Phase 2 of the JISC/HEA jointly funded UK OER programme was launched in October 2010. The aim of this second phase of funding was to build on the lessons learned in the pilot phase – across institutions, individual academics, and subject areas – about the release of open educational resources. The focus was more explicitly on collation of existing open resources, and cascade of the practices identified as beneficial in the pilot phase, though material has continued to be developed and shared/released. To address the gaps in knowledge of OER use that were identified in that earlier phase, modest research and technical work was funded to examine how OERs are discovered, used and re-used by academics, and to a lesser extent by students.
JISC and the HE Academy awarded funding to a team based at Glasgow Caledonian University to undertake evaluation and synthesis of the second phase. The same team had supported the OER Pilot programme, and produced the Final Synthesis and Evaluation Report from that round of funding. 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.
The Pilot Phase Synthesis Framework was adapted and re-used to capture common issues and highlight differences across the different strands of funding, as described in the Phase 2 approach section. This report synthesises evidence and outputs under the following framework headings:
- Practice change
- Development and Release Issues
- Cultural Considerations
- Institutional Issues
- Impacts and Benefits
The framework proved a valuable means of gathering information from diverse projects. Dialogue with projects took a range of formats, including online and face to face workshops, direct email and telephone conversations, and this provided an opportunity to inform and engage projects with the framework as a tool to support evaluation. The resulting phase 2 framework includes links to evidence from strand activities.
This final synthesis report includes recommendations to the funders and to the stakeholders represented in the various strands of the programme, and a version of the framework tool for use by the sector to audit progress towards more open practices around educational resources.
Strand-specific frameworks were developed to investigate questions that related specifically to the different strands of funding, and the findings from each strand are separately reported in this wiki:
- Release – projects undertaking release of new or repurposed OERs in key subject areas
- Open Materials for Accredited Courses (OMAC) – projects releasing materials linked to the national professional standards for staff who teach in higher education
- Cascade – projects cascading and embedding their own good practice in OER release to other contexts
- Collections – projects using a range of technologies to collate existing OER in thematic collections
Strand-specific evaluation addressed how different communities and cultures are progressing towards openness in their educational practice and in their management and use of educational resources. Mixed methods were recruited to examine social, technical, pedagogical and legal / organisational issues, feeding into the synthesis presented here.
Other outputs of the evaluation and synthesis process include the following.
- The set of materials to support project evaluation activities were adapted and shared with projects, and have continued to be augmented.
- Cross sector issues emerged particularly clearly in this round of funding, in which projects worked across Higher Education, Further Education, the NHS and sectors of industry and the workplace.
- Two independent research studies were funded during this phase of the programme and the Evaluation and Synthesis team produced commentaries on these:
- Three briefing papers on issues of particular concern to the sector, drawing on evidence from the Phase2 projects as well as from background research:
- A consideration of issues emerging for support teams was draw together to support future funding in this area
- Phase 2 framework which will be taken forward into phase 3.
Forward to Phase 2 Approach