - feel free to add links to these projects, of course. Tell us also what you would like to get out of the Impact Event.

Extra content

Please see below Tony Coughlan contribution (20 march).

A dozen reflections on the impact of using OERs with the UK voluntary sector.

The aim of the CharityWise project is to create a sustainable long-term relationship between the Open University in the South West and regional voluntary sector network South West Forum in developing vocational OERs for the UK voluntary sector.

 As a basis for long-term sustainability, the plan is to cultivate a Community of Practice between end-users, policy makers and academics, in which contributors from each stakeholder group participate in improving, updating & creating new educational resources for the voluntary sector. The successes of Wikipedia and open-source software communities (e.g. Linux, Mozilla, Firefox) in which volunteers develop resources in a public, collaborative manner demonstrate how this can be achieved. Our project is influenced by how open-source communities operate, and shares many of their characteristics.

 Positive reflections

 1. OERs offer a way to integrate education for the UK voluntary sector workforce, which is currently fragmented and confusing. OERs have the particularly quality of being useable across institutional and sector boundaries: independent trainers, charities, colleges and universities can all work with them, and if we do so successfully it may lead to more coherent education for the sector.

 2. As an antidote to public sleaze and corruption, OERs and particularly OE Practices are recognisably ethical. This resonates well with the UK coalition government's transparency agenda and offers a contribution to ethical public life.

 3. The low cost of OERs is attractive in a time of severe public spending cuts.

 4. Policy-makers are exploring where to store knowledge & research resources that have been publically-funded, but are now being closed down by public spending cuts. There is a view that publically-funded resources should remain in the public domain, and an OER repository offers the added attraction of also encouraging the active use and re-use of resources, rather than them just being archived.

 Neutral reflections - issues that just need time.

 5. The UK voluntary sector is littered with how-to guides, instructions and toolkits, often assembled by committed authors, but now out-of-date or hard-to-find on dormant websites. There is also a back-catalogue of academic resources that is growing quickly as universities shut down unprofitable courses.

 6. It is very labour-intensive to assess the value of all these diverse resources and turn the suitable ones into OERs. Initially we are using National Occupational Standards as a basis for indexing & cataloguing OERs. At some stage I expect to find that OERs don't exist for some activities, and some will need to be produced anew.

 7. The aim is to support a community of volunteer contributors to use, create and improve the OERs, but we need to clarify how they are rewarded for their efforts. I am hopeful that the reputation-management system Doug Clow has developed for iSpot can help achieve this.

 Challenging reflections

 8. A recurring challenge is that while OERs are at least partly established in HE, they are very poorly understood outside, so a lot of time is spent explaining what OERs are and why. The terminology certainly doesn't help! I think we'd all benefit from at least one public project succeeding so that we can point to it and say 'take a look at that to see how it works'. I'm currently pointing to Tessa Africa but it's easy for sceptics to marginalise this example because of the contextual differences between Africa & the UK.

 9. Questions about assessment and accreditation are asked frequently. It's possible to point to an impressive array of learning resources at OpenLearn but the tools to bring them together into a programme of study (e.g. OER glue and OER University) are not as well-developed yet.

 10. The existing software tools for editing OERs are unfamiliar to the general public and not intuitive to use. We've begun considering what training our volunteer contributors will need and would welcome help with this.

 11. Finally, as people begin to understand what OERs are, I encounter suspicion, scepticism and hostility, particularly from those who fear their livelihoods are being threatened by the OER movement. At times I feel isolated as unlikely alliances form to defend the status quo. I'm intending to respond by beginning to make a case for OERs in the UK voluntary sector media.

 There's no number 12! This confirms that as a rough-and-ready reflection, I'll inevitably have made mistakes and omissions, which I hope you'll all point out!

 Best wishes,

Tony Coughlan,

Open University in the South West and

Fellow, Support Centre for Open Resources in Education

Blog: Openlearning & the voluntary sector



Sandrine Aguerre
12:22 on 21 March 2011

Embedded Content


Sandrine Aguerre
4:52pm 16 February 2011 (Edited 5:35pm 16 February 2011)


I'm Sandrine, Grundtvig French Assistant at the OU (coming from Bordeaux and working at Bordeaux3 university otherwise) and, even though I knew it existed before coming to the OU, I'm getting more and more interested in OER by working with the LORO team and attending events about OER. I guess you could call me a "new convert" (if indeed you can say so in English!).

Looking forward to hearing from you and meeting you.



Tita Beaven
5:37pm 16 February 2011

Hi, I'm Tita Beaven, and work in the Department of Language at the OU. I became curious, then interested in OER when the OU launched OpenLearn, and we made some of our course materials available as OER.

I'm also involved in LORO, our repository of OER for language teaching. LORO is a community repository for language teaching professionals, and as such I think it's slightly different from repositories that are aimed primarily at learners.... just as tricky to evaluate it's impact, though :-)



Leire Payo Peña
10:51am 21 February 2011

Hi, I am Leire, a Grundtvig Assistant too!  I've come from Spain to work at the Department of Languages of the OU in the LORO project which, as you may know, it is closely related with OER!  I am completely new at OERs, but I would love to hear from you about your experiences using OERs in your training/learning settings!  Looking forward to hearing from you!

Daniela Cesana
11:01am 22 February 2011

Hi there! I am the Italian Grundtvig Assistant here at the OU. Grundtvig is a European scheme which fosters the mobility of teachers/tutors between institutions dealing with adult education. I am more used to the traditional way of teaching, although I often prepare materials myself. I am very interested in online teaching and in the impact of OER on teaching and learning, so I am keen on getting to know what your experiences in using OER are.

Anna Comas-Quinn
12:08pm 7 March 2011

I'm Anna Comas-Quinn, a lecturer in Spanish in the Department of Languages at the Open University, and a Fellow of SCORE (the Support Centre for Open Resources in Education). I led the LORO project and am currently working on engaging users and promoting LORO as part of my SCORE fellowship. This event on impact of OER is part of this work, and will give us all a very good grounding on which to decide how best to evaluate the impact of LORO and the OER it contains.

Itana Gimenes
9:07pm 8 March 2011

I'm Itana Gimenes, a visiting professor  at OU Computing Dept. during 2011. I am currently investigating Distance Learning at Postgraduate programes, in particular in the software engineering area. I am looking for models that suits current Braziian scenario. OER certainly is attractive for Brazil as much as Open source programs are very successful there. So, we are open for further cooperation. 



Samantha Appleyard
12:07pm 9 March 2011

I am a Learning & Teaching Librarian for Arts & IET at the Open University. The Library has a role in finding relevant and trusted OER for integration into modules and is also using learning objects to deliver integrated information literacy tuition.

Sandrine Aguerre
2:34pm 9 March 2011

Dear Itana and Samantha, welcome to this cloudscape, and thank you for your messages!

Itana, I"m knew to this software engineering area... I understand you work mainly with Open source programs, what do you do with them? Do you get your students to understand and then change them? Do you use other kind of Open resources as well (like tutorials, or courses?)?

Samantha, I'm not really familiar with the Library services at the OU either... when you refer to "modules", do you mean you actually find resources for teachers / authors to use them in the courses they write? And it is also difficult for me to picture what are the "learning objects" you use to deliver "integrated information literacy tuition"...


Itana Gimenes
9:40pm 9 March 2011

Dear Sandrine,

Up to know I mainly do research on software engineering (software product line, business process, software architecture, etc.). My students develop tools and models using open source software, thus they use and change them accordingly to their need.  The Brazilian government has widely adopted open source software in their activities, in particular the state I live (Paraná) is very serious about this.

I am new to OER and learning design thus my objectives are to learn an apply to our needs.



Leire Payo Peña
9:40am 11 March 2011 (Edited 11:25pm 11 March 2011)

Hi everybody!

Everything seems amazing.  I am not quite familiar with the Open Source and open engineering either, but would like to know more.  I have already known that the Brazilian Government is encouraging developments on these areas though, so it will be really interesting to have you around!

The integrated information literacy tuition sounds  very interesting, too!  We are looking forward to seeing you soon!


Antonio Martínez-Arboleda
5:43pm 11 March 2011 (Edited 5:43pm 11 March 2011)


I am Antonio Martínez-Arboleda, from the University of Leeds. I will be attending the event on the 23rd and will be talking about my experience with the Humbox, a repository I have been involved as a user and as a Project Partner.

Has the Humbox made a difference in my L&T?  Is the Humbox contributing to enhancing the quality of Learning and Teaching for students?  

I'll tell you what I think about this on the 23rd (The answer is yes and yes).

You can have a look at the repository if you don't know it yet:

See you soon!




Leire Payo Peña
11:24pm 11 March 2011

¡Gracias, Antonio!

Good, Humbox is like LORO's older brother, in a way ;-)...  So we would much appreciate your contributions on OER applications and experience - which is much more extensive than ours! 

Thanks again! Looking forward to seeing you around!  

Sandrine Aguerre
10:57am 15 March 2011

Hello Antonio,

I am really curious, and I'm wondering whether you could you tell us a bit more about Humbox? I take it that it is for teachers use mainly? this is about humanities in Higher Education, isn't it? Can the students access it anyway? when has it been launched?

oh, and I have a question from a technical point of view : can you search the resources that have been commented? (I'm trying to do this with the admin account, but up to now I've only been able to sort the resources by notes, not comments!).

Looking forward to hearing more about Humbox and its impact.



Helen Beetham
1:08pm 16 March 2011

Hello, great to hear from others who are going to be at the Impact event, and to know that Antonio is going to be there. I'm leading one of the workshops and most of my experience of evaluating OER comes from the UK-OER pilot programme, which funded Humbox. Humbox (of course) was one of the most amazing and in my eyes interesting of the projects, because of it's focus on sharing in a community of common interest. It will be really interesting to catch up on its ongoing impact.

Before the event I'd be interested to have people's views on a couple of questions. The first is about content itself. When we are thinking about impact, what is it about content that makes it more or less OPEN, in an educational contexts. And also, what is it about content that makes it more or less EDUCATIONAL, in an open context? I'd be interested in ideas.

As soon as we start to ask these questions I think we come upon the question of who is using content, and for what purposes. Different uses will lead to different criteria for evaluating openness and learning potential, maybe? Anyway, I'd be interested to hear from you, and will perhaps have time to post my second question later.


Sandrine Aguerre
5:46pm 16 March 2011

Hello Helen, and welcome on this cloudscape.

I've also been wondering about what makes a content educationnal, as it seems to me that, at least in languages teaching, teachers are creative and can use almost anything for educationnal purposes! And I definitely think you're right : this is something closely related to how we use the content. And I was thinking, as you talked about a community of common interest for Humbox, that OER quality and impact may also be related to who you share it with? Maybe you need to share purposes and uses for the OER (or the sharing of the OER ?) to get an impact ?

I'm curious to hear what the others think about all these questions.


David White
8:41am 17 March 2011

Hello, myself and Melissa Highton will be talking about our OER Impact project for JISC and OER activity in general around the University of Oxford. The Impact project ( is investigating the academic use/reuse of OER.

I'm very interested in stories of the use/reuse of OER and how they fit in the broad spectrum of online resource use. To help position the conversations we are having with people we have developed a 'map' of use/reuse: which you might find helpful?

Our workshop will be looking at the use/reuse side of the OER coin and at what it means form an institution to be 'open'. Where does openness take pace around your institution and what form does it take?

Christine Pleines
2:19pm 17 March 2011


I'm Christine Pleines and I work as a Lecturer in Languages at the Department of Languages at the Open University. I've been creating learning resources for many years and I'm interested in the relationship between materials design, teaching and learning, and in how we can provide optimal learning opportunities for students. I'm a member of the LORO project team and am looking forward to meeting many of you next Wednesday.

Sandrine Aguerre
6:18pm 17 March 2011 (Edited 6:33pm 17 March 2011)

Hello David and Christine,

and welcome on this cloudworks!

you'll find some clouds have been created, dedicated to the discussion around David and Melissa, and Helene specific interests. Please visit and comment them :

Discussion around Helene talk :

Discussion around David and Melissa talk :

You can keep using this thread to tell us about you and give some insights and links to your projects.



Tony Coughlan
8:12pm 19 March 2011

Hello & ¡Hola!,

I really wish I could be joining you all on Wednesday, but I have unavoidable commitments in Bristol.

As some of you know, I am working on a project 'CharityWise' to exploring how to provide OERs for the UK voluntary sector by sharing curriculum development with the user community.

As I can't join you, I will try to post before Wednesday a summary of my experiences so far on the impact of trying to use OERs outside the HE sector.

There's more information on the project in my blog Openlearning & the voluntary sector .

Have a great day!


Marion Hall
7:25pm 21 March 2011 (Edited 8:14pm 21 March 2011)


Unfortunately, I'm no longer able to attend on Wednesday, but hope you all have a great meeting

best wishes, Marion

Samantha Appleyard
9:26am 23 March 2011

It's been a while since I looked at the discussion! Sandrine posted a question to me shortly I after I introduced myself...

"Samantha, I'm not really familiar with the Library services at the OU either... when you refer to "modules", do you mean you actually find resources for teachers / authors to use them in the courses they write? And it is also difficult for me to picture what are the "learning objects" you use to deliver "integrated information literacy tuition"...

Yes I can help authors find OER to use in their courses, as well as subscribed library resources. As well as the information literacy guidance and tutorials available via the Library website we also have a bank of information literacy learning objects (authored in-house) that we can integrate into courses via their VLE sites. These include activities on things like finding journal articles, planning searches, evaluating information etc. Course authors could simply provide a link to them on the course site, or use them in a more integrated way with some wraparound text. For example, a course author might ask students to use the skills they have learnt through an activity on finding a specific journal article, to find others referenced in the course materials.

A very quick explanation but I hope that helps! Hopefully we can discuss later on!


Samantha Appleyard
9:31am 23 March 2011

For those who are interested, some further information on library services for course authors at The Open University can be found on our Academic & Student Services page.

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