Individual Strand synthesis – Isobel Falconer and Karen Smith

EVOLUTION project (UCLan)


  • Development of a ?UK wide index or database of OERs:

Although some materials do exist in an open format these are difficult to identify as there is no index system or other database to point to their location. The development of such a system may be worth exploring or perhaps an extension to INTUTE to point to relevant materials. JORUM will assist this search but OERs elsewhere also need to be included. (EVOLUTION final report)

For institutions:

  • Institutions will need to ensure staff development takes place in this area and copyright and IPR expertise is available to assist those releasing OERs. Digital copyright clearance is a vital and necessary component in the development of OERs and institutions need to ensure that staff producing OERs are fully supported with regard to copyright.

For OER developers:

  • in order that OERs may be re-used or re-purposed designers and developers need to ensure that resources created can be used and re-used with different tasks and in different contexts. Within a classroom environment the maximum re-use of OERs will occur where the teaching resource is kept separate from the task and the teacher provides the context. Therefore resources in OERs designed to be re-used should be kept separate from tasks within any e-learning activity to maximise their potential re-use.
  • For materials to be re-used and repurposed it is important to ensure interoperable standards are adhered to.

openSpace (University College, Falmouth)


  • A unified UK higher education IPR guidance or framework. The guidance or framework would require tailoring for groups of institutions with similar organisation structures (e.g. post 1992 institutions with significant numbers of part-time hourly paid lecturers) to better reflect the diversity of organisational structures in UK higher education.
  • Investigation is needed of how to recognise OE user achievement. Can OERs be accredited? How? What unifying framework can be put in place to support this? What is the worth of OE study on a CV?
  • Further research into how OE users set their own learning goals and persist through process requires research.

For institutions

  • Training tutors on how to digitize their course materials creates a disruptive change that stimulates reflection as well as providing tangible transferable skills: it has generated excellent conversations about how students learn, in particular students studying online, and methods academics can use to support online learning. In short, it creates new thinking around learning and teaching

For projects/individuals

  • Projects should meet W3C Accessibility Guidelines. Accessibility, optimizing pages for search engine results, keyword density, link density (e.g. the number of relevant links directing people to external sites/sources and relevant external links to your site) and RSS Feed syndication/aggregation will greatly help in search engine results and rankings for project websites. This increases the potential for project OERs to be discovered and accessed.
  • Beta testing (when internal and external users ‘test drive’ a web site, application or software) is a critical process for any online project. This is a failsafe to ensure the quality of a project and the user experience.
  • Embedding an OE project into an institution’s goals and strategies can play an important role in management support for the project.

For teachers:

  • Information chunking: One chunking method we’ve used includes tabbed headings for each study session. Instead of seeing a very long page with notes, supporting lecture information, assignments and learning outcomes; students are presented with information they will feel is ‘manageable’.

ChemistryFM (Lincoln)


  • Development of a critical theory that can be applied to the OER movement is needed – perhaps led by the HEA:

[the project] has allowed us time to consider OER within a wider context and begin to develop a critical, theoretical approach to OER which situates it within a larger social discourse on the ‘commons’. We would recommend that the Academy encourage this, too, as the OER movement is still largely dominated by technical and legalistic discourses. For example, OER could be contextualised within the Academy’s current Education for Sustainable Development agenda and its emphasis on equality and social justice. (ChemistryFM final report)

  • Research and development also needed into how OER development can support research-teaching linkages and students as researchers:

We would also recommend that greater attention be given to the processes of producing OERs and the transformative potential this has on the teacher-student relationship (ChemistryFM final report)

  • A recognition scheme for teachers, with impact comparable to the RAE/REF is needed to incentivise teachers who who might aspire towards Open Education.

Java Breadboard (York)


  • A suitable licence agreement for depositing source code in OER repositories needs to be developed.

Final work on the collation of the deposits has been completed, with work uploaded to Jorum, and addition as likely to be made in the near future.The source code will be available from Jorum if a suitable licence arrangement can be identified, but it has also been placed on SourceForge, a site dedicated to open-source code management (Java Breadboard final report)

  • A national solution needs to be found to the issue of insitutional liability for the conduct of forums and other community activity around OERs. It would be interesting if Jorum could support synamic deposits in a more structured way, by for instance creating a discussion forum and collective contribution capability linked to a group of deposits which can expand over time.

If Jorum were able to provide a facility to set up discussion threads aligned with each Jorum Deposit, this would remove a significant obstacle for wider engagement with the potential user community. The idea being that the community would ideally ‘help itself’ by virtue of the discussion process, and occasional input from experts. (Java Breadboard final report)

For institutions

  • Clear institutional policies on ownership of student work, that support OER, are needed:

Not all universities have a clear IP ownership policy for student work, and even if it is believed that there is one in place, a sensible advisement would be for thoise developing education software in the same way to define from the start the intention for open resourcing, to keep the option clear for future exploitation. (Java Breadboard final report)

BROME (Bradford)

For institutions and individuals:

  • Starting the creation of materials with an agenda or intention to release within the parameters of OER will remove many, if not all, of the problems found with retrospective rights clearance


  • further investigation is needed of the concept of reliance on the IPR status of OERs. A takedown notice may aid in the limitation of risk however the issues concerning where the concept of liability lies and the concept of honest mistake needs to be considered. How confident are you in OER, even if it is labelled do you have to show due diligent in tracing down the licence for each element of the OER package?