OER Synthesis and Evaluation / Release Cultural Issues
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Release Cultural Issues

Page history last edited by Lou McGill 10 years, 11 months ago

This page is part of Phase2 Release strand synthesis


This section draws together what projects have said and is in mainly in their own words. These findings have been synthesised across into the main report findings pages. Coloured excerpts are from project final reports - bold emphasis is mine (LM) to highlight key points  Learning from WOeRK (Learning from WOeRK final report) | SWAP (SWAP Final report) |  TIGER (TIGER Final Report) | DHOER (DHOER Final report) | SCOOTER (SCOOTER Final Project Report)  DeSTRESS (DeSTRESS Final Project Report) | SPACE SPACE final report | LEARNING LEGACIES (Learning Legacies Final Report) ALTO (ALTO Final Report)  | OSIER (OSIER Final Report) | ORBEE (ORBEE Final Report)    | PORSCHE (PORSCHE Final Report)



How are existing academic/subject discipline cultures being challenged, strengthened, contested, changed, etc. In releasing and using OERs

Many of the projects reported significant gains in staff understanding, confidence and skills which was seen as significant in changing culture. Increased awareness and capabilities had impact on practice - see Release Practice Change. New partnerships and collaborative experiences were noted as significant for  both subject communities and institutions. Cross institutional working fostered culture change through sharing of resources and practice, whilst employer engagement was seen as critical for some projects. Cultural change was also noted in curriculum development.

  • Many resources that staff have used over the years, such as images on the internet or from Microsoft clip art and logos, did not have copyright clearance. For the academics who were involved in creating or contributing materials to TIGER, it was a learning process with regard to copyright. One of the Academic Leads concluded: “TIGER raises awareness of copyright among the staff. The project will have an impact on what happens in the classroom in relation to copyright as well.”   TIGER  

  • One of the main ways in which the project has initiated change is around engaging with new partners in curriculum development. This has entailed:
    • Working with a wide range of internal stakeholders e.g. Teaching and Learning Directorate, Human Resources (around contracts and CPD opportunities), Students’ Union 
    • Working across faculties, including at Associate Dean level - Plymouth Business School, Faculty of Health, Faculty of Education 
    • Involving employers in curriculum development, both through initial dialogue and as potential users of (customised) material in the future 
    • Working across boundaries e.g. on/off campus learning, formal/informal learning, enrolled/not enrolled learners, staff/consultants, learning/work 
    • Facilitating new dialogues around content: the OER development can be a focus and catalyst for other kinds of change.   Learning from WOeRK

“I've found it great working across faculties, but there's still a struggle over things like admin. [We should be] sharing those efficiencies...” 

“This has helped us to re-establish some of the good working relationships we had.” [when two schools were more closely aligned in the University structure]

“[employers] can pick up the modules and credits but we can individualise it so it becomes something that is bespoke to that organisation. That I think is what's useful about the partnership arrangement.” (Learning from WOeRK Academic Leads)

  • Staff involved in the project developed their skills and confidence considerably, often from a low level of awareness and technical capability with OER.
  • Gains cited by developers included: confidence to develop for open release; seeing the opportunities for open release: better knowledge and understanding of IPR for third-party content; better knowledge and understanding of licensing especially open/CC licensing; and enhanced learning design skills.

“In terms of new materials I'm producing I can now easily see that these could turn into an OER. It's given me the confidence to develop for a wider audience and to develop differently.”

“I think it's a great experience to master the technology, create a format that works, and really get slick with doing it. It's moving into another domain in terms of producing learning and getting the messages across.” Learning from WOeRK

  • The response from the community was generally positive – we have had very few instances of refusals to share materials. Site access has continually increased since www.swapbox.ac.uk went live. Use of social networking tools (particularly Twitter and Facebook) were particularly successful in directing traffic to the site, indicating that at least part of the community is engaging with web2.0. SWAP 
  • Concerns were expressed, for example, about technical abilities required to use SWAPBox and upload materials together with fears of ‘ideas stealing’ if materials are uploaded. Requests for ‘kitemarking’ to assure quality of materials were expressed. Once again this underlines the importance of ongoing engagement with the subject community to alleviate these fears and pre-conceptions and encourage ‘technophobes’ to upload their own resources, even to a restricted number of viewers if preferred SWAP 
  • Each time we received enquiries from community members interested in attending the event and in finding out more about SWAPBox in general but who were unable to attend ( mainly due to other, work-related, commitments). In order to support those individuals appropriately, the project team either provided relevant information via email communication or offered private demonstrations at a more convenient date. After each workshop, the annotated PowerPoint slides were uploaded to SWAPBox to give the wider community the opportunity to access them. SWAP



  • “The largest area of concern from staff was how to find time, not just to engage in open educational practices, but for all scholarly activity, and how to gain staff commitment other than the few leading lights. The staff feedback overwhelmingly mentioned time as a barrier, and institutions need to seriously think about how to manage their staff workloads to provide space for creativity and innovation, which will be a growing challenge as universities face the future. In addition to day-to-day questions regarding IPR and technical support, staff enquired about student participation:


    • How are they (OER) pedagogically meaningful?
    • How can they be used by students?
    • How can students be producers?SCOOTER
  • A cultural shift will therefore take time, and during these changing times, if open education practices are to grow, it is essential that the community keeps abreast of changing perceptions. If universities are becoming more competitive, will they still want to share resources? If students are paying higher fees, are they happy for their institutions to give their resources away? Are over-stretched academics really going to have the time to engage in OER?”


  • Most illuminating were the student responses to OER in general, open comments.
    • Good, resources should be shared to help everyone.
    •  It would be very beneficial for students as it will allow students to reinforce the notes gained from lectures.

    •  It would also be easily accessible for all students regardless of university to use the resources without the use of blackboard or other systems. It would also aid students living at home and away from the university so they can access the resources without having to use the universities library. One example of the advantage of OER is if a student forgets their blackboard login credentials and can only reset their password at the university which can be inconvenient especially for commuters.

    •  It is excellent to see such hard work being distributed throughout the world for free. These resources are of very high quality and are valuable adjuncts to the lives of thousands. I feel proud of the fact that I study at DMU.

    •  Good - encourages others to learn.

    •  It would be nice if more resources like this are accessible to everyone.

    •  If DMU can allow others to use their resources hopefully other institutions will reciprocate.

    •  It is very helpful for students browsing the web from other universities to have access to such valuable resources.

  • Students clearly are enthusiastic and encouraging of the notion of open educational resources, and have a strong sense that resources should be shared, that the resources were of good quality and they were effective learning tools.


  • This was modelled on earlier work in Canada in the province of British Columbia  (https://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/26963) this licence was based on the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA licence with additional restrictions to restrict use to within the UAL. This was meant to address the issue of building trust between the staff from the six highly autonomous individual colleges that constitute the UAL to support inter-college sharing. This was also seen as an important first step in engaging staff with the idea of releasing their educational resources more openly. ALTO    
  • Engagement with OER seemed to be a powerful driver for professional learning and development, as the process of resource creation required reflection on ones own practice. It did not seem unreasonable to propose that when done by many individuals across a department, college or university that this could lead to broader cultural change.  In addition, collaboration and sharing with the external world seemed to help break down internal barriers by making them seem insignificant in the context opening up ones practice to the world. A central ‘official’ place to share and store OERs like ALTO also gave an institutional endorsement to this cultural change. ALTO


  • The project has highlighted significant differences in culture, practice, infrastructure, business cases, expertise and rate of change between the two cultures of academia and clinical practice in terms of engagement with the OER agenda. There is a risk that further funding constraints might reverse the current direction of travel towards open access in the long-term: at present, it seems likely that the innovations in policy and practice set in motion by the project will be sustained. PORSCHE evaluation report




































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