OER Synthesis and Evaluation / UKOER-Phase-3-Interim-findings
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Page history last edited by Lou McGill 11 years, 10 months ago

This page draws together lessons learned from UKOER phase 3 project interim reports - as at May 2012

Other pages which collate interim findings include:





Evaluation buddy groups

Findings from project interim reports and evaluation buddy meetings



CORE-SET - University of Liverpool


Evaluation contact/s: Adam


Lessons learned to-date relate to the development by the project team of effective means of engaging with organisations that operate outside of the HE sector in the release of OER themed collections. Our consortia comprises a number of world-leading private enterprises, internationally-acclaimed charities, and nationally-recognised public sector agencies; all having a discipline-specific focus. As such, an initial challenge was presented in gaining their ‘buy-in’ to the CORE-SET project, and in them agreeing to contribute relevant electronic resources for open release. This was overcome with three upfront investments by the project team in the early stages of this reporting period. Firstly, in organising a visit at each partner site, to meet with a team of staff to be involved in the project. Secondly, to document each organisation’s perceptions and protocols relating to technical, legal and organisational issues associated with OERs; along with their links with the HE sector. Thirdly, to agree on themed collections to be assembled and released by each partner in collaboration with the project team, the latter having provided advice, support and training to partners, where necessary.


The breadth of the project consortia has provided opportunities to explore varied attitudes to OER release, within a subject community, across a diverse range of partners that operate outside of the HE sector. A set of case studies will now be developed in the next stage of the project, highlighting different understandings and approaches across organisations / stakeholder groups.


Some summary findings are of interest here. CORE-SET is seen by the majority of our partners as being a timely project, since they have either only recently started using file share and social media sites, or instead have intended to do so; but, generally, with limited success. In addition, partners were keen to strengthen their links with higher education, which has hitherto rarely been devoted to issues of electronic resource and/or curriculum development.


Through this CORE-SET project, we have successfully raised awareness amongst the partner organisations of issues surrounding Creative Commons licensing and of the available range of Web2.0 file sharing sites. We found that many staff, including those in technology-related roles, tended to be unaware of these issues and of the mechanisms available for promoting their electronic resources / collections; this we have benchmarked within the project. It is also important to highlight the dynamic nature of OERs; within only the first six months of this project the perceptions and attitudes towards issues of open content have changed, and positively, throughout the diverse partner consortia.

 science, engineering, technology, student content, 3rd sector, private sector, public sector, cross-sector partnerships, OER publishing, enhancing learning experience, OER use, re-use, sustainability, industry sector, case studies, HE

REACTOR - Doncaster College

(Renewable, Environmental and Construction technology Open Resources)


Evaluation contacts: Helen Richardson and Lou McGill

Developing for mobile devices

One of the project objectives is to release versions of each resource that can be used on mobile devices.  The developing team quickly learned that it would be sensible to design a common interface that could be used across all platforms.  When thinking through the design of this several factors needed to be addressed such as:

How a user would navigate the resource from a touch screen i.e. zoom function.

Resolution and screen size.  A base resolution of 1024 x 768 was decided upon.

Processing power/memory limitations meant that the project needed to create applications that will run on the weakest platform, but that will also look good on the strongest.  It is therefore important to ensure that the models are kept as simple as possible whilst remaining realistic and understandable. Likewise, textures will be kept small and reused where possible. 

Legibility – what is legible on a computer screen may not be so legible once on an ipad or iphone.

The hover feature is regularly used within 3d applications and this is not an available option for touch screens.

Application size – only 20mb texture ram is available on the iphone for example.

Screen rotation/orientation – The design of the resources do not lend themselves to have optional portrait/landscape orientation and the project has decided that all resources will be viewed as a landscape application.


The project also undertook some very lengthy and tedious discussions with Apple in order to purchase a licence that would allow Doncaster College to develop mobile applications and release them onto the istore.  In summary the project had two license options: 1) to purchase a commercial licence that would allow the resources to be released onto the istore and accessed by educational institutions and private/public sector organisations 2) to purchase an educational license which would mean that the resources could only be published to iTunes U and therefore not accessible to private/public sector organisations. The project decided the commercial licence would allow the resources to be disseminated to a wider audience however Apple would not issue a licence as Doncaster College is not a registered company.  The project then applied for an educational licence and was told that the College is not registered on the International University database and so the licence was refused.  The strange thing is a few weeks later the project then received a call to say that the application for a commercial licence had been approved and the license was issued.  It is not clear what happened here but projects looking to create applications for mobile devices in the future should be made aware that there is no rhyme or reason to the release of licenses from Apple!


Collaboration with Leeds Met

During phase 1 Leets Met had created some educational resources for the area of environmental technology.  The project then met with them to discuss the potential of sharing these resources.  During discussions it transpired that Leeds Met were intending to create a micro generation feasibility tool that would cover considerations that are to be taken into account when choosing a suitable technology.  Seemingly this tool is very similar to a comparison resource that the project is planning to develop and as such it would make sense for the two projects to work together on development of this.  It was therefore agreed that Doncaster College will create the resource and Leeds met will provide the relevant reference materials/knowledge required to create the resource.  Leeds met will also contribute to the testing and dissemination of this resource.  All time invested by Leeds Met will be counted as in-kind by the project. 


Student Involvement – Summer Projects, Internship

In order to investigate the student creation of OERs the project will create design briefs that will be issued to students as optional summer projects.  During the OER2 SPACE project all students were involved during lesson time and lecturers felt that they would have had more opportunity to develop their skill sets by working with the project if they were free from course pressures.  The plan is to issue design briefs around the creation of promotional material to support dissemination of the project. The project is also planning to provide a Business Management student with an internship.  Through this internship the student will be involved in the testing and dissemination phases of the project.


Managing expectations of Sector Skills Councils

The project has spent time managing partner’s expectations/commercial focus against the research findings of the lecturers and students and what is practically achievable within the scope of the project.  The following extract from February’s project meeting minutes gives an example of this.

 ‘EU Skills representative comments: The subject areas selected for resource developement were all ‘now’ technologies.  There are many new technologies coming up in the future including marine, combined heat and power and fuel cells which should perhaps be considered.  That said these technologies were not referred to during the research phase of the project and therefore the project will not include these in its development plan.  The final report will make reference to this and development of such resources will be recommended moving forward’.

Engaging with partner’s member networks has made contact with institutions much easier.

built environment, construction, student content, sustainability, private sector, public sector, enhancing learning experience, 3D, cross sector partnerships, HE in FE, industry sector, skills sector, case studies, accessibility, disabled students, mobile platforms, changing teaching practice, SEO

Opening up a Future in Business - Southampton Solent University


Evaluation contact/s:

It has been very helpful having students within the project team as they have given valuable feedback on what works in the interviews, what material is more interesting etc.  The use of a student interviewer has helped our interviewees keep in mind that the target audience is students.


The value of input from a wider group of colleagues has thrown up content issues (do we represent social enterprise and micro businesses sufficiently?), issues to raise (what makes an entrepreneur and what makes the person who likes working with them?) as well as providing opportunities, such as displaying a poster about the project at the Business South 2012 Exhibition 23/03/12, which created a new set of contacts in the business community for the project.  Our critical friend, Aston, has provided information on the national context of the SME.  One must always be aware of how key a resource those around us can be.


It has been a learning point that even final year students find it hard to reflect on what they have learnt from placement/work experience on camera.  As noted earlier we hope that by using appropriate technology we can make a good sound recording from a phone conversation and that this method will improve the student response

business, SMEs, enhancing learning experience, student content, cross sector partnerships, colleges, FE, HE, employability skills

COMC - Coventry University

Coventry Open Media Classes


Evaluation contact/s: Shaun Hides

Delivered: An Open Classes in photography one class in digital media research, and one in media activism; each of which uses web/social media platforms to enable on-going, open and collaborative participation.  A series of openly accessible and ‘living’ extended networks. The project’s ‘open’ character use of platforms have engendered a series of dynamically evolving networks.  


Overall the outcome at this point is an excellent response. Students have been hugely engaged with the classes and the projects they have undertaken within them.


Each Open Class is working with a slightly different emphasis, process of content generation and balance of media/platforms; but all students have very actively contributed and participated. This is evidenced within the Open Class sites. The staff have also been very highly engaged with these projects.


External contributors have featured very strongly in two of the three Classes: Picbod and Creative Activism, they have been less important within Living in Digital world, this was part of the class design, which places its emphasis on the student generation of content and archiving - the assessment and review stage of that module occurs in early May at which point more dissemination and external collaboration elements will become visible.      


External collaborators outside HE, with little or no experience of OER have been extremely difficult to engage with. We have made bridgeheads with a small number of Phoenix Partner Colleges, but this has required high-levels of F2F commitment and (almost) ‘bribery’! See issues of resistance/trust in summary and below. 


At this moment evaluation and feedback on student experience is observational (form the content on the sites) and anecdotal, since the University module evaluation process is currently under way – quantifiable results will be available soon.      


Amongst the team we have already identified some lessons:


  1. The appropriateness of platforms and measurability around engagement – beyond surface analytics it is difficult to evaluate the depth of interaction within particular content and communities . 
  2. Further development of content with further education and community education programmes. 
  3. Also issues around engagement of students around the open platform approach in terms of their digtal literacy skills (fluency) - when digital literacy was not the focus of the class’ activities 
  4. Getting student groups to present their archives professionally (in terms of layout, design, organisation and visuals) from the outset – this is not a technical but a communications issue – “you are visible”  


art, design, media, culture, photography, activism, open courses, enhancing learning experience, emergent forms of learning, student content, student use of OER, digital literacies, learning communities, mobile platforms, case studies, student empowerment, HE

PARiS - University of Nottingham

Promoting Academic Resources in Society


There are a number of emerging outcomes for the project. The content creators involved are reporting that a number of third party open resources are available for inclusion in the project. This will ensure the requirement to collect third party OER is met. Feedback also suggests that using third party OER has allowed content creators to focus on the way they wish to best engage learners with the materials, rather than spending time creating materials. This outcome will be further examined in the next reporting period. Content creators have also been supporting each other in the creation of the sustainability resources and sharing work prior to publication.


The Nottingham Advantage Award team who will embed the resources within the taught curriculum at Nottingham are happy with the outputs to date.


To enhance the evaluation process contact will be made with the HEA Green Academy partner institutions to request feedback on both the outputs and processes put into play by the project.


The Ear Foundation has secured resources from a commercial manufacturer to include in their OER offering. The Ear Foundation have also gained commitment from teachers of the deaf and teaching assistants to pilot resources in real world settings, both in the UK and internationally.  

There has also been an unexpected achievement within the project which will enhance the requirement to collect third party OER. This relates to the use of a mobile application created by the Learning Technology Section at the University that will allow users to subscribe to playlists of the third party content that is collected.

sustainability, cross-sector partnerships, 3rd sector, charities, changing teaching practice, student use of OER, multi-disciplinary, learning communities, accessibility, disabled students, case studies, employability skills, HE, mobile platforms

PublishOER - Univesity of Newcastle


Evaluation contact/s: Caroline Ingram

This is a high-risk project in terms of risks to achieving the deliverables. It is going remarkably well with partners very committed to and interested in the outcomes that can be progressed. There are fundamental copyright (and possibly consent) issues relating to contend particularly images from texts and other existing third party published content. In many cases authors still own images which are licenced to the publishers – and may be available for onward licensing (or if they are it would still often be easier to commission new content). 


A series of interviews had been carried out in February/March 2012 with representatives from the project partners.  Questions were framed in order to gain a baseline of information about why the partners became involved in the project, and what, in their opinion, is important about the project.

There was a commonality of views given by publishers and academics alike (and polarised as to whether the project was likely to change practice), even though interviewees had different perspectives.
veterinary medicine, oer publishing, academic publishing, sustainability, business models, publishers, enhancing learning experience, rights management, re-use, use-cases, case studies, student use of oer, policy, HE

HALS OER - De Montfort University

Health And Life Science Open Educational Resources


Evaluation contact/s: L Hurt

What has worked well?
Students as producers of multiple choice questions is very effective, popular and constructive in terms of encouraging reflective practice.


Working with external partners, and particularly the NHS have been very enthusiastic providers of OER, and completely understand the philosophy behind it. There have been no barriers in terms of gaining © approval to use the Creative Commons licence from any of our partners.

Enthusiasm by local schools and colleges to be involved in open education and particularly the production of resources for all.

SEO makes OER (and UKOER) discoverable. Using opportunities such as the Queen’s visit to DMU boosted site visits. One blog article with well chosen keywords can boost traffic. Having a Facebook page is an essential element, and campaigns to reach out to students and local colleges (to “like” the page) is important.


The team organisational structure has worked well with novice staff working along side experienced staff.



Managing the flow of OER in and out is a challenge in terms of time management to administer the volumes of materials.


How do we link up to the global community in other ways – which other repositories and initiatives should we be talking to, to avoid duplication of efforts?


What arguments would really influence our institutional policy makers to take a steer on OER? What top-line data exists in terms of marketing or student numbers that could help us to influence institutional change? New economic models for sustaining OER activity are being explored to ensure open education becomes embedded into the university business.


The biggest challenge in evaluation is measuring impact. Surveys, comment boxes and social networking is potentially useful for gaining feedback but is under-used. How do we measure re-use and re-publishing? This is particularly confounded by the fact there is not a clear definition of use or re-use.



healthcare, life sciences, midwifery, biomedicine, forensic science, oer publishing, student use of OER, NHS, enhancing learning experience, cross sector issues, publishers, schools, FE, student use of OER, student content, adult learners, disabled students, SEO, tracking, mobile platforms, digital literacies, HE

Great Writers - University of Oxford


Evaluation contact/s: Rhonda Riachi

Increased awareness of OER (academics) – we have been able to increase awareness of open content with academic content producers, introducing them to Creative Commons and the issues with IPR, rights in rights out etc. It is still common practice for academics to copy images and text into presentations and handouts without being fully aware of the copyright status or correctly attributing the source. This practice has led to the loss of one podcast and the need to re-record another.

Increased awareness of OER (student) – We advertised for graduate student ‘ambassadors’ to support content collection and generation and 11 interviewees were introduced to OER and Creative Commons during the interview. The six successful candidates have received a full briefing, plus additional support via email when specific queries arise (mostly around the reuse of images).

Increased awareness of OER (external) – Participants at the Engage workshop in April will be introduced to OER and how to source digital resources for reuse, including a specific session called ‘Making it easy to reuse digital resources in teaching – become open content literate’ (this will be recorded for future release).

Students as producers of OER – Our six Student Ambassadors have fully embraced the openness agenda and are truly inspired by the project. We have been impressed by the quality of their outputs, their commitment and the ideas they are generating on a daily basis. They value the opportunity to be involved in a public-facing project which allows them to publish alongside academic contributors. Their contributions can be found on the Wordpress blog.

Copyright complexities – the need to thoroughly check the source of images or texts has come to the fore in this project. To ensure that the project stays true to its objective of providing open materials which are suitable for reuse we are making efforts to check that we do not infringe copyright and that we educate our content producers to adopt the same standards. As the project does not have the resources for any rights clearance activities we are only able to adopt a policy of ‘if in doubt, leave it out’ if contributors fail to abide by our guidance.

High value collections – There are enormous amounts of materials available on the web on literature and writers, however there is a limited number of materials which are released under licences making them suitable for use as OER. Our academic champions have also been debating what should be included in a site called ‘Great Writers Inspire’, preferring to show a representative selection across a range of themes and writers rather than the complete ‘canon’.  As discussed by Emma Smith in her blog post, our academic champions admit to a certain level of discomfort with the title ‘Great Writers’, but have found that it is “a really useful umbrella term, which people can shelter under”. 

Collections show how the resources in an academic context, with contextual essays providing an ‘academic wrapper’ for the items presented.  They demonstrate to the user how items which they may discover in the library could be used. We also acknowledge that some of our collections may be more extensive than others, but that, as long as collections feature the core elements, they still make rich and valuable resources which will inspire the user to discover more.

english literature, humanities, oer publishing, student content, enhancing learning experience, ebooks, re-use, changing teaching practice, learning communities, mobile platforms, HE

ALTO UK - University of the Arts London

Arts Learning and Teaching Online UK


Evaluation contact/s: John Case

OER creation is a very good diagnostic tool to evaluate digital literacy requirements for individuals and institution

OER production might be useful for the REF if it can be linked to increasing the impact of research – in which case metrics are important

The benefits predicted for OER engagement in the previous ALTO (UAL) project phase look like being correct for instance:

  • IPR policy review at the UAL
  • Open CourseBook (ALTO UK output) being used to help make internal UAL coursebooks more usable
  • Kirklees using the Collaborative Learning Design experience to think about redesigning their ceramics courses
  • Herriot Watt using the same Collaborative Learning Design experience to think about offering flexible alternatives
  • Using the Filestore to house definitive openly available copies of internal student coursebooks for a complex multi-site foundation course to help maintain communication and quality (UAL)
  • Using the Filestore to back up courses as people change VLE (UAL)
  • People more willing to change to sharing (hope to get a some video interviews about that to make some nice case studies about changing attitudes)
  • Raising individual and institutional profiles – one example of this is the London College of Fashion are using the ALTO Process.Arts Platform to do just this quite successfully. It was essential for their Fashion Colloquia initiative that they were able to do this quickly in order to gain a competitive advantage over international competitors see this page link
  • More efficient use of resources


art, design, oer publishing, sustainability, changing teaching practice, visual media, DRUPAL/JORUM technical investigations, learning communities, HE in FE, digital literacies, re-use, accessibility, HE

ORBIT - University of Cambridge

An Open programme and Resource Bank on Interactive Teaching for teacher education and development


Evaluation contact/s: Bjorn Hassler and Teresa Connolly

We believe that an agile and open approach to publishing OER is appropriate, and would like to suggest that OER should also be developed in an open and participatory way where possible (rather than just be deployed openly). Developing resources in a fairly public way on our project site allows for early feedback from others.


The quality and appropriateness of resources selected for inclusion in ORBIT have been assessed using a number of instruments, namely through dialogue with teachers who have advised what content is appropriate and useful to them as well as the types, styles and formats of materials that are accessible to them. In addition issues around quality have been considered by the project team when selecting resources, with reference to other OER projects' guidelines such as OpenLearn and the Commonwealth of Learning.


As a outcome of this process we have collated a list with a growing number of criteria that enable us to include resources into the ORBIT database. This list is developed through consultation with teachers.

interactive teaching, primary education, secondary education, mathematics, science, changing teaching practice, teacher education, case studies, open courses, ebooks, open textbooks, publishers, re-use, legacy materials, student content, HE

Digital Futures in Teacher Education (DeFT) -

Sheffield Hallam University


Evaluation contact/s:

The team have gained access to rich accounts of pedagogical practice with digital literacies in schools as well as a deeper insight into OER-related issues within that context. Our work with teachers brings into sharp focus issues which may not have been as prominent in the HEI context but are of key relevance to the school context, such as for instance issues related to e-safety, e-security; the ethical and pedagogical aspects of student-produced resources as well as a number of technological barriers in terms of access to web-based resources. Overall, we have found that both teachers and trainee teachers react very positively when introduced to the concept of OERs, and a number have argued that there is a widespread culture of sharing resources within the school sector and that it is seen as an essential part of teachers' professional identity. Both groups have expressed an interest in OERs for the purposes of CPD and sharing good practice both within the school and across the region. At the same time, awareness of OER-related issues such as copyright, formatting or accessibility seems very low among the sample we are working with and presumably this is the case elsewhere in the sector. While the teachers widely reuse existing materials deposited in repositories such as teachernet or similar banks teaching resources, they seemed to be quite reluctant to contemplate the possibility of releasing their own resources, for fear of having their practice judged as not being “polished enough”.


Furthermore, one of the desired outputs of the project is a critique of existing frameworks for digital literacies and in particular the rigid digital natives/immigrants dichotomy. Through a reflexive engagement with material emerging from the project, we are working towards a more refined/fit-for-purpose version of a digital literacy which takes into account the context of teacher education and school sector as well as children's use of DL.
digital literacies, teacher educations, changing teaching practice, OER use, cross-sector partnerships, student content, case studies, open textbooks, industry sector, schools, FE

FAVOR - University of Southhampton


Evaluation contact/s:

Part-time/hourly-paid tutors have a range of varied motivations for working on a fractional basis and some may wish for greater integration into the academic life of their institutions, but others may not. The project team were initially convinced that hourly-paid tutors would be easily persuaded to participate in the project for several reasons: it would raise their profile within their institution and beyond; they could have a public professional profile which would be held outwith any institutional affiliation; they could participate in a research project and attend conferences etc. However, it quickly became clear to us that many such tutors choose their working patterns (rather than being forced by circumstances within an institution) and so do not necessarily have a particular interest in a professional profile or greater integration into their institution – and so were not that interested in open practice and the FAVOR project. Similarly, the lack of job security felt by tutors disinclined them to share their work generally. We intend to explore these attitudes as part of the evaluation process to obtain a better understanding of how open practice relates to the work of part-time language tutors, and how arguments should be formulated to build an effective and active community of practice amongst this group.


Open practice is still a new concept to many language teachers and issues around copyright, IPR, licensing and quality still need to be discussed and worked through.

Community-building through face-to-face meetings is challenging for part-time tutors, who are rarely all available at the same time. When such meetings take place, they are much valued for the opportunity to share practice – but in many cases, have been impossible for project partners to facilitate.

languages, part-time teachers, changing teaching practice, enhancing learning experience, schools, learning communities, legacy materials, student content, HE

Sesame - University of Oxford


Evaluation contact/s: Nicola warren


The project thus far has been a valuable learning process in highlighting the difference between creating OER and supporting open practices in theory, and implementing them in reality.  Outcomes and lessons learned are emerging in the following areas:


Understanding our major stakeholders and initial constraints

part-time weekly class tutors  -  In terms of engagement with OER, nearly 40% had heard of OER prior to our project which was higher than anticipated. This continued with nearly 30% having used OER in their teaching and learning and 7% already producing OER.  This may be a function of a self selecting sample but still indicates a relatively high level of engagement.

Generally our tutors felt that OER were ‘a good thing’.  However they were clearly more comfortable simply putting content online rather than making it fully open, as just over half expressed concern about what happens when content is openly released.  In terms of reasons to engage with OER, our tutors self-reported being far more interested in the altruistic reasons for engagement: "it is a good thing to do", "student learning will be improved" or “[it brings] benefits to the institution”, rather than the potential personal gains, either financial or reputational.  Interest in training was highest in the area of how to find good resources and how best to use them.

On a more pragmatic note, the survey confirmed our initial thoughts that one of our biggest challenges in terms of making content associated with our weekly class courses online and open is the fact that, with the exception of reading lists, those resources which tutors most often currently make available to students in hard copy are often those which cannot usually be openly licensed, such as photocopies of book chapters and journal articles, copies of photographs, diagrams, maps or illustrations and copies of primary sources.  Thus much perfectly legitimate classroom practice thwarts the promise of seamless sharing and openness.

Focus on early outputs

Getting resources online (even if not necessarily licensed) early has proved very valuable for the project, allowing us to show pilot tutors and wider stakeholders what the project is hoping to achieve in the longer term.  As the online resources generated moved from theoretical idea to concrete reality, they helped make a case for the project.  We managed this by offering full support to the part-time tutors participating in our initial pilot, which allowed the project team to tackle the teething troubles inherent in any new initiative, and find solutions to them, before they became a barrier for contributors.  As a result, initial pilot contributors had a largely positive experience, with all but one committing to continue to produce OER.  We would very much recommend the approach of running very well supported small initial pilot projects to others seeking to begin similar initiatives.


However getting resources online very early necessitated the rapid development of our Discovery point platform.  This rapid development helped us to be much clearer about the technical requirements and has allowed us to move onto the next stage of development with a better specification, validated by use.  While our early technical development was of significant benefit to the project team overall, it had resource implications (see section 10) and could have been better initially scoped with the developer (see comments on issues and challenges in Section 8).


Understanding the types of OER we are generating

Our initial pilot generated over 200 resources.  Initial lessons learned about openly licensing different kinds of resources is summarised below.


Presentations and handouts have created the most challenges in identifying what might be suitable for open licensing, as these resources are most likely to contain materials with dependant copyright issues.  As a result, our outputs of these types are fewer than we had initially expected.


Images have been far more prevalent than anticipated, with many tutors using original images in their teaching, that they are prepared to release as OER.  Examples include photographs they have taken and hand-drawn illustrations.


As expected, few tutors have the skills to engage in the creation of videos without considerable support, so we anticipate video outputs will be minimal.  However, it is worth noting that the Department is likely to continue its existing practice of providing technician support for videoing high profile or potentially very popular activities, and intends to make these video resources available through http://open.conted.ox.ac.uk/ and release them as OER where possible, whether generated through the work of the weekly classes programme or otherwise.


Self-created podcasts have been popular, with over half of the pilot tutors creating these.  However, early indications suggest that podcasts created by direct recording face-to-face teaching were rarely of a quality that tutors were happy to release.  This was largely due to lack of context – they were perceived as useful for students who missed the class, but not as something they would want to share more widely.  Thus, those tutors who created podcasts about specific teaching points, rather than as a by-product of their face-to-face teaching, were more likely to produce something they were prepared to openly release.


The project always intended to collate existing OER and other useful online resources for teaching and learning as part of its output, and roughly a third of the resources produced during the pilot are of this type.  Our real challenge here has been finding useful and accurate information about the conditions of use of the linked-to materials, with many websites providing either ambiguous information or none at all.  As a result, the project team has undertaken to check all links and only designate as open content those where we can be certain the material is openly licensed.

adult learners, part-time learners, digital literacies, changing teaching practice, multi-disciplinary, re-use, student content, student use of OER, case studies

Teesside Open Learning Units -Teesside University:

Gillian Janes

A number of IPR/Copyright issues have emerged and required attention as a result of releasing what were written as internal publications rather than as OERs for use by a wider audience.  This has required some editing/re-writing or the addition of a background statement for some resources to ensure perceived relevance for other users.  The extent of the changes required has varied by topic/resource content and writing style of different authors but has taken additional time and resources that were not anticipated initially.  As a result of this learning however, internal processes and procedures for the ongoing development of additional titles in the Rough and Quick Guide Series are being amended to ensure these issues do not arise in the future.


Our Rough Guide resources each have an ISBN and practical issues about how to effectively manage this within the context of a Creative Commons Share-Alike license have arisen.  It could be argued that the use of ISBNs in an OER context is not appropriate however the Rough Guides are relatively substantial documents and we have found the ISBN to be an important motivator for potential authors of these resources who are usually experienced L&T academics with multiple calls on their time and competing priorities.


One of the key contributions from us concerns how our experience, as an organization not previously heavily involved in OER practice, can be used to promote the wider engagement with and sustainability of an Open Learning/OER approach for staff/organisations not already very involved in this agenda/practice. For example, having an identified ‘buddy’ for day to day advice on practical issues would help.


user involvement from the start. - good level of interest but takes a lot of time particularly at early stages - surprised by level of interest around what we mean by open - linked to sustainability - for this project sustainability is strongly connected to the community – Our Friends in the North -  useful group - given feedback and offered to pilot resources

tying into existing CoPs



small offshoot - of project - did survey about jorum use - result - very positive -  being asked has got people on there and reflecting positively.


OMAC, HE, academic practice, teacher education, re-use, CPD, distance learning, digital literacies, employability

Academic Practice in Context: OERs for Exploring Discipline-based Learning & Teaching - University of Bath

Helen King

Value of experienced team - to discuss issues and come to consensus, as well as trust each other to get on with the work individually. As a result, the production of the outputs has gone smoothly and according to plan, whilst allowing flexibility to respond to unexpected opportunities.


The concept of ‘Discipline-orientated academic development’. Whereas the HEA Subject Centres (with which I as closely involved) provided discipline-based academic development and educational developers in institutions deliver ‘generic’ programmes; the concept of discipline-orientated academic development brings these two together and gives a framework for institution-based educational developers to account for and support the multi-disciplinary audience they have for their activities. The materials produced by this project will provide a wide array of activities that can be used in accredited programmes or even just short workshops that will enable this discipline-orientated academic development to take place.


Engaging the academic development community in the project early on was a good strategy - already promoted the project, rather than going into a post hoc ‘dissemination phase’.

developing workshop style materials - to get ed devs thinking about discipline based practice

building all from scratch -  keeping simple and easy to use - keeping together in different categories but thinking how they might all connect together

not packing as online module but easy to strip apart

thinking of producing a single document linking them eg a prezi


Also trying a new format - putting together i-book of resources - raising questions about oer...does it matter if its available in different formats - not be inhibited to try new techs,...


OMAC, HE, teacher education, CPD, re-use, academic practice, digital literacies, ebooks, mobile platforms

Digital Literacy and Creativity for University Teachers (PG Cert Module) - University of Bedfordshire

Sarah Younie

Need for HE institutional ‘buy in’ with regards to the uptake of the 30 credit online module. To this end, the 30 credit module and it’s 9 units have been structured into the three blocks of 10 credits, to provide more flexibility and each individual ‘unit’ can be taken as a standalone unit too.


At a project partner meeting (with a pro VC responsible for learning and teaching) and the user needs analysis survey, the following issues were identified: HE institutions have a great deal of variation in their PG Certs in HE and CPD opportunities for HE staff, in terms of the structure, organisation and delivery modes of the these.


It is a challenge to get institutions to look at and adopt the new 30 credit online module on ‘Digital literacy and creativity’. In the meeting with the pro VC and other stakeholders the discussion highlighted institutional barriers and differences between HEI’s approaches to the ‘up skilling’ of a HE tutors with respect to digital technologies and their use for learning and teaching.


OMAC, HE, digital literacies, creativity, teacher education, CPD, academic practice

Building Learning Objects for Collaborative Knowledge Development (BLOCKeD) - London South Bank University

Tony Churchill

Project based on (and is providing evidence to support) the notion that the barriers to technology-enhanced learning are primarily pedagogic rather than technical.  Its purpose is to explore how to refocus staff time on the participative elements of learning.  For many staff this challenges their underpinning conceptual framework of learning and teaching. 


Enabling busy practitioners to adopt more participative approaches necessarily involves identifying how lecturer time can be saved in other elements of learning.  To achieve this delivery of significant elements of the collaborative learning objects is intended to be self-regulating.  Once the resource is launched participants work independently through the content and the knowledge checks (receiving predetermined feedback on those interactions).  This provides a basis for exploration of the topic in the collaborative element.  Even the collaborative elements start with administrative elements, such as allocation to groups, which are self-regulated.  Whilst this is intended to reduce the tutor workload of detailed e-moderation, the distinctive feature of collaborative learning objects is that they include opportunities for feedback from the tutor, particularly on the process and product of the student interactions.  This will be a focus of the guidance document produced to support the release of the CLOs. 


From the outset the intended audience for the BLOCKeD workshops was beyond the innovators who have been responsible for much existing work in this area.  Despite the scale of such innovation, it is clear that learning and teaching in the sector remains stubbornly untransformed.  Early analysis of contributions to the BLOCKeD workshops suggests that the majority of the self-selecting participants are either innovators or enthusiastic early adopters.  Publicity for future workshops will further emphasise the intended target audience
OMAC, HE, teacher education, sustainability, research skills, CPD, TEL, academic practice, collaboration












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