OER Synthesis and Evaluation / phase3introduction
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Page history last edited by Lou McGill 8 years, 7 months ago

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1. Introduction and Summary

Arguably, the successive OER programmes have had a greater visible effect on the sector than any previous initiative. Continued support for work in this area would make great sense in acting as a powerful driver for the cultural change that is needed to make effective use of technology in teaching. OER activity also provides very visible ‘evidence’ of JISC’s investment and activities to its stakeholders and the general public. (ALTO Final Report)


The JISC/HE Academy OER Phase 3 programme (October 2011- October 2012) was designed to build on the sustainable practice identified in the first two stages (Pilot programme, and Phase 2 programme), and to expand in new directions linking OER to other areas of work. This phase involved a significant number of diverse stakeholders highlighting new challenges and providing fresh insights into the impact of OER (Open Educational Resources) and OEP (Open Educational Practice) on learning and teaching in a variety of contexts. This phase also saw the rise of eBooks and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS), although both have been around for several years, and happened in a climate of continued funding challenges for the HE and FE sectors. The funding call, informed by previous phases prioritised the following strategic, policy and societal goals:


Theme A : Extend OER through collaborations beyond HE 

  • Projects worked in partnership with organisations from other sectors in order to release and/or collect OER materials that meet their identified needs. Sectors included schools, public sector agencies, private sector companies, and 3rd sector organisations such as charities and voluntary groups.

Theme B: Explore OER publishing models

  • Collaboration with commercial publishers.
  • Using a range of openly-licensed collections of materials as the basis for new resources.

Theme C: Addressing sector challenges 

  • Supporting emerging forms of learning and accreditation.
  • Involving academics on part-time, hourly-paid contracts.
  • Enabling Sustainable practice.
  • Preserving the breadth of UK higher education in a time of consolidation.  

Theme D: Enhancing the student experience

  • Resources to support university applicants.  
  • Drawing on student-produced materials. 



1.1 Evaluation & Synthesis

JISC and the HE Academy awarded funding to a team based at Glasgow Caledonian University to undertake evaluation and synthesis of the third phase. The same team had supported the earlier phases and produced final synthesis reports for each of these:


In this round, the team again engaged with participating projects throughout the programme to support their evaluation processes and help in the identification of key lessons and emerging themes. Evaluation & synthesis was an iterative, two-way process and included liaison not only with project teams and their evaluators but also with the programme management team, the various support teams, and concurrent OER initiatives.


1.2 Evaluation & Synthesis Framework

A synthesis and evaluation framework was used through all phases and was adjusted to suit each phase of activities. The framework offered projects a series of key evaluation questions that the programme hoped to address and also proved a valuable means of gathering information from diverse projects.


The phase 2 framework was adapted and re-used to capture common issues and highlight differences across the different strands of funding and became the UKOER phase 3 framework. This report synthesises evidence and outputs under the following framework headings (please note the following links go to the framework questions for each area not the report sections describing findings):



Engaging projects with the framework has always been challenging due to short project time-frames. The team developed an Evaluation Toolkit which provided various visual ways to connect with the framework and offered routes through the programme themes. Dialogue with projects took a range of formats, including online meetings with evaluation buddy groups and input at programme meetings, direct email and telephone conversations, and this provided an opportunity to inform and engage projects with the toolkit to support evaluation. 


1.3 Evaluation & Synthesis Outputs

This final synthesis report includes recommendations for funders and for the stakeholders represented in the various strands of the programme, and a series of evaluation and synthesis tools that could be adapted for use by the sector to audit progress towards more open practices around educational resources.


Also planned are a series of short papers that capture some key messages around the programme themes which provide an accessible summary of lessons learned and key outputs. Some project teams will be contributing to these.

  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Working with publishers
  • Part-time Lecturers and open practices


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