OER Synthesis and Evaluation / release Impacts and Benefits
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release Impacts and Benefits

Page history last edited by Lou McGill 11 years, 3 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)


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What kinds of OERs are being adopted and re-used, and how?

It is very early to identify which of the OERs developed during this phase of activity are being used - although most projects intended to observe and report on this. It seems that most projects underestimated the effort that goes into developing OERs and timescales did not allow much time to evaluate use. Some projects report on anticipated use based on intitial feedback from stakeholders and others have use tracking analytics to generate some information on views and downloads. Most projects have ongoing activities and mechanisms toencourage and promote use. More use is anticipated for some of the disaggregated resources but many projoects felt the need to provide additional pedagogic support or intention. This highlights a focus by many projects on activities around the OERs being as important as the OERs themeselves and their potential to encourage 'pedagocigally infomed use' (SWAP) - ie good learning and teaching practice (open practices). PORSCHE highlighted that student expectation may also have an impact as their use of open resources continues to increase. PORSCHE also found evidence that demand is there (particularly in this economic climate but that there is still a lack of critical mass of OERs at the right level of granularity.

  • The evaluation process indicated that the resource will be taken up and used within some further and higher education institutions as early as Sept 11, leading to an immediate impact in terms of improving teaching and learning opportunities. Our evaluation shows that, at the time of writing, these institutions intended to use the resource within the curriculum in a range of ways

We are going to set it up for staff teams, use in staff development events and Freshers Week…

We’re planning to disseminate amongst FE students, to senior management teams, and use it in induction week for 16-18 year olds.” (Doncaster College) SPACE (simulation 3d environment)

  • North Hertfordshire College is planning on integrating it into its forthcoming Offstage Choices event in the Autumn, which offers ‘taster’ experiences for recruitment on to its performing arts courses. SPACE (simulation 3d environment)
  • The National Skills Academy will be promoting the resource on its ‘Get into Theatre’ and ‘Get into Live Music’ websites, so that the latest version can be downloaded by its members. The tool will also be promoted within its support of the new FE Artsmark as a current resource for the arts to be shared between students, with tutors and between industry and education. SPACE (simulation 3d environment)
  • In previous work we discussed the notion of “reach” and “impact” of OER. “Reach” reflects the numbers of visitors and geographical locations, that is, how wide spread a resource or web page has been marketed. “Impact” is more critical and one not so easy to monitor. In Google Analytics, the “visits” metric provides an indicator of use, but more important might be the “returning visitor” metric to reflect reuse. That is not to say, a visitor might not find a useful item in one visit and not feel the need to return. SCOOTER
  • The project has generated interesting discussions about the level of ontological and pedagogical guidance an OER should provide or demonstrate. Our focus on simple accessible functions encourages subject users to engage but it could be argued reinforces individual users’ pedagogic approaches rather than encouraging change and experimentation. Several partners have developed resources with clear pedagogic principles and there is a challenge adapting these to suit a completely open resource. One project partner wrote:

‘We do pride ourselves on trying to disaggregate our materials so that they can, within rather strict learning object definitions, be reused in a variety of settings and courses, making a blend possible without reference to others in a given topic. So perhaps the reverse may be the case where non disaggregated materials find a natural home in repositories, in that they can be selectively used by others as part of their blend’.(Partner progress report) SWAP 

  • A key learning point for the project team has been understanding how to promote blending and pedagogically informed usage. To this end, the forum function was developed to stimulate debate about how and when a selected popular resource has been used. SWAP
  • Evidence in this area can only be limited. However, OERs in medical education are seen has having huge potential. PORSCHE Evaluation Report
  • As mentioned previously, within both the healthcare academic and practitioner context, videos, images and simulations are all seen as being essential to enhancing student learning. PORSCHE Evaluation Report 
  • There is interest and appetite in using content that is freely available, especially things like video clips or good quality images, which can be quite difficult to source.
  • Participants at the eLearning in Health Conference identified examples of OER that would be of use: interprofessional practice teaching was raised as an area where sharing of resources could be of particular benefit. Other particular needs identified were: taking content straight to a patient’s bedside; and providing students the opportunity to take risks without harming patients. PORSCHE Evaluation Report
  • Student expectations might also have an impact on content development, with students already accessing resources such as Wikivet and Virtual Patient packages. PORSCHE Evaluation Report
  • The overriding issue highlighted by interviewees (telephone and video) was that there is seen to be a lack of critical mass of OERs of suitable quality, reliability and granularity.

I’m somebody who is supposed to know quite a bit about the technology side, within my School, but I still find it difficult to find open resources to know where to go to find the resources we might want. PORSCHE Evaluation Report

  • Given the decreasing investment in resource development within both the academic and practice context, there is clearly potential for OERs to be taken up if they were available: the demand is there. PORSCHE Evaluation Report
  • an early assessment of the relevance and usefulness of the first category or resources developed-the case studies and discussion starters with his colleagues at Bedfordshire. The resources were generally well received with some comment about the level of HE they were suitable for, and their relevance and potential for repurposing. There was some acknowledgement that the case studies and discussion starters were not extensive documents and were more designed to prompt critical discussion about a range of issues and questions, although the feedback was generally positive. LEARNING LEGACIES

How can OERs be integrated into different curriculum processes of the various partner institutions?

Projects offer an interesting mixture of aopproaches which reflect the different context (either related to sector, student group, discipline). Approaches range from using OERs as tasters to wholesale embedding in modules. Those institutions that have been involved in the projects are demostrating a willingness to use and adapt resources and have also evidenced change in how they plan and deliver curricula. See also Release Practice Change  

HE in FE

  • “For FE I think we’ll use it for demonstrations and guidance – they need a lot of guidance at the start.” (FE stakeholder)
  • “We would introduce it as part of the skills package, this is computer based work; we would teach them how to use it and then, later on in their course, it would be up to them to use if they wanted to.” (FE stakeholder)
  • “It’ll be used to go away and develop independent projects. I see it being able to be used for more standalone project work.” (HE stakeholder)
  • Design realisation students would find it really useful, their job is to go from a model box to stage so to visualise things in 3D and design things on SPACE easily and quickly would be really good for them.” (HE stakeholder)
  • “We’ve been heavily involved in embedding the SPACE project into the curriculum. It will be useful, not only for performing arts students, but for programmes like Moving Image Production, Graphic Design etc. Moving Image Students do lots of filming in environments so this will be useful for them to set things up. For performing arts students, it will be especially useful for their lighting module, and will be most useful from a health and safety aspect, mocking up lights and looking at their impact.” (Doncaster College) SPACE (simulation 3d environment) 
  •  Comments made on the issue of relevance of the resources included:

 Very, gives students an understanding of the issues of pollution congestion and will make them aware and want to be Green”

Very with some adaptation for level 2 could fit in to my units

  • On the issue of reuse and adaptability

Can be useful adapted to fit other cities involved in the Games

“This would be used as part of a module introduction

  • The resources were viewed as being able to be used at different levels these included:  FE level 3 HE, Level 2& 3 , Diploma Yr1, Level 4 Foundation Degree, level 6, Level 5&6 LEARNING LEGACIES

OCW publishing model

  • OERs for Art and Design (especially in the ‘making’ subjects) can be low in traditional didactic materials like lecture notes that commonly feature in other university courses. While we used the OpenCourseWare (OCW) publishing model to structure and present courses it became clear that some of the gaps relating to practice could be filled in by the use of pictures, video and audio. The combination of the OCW model with rich media seems to present an ideal way forward in this area. What also became evident was that we can have an iterative OER publishing model – where the first stage entails an OCW like representation that can then include reference to practice as recorded and developed in an environment like Process.Arts ALTO

Pedagogic wrappers

  • The pedagogical wrap-around materials were developed to provide sufficient background information about the resources. TIGER provided information about how the OER is being used and how it could be used, the aims of the OER, the outcomes, who the target audience is, how previous tutors had set up the learning activities and how they had structured student interaction. Guidance on how the users can reuse and repurpose the OERs was also important since this would allow them to modify materials as needed within their own environment.TIGER

Non traditional learners

  • Resource developers found that they had to adopt different teaching approaches in developing OER, compared with developing resources for full-time traditional learners. In particular, they were producing materials for a wide variety of needs:
    • for other teachers and tutors within the University and in the wider HE community, as well as directly for distance learners 
    • providing a more flexible curriculum, required for non-traditional learners such as work-based learners 
    • for the generic needs of learners in a wide variety of work-based contexts 
    • for anticipated generic needs rather than specific cohort requirements 
    • with a new awareness of the dimensions of 'open' and the range of 'open learners' needs” 

“[WBL] shifts the balance whereby the academic facilitates the learning in a very different way. So OER allow us to continue that shift, because learners sitting wherever – in Wrigleys, in a cafe – can access a range of resources suited to his or her own workplace. It's about democratising education”. (Learning from WOeRK OER developer) Learning from WoERK

  • Supporting learners at work appears to involve:
    • developing more generic and  flexible content, which can be contextualised and applied to different  work settings
    • generating appropriate guidance/mediation (i.e. ‘wrap-around’ support) in addition to subject content
    • supportive mentors and facilitators able to work effectively with learners or providing effective mentorship alongside learning materials (“I've explained the exercises very carefully on the audio so that anyone else could pick up what was involved and maybe help”. (Learning from WOeRK OER developer)
    • accommodating a diversity of learners' and employers' needs

“So the content is reflective activities a lot of the time – it's guidance, it's reflection, it's structuring of their work-based activities. So it's got to be applicable in a wide range of different contexts.” (Learning from WOeRK OER developer) Learning from WoERK

What is the impact on student experience?

Alot of this is actually anticipated impact and reflects original motivations - OERs are clearly seen as supporting a flexible curriculum and non-traditional learners including remote, part time and distance learners

  • helping to address health and safety issues

“You can set up scenarios with health and safety hazards in and the student can try to spot them.” (HE stakeholder) SPACE
“Students don’t spend a lot of time thinking about all the different items they will need on stage and how they will put them together. This resource might speed up the process and is better than drawing, some of them don’t like drawing and their drawings aren’t very accurate sometimes. Technicians get frustrated with them sometimes, the students don’t communicate effectively with the production office so if they could do this better everyone would benefit.” (HE stakeholder) SPACE

  •  “You can look at the impact of what you are doing or what you could do without putting anyone at risk. It will make students appreciate those issues more and go out in real life with more of an idea, It will make them look deeper.” (HE stakeholder) SPACE
  • TIGER also developed the OERs to benefit students. We want students to come to the repository website, having done the face-to-face or practice IPE events, and use these materials to add to their learning. Again, TIGER developed pedagogical wrap-around materials to guide academics how they can make use of the materials for a whole range of different purposes to benefit students.

“The website is a great way of refreshing my memory of my IPE experiences. It places huge amount of information that we have gained in a short amount of time in a place that can be easily accessed and referred to over and over again. I learn well by repetition and reading, so this is ideal for me.” [S2-Notes, Pilot 2]Students considered the resources useful for both their learning and work. They could see themselves using the resources before, after or during the face-to-face IPE events, and in practice.  TIGER

  • Exploration of alternative uses of the resources, e.g. for students undertaking the Plymouth Award.
  • 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”.  (De Montfort University Medical Science Student, March 2011). SCOOTER
  • “The majority of students had not heard of the term OER, and it is interesting to observe that most OER initiatives and projects are targeting tutors and academic users, but what we have is a superb learning resource for students too. In their open comments they were very enthusiastic and encouraging of the notion of open educational resources, suggesting that resources should be shared. Therefore, work needs to be done to not just train staff to search and use OER, but for students also as users, and potentially contributors as we have demonstrated with students from Arts and Technology. SCOOTER
  • Almost all the student respondents liked the look and feel of ORBEE, and perceived it as easy and convenient to use, comments included;

‘It’s user friendly, very quick and easy to familiarise yourself with’ ‘It’s good that the homepage hasn’t been flooded with needless tabs and features’  ‘I like the layout, it’s easy to find things, I like the tabs along the sides and it’s very easy to navigate’ ‘I particularly like the resource by tag.  It might be a bit hard to find slightly unusual things otherwise...and the search is pretty good’ ‘I like that there are all sorts on there – texts, lectures, video and so on, it’s good to have a variety of approaches’ ‘It seems self - explanatory, the order of the documents, presentations and so on makes sense’ ‘We liked the core, specialist and future skills; this makes very good sense to people in the workplace’

‘Yes, I think I would use ORBEE if I had a particular piece of coursework, maybe I could use it in work as well’  ‘For me, it’s handy, it’s all there.  I don’t need to go into Uni for any of it – it would be especially good if you were working away.  And you don’t have to go into a specific portal like you do to get at your Uni’s journals and so on; it’s all there on the net’ ‘You could get it on your phone, I tried it, it works

‘It’s good that a lot of it’s in Word, so you aren’t messing about with un - pdf - ing’ ORBEE

  • It was clear from conversations with the project director, all project partners that contributed materials to ORBEE and the ‘critical friend’ that they saw personalisation of these materials as fundamental, and that learners need to connect with authors and/or lecturers (and presumably also the other way round).  There was some evidence that the student respondents felt a connection of this sort

 ‘It’s not too condescending...it’s friendly enough’

 ‘It seems to cater for all needs, and it’s not very teachy’ ORBEE

Non-traditional learners

  • increasing access (virtually) to performance spaces

“If this means that we can get our students working in a virtual space, rather than them having to access the actual performance space, then that’s a massive win for us.” (FE stakeholder) SPACE

  • supporting distance and remote learning

“It’ll be great for our apprenticeships, which are delivered remotely. They’ll be able to deliver it as part of their e-portfolio. Especially if they are able to animate their project, using Quicktime etc.” (FE stakeholder) SPACE

  • Learner engagement proved a greater challenge than anticipated. As the University’s CPD framework was not fully operational within the life of the project, it was not possible to engage with learners on the scale originally hoped for, although developing, publishing and piloting resources during a 12 month project was always going to be a challenge. Some of the resources have been used by the project’s own Learning Technologists, themselves work-based learners, encouraging a level of learner feedback and a number of CPD modules are now being launched, where materials will be piloted. Learning from WOeRK

“Learners can access a curriculum which is more flexible, visible, tailored, blended and integrated with real life experience, which allows them to integrate learning and work and which can provide a bridge into university from work-based or informal learningCampus-based learners can also benefit (e.g. via Plymouth Award) from reflecting on experiences outside of their course, via these materials.”

“The type of people who this was originally aimed at are people who need access in a free way, they need it on their mobile devices, they are also people who are skilled in the workplace and can source what they need in various places. If it were locked down we would disenfranchise those types of learner.” (Project Director)

“I think these materials could be used to support the student experience, volunteering, the Plymouth Award. Especially full-time students here, I think there's an opportunity to let them experience the world of work, and of volunteering, via these resources.”  (Learning from WOeRK OER Developer) Learning from WOeRK

  • When asked what kinds of students they thought ORBEE might suit, one respondent, talking about being in a relatively large mixed group of part - time and full - time students laughed and said;

‘Distance learners?  We might as well all be distance learners, I mean, there’s 40 in a class, you get very little chance to ask the tutor much – if anything. Their availability is very limited.  It would be great to use something like this instead’

  • On the other hand, another student respondent said;

‘The most likely types of students to benefit from ORBEE would be those who are working full - time [but not supported by an employer or probably not doing work relevant to their degree]...they might struggle to get to libraries or simply to find good resources. A part-time student might find this a little less of use as they will have resources in such as libraries that are easily accessible’ ORBEE

‘It’s very helpful that you can view it from anywhere, at work, at home. I think this would be good for all kinds of students, full - time, part - time, distance, all of them’

‘The way it’s set up is good for the distance learner, maybe those that haven’t done higher education before particularly because it’s easy to follow, but does lead you to a certain point’

Students as producers of content

  • What we didn’t anticipate was that students themselves would become involved in production, and a student from the Faculty of Technology produced a diagnostic game and a student from the Faculty of Arts, so inspired by the human body, wished to produce a series of original acrylic artwork SCOOTER

What is the impact on staff of release and use?

Impact of the process

Raising awareness emerged as the most immedicate benefit for staff involved in the projects. Awareness of creative commons and issues around copyright was noted by many staff. Of note is the fact that several staff saw the engagement of OER as having impact on enhanced quality of learning resources. The notion of people involved in projects already being key change agents or champions of technology enhanced learning was also noted.

  • “I think the process we’ve developed is highly replicable; it’s made me more confident – I can see myself doing it in future, whereas this time last year I couldn’t. I’ve been shadowing a process, been exposed to it, and now I can use that knowledge going forward.” (Project team member) SPACE
  • Enhanced awareness and commitment amongst development team, as a result of project activities above.
  • Enhanced awareness amongst Teaching and Learning pedagogic practitioners at Plymouth University, as a result of the above.
  • Enhanced awareness and discussion amongst key Teaching and Learning and CPD gatekeepers (i.e. senior management) as a result of the above.” Learning from WOeRK
  • Staff contributing were positive about being involved in SCOOTER in terms of learning about OER, understanding copyright and Creative Commons as a licence, and were positive that it enabled them to grasp new technologies or think about teaching resources from a quality perspective. SCOOTER
  • SCOOTER has raised awareness of OER across the university, with staff now conscious of the fact that free teaching resources are available on the internet, and that with the correct copyright permissions in place, staff can release their own materials.   SCOOTER
  • With regard to the idea of Open Educational Resources, I found this idea easier to grasp than the technology, though I felt embarrassed I had not heard of OERs before. The area I felt most confident about was the topic of sickle cell, my special area in terms of my own sociological research, and in particular I felt I had good professional and community contacts to offer to the project team. SCOOTER
  • The best ‘knock-on’ effect of the project through being introduced to the ideas of Creative Commons, to make a policy leaflet on sickle cell in schools into an open education resource under the attribution and share alike conditions. This I anticipate will make the resource (since adopted by the Department for Education for their web-site) more valuable to audiences abroad as well as in the UK.
  • I learned the meaning of the term open educational resources and of the particular types of license available under Creative Commons. I quite rapidly felt able to explain these ideas to others. SCOOTER
  • ‘ORBEE caused me to look at materials in a slightly different way. If it was just me taking students through, I might have been less precise, for example I realised how critical links to external materials were, making the right references and being very clear about this’  (Evaluation report) ORBEE
  • The project Evaluation Plan and SWOT analysis acknowledges that long-term longitudinal evaluation cannot occur within the timeframe of the project: however, baseline data has been collected that has specific impacts are already being seen for both individual staff and departments/Trusts.

I knew we would get lots from our involvement, which we did. The fact that was done has been incredibly useful for us and we need to go on drive it forward. PORSCHE Evaluation report

  • Staff from both academic and practice contexts have cited the immediate main benefit being an increase in awareness of copyright and consent issues. This increase in awareness is already resulting in specific departmental/Trust impacts such as staff development workshops and events, and learning management initiatives. There are also signs that staff see sharing and open release as a driver for enhanced quality of teaching resources. PORSCHE Evaluation report
  •  As highlighted previously, the identification and involvement of many individuals with PORSCHE who are key change agents in their own department or trust has proved vital in moving dissemination from a localised to a wider model increases the project’s potential to have a long-term, cross-cultural impact on healthcare education within the UK and beyond. PORSCHE Evaluation report
  • “The learning process of creating the OERs has been valuable to all involved! The experience of working on the TIGER project has meant that all staff have become far more aware of the process and issues of OER development and this has impacted on their own institutions.

“On a local level there has already been evidence of transformation within institutional policy and a commitment towards the OER ethos. Sector policy is also being influenced through engagement with the key stakeholders: HEA, JISC and CAIPE.” TIGER

Digital literacies - OER literacies

Projects identified skillsets and areas of knowldge necessary to effecively release OERs but also celebrated increased literacies of staff involved in projects, particularly in relation to copyright and technical issues, but also in developing their learning design capabitilites and impacting on teaching practice

  • Capacity building needed:
    • Cross-disciplinary team of academic developers, experienced in the development of OERs, some engaged as full-time, some as sessional staff, others as free-lance consultants.
    • Learning Technologists experienced in supporting academic developers with technical and IPR issues.
    • Resources to enhance capacity for Work-Based Learning, including supporting work-based mentors.
    • Development of Staff Guide on OER drawing on experience of project and other Plymouth University OER teams for potential use in the PGCAP programme.
    • Quality review framework developed by Project Evaluator and IPR consultant to support OER evaluation. (forthcoming) Learning from WOeRK    
  • Other new kinds of expertise developed by the project included enhanced technical expertise amongst the developers and especially the core Learning Technologists who provided support.  Expertise included: skills in video/audio recording; linking PowerPoint slides with supportive content e.g. audio, video; developing for online delivery; anticipating diverse systems/platforms in use at point of delivery; use of software for re-use/re-purposing;  packaging; and uploading to repositories.

“The thing for me is the online aspect, which I have very little experience of. I deliver WBL face to face, so for me it has been brilliant to work this way. I very much believe in OER, but working with [technical team members] has been brilliant to develop these e-skills.” (Learning from WOeRK OER developer) Learning from WOeRK

  • The project also enhanced their design expertise: designing for online delivery; designing for anticipated needs of unknown learners; integrating content with guidance, tasks and appropriate support; branding; dealing with IPR; quality assurance of OER.

“Originally I thought it would just be 'my lecture notes on the web' but it's all the thinking that goes on behind that. When you lecture you could talk for ten minutes about a single quote that you might have on a slide. But when you're using it as open learning materials, you have to articulate that narrative, that audio that runs alongside it. That shows you the thought process that goes into the teaching that you do. Until you actually verbalise and record it, you don't realise that it's an art rather than a science.”

“I've designed some new exercises just for e-learning... Face-to-face I'd be there reacting to their answers, but you can't have that. I still want them to think it through, though, and I decided to give them some direction in terms of providing model answers. So I gave that quite a lot of thought.” (Learning from WOeRK OER developers) Learning from WOeRK

  • Areas that did not work so well not surprisingly were through the time and specialised knowledge required to understand the complexities of copyright, which might have several layers within one item or resource. Also, as OER are ostensibly electronic teaching materials, or at least need to be to disseminate them via the web, the use of technology is also a hurdle for some.  SCOOTER
  • SCOOTER has provided a vehicle to up-skill members of the academic team in terms of using learning technology, producing high quality teaching materials and understanding although perhaps not to expert level, the nuances of copyright. SCOOTER

Multi-disciplinary collaboration - cross team working

  • Working as part of interdisciplinary team, particularly building links with people perhaps that you wouldn’t normally interact with. SCOOTER

Recognition and reward

  • The expertise of the team and the quality of the resources developed for METAL, FAME, TRUE and DeSTRESS has been recognised by groups who are engaged in, or exploring, the issue of the skill deficit in quantitative methods across the social sciences. This has resulted in members of the team being invited to participate in committees and conferences that are dedicated to this field of enhancement. DeSTRESS

Access to OERs

This relates being able to contribute towards making things accesible to having increased access through project activites

  • In TIGER, we developed materials for both academics and students. One benefit for the academics is that they can use our materials, adapt them and teach with them in their own context. For example, an academic might want to teach in a practice situation in a community hospital. To support this need, TIGER developed pedagogical wrap-around materials to guide academics in how they can use and adapt our materials to their specific need. TIGER 
  • The resource I felt most pleasure in helping to identify and facilitate was the scanning of the book by the noted anthropologist Frank B Livingstone who dies in 2005. I had a copy of his classic out-of-print  work Frequencies of Hemoglobin Variants: Thalassemia, The Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase Deficiency, G6PD Variants, and Ovalocytosis in Human Populations (Oxford University Press, 1985). As the publisher did not own the digital copyright we approached the family for permission to reproduce the work and this was given. SCOOTER
  • As a major contributor to the SCOOTER project Keith Chambers at the Leicester Royal Infirmary was able to unlock access to a repository of hospital slides and to help the science colleagues by providing diagnostic examples of different variant haemoglobins. SCOOTER
  • This aspect of OSIER needs to be viewed in the broader context of the education sector.  There is a well-established culture of resource sharing and of co-opting materials from a wide variety of sources.  However, this is not always undertaken through an environment where resources are supported by metadata, or where the experiences of different users can be captured. OSIER

How do the OERs or OER release process benefit various stakeholders (including industry and subject community outside project teams?

As well as offering high profile opportunities for enagement with OERs the external instititons also benefit from awareness raising, of OERs and the open movement, more understanding of current teaching practice in their field, aligning OERs with sector needs, the opportunity to input to content and design and influence curriculum development, the opportunity to input at a strategic level to academic institutions, the development of new networks and partnerships, using the resources themselves on their own propotional activities.

  • “We now have new relationships with these organisations, and I can’t see why we wouldn’t be able to work with them – or similar types of organisations – to develop OERs in future. It seems to work well.” (Doncaster college) SPACE
  • The project has created an emerging model for commissioning OER resources in which strategic use of partners as the ‘client group’, and thus has the potential to impact the way in which such resources are developed in future. SPACE
  • The National Skills Agency (NSA) in particular has already actively identified opportunities for future impact. It feels that the current resource works as an open platform for a number of different uses –both within different education subject areas, but also for industry to display what they do to clients and education groups. It is keen to promote the potential of the resource to grow with input from industry partners. SPACE
  • The NSA has also indicated that it is keen to play a role (working with Fusedworks as appropriate) in exploring other areas for potential future impact. For example, it is keen to explore questions such as:  
    • Could the Royal Opera House Design Challenge be based around the use of the tool, which with the dimensions of the theatre suddenly becomes a resource?
    • Could the Skills Academy include the software in their new Backstage Training Centre?
    • Could the Theatres Trust and Skills Academy include the software in a potential project in 2012 / 13 around Theatre Spaces past and present?
    • Could the Skills Academy look at loading one of the Festival stages onto the software, so outdoor concerts and band set-ups can be looked at?
  • the recent closure of PALATINE means that plans to take forward the resource via the new HE discipline lead are only just emerging, but there is a commitment and an appetite to do so. SPACE
  • This project has brought OER to the HLST community. It is capturing a growing level of interest that will develop greatly as the 2012 London Olympic Games draws closer. LEARNING LEGACIES
  • The Research Pack should encourage research and student-led enquiry into the Olympics and Paralympics in the build-up to the games and into their legacy and impact. “If actively promoted, the project has the potential to become a major source of information for members of the HLST who are teaching and researching in this area” (Vassil Girginov)” LEARNING LEGACIES

  • Early evidence of interest and some uptake by employers. Learning from WOeRK
  • Piloting of the resources with employers, as originally planned, proved difficult within the lifetime of the project, although there is evidence that they are being used by some employers, for instance by the Students’ Union:

“I have already started using this resource with our Sabbatical team, and intend to cascade to students as appropriate demand comes in, when they return”.(SU Training Manager, August 2011) Learning from WOeRK 

  • an enhanced employer engagement with the University as a result of the development process, with the potential for further engagement as the resources become used more extensively.

“...the bigger organisations always seem to get the knowledge. The smaller organisations, the SMEs, don't. This opens the door to them getting the knowledge... [And] economic growth, recovery and so on... is going to come from the SMEs.”  (Learning from WOeRK OER developer)

“The OERs are a valuable additional tool for learning and development in organisations.” (Project consultant and former Investors in People Advisor)

  • Within the University Library the experience of Creative Commons has been in the context of learning and teaching resources. However, the member of Library staff who has worked most closely with the SWAPBox Project  is now working with the applicability of Creative Commons principles in the field of research materials. This work is at an early stage (both here at Southampton, and for the UK HE community) and we anticipate that it will be of significant interest to a wide range of stakeholders across HE - both in the research community as well as in librarianship. SWAP
  •  In addition, the Library partners have been contributing to the work of SWAPBox whilst also being attentive to the implications of the diversification of repositories to the changing role of the librarian in Universities. They have consistently been supportive of repositories and their relationship to cultural change within the academy, with respect to research. Now, they are working on how support for the processes for, and communities related to, repositories of different kinds are more widely relevant, and in particular, to education within Universities. SWAP
  • ‘Without the lead of SWAP we would not have had the opportunity to create not only a national, but also an international resource where academics and anyone else interested in Social Work/Policy education can obtain resources for use in their own teaching. By leading the application process, they managed to bring together and encourage a number of organisations to work together for the good of the social work community. The potential legacy in terms of this project is the potential it presents for the development of a community of practice’ (Interview conducted as part of the SWAP legacy report to the SWAP Steering Group) SWAP

 “We liked the idea of a sharing site where members could upload and own the contents, and we liked the fact it was accessible to .gov.uk users, and that it was free. It's all good ... I am thinking about setting up another group for my carers to access and that too is very exciting!!!! Thank you muchly, Swapbox is brilliant” (E-interview with social services manager, 23 June 2011) SWAP

  • These unexpected gains did outweigh some initial disappointments, with contacts for example with the pharmaceutical industry that seemed promising but ultimately lead to nothing. The reasons were difficult to ascertain with people initially seeming enthusiastic and then not responding to contact, perhaps due to work pressures. SCOOTER
  • To enhance the notion of a CoP using social networking it is now clear that championing these activities is a significant task. Companies using SEO techniques will often outsource social networking tasks for example setting up and maintaining on-line profiles, creating comments and discussions in a strategic way. Whilst we did set up and maintain over 30 social network profiles, we did not appreciate the time to generate the dialogue, and this needs to be an important consideration for projects who wish to achieve a genuine online community, beyond just a network of users. SCOOTER
  • Key employers in the UK of STEM graduates include the National Health Service (NHS), pharmaceutical industry and non-profit government organisations, and with the exception of the pharma industry, have all been involved in viewing SCOOTER, providing materials and providing feedback. This synergy has ensured that SCOOTER resources are aligned to STEM sector needs, for example identifying the need for pathology and genetics materials. These are areas of focus and productivity in terms of OER. SCOOTER
  • Gaining copyright permissions for new materials was much more straight forward. Gaining the necessary permissions from external parties ran smoothly - local hospitals and other UK universities swiftly signed the permissions forms. There was no lengthy discussion regarding the stringency of CC licence to employ, and all collaborators plus their Intellectual Property departments were happy to comply. SCOOTER
  • SCOOTER as a concept is providing high-quality educational resources to support the understanding of haemoglobinopathies, a subject where OERs were entirely absent before. SCOOTER
  • We have released health promotion resources and guides for supporting young people with sickle cell in schools; these are being used by schools and have received personal communication endorsing them as resources. SCOOTER
  • SCOOTER has become a catalyst for external collaborators wishing to share materials with the community, in particular the Leicester Royal Infirmary, Northampton General Hospital and local nurse counselling services. SCOOTER
  • SCOOTER has built an online network of users from around the globe. SCOOTER
  • Taxonomy for built environment education -  Open Resources for Built Environment Education: a resource taxonomy for built environment education’ could do continuing useful service...  This document could be particularly supportive of increasing understanding between higher education and the built environment industries, including their intermediaries.  It could be drawn on in clarifying how higher education fits with what is required in professional occupations.  This could be a side effect as far as HEA and JISC see it, but it is potentially a welcome one.  It could bring industry and higher education closer together. “(ORBEE External Evaluation report) ORBEE
  • The PORSCHE project saw the project as an opportunity to broker collaboration between dual but linked cultures: that of academia and the NHS. It was felt that it would be of great value to both partners in developing a more in-depth, mutual understanding of the sectors.

You broker the exchange. It makes the whole process easier and faster. You bring together the opportunities. [You] people are key to getting relationships working. PORSCHE Evaluation Report

  • There is now better awareness of legal issues around content and consent, resulting in safer practices and reduced risk of individual organisations. The NHS is moving towards a more strategic approach, so that policies can be aligned around best practice. PORSCHE Evaluation Report
  • Trusts are now starting to consider developing and sharing content, with training and educational open access issues now being raised at a national level, rather than just locally. Although this cannot be ascribed directly to the PORSCHE project, it has definitely provided additional impetus. PORSCHE Evaluation Report  
  • Moves towards technical interoperability of Jorum and the NeLR will benefit users of both repositories. The idea of a ‘consent commons’ provides another crucial piece of the puzzle. Although these two developments are at an early stage, PORSCHE participants were excited about the potential opportunities.  PORSCHE Evaluation Report
  • Highly usable guidance, toolkits and exemplars have been provided, and these resources have been aligned with the needs and existing policy structures of the NHS.  PORSCHE Evaluation Report
  • 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
  • Although the project has made good progress with the adaptation of messages and resources for a clinical audience, more needs to be done to represent both communities equally. PORSCHE Evaluation Report 

Unexpected impacts

  • TIGER presented at the Blackboard Learning and Teaching Event in Leeds on the subject of OERs. As a consequence of the presentation and subsequent discussions, the President of Blackboard (Ray Henderson) agreed to review the copyright of Blackboard imagery within OERs. Currently every screenshot used has to be approved by the Blackboard legal team prior to release. Mr Henderson will be sending the TIGER project director a blanket release for Blackboard OERs and has opened discussions with a member of his executive team for a broader review of this area. TIGER
  • SCOOTER has therefore moved from simply requesting potential resources from external collaborators to becoming a conduit or channel for professionals wishing to make resources publicly available. SCOOTER


Do the OERs support/enhance/promote the subject to staff and students?

  • OER are a useful discussion point and catalyst for sharing data, images and other potential learning materials, and also are a useful vehicle for raising awareness be it for STEM subjects or the specific needs of some areas of the community. SCOOTER 
  • The project has made available a significant tranche of resources and has raised the profile of OERs within the subject area.  OERs have the potential to improve the training and CPD of teachers in ESD/GC.  This is especially important in this subject area, which commonly straddles curriculum subjects so is poorly supported by commercial providers.

“There is quite a range of resources…some are just course documents and I wasn’t sure about the value of those – but when I looked closely at them it was useful to see how people structure their courses. People teaching the same subject take different angles.”

“What I like is the mix of resources – practice-based for class teaching, materials for new teachers etc…it makes the site so rich, so useful. I will strongly recommend the site to my networks.”

A comment recorded in an open text field in the online survey read: “[it is] helpful to see what others are doing in the field.” OSIER



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