author: Lou McGill
Quality issues have been significant for this strand as all Institutions saw OER release as showcase or ‘reputation enhancment’ mechanisms. Clearly there was an expectation that materials released would be of a very high quality. This raises some tensions for long term sustainability in that it costs more to produce high quality showcase materials. Quality was also an important issue for individuals who were sometimes cautious about releasing content to external scrutiny, but several institutions expected an increase in quality through open release. There were also tensions around balancing pedagogic quality with technical presentational quality (such as recordings, spelling, etc.). Several projects felt that existing quality processes were sufficient, though some institutions did adapt their existing processes. Trust was raised as an important issue in relying on the professionalism of academics.
What quality processes are appropriate for different communities?
OCEP (University of Coventry)
- In the end you have to rely on the professionalism of colleagues; mutual trust is a delicate commodity and it will not be developed through an emphasis on standards, unnecessary quality processes etc.
- An important part of any quality process is a take-down policy.
- we should not invent a new quality assurance process for OERs per se (this is not the same as checking them for IPR infringements etc).
- We would hope that originators would seek the advice and help of colleagues and students as part of the progressive release process. What is clear is that, in the present climate especially, there is no appetite for adding new processes to what is already perceived as an overburdened system.
OpenExeter (University of Exeter)
- balance between marketing agenda and educational quality raised as an issue. Quality not quantity to reflect the best teaching
- Open Exeter Project Final evaluation report
OpenSTAFFS (Staffordshire University)
- Utilising existing quality policies and guidelines
- ‘Ultimately we have come to the conclusion that provided copyright issues are properly addressed in terms of policy and procedure the ultimate decisions relating to quality must be made and owned by the Faculty that is depositing material. We feel it both inappropriate (and almost certainly unsustainable) for a central unit to make such decisions.’
- quality issues emerged (some items issued as examples within institution only) – promoting very useful discussions around quality
- Identified a need for an institutional standard
- University quality guidelines and checklists for preparing materials for Blackboard
OTTER (University of Leicester)
- CORRE process includes: internal validation by OTTER team (proof-reading, testing links etc.), validation by contributing authors, reality check by students and feedback data gathered from users who fill in questionnaires.
- Hosting the OERs on the institution’s own Plone site and only placing links in the JorumOpen repository enables us to make revisions to OERs as necessary, thereby maintaining control over quality.
- Due to time constraints and work pressures, a few partners (departments) chose to allow OTTER to release their materials without carrying out the final validation.
- Quality criteria for OERs
- Quality matters in OERs
Unicycle (Leeds Metropolitan University)
- original plan to have central quality team – timetabling difficulties resulted in change to localised model with guidance and support available centrally
- Local quality control (managed by area/faculty submitting).
- Internal review system by peers.
- Quality is managed at a local level with the Unicycle model. Our experience identified that Faculties were best placed to judge the quality of their own learning materials
- sample audits from each faculty area
- Guidelines for evaluating value of materials for use in the OER Project