Table of Contents
BENEFITS-OF-RELEASE-AND USE | CULTURAL ASPECTS of OER | TECHNICAL-ASPECTS-of-OER | LEGAL-ASPECTS-of-OER
DEFINITION AND DESCRIPTION
There is a clear need to clarify which groups (learners, registered students, educators) are using OER and how (formal, informal, etc.) these resources are being used/re-purposed. Having an understanding of how these different stakeholders use, re-use or re-purpose learning resources helps those releasing OER to make key decisions about their release models and approaches.
Terminology around OER is not universally meaningful or recognisable and we may sometimes be asking people the wrong questions. Where staff report no engagement with OER they often describe using third party materials in their teaching. The JISC funded study OER: The value of reuse in education, found that most sharing and reuse happens informally and below the surface. Use and reuse of OER, strictly defined as content that is openly licensed and consciously reused as such, is a small sub-set of the whole. Practice below the surface may actually become harder to research as awareness of open content spreads, because there is a greater awareness that online content may be ‘risky’ or inappropriate to use.
The Open Practices Briefing paper discusses some of the complexities around OER use by students, communities and academics.
Re-use and re-purposing of OER requires them to be discoverable, technically accessible, pedagogically accessible and carrying appropriate open licences.
Assuming that OER are discoverable and accessible in technical and legal terms, there remain tensions around re-use in pedagogical terms. Where OER have been released for very specific groups or for a particular context they are not always accessible or easily adapted for re-use. Examples of the ways on which this can affect use and re-use include:
- OER to support specific courses which reflect course structures and are difficult to re-use in other contexts
- OER which include references to specific laws or regulations that are not relevant in other countries
- OER which include specific pedagogic approaches or language that might not be relevant in other context
- OER primarily developed for use within one institution but made open more widely may be less usable in other contexts than anticipated
One of the key questions for those who aim to release OER is whether to include pedagogic content (such as contextual information about how and when to use the resources) or to allow the user to define/add pedagogic context at the point of use. There is evidence that making OER available as small ‘chunks’ can enhance re-use and re-purposing by other teachers but that learners prefer some sort of guidance through materials that have a meaningful pedagogic structure.
Student use of OER
The most obvious benefit of OER is that students are free to study in a wide range of settings. This can help overcome problems with access, or can mean that learning in the field, the workplace, or on placement is enhanced by access to relevant content. Use of open educational content, whether guided by teaching staff or self-directed, exposes learners to a wider range of ideas, media, representations, and conceptual approaches than a closed course can provide. We have found evidence of students being troubled by this variety: they worry that they will be penalised if they use material not approved by their lecturer or will ‘waste time’ covering material that is not central to their assessments. This demonstrates that open approaches need careful introduction to students.
Releasing sample OER as an aspect of course marketisation – a growing trend – allows students to make meaningful choices between learning opportunities, both when they are choosing what and where to study and when they are choosing options within their programme.
- Learner Use of Online Educational Resources for Learning (LUOER)Paul Bacsich, Barry Phillips and Sara Frank Bristow Sept 2011
- OER Impact Study: research report. Liz Masterman and Joanna Wild University of Oxford, July 2011
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology has a long-standing commitment to releasing OERs under the ‘OpenCourseWare’ programme. Their 2005 evaluation as to the programme’s effectiveness and outcomes is available as an summary [PDF] or full report[PDF]. The 2009 report is currently only available as a summary[PDF].
- JISC’s Re-purposing & re-use of digital university-level content & evaluation (RePRODUCE)summarized the findings of 20 projects that aiming “to develop, run and quality assure technology enhanced courses using reused and repurposed learning materials sourced externally to their institution.”
- The Open University run an ongoing Impact evaluation on use of their iTunesU offering.
- The ORIOLE project, based at the Open University has a focus on investigating, understanding and disseminating about use and reuse of digital online resources in learning and teaching.
SYNTHESIS AND EVALUATION PAGES
- Open Practices Briefing paper
- All pages on this wiki with the tag – OER-use
- All pages on this wiki with the tag – repurposing
- All pages on this wiki with the tag – re-use
RESOURCES IN THE OER GUIDE
- OER Use and Reuse
- Learning and Teaching considerations
- UKOER Guildes – Pedagogic aspects – quality, trust, curriculum needs and development
- UKOER Guides – OER use, re-use and re-purposing
SCORE CASE STUDIES
- Re-purposing Academic Practises – Integrating the use of open content into the design, development and delivery of Post Graduate Certificates –
- EVOL-OER: The evolution of Open Educational Resources – Developing a deeper understanding of the re-use and adaptation of open educational resources (OERs) by academics in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), and how these resources evolved over time.
- OER-related accessibility issues and their relevance to practices of re-purposing/re-use– To explore issues of accessibility relevant to the development of open educational resources (OER) with a particular focus on visual resources.
- Authorship and use of OER as Academic Practice for Research-Examining policy and practice for OER creation in the context of research led institutions