Anticipated outcomes and outputs for UKOER Phase 2

This page was developed during phase 2 synthesis and evaluation activities and reflects wider issues arising for the HE and FE community during this phase of ukoer, as well as highlighting anticipated outcomes for the programme.

Updated synthesis framework and wiki

This feeds directly into and augments the OER infokit. We expect to see some new/refined lessons around each of the focus areas in the existing framework.

We may also have new lessons directly from the projects about:

  • teacher education/staff development for OER
  • institutional cultures and institutional differences (but see point 2 below)
  • community practices and open sharing in communities, especially communities that combine public interest and academic research (but again, see point 2 below)

This ties in with our framework, and our evaluation questions for the different strands.

Other possible focus areas:

Not all of this will necessarily come from the commissioned synthesis and evaluation activities but these highlight areas that we feel are important questions for the UKOER community at this time…

1. OER as an aspect of open practice

Following on from the evidence and conclusions of the Good Intentions report [1] we believe release and reuse of OERs are aspects of more open educational practices generally, of which content is only one factor. Whilst it has been argued that the availability of more open content will change practice (refs) we expect the picture to be much more subtle and nuanced than this. The Good intentions report points to technological and cultural changes which have impacted on the ways people share content and which have supported an emerging open education movement, of which resources/content is only one aspect.

The Pilot Phase of the UKOER Programme highlighted issues around recognition and reward, and identified a number of different models and approaches to support OER release, within the context of individual, institutional and communities practice. Phase 2 will tell us more about the impact of OER use on practice. We feel it is important to frame what we have learnt from both phases within the wider context of ‘OPEN PRACTICES’ (see also section 3)

  •  Open institutions – how institutions differ and what impact this may have on their capacity to release, reuse and share educational content. We feel there would be a benefit in looking for evidence that these issues matter, and produce relevant outputs such as an institutional checklist, or a research outcome. We might also find evidence of general institutional practices becoming more open – eg meeting minutes / actions being agreed or strategies being developed collaboratively via wikis, and collaborative curriculum design (see ALT discussion list).
  • Open communities – Can we follow up on the subject strand (before the SCs disappear) and ask a few questions about what has happened since funding ended? Do the factors relating to institutions also make sense in relation to the communities represented in the collections strand? Can we compare and link with open development of ideas by individuals and communities through blogs, microblogs (Twitter), SNS, and so on. We need to find evidence that these sorts of practices increasing and becoming more mainstream? Impact of recent social action supported by blogs, twitter and facebook on development of new open communities – united by action.
  • Open education – can we also consider boundary crossing? This is where technology can excel – eg ideas/resources being used across communities via Web2.0 etc, Issues around curriculum, accreditation and assessment?
  • Open scholarship – How far research outputs refer to open community sources (such as blogs, online phd’s? How far comment and referral act as peer review?

2.  Openness as an aspect of content that makes it reusable in practice

JISC commissioned some work in 2004 [2] which examined the affordances of e-learning resources. This work described several characteristics that may encourage use. Phase 2 projects add an OER specific view of these characteristics relating to both use and re-use:

  • freely available and easily discovered
  • trust/reputation of source
  • openly licenced
  •  universally accessible
  • easily disaggregated (teaching users)
  • educationally guided (learning users)
  • educationally well designed (educational intentions clear) The sorts of arguments for OERs being educationally well designed are largely based on development in/by teams (within institution or community). Does OER release have a role in re-promoting team work?

3. The big picture – where OER might be taking us

We are keen to look at the wider picture and how this is impacting on education and specifically on open education practices. The UK OER landscape has changed since the start of the programme [3] and is also augmented by changes on the international scene e.g. the activities of the OER Foundation in pushing for an OER university that could undercut traditional provision. Educational institutions are changing as a result of these influences but not necessarily in a uniform way. For example some ‘ancients/redbricks’ may remain as what we generally recognise as ‘universities’ or may work closer with industry (what does this mean for OERs/open practices?).What about ‘teaching focussed institutions’ (at least in England/Wales)? How does the Further education sector differ?

We intend to frame items 1 and 2 in the context of the big picture i.e. borderless institutions, shifting relationships between content and assessment, between teachers and learners, open knowledge in general, the learning society, the role of publicly funded assets, OERs and the equality agenda, the risk of the globalised curriculum, etc. We also intend to challenge some of the underlying assumptions around OERs which still persist (eg making more open content available will lead to increased reuse).

[1] McGill, L and Currier, S and Duncan, C and Douglas, P (2008) Good intentions: improving the evidence base in support of sharing learning materials. Project Report. http://ie-repository.jisc.ac.uk/265/

[1] Littlejohn, A., I. Falconer & L. McGill  Characterising effective eLearning resources, Computers & Education (2006), doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2006.08.004

[3] http://oersynthesis.jiscinvolve.org/wp/2011/01/25/reflections/


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