OER Synthesis and Evaluation / ukoerphasesimpactsandbenefits
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ukoerphasesimpactsandbenefits

Page history last edited by Lou McGill 8 years, 2 months ago

 

 

Comparison across UKOER phases

 

 

 

Pilot phase

Phase 2

Phase 3

 Benefits to stakeholders   
 The business case for OER varies for different types of institution and community, and even for different stakeholders within these. While projects have taken on board the need to develop effective institutional business cases, they are also mindful that different users (CPD users, informal learners, Lifelong Learners, students on programmes, teaching staff, librarians, and resource developers) each have a different case, and a different balance of costs/benefits.

Most projects can only offer very early evidence of this due to the timescale of the project. There are three aspects to this

  • impact of being involved in an OER project

  • Impact of OER release on the various stakeholders

  • Impact of OER use - some of this refers to potential rather than actual use.

In many ways this is probably best viewed from strand perspectives as this would provide a more detailed insight into the effectiveness of the strand focus and activities. Some stakeholders groups are common across strands such as educational institutions, professional bodies, subject discipline focused bodies (particularly HE Academy subject centres), employers, employment and trade bodies, different sectors (such as HE in FE and NHS).

Many of the stakeholders involved were engaging with the notion of OER and OEP for the first time. Some might have engaged with open content or open access, or started to share content through the open web, but not necessarily with the notion of open in an educational context.

 

At the very least the efforts of project teams to increase awareness amongst their partners could be seen as a benefit, if we accept that increased awareness is likely to increase release and use. Different stakeholders have highlighted barriers and enablers to open practice that reflect their own contexts, particularly when that challenges existing traditional culture and practices. Many projects illustrated mutual benefits for both their institutions (and their staff and students) and the partners.

The ChemistryFM project, have begun to develop a critical, theoretical approach to OER which situates it within a larger social discourse on the 'commons' and would promote teaching for the public good and integrate the institution better into its surrounding community (physical and virtual). Even the project that might be considered the most successful in marketing terms, MMTV, evidenced tensions that might limit the marketing potential of OERs - between marketing as a business case, and the underlying ethos of the open movement - and that a marketing approach might be a barrier to inter-institutional collaboration. It is fair to say that for institutional strand projects using this terminology elicits an appropriate level of engagement from senior management. This highlights the need to adopt appropriate language for all stakeholders in the Open movement.    

In one interpretation, the most compelling case for open sharing exists at the level of the topic community (possibly even research-based) within a discipline, and subject and individual strand projects have gone some way in articulating the benefits of such an approach.

 

Some of the Institutional strand projects focused on a particular cross institutional theme, such as employment, or focused on generic skills resources, which offers a compelling case for the benefits across the whole institution.

 

 Several Phase 2 projects took a disciplinary approach to release and most noted in some way the impact of disciplinary cultures on OER readiness and approaches to release. Many of them brought their knowledge and understanding from the pilot phase, which helped them support others within their discipline to overcome cultural barriers.

 

Many of these covered a wide range of related disciplines and emphasised the value of adapting resources across allied disciplines, such as healthcare, business, built environment social work and social policy. In contrast, very specific subject areas with strong existing communities can utilise OERs to further enhance sharing of both resources and practice. The SCOOTER project's focus on sickle cell and thalassaemia was one example from the Release strand.

 

Projects have noted the value of community building and open exchange or sharing as much as that of the open resources. The emerging communities, and strengthened existing communities, are seen as important in relation to sustainability. This process was also highlighted in the pilot phase and has been built on significantly by phase 2 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

 

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

 

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

In addition to the benefits of releasing and using OER educational institutions experienced quite a few benefits from involving external stakeholders in OER release and evaluation including:

  • establishing partnerships that can be ongoing in relation to OER but also in other contexts
  • exploring issues of trust, ownership, and rights with other agencies can improve institutional awareness of their own issues and challenges in this area
  • new levels of understanding around how external bodies can augment and support curriculum development
  • additional content to integrate into learning and teaching materials
  • developing sustainable community approaches - either through the provision of supporting technology or networking opportunities
  • new understanding around OER release and use through evaluation with external partners - passed on to the wider community through standard research mechanisms, events and publications
  • providing opportunities for staff and students to engage with key agencies or groups that may enhance their own learning or future opportunities

Further, a tension is apparent over who will get the recognition, the individual or the institution. Thus there is a need to consider the balance of collective responsibility for quality, institutional branding, and marketisation, with incentives for individuals to showcase their own learning/teaching expertise. We recognise that the reputational benefits to individuals can be in tension with the desire for materials to be easily repurposed by end users: however, the blogging community offers an example of how both reputation and re-use can be served by high quality material.

 

   
 Stakeholder appreciation of benefits   
 

Learners can benefit from:

  • enhanced quality and flexibility of resources
  • seeing/applying knowledge in a wider context than their course would otherwise allow, e.g. international dimension
  • freedom of access (e.g. at work/home/on placement) and enhanced opportunities for learning
  • support for learner-centred, self-directed, peer-to-peer and social/informal learning approaches
  • skills development (e.g. numeracy) through release of generic OERs that can be re-used and recontextualised in different subject areas
  • the opportunity to test out course materials before enrolling – and compare with other similar courses

The OER originator can benefit from:

  • student/user feedback and open peer review
  • reputational benefits, recognition
  • benefits (efficiency and cultural) of collaborative approaches to teaching/learning

Other staff users can benefit from:

  • availability of quality peer reviewed material to enhance their curriculum
  • collaborative approaches to teaching/learning (CoPs)
  • professional/peer-to-peer learning about the processes of OER release

Institutions can benefit from:

  • institutional reputation and attracting potential students
  • enhancing learner choice/information
  • personal academic/professional reputation
  • share-and-share-alike
  • commitment to open education agenda
  • support institutional repository/content agenda
  • meet outreach and public engagement goal
  • other public interest agenda (e.g. with content such as public health, climate change)
  • make content development more efficient (especially in niche/declining subject areas)
  • enhance access for e.g. work-based, international and lifelong learners
  • respond to changing modes of learning e.g. peer-to-peer, learner-directed, informal
  • build curriculum partnerships e.g. with industry

Employers can benefit from:

  • access to repurposable content
  • new potential partnerships with content providers
  • upskilling
 

CASCADE, RELEASE and OMAC strands have  all evidenced the following:

  • Raised awareness, principally among academic staff, but also taking in other stakeholders such as students, professional service staff and academic managers and across a wide range of stakeholders outside the educational sector

  • Enhanced policies and documentation for dealing with IPR i.e. copyright clearance and open licensing 

  • Enhanced models, workflows and other processes for developing learning materials, particularly for open release 

  • Technical developments including new repositories, repository tools, and development tools 

  • OERs released in a wide range of formats for different stakeholders

  • OERs embedded into curricula

  • Ongoing discussions about open content, open educational practices, and how these impact on the curriculum 

  • Community building

     

In projects with short timescales it can be difficult to do more that raise awareness, but providing tangible outputs, such as the OER themselves, guidance and support materials and champions who can continue to embed new approaches means that real benefits around changed practice can be anticipated. Projects have produced some interesting insights into the benefits for different groups, which builds on those identified in previous work such as the Good Intentions JISC Study in 2008 and the previous phases of UKOER.

 

Learners can benefit from:

as in first column plus

  • opportunities to be involved in OER initiatives either through contributing towards OER development, testing or evaluation, marketing activities, acting as an ambassador for OER with other learners or staff
  • authentic or 'real-life' learning experiences through OER that link to employer or professional sector activities

The OER originator can benefit from:

same as 1st column plus

  • opportunities to work across sectors, institutions and subject disciplines
  • increased digital literacies (particularly around IPR)
  • reaching a wider range of learners

 

Other staff/users can benefit from:

same as 1st column plus

  • increased dialogue within their organisation or with other peers in the sector and globally
  • preservation and availability of materials for endangered subjects
  • open access to legacy materials

 

Educational Institutions can benefit from:

  • recognition and enhanced reputation
  • wider availability of their academic content and focus on the learning experience (linking to widening participation agenda)
  • increased capacity to support remote students
  • efficiencies in content production (particularly around generic content that can be used across subject areas)
  • new partnerships/linkages with other institutions and organisations outside the education sector
  • increased sharing of ideas and practice within the institution, including greater role for support services
  • a buffer against the decline of specific subjects or topics (which may not be sustainable at institutional level but can be sustained across several institutions through shared resources)
  • supporting sustainability of legacy materials
  • increased understanding of IPR
  • new relationships with students as they become collaborators in  OER production, release and use

 

Other sectors can benefit from: (eg, employers, public bodies, private bodies, 3rd sector)

  • access to re-purposable content
  • input to scoping, development and endorsement of OER in their focus area
  • new potential partnerships with content providers and other sectors
  • upskilling - increased understanding of IPR, curriculum development and learning technologies
  • understanding of customer needs (for example, commercial publishers  finding out what kinds of OER and learning resources are wanted by teachers and/or learners)

 

 

Project staff have almost universally found themselves taking a more collaborative approach to developing teaching materials, and have also found their roles changing as they become the "experts" on OER, and are providing advice for others within the institution. They have been collaborating, not only with other staff, but also in some cases, with learners, to produce or repurpose OERs, and have noted a flattening of the usual hierarchical relationship between teacher and learner.

 

Many of the projects reported significant gains in staff understanding, confidence and skills around OERs and open educational practices which was seen as significant in changing culture. Increased awareness and capabilities had an impact on practice while new partnerships and collaborative experiences were noted as significant for both subject communities and institutions. Cross institutional working fostered culture change through sharing of resources and practice, whilst external stakeholder engagement (for example, employers, NHS bodies) was seen as having a significant impact of cultures of the various partners. Some projects made significant inroads into clarifying cultural differences between partners and bridging some of the gaps.

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

“We have been very impressed by your earlier OER output [the CORE-Materials site], and all of its technical functionalities, which you developed and refined over recent years. It gives us reassurance that you have produced something of high quality that would sit very well alongside our business and its vision for the future. We appreciate that there will be a transfer of know-how from yourselves to this organisation, and that will then allow us to play catch-up with others who are much further ahead of us, who at the moment would have a competitive edge in promoting their offerings to global clients and customers. Though, I now appreciate from our discussions that this working arrangement will not be one-way between your Project Team and staff from a number of our business units represented here today; marketing, staff training, technical services. It is pleasing to hear that you feel we also have something to offer you, in academia, from the range of case-study materials and research-oriented outputs we have put together. I was not aware that such things were becoming more sought after by students and lecturers, and as a business we will be more than glad to contribute to that.”[Project Partner C] (CORE-SET Final Report)

 

 

 Impact on teaching staff   
 teaching staff need to be convinced of the benefits of both releasing their own and using others OERs. Reward and recognition has been a significant concern for projects with many of their outputs focusing on this area. Many projects have incorporated these outputs into their own institutional HE teaching awards as a way of ensuring sustainability by making OER release a natural part of developing teaching and learning materials. Some have suggested that OER release should be included in HE Academy teaching fellowship criteria. A number of projects have made comparisons with research, and with the impact of the REF in promoting very obvious rewards for research publications; comparable visibility for OER, viewed as teaching publications is lacking. One institutional strand project has incorporated recognition of both OER release and use into performance review mechanisms.  

 

 

UKOER initiatives overall have probably had the most impact on teaching staff, particularly those that have been included in project teams. Academics have had to reconsider their own practice around the use, creation and re-purposing of learning resources. They have also been involved in conversations with other stakeholders that have had an impact on curriculum development and on the kinds of resources they release. They have worked with technical teams to consider new ways to make their resources open, discoverable and accessible.

It was anticipated that HALS would continue to build capacity and expertise, and continue our institutional transformation by embedding open practices into the heart of learning and teaching activities at De Montfort University. (HALS OER Final Project Report)

 

Enhanced professional profiles of academic staff

 

Increased access to a range of OER -  It is interesting to see the wide range of subject areas covered by all phases of the programme

 

Potential for linking OER to academic research activities

the academic leads have submitted Great Writers Inspire as a pilot case study for the Faculty’s REF submission. Stressing the contribution that the project makes in making research-based teaching and expertise gathered within the Oxford Faculty of English available to all (Great Writers Final Report)

Many projects found that the enhancement to personal skills, the promise of improved quality of teaching materials through feedback and reflection, a sense of philanthropy, and the excitement of being involved in the open movement, were more reliable and realisable rewards for individuals

 

It might be an advantage to be a contributor to an OER project, as a showcase of my work for example, but all I'm really interested in as a contributor is making my resources more freely available to other educators to use as they see fit. I think there is some value in my resources that I'm happy to see others take advantage of if they wish. (OpenExeter final report)

 Projects identified skillsets and areas of knowledge necessary to effectively release OERs and also celebrated increased literacies of staff involved in projects, particularly in relation to IPR and technical issues.

 

Impacts on the practice of the OMAC strand practitioners has been much the same as for other strands. Engagement with OER release generally has fostered reflection on existing teaching practice, increased technical skills, improved understanding of IPR and legal aspects, improved use and application of licenses and changes in content production processes. The specific focus areas of projects, such as inclusive practice, CPD and digital literacies, has further enhanced both engagement and practice change. 

A key outcome from this project has been the opportunity to work closely with and learn from university teachers in a range of subjects about the ways in which they academically engage their diverse students. Pre and post observation meetings with teachers, students and in some cases student support staff, provided the opportunity to think about inclusive practice within different contexts and from different perspectives.  Discussions with staff not only led to changes in their practice, they also challenged our thinking, as researchers and academic developers, around inclusive practice.  (Learning to Teach Inclusively)

Improved digital literacies, particularly around IPR and licencing has been noted as significant by many projects. New technical skills and awareness around licencing, linked to new approaches to learning and teaching have resulted in changed practice as educators have started to define themselves as open educational practitioners. Even small changes for some individuals have ongoing implications for long term embedding within departments, faculty and at an institutional level.

In the process of becoming ‘open practitioners’, tutors have learnt new technical skills, shared pedagogical ideas and learnt from others, and adopted new approaches to creating materials. Their project work has raised their profiles within their universities and the community and made a lasting impact on their teaching. (FAVOR Final Report

However, some projects have found or suggested a different balance between upskilling academic staff and capacity building among support staff, to give teaching staff confidence in open release, and to alleviate the time-consuming work involved in e.g. third-party IPR clearance.

 Of note is the fact that several staff saw engagement with OER as having impact on their pedagogic practice and enhanced quality of their own learning resources. The notion of people involved in projects already being key change agents or champions of technology enhanced learning was also noted. In addition to impacts from being involved with OER project staff also benefitted from increased access to OERs.

 

What has developed, however, is the way that the IPR4EE course structure also moves from an understanding of course design for online learning to a broader understanding of course design for open access. The first unit explore issues of IPR within an understanding of localised online learning, i.e. to a known audience of learners, whereas Unit 3 explores the application of IPR to creating and sharing open education resources IPR4EE

 

The impact on our stakeholders has been greater awareness and understanding of OER rather than changed attitudes. By far the most visible impact is on the teachers involved in the project, who went through the process of developing their resources. The collaboration between academics and support staff from three different areas has been rewarding and may have a lasting impact. CPD4HE

 

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

 

Good practice in OER development and use, is good learning and teaching practice. This potentially provides a starting point for engaging academic staff with the OER agenda. EDOR 

 

"The whole project has been an enlightening learning experience for me, where new words, technology and processes appeared at every stage of the project – OER, Creative Commons, IPR, Jorum, TED, AGILE project management method and SCRUM meetings, Web2Rights, OU SCORE, O4B, meta tag, Equella etc. I am now going to brush up on my new found knowledge so that I can inform others!” Mrs Julie Green, Quality Manager, Aston Business School, July 2011 O4B

 

 

 

 

It can take a lot of effort from project teams and OER champions to get practitioners to change, and, as evidenced elsewhere in this report, this also requires significant institutional and/or community support. Projects in phase three are still reporting challenges around general awareness of OER and OEP, and also lack of knowledge around appropriate use of third party materials. Although we have evidence of significant practice change, projects are also aware that there is still a fair way to go to make this practice mainstream.

Academic Teachers at the academic partners have been involved in the project and in creating OERs and discussing them through focus groups. At two of the academic partners no one had heard of Jorum, OERs, or Creative Commons licences so awareness has been greatly increased, although there is much more to do (ALTO Final Report)

 

Some projects have welcomed "public peer review" through user ratings and reviews; others have rejected it emphatically.    
 

Evidence has emerged of changes in attitudes, awareness and practice of staff and this is also discussed in the section on Practice change.

We know that the process of filming the sessions and reviewing and discussing the DVD after the sessions has made an impact on the practice and thinking of those involved. This is evident in the discussions (some of these discussions are captured on video and have been included in the resources and in the module).  Learning to Teach Inclusively

 
  Projects identified several positive impacts for a range of different staff which were a direct result of involvement with an OER project, particularly increased awareness around open educational practices and increased opportunities for collaboration across institutions, sectors and subject disciplines.    
 
  OMAC strand project OERs were developed by and for a very specific audience and the process itself significantly engaged the audience. Their proposed use to support teaching practice is expected to have continued impact within the institutions involved. The strand also produced generic OERs which will impact across subject disciplines, although projects did recieve requests to make them discipline specific. Incorporation of OERs into formal institutional teacher training/support mechanisms is likely to result in continued use and development of resources.  
   

Other educators are often the intended recipients of OER and it is important to note that an important impact of the programme has been to increase the number of OER in particular subject areas. An initial premise of the programme was that increasing the corpus of OER would promote use and engagement. It has been noteworthy that some projects report successful use of Jorum to find OER and also refer to OER released during earlier phases. It is interesting to see the wide range of subject areas covered by all phases of the programme.

 

Academic staff are routinely using OER as part of their curriculum delivery although in our 2012 university staff awareness survey more than 50% of staff had heard of the term OER compared to only 18% in 2009, and were more familiar with JORUM and other OER repositories. Staff were regularly using OER and many were sharing. Workshops on OER are now embedded within the PGCert at De Montfort, and staff training is continuing to develop the digital literacy skills and copyright awareness required for OER to be scaled-up within the organisation. As Ming suggests (2012 ), our next step is probably going to be an institutional-wide strategy for digital literacy and promoting open education and practice. (HALSOER Final report)

Impact on the student experience  
 

Projects have also noted that direct access to content by learners as users may change roles in learning-teaching relationship.

 

 Many projects in the Release strand were producing materials for non-traditional students and exploiting the potential of OERs to take university learning beyond the boundaries of the campus. Remote students on fieldwork, internships and placements were also catered for by Release and Collection projects.

Students are an important stakeholder group as intended recipients of OER and increasingly as co-producers or collaborators in production and release.

 

Many projects employed students or had volunteers in some capacity to support the projects, most often as evaluators and co-producers, but also as interns involved in marketing, dissemination, and design.

 

The latter provided excellent work-related experiences for the students as well as mutual benefits for the projects

 

Linking OER to digital literacy also emerged as an important focus with students. Student awareness of OER increased, as well as their understanding around content creation, appropriate licencing and the value of open sharing

 

Some students have concerns and misunderstandings around OER - fears about OER replacing face to face contact

 

School students raised different kinds of issues in relation to contributing to production of OER - logistical and ethical issues around e-safety and e-safeguarding requiring parental permissions

 

Student feedback and interaction has been of particular benefit in this strand (OMAC).

I found it really useful to have the opportunity to speak frankly with some of my students and to learn directly from them which of the techniques I use they find the most useful.  I enjoyed reflecting upon what I do and I like the fact that following reflection I am always finding ways to tweak and improve my practice and keep it fresh for student...It was good to learn from the note taker and interpreter…I’m looking forward to seeing the extracts of other teachers in action. (Tracy McCoy, Lecturer). (Learning to Teach Inclusively)

 

 
 

It is important to note that most evidence relating to student use comes from early piloting of materials and their input during OER development. This has helped to raise awareness with students about OERs, IPR issues and course materials. In some cases it encouraged engagement resulting in student materials being added to OER collections.

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

 

 

Projects often differentiated between potential use by students and teachers and several felt that the two groups needed OERs presented in different ways - including wrap-around support incorporated within OERs as well as guidance to use offered in presentation mechanisms. Student engagement was varied and reflected the different approaches - C-SAP identified three approaches which were also reflected by projects in other strands:

  • 'Content approach' - existing content repackaged
  • 'Connoisseur approach' - students as reviewers
  • 'Creative empowerment approach' - students as producers and actively critiquing peer OERs

students, who in many cases are informally creating and sharing learning materials, should be actively involved in the development of open educational practise, including the creation of resources where learning and sharing are aligned. ADM

 

 

However not all feedback from students was so positive - reinforcing the notion that they can be very focused on activities that contribute to grades.

Virtually all members of the [student] group had not really interacted with the materials in any way whatsoever. So, I asked them why this was the case, and the various (though quite standard) responses related to the ‘context’ (or perceived rationale) to actually embark upon such activities. The group (even the few students who had made at least some attempt to access the OERs) identified as part of their feedback, that, as undergraduates, their preference is to focus upon specific and directed research, self-directed activities that can ‘clearly’ (and positively) influence the grades attained in assignments (and exams). (C-SAP final report)

 
 

OMAC strand students are teachers, so impact on this group has been slightly different - this student group is likely to take this forward into their own teaching and projects anticpate significant contribution to  future generation and reviewing of content. 

As a spin off from their work on this project, the SU will be contributing to the PGCert in Academic Practice face to face delivery and the ‘up mentoring’ of up to 30 members of participants. Their involvement adds richness, credibility and authenticity to these resources and a real student dimension to the overall programme.  Learning to Teach Inclusively

 
 

Release strand projects have focused largely on non-traditional learners and supporting a flexible curriculum to meet their needs.

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 learning.  Campus-based learners can also benefit (e.g. via Plymouth Award) from reflecting on experiences outside of their course, via these materials. (Learning from WOeRK)

 

 
   

The COMC project involved students as co-producers of content through three open media courses. Project activities actually focused less on content and more on refining a collaborative model for open participation - where existing courses were made open and engaged a variety of working professionals to enhance authentic learning experiences for registered students, encourage networking opportunities and stimulate creativity.

 

This open course  model provides an interesting alternative approach to Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS) and requires significant institutional support for both the concept and the implementation. Involving open students and working professionals added a dimension of collaboration that could not easily be replicated in a standard undergraduate course. This included students reviewing each others and practitioners work - becoming 'active participants in a peer-practioner community' and also establishing and organising their own exhibition.

 

The exhibition was a pivotal moment in the transformation of the students’ understanding of their own capabilities, when magnified by the open class approach. It captured and demonstrated their ability – working collaboratively through these platforms - to successfully undertake tasks, which would otherwise be beyond their normal expectations. It is important to note that this exhibition was not an assessed, or expected practical outcome of the face-to-face class. (COMC Final Report)

Enhancing the institutional profile  
Models and approaches developed to release existing content will be invaluable to support ongoing release of new content. The current financial climate is discouraging innovation unless direct benefits can be proven in terms of, for example, new markets, student numbers, shared costs of development and teaching. However, the well articulated benefits in terms of institutional showcasing and attracting potential students may prove attractive to institutional managers.
 

There is little hard evidence of this but most institutions involved in the programme have an understanding of the reputational benefits of OER release, particularly in relation to showcasing and marketing. This has led to an increased focus on quality and making sure that OER are easily discoverable. Many phase three projects were building on previous UKOER work which had already received recognition within the organisation and beyond.

 

With benefits such as efficiency savings, promotional opportunities and enhancement of the student experience, Open Nottingham is designed to foster increased use, reuse and publication of OER by staff and students across the university and beyond. It aims to improve the understanding of what impact OER has on teaching and learning and to measure the effectiveness of open resources as a promotional tool. (PARiS Final report)

 


A particularly strong example from this phase of the programme is the COMC project focusing on open courses at Coventry University who have received wide recognition and impact within the UK, and in the US (through links made during the project). It is emerging as an interesting alternative model of an open course to the massive open online courses (MOOC) and the institution is expanding this approach. The project has featured in a number of JISC dissemination activities including a radio show, a case study and the 2012 JISC Innovating eLearning Online Conference There has been significant spin-out from this project – the Dept has established an Open/Innovative pedagogies working group with one COMC project member as one of its leaders, but it also  has three other staff new to the approach. Initiatives adopting the Open Approach are now being developed in the BA Media and Communications course  the MA CCM, BA Journalism and Media.(COMC Final Report)

Other institutional benefits  
 With regard to costs, the perception is that OER release takes longer than even experienced project teams allowed for, and that without seed funding the costs would fall disproportionately on frontline academics who currently see very little reward or recognition for their investment.

The current economic climate was also noted as an impetus by some projects, with OER release and use being seen as offering potential efficiency measures (although costs also emerge as barriers).

People are increasingly pushed for time and are recognising that there is a lot of really good stuff out there on the web being shared under Creative Commons.  However, there is a paradox, with the short-term costs of building resource sharing capacity, and in the long term potentially reducing cost, being out of the reach of currently cash-strapped departments. PORSCHE evaluation report

 The growing amount of openly licensed content helps provide an efficiency and value for money argument, which is important in the current economic climate.  (ALTO final report) 

 

We anticipated that, once completed, the project would enable us to be more effective by offering considerably more to our students and the wider world with minimal extra resource required from the Weekly Classes Office. This certainly has been a major achievement of the project. Previous attempts to design sustainable online provision for the Weekly Classes programme had failed from being too costly to implement, whereas with the pump priming from the Sesame project we have developed tools and processes that will allow the Department to support this provision at a cost we are confident the programme can sustain. (SESAME Final Report)

 Many institutional strand projects argue that it is significantly cheaper to create new content rather than spend time identifying provenance and clearing copyright. For institutions it is probably not sustainable to keep trying to open/release existing content. Projects from all strands are generally optimistic about finding ways of sustaining the creation of new materials without seed funding - from marketing budgets, from public bodies and professional organisations for whom they are providing OER services, by donations following the open source movement model, and by making OER production a part of student project work.

Institutionally reducing duplication, showcasing taster learning materials to potential students and using OERs as promotional materials (marketisation) continue to be strong motivators.

A showcase for individual students and staff at the UAL for promoting our work, networking and attracting new students; Helps students making well-informed application choices by providing windows into the world of the UAL = better retention and satisfaction rates; Link with national and international communities of practice to create longer-term collaborations and partnerships ALTO

It is hoped that our positive experiences of working with partners like sector skills councils and private companies may encourage other educational institutions to realise the potential benefits of taking this approach. This does require significant effort and it can be challenging to manage expectations to balance the needs of curriculum with the needs of industry partners. We feel that the benefits are worth the effort involved as it may help to align curriculum needs with those of employers. (ReACTOR Final report)

 

The main costs are associated with the time involved in preparing and uploading resources, securing copyright clearance, and undertaking any additional development or quality assurance required by the process of open release. These may be borne mainly by specialist staff within central teams or mainly by academic staff with appropriate support. The OpenSpires Project concluded that the cost efficiencies of producing podcasts as compared to video was also significantly outweighed by the a strong learner preference for podcasts.    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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