UKOER institutional strand learners and other stakeholders

 author: Lou McGill

One project carried out surveys with learners, but most felt that more work was needed to understand learner needs and use patterns, although it was considered ‘out of scope’ for this pilot programme. Several projects established links and partnerships with other institutions, including some global bodies interested in OER release and use and this was empathised in meetings organised by projects and in ongoing dialogue with these partners. Employers were identified by two projects as having potential for future investigation and partnership. One project engaged with a Regional University Network which meant that FE providers were also linked into OER provision.

What role have learners played in shaping the programme outcomes?

How have projects engaged learners, if at all?

Do learners appreciate the value of OERs? What sense do they make of ‘openness’?

BERLiN (University of Nottingham)

  • One area for future investigation is the inclusion of open content in both electronic and printed prospectuses. This would allow prospective students to view resources and even, in the form of recorded lectures, observe a module that they are considering. This would both provide an additional marketing channel for the University and also allow mechanisms to be put in place to measure whether the availability of OER at an institution has an impact on a student‘s decision to choose a particular university or course. This hard data is exactly the type of data that institutions should be looking to collect in order to show both a return on their investment and to justify future expenditure.

OpenExeter (University of Exeter)

  • Exeter has revised its Education Strategy, placing greater emphasis on designing student experiences, supported by the use of appropriate new technologies and contextually located within a rich array of learning materials. We are also promoting active learning in which students and staff can ‘range’ across disciplinary boundaries.
  • Exeter is committed to encouraging open educational practice and believes that Open Exeter will inform and support widespread transformations in learning and teaching. We embrace the ambition of creating a virtuous circle whereby staff and students, through sharing and reusing, will leverage a more communicative, active and independent learning style appropriate to our mission of developing a teaching research nexus. OER will thereby become an integral component of curriculum design and delivery. Open Exeter will provide a testbed for the challenges involved and enable others to draw on the project’s experiences.

OTTER (University of Leicester)

  • It looks very, very useful and provided it is kept up to date, and provides something different from the resources already available on Blackboard it could be very popular (Student)
  • I look forward to it being more commonly used and more information to be available as I will definitely refer to it to improve my learning (Student).
  • Interviews and surveys with learners, academic staff and management have raised awareness about OERs
  • Learners do not seem to appreciate the ‘openness’ factor of OERs. The majority of learners surveyed wanted OERs to be made available on the institution’s VLE.
  • Most stakeholders interviewed were in favour of the OER initiative and wanted it to continue.
  • OTTER research report: stakeholder views on open educational resources

What role have stakeholders such as professional bodies and employers played in shaping the programme outcomes?

OpenSTAFFS (Staffordshire University)

  • From the perspective of sustainability it is clear that a number of other uncertainties will need more exploration, for example the real actual demand for OERs is not fully understood, in particular the demand from employing organisations. The degree to which companies might wish to draw on OERs and how that might generate revenue creation for higher education institutions needs much further investigation.

What other stakeholders are emerging with an interest in this area?

Unicycle (Leeds Metropolitan University)

  • As part of our work with our Regional University Network colleges we wish to explore the development of an OER request service. This service would allow our partner colleges to request materials which we may have to be released as OER. Longer term this would help us to identify the needs of users and also ensure appropriateness of content.