OER Synthesis and Evaluation / Cascade: Development and Release
  • If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • You already know Dokkio is an AI-powered assistant to organize & manage your digital files & messages. Very soon, Dokkio will support Outlook as well as One Drive. Check it out today!


Cascade: Development and Release

Page history last edited by Lou McGill 12 years, 5 months ago

Part of Phase2 Cascade strand synthesis

Limited evidence is offered in this category as it was not the focus of the Cascade strand, and very little new evidence emerged.


 Jump to the appropriate section on this page



What makes resources suitable for open release?

ADM projects expressed concern as to the general quality of OERs as well as their transferability in a subject area whose departments develop their own characteristic modes of learning and teaching.

“Many existing Art & Design OERs are not seen to be appropriate… we should not rush to create poor quality OER randomly, but should first plan a methodical approach which will take longer, but has the opportunity to enhance the reputation of our Faculty.” (Kingston University)


Ripple identified an appetite for release of materials in interdisciplinary subjects such as work-based learning, skills.

C-SAP project blog comment \I’ve often felt that for OER to be proper OER (and really stressing the Open word), then it needs to be provided in open formats, and using open platforms. Open source has made great strides to be language independent (to allow for any language to be added to a system). OER would do some great strides in allowing for this. (Comments by Stian Hakley on OER Lingua Franca)


As noted in practice change, potential OERs often exist inside closed VLEs. Whether these materials see the 'light of day' or not can depend on technical factors such as the ease of releasing Blackboard cartridges, but can also depend on pedagogic factors such as the types of learning activity undertaken (is feedback required??) and whether interactive elements are self-contained or draw on/provide data to other insitutional systems.


Although Cascade partner institutions released OERs of all sizes and levels, granularity is definitely a consideration when it comes to making OERs maximally reusable. A  CSAP presentation on this topic notes that a smaller resource:

- is less academically credible/ significant

- supports autonomous learning

- creates less work for the tutor in introducing for autonomous use - flexibility

A bigger resource on the other hand:

 - is more academically credible/ significant

- requires a higher level of self directedness from the learner.

- creates less work for the tutor in introducing for autonomous use.


The CORRE framework developed by the OSTRICH project has screening of materials for copyright clearance as a significant separate workflow. The costs of clearing copyright or retrofitting content with CC elements can be prohibitive.

'The original plan was to enhance the content, including by adding video, reworking graphics, looking at pedagogy, looking at support for learning processes (e.g. setting up model wikis), and adding formative assessment into the materials. However, very little of this kind of transformation turned out to be possible with the large volume of print materials that had to be processed.'


Lecture capture was used by many of the Cascade partners to produce OER from existing teaching and learning activities.  Documentation and resources relating to the use of lecture capture technology have been created and made available in OER format (http://go.bath.ac.uk/sktc). An internal briefing paper on the legal issues surrounding lecture capture at Bath has also been provided for Senior Management.


What additional quality criteria should be applied to OER?

Beyond noting that the adaptation of materials for open release 'can add real value in many ways, with the resources being improved in the conversion process' (OSTRICH final report), projects had little to say about specific quality criteria. The ADM final report had 'quality assurance, attribution, considerations of critical engagement, and concerns regarding ‘openness’' as key issues. C-SAP dealt separately with accessibility issues.


What new technical developments were undertaken?

At Bath, a new repository was developed, based on the Drupal platform. Background discussions and planning decisions 

can be followed on the project blog, and the repository code has been released into the open source community at repository code is openly available: Derby is planning to use this for its own repository.

The final report of the OSTRICH project notes that:

A well-documented API for Jorum Open would have eased the porting of OER records into that repository, as required by the project. We found that for the quantity of OERs to be added, it would be more effective to input manually to Jorum Open than to invest time in attempting to set up the RSS feed directly into the repository.


The lack of an adopted and widely accepted metadata standard, for example DC-Education or IEEE LOM, limits the interoperability of any such repository. Such a standard would facilitate automated creation of standardised metadata, where applicable, which would help to describe the records more thoroughly and evenly.


What legal and IPR issues emerged?

Like projects in the pilot phase of UK OER, the Ripple team found that legal advice needed to be tailored to the different institutions. Generic guidance was rarely sufficient. They note that IPR issues require specialist support, and that 'not everybody needs to become an IPR expert – it should be handled on a risk management basis' by specialist staff, allowing academic staff to focus on positive benefits and educational design issues.


OSTRICH faced a particular difficulty supporting the University of Bath, where (very unusually) academics own the IP of their 'scholarly output' including learning materials. A new Deed of Licence was developed by the Intellectual Property Legal Services team to allow academics to give the institution permission to release resources as OERs. However, other IP problems emerged from this situation.

JISC Terms and Conditions for funded projects, such as the requirement to produce signed consortium agreements or Memoranda of Understanding early in the project lifetime, can pressurise teams to conclude negotiations that need more time and care.

There may be problems releasing withdrawn units of study as OERs.

IP may be governed by more than one pre-existing agreement, may require sign-off from a range of external parties, and may become blurred as content is developed and redeveloped. Bath IPR FAQs offer guidance on these and other issues.

Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.