OER Synthesis and Evaluation / Phase 2 recommendations
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Phase 2 recommendations

Page history last edited by Helen Beetham 12 years ago

The most significant recommendations from the projects and strands are collated here as report recommendations


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Programme and project management recommendations

  • When planning and scoping a complex, multi-stakeholder OER project, ensure sufficient time and resource is allocated to the project management and stakeholder engagement element of the programme  (SPACE)
  • Ideally we would recommend that the timeframe for this type of project is longer; 18 – 24 months would provide the team with time to focus more closely on alternative methods of development, gaining additional feedback, expanding the testing phase and ensuring that the necessary links between the resources are fully incorporated. (De-STRESS) Due to the short timescales of current OER projects, the project team recommends that a database be established to record project team members with specific expertise.  This is of particular importance for those employed on short-term contracts to avoid loss of capability within the sector. (OPENSTEM)  For JISC to review the length of funding period where there is a requirement to design, develop, publish and seek robust learner evaluation of OER (Learning from WOeRK)
  • For the Synthesis and Evaluation team to consider wider use of the quality review framework developed by the Project Evaluator and IPR consultant. (Learning from WOeRK)
  • HEA/JISC should consider ways in which project legacies can be guaranteed, including examination of minimal-cost systems support and improved cross-repository searching. (OSIER)
  • HEA/JISC should consider a greater shift of emphasis in future parts of the programme from OER availability to OER use, particularly by supporting research into both the stimuli for and barriers to OER use by individual users as well as institutions.
  • Whilst some continuity is desirable to enable the sharing of effective practices, the project team recommend that JISC ensure that future funds play a significant role in spreading the OER expertise to new communities within higher education.(OPENSTEM)
  • Require inclusion of previous OER project members in new project teams to build on their experience and networks (Open for Business)
  • Continue to encourage projects to work together. This could include the practice of pairing projects but give the project teams an opportunity to choose their own pairings (CPD4HE)
  • Continue to maintain and advertise the many support resources available as they can save vital time (Open for Business)
  • Require a significant dissemination and sharing component within future project plans to explain and demonstrate the benefits of using and re-purposing OERs(Open for Business)
  • Link the depositing of OERs to reward and recognition and to research excellence frameworks (Open for Business). Find ways of rewarding those individuals and institutions who contribute open resources to the community,,, there must be an expectation that such activities will be required. (Delores)
  • JISC-led national debate on the problems with aggregations resulting in a set of guidelines for e.g. RSS feeds. This may work best in parallel with a programmer-led plug fest/hack day which in the past have proven to be very useful and cost effective ways for the OER community to share and develop simple prototypes. (Triton) 
  • OER projects should no longer limit their scope to purely open materials.  The need for a comparison between what is used and what is openly available is needed to drive the development of OER in terms of quality and volume. (EALFCO) 
  • The use of existing tools for discovering and hosting resources should be prioritised.  A large number of projects have been funded releasing resources and developing hosting sites for resources and these tools should be explored and utilised to inform further projects.  These tools should be evolved and joined up to optimise the technical solutions created by these projects. (EALFCO)
  • Enhance the transparency and discoverability of essential OER Toolkits – the OOER materials, information on how to search for OER, information on an OER pipeline and how to manage the OER process (Scooter) 
  • It would be efficient and would aid discovery if the funders promoted an iTunesU, Apple Bookstore or similar front end for the UKOER projects – with common templates or style guides - rather than each project investigating this possibility separately.(DeSTRESS) 
  • An updated and robust debate should be had on the viability of the business case for monetising content within NHS and HE markets to resolve and clarify tensions (Porsche) 
  • Due to the short timescales of current OER projects, the project team recommends that a database be established to record project team members with specific expertise.  This is of particular importance for those employed on short-term contracts to avoid loss of capability within the sector (OpenSTEM) 


Technical recommendations

  • Whilst acknowledging the work that has already been done, the project team recommends that further work be commisioned addressing tracking of OER materials on a structured universal basis (cf. DRM on e-books).  Successfully resolving the issue of tracking is imperative for JISC to demonstrate the effectiveness and reach of the UK OER project. (OPENSTEM)
  • Examine the viability of a co-ordinated central approach to permitting the use of screen-shots for inclusion in OERs developed for instructional material. (DELILA)
  • There is a real need for work on standards for representation and exchange of OERs. Whilst there is some guidance and advice at present it is quite general, and it seems not to have had much influence on the widespread release of OERs.  Such work should result in the delivery of best-practice guidance and an OER standard. (Delores) 
  • Automatic collection would be easier if resources were provided in xml or other format (eg. rdf) intended for machine reading. An easy first step would be to label all OERs explicitly as OERs (even if only in text) (Delores)
  • More generally, a repository of spiderable URLs at which OERs may be found would be a very valuable resource. (Delores)  
  • A simple inexpensive solution may be for the work to be done by subject specialists to set up directories within social web spaces - YouTube Playlists, Flickr Collections - and for these lists to be surfaced alongside more formal repositories. (Triton) 
  • That the use of EPUB and OpenTextbook formats deserve to be investigated in more depth (DHOER) (and also DeSTRESS)
  • Development of ‘take down’ technologies for ‘removing’ OER from public consumption (Porsche) 


Learning and teaching recommendations

  • Engage with learners as co-designers and co-developers of OERs. (Learning to teach Inclusively)
    This approach:      
    • ensures curriculum relevance of the resource (SPACE)
    • increases the focus on useability (SPACE)
    • models inclusive practice (Learning to teach Inclusively)
    • adds richness, authenticity and vibrancy to the product. (Learning to teach Inclusively)
  • The notion of learner involvement in OER, from our initial student feedback, would give rise to new opportunities to tap into their overwhelmingly strong beliefs that resources should be shared, and universities should engage in these activities. Exploration of how students find and use OER themselves would be interesting, as would, how can students and learners produce materials themselves? (Scooter) 
  • Do not underestimate the time which will be needed by staff who create and release OERs. Provide support structures such suitably skilled copyright officers and Learning technologists.  (TIGER) and also enable evaluation of OERs (Learning from WoERK) 
  • The importance of sharing learning designs rather than ‘just’ materials is key to future success and development.  (SWAP)  
  • Connect OER activity explicitly to cultural change and collaborative learning design skills to support more flexible and blended learning opportunities (ALTO) 
  • The evidence suggests that there is real value in focusing and developing OERs on subject-specific communities. While IPR/copyright guidance is important this can also be off-putting to users and therefore, the approach should be as light touch as possible. Users need to be able to communicate with each other on repositories to ensure a sense of community and ‘ownership’ in order to encourage sustainability beyond the formal length of a project.  This has been seen in HumBox and we expect the same to be true for SWAPBox, too. (SWAP) 
  • Case studies of successful collaboration using (and perhaps co-developing) OERs would support their further adoption in UK HE. Presently there are many good resources which are not licenced as OERs but valuable to the bioscience disciplines – encouragement for these to become OERs needs a means to share discussion about them. If solutions like the learning registry provide these then the relevant communities will need to promote them i.e. HEA, ALT (Oerbital)  
  • Further work be undertaken to look at specific CPD needs of HE in FE staff and whether there are specific issues in terms of OER delivery for different stakeholders. (EDOR)
  • Further work with HEA, JISC (including the Academic Integrity Service), SEDA and academic and educational development units to develop CPD opportunities for academic and support staff around IPR and copyright digital literacy. (EDOR)
  • HEA/JISC to tackle low awareness of copyright among academics.   It is recommended that issues around licensing are embedded within the Post Graduate Certificate for Teaching in Higher Education. The topic should not be seen as a one of session on ‘copyright’ but integrated within themes of creating and using teaching resources. (C-SAP collections). it is essential that a basic IPR awareness module is included in all into all initial qualifications for teachers in higher education – this is long overdue and crucial for effective OER activity (ALTO)
  • For the purpose of awareness raising, that OER as an agenda be explicitly named within the new PSF. (EDOR)
  • Consider in more detail the role of peer review in the release of OERs.(DELILA)
  • Collaboration beyond institutional boundaries is essential to promote and develop Open Educational Resources which are independent of the host institution. Many resources discovered appear to be highly contextualised and difficult to adopt. (Oerbital)
  • It will often be the case that work making provision for OER will fall to library staff. It would be helpful suitable training be given to such staff so that they understand the special needs of such provision. (Delores)  
  • Individuals may find value in curating and tagging their learning and teaching interests through new popular curation tools – some coordination and training though a community initiative to align habits and focus on using the same tools effectively. (Oerbital) 
  • Working across institutional boundaries through disciplines needs a supporting infrastructure which is efficient and effective. The restructuring of the HEA must not lose the successes of the UK Centre for Bioscience in developing small projects based on community needs and interests. (Oerbital)


Stakeholder recommendations

  • A need to align the agendas of commercial organisations with educational organisations for the use and reuse of OER resources (learning legacies). Hospitals, community organisations, industry should consider OER as a vehicle for networking with academic institutions, and possibly don’t appreciate the relevance or usefulness of assets that they own. From these practices, dialogue about research, collaboration, employability can all follow (SCOOTER)
  • Follow on projects need to take account of the difficulties in persuading third parties of the usefulness and significance of OER and Creative Commons licences (learning legacies)
  • Professional bodies should be engaged in disseminating and promoting the FERC, e.g. Royal Geographical Society / Institution of British Geographers, Geological Society of London, Institution of Environmental Sciences (OF (GEES)) 
  • Work with providers such as YouTube and Apple iTunesU to improve their support for OER licences and cataloguing. Steps are being taken to join a working group at Apple to look at two OER issues that are relevant from Triton: How to improve discoverability of OER within the Apple ecosystem and where in the process can tagging be best applied? (Triton) 
  • Guidance on open content sharing needs to be at an appropriate level and adapted for the specific sector (i.e. guidance for HE needs to be adapted for the NHS sector) (Porsche) 
  • Co-ordination and direction within the NHS on who leads with OER and open licensing policies is necessary (Porsche) 
  • Review and analysis of national and international developments in OER in the context of health education (Porsche) 


Licencing recommendations

  • The need for some additional clarification on the restrictions of Non-Commercial (NC) licenses, particularly given the new funding regime with its emphasis on HEIs increasing their income from non-government sources. 
  • Issues relating to copyright and licensing need to be more integrated within academic practice. This may be through:
    • Staff development
    • Study skills curriculum for students
    • Developing tools to easily allocate a CC license to digital materials (C-SAP collections) 
  • Encourage those producing "grey" or "non" OERs to assign a CC licence (C-SAP collections)
  • Licences are still presented in metadata sources in various formats and in different styles and these are difficult to parse and present when aggregating multiple sets of material. Much more clarity is needed and some clearer pages for UKOER content providers would help. It may also help to have more validators for checking metadata fields. (The Xpert project at Nottingham was acting as an unofficial UKOER feed validator.) (Triton) 
  • Using NOER to compare OER should be developed further.  Additional details should be provided to users to advise them that there are alternative OER available.  This would reduce the threat of copyright infringement and encourage users to produce resources to fill any gaps where no suitable open resources exist. (EALFCO)
  • Development of a Consent Commons (or similar) to hallmark content which has been collected ethically (Porsche) A Consent Commons framework would illustrate consent status, and also monitor when that consent needed to be reviewed or withdrawn.  This research is significant to the ACTOR project and the clinical education community and should be investigated. (ACTOR)


Links to strand recommendations 

cascade recommendations; collections recommendations; release recommendations; omac recommendations

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