Subject Strand synthesis – Helen Beetham
Far from benefitting from institutional guidance and support, many projects found themselves the institutional experts on OER release. Support from national services was therefore very much appreciated, particularly JISC legal, though later in the programme projects also mentioned having contact with the SCORE project as well. Several projects commented that one-to-one support from a legal expert was essential, as guidance materials could not cover all the possible scenarios or the nuances of practice in different institutions and subject areas.
In an ideal world, support would be integrated into the lifecycle of curriculum and content development, and guidance would be integrated into staff induction and CPD. This would mean support of different kinds (IPR, licensing, technical repurposing, content management, metadata tagging etc) being offered to subject experts as and when they needed it. There is also an argument for specialisation as the technical, legal and pedagogical issues can differ markedly across subject areas. For example, in subjects allied to medicine there are issues of patient confidentiality and safety. In public interest areas there are concerns about how individual may act on information contained in an OER. Publishers’ attitudes to copyright differ across science, humanities and social science subjects. Different subjects demand different types of content file which entail their own technical challenges. And different pedagogies also require different approaches to content release and description, as the C-SAP project has argued.
All projects produced guidance of various kinds for their partners, and most also produced guidance materials for their wider communities. The JISC OER infokit brings together these subject-specific guidance materials within a framework of generic guidance on OERs.
What guidance and support needs to be offered (a) nationally (b) at institutional or even departmental level?
- support needs to be offered both by subject-specific centre/project team and by local institution, e.g. by legal and IT teams, drawing offices etc.
- Support on legal and technical matters needs to be integrated to allow for follow-through on specific resources.
Quotes: ”’We could not have done the work without the help of the drawing office in the department who redrafted many maps/diagrams for the project’ ‘… we were supported by a member of the Research and Innovation Services in trying to resolve issues with [a publisher].’ ‘Colleagues at the University have readily put forward their support without exception. This includes IT and multimedia expertise and institutional IPR advice.”’
Which support mechanisms are appropriate for different stakeholders?
Projects have produced a wide range of support and guidance materials. At present there is only limited data about uptake and response from the wider community. However, because of the consortium approach, most guidance materials were produced collaboratively with, or at least with iterative feedback from, project partners as primary users. They have therefore been tested under pressure, and where they did not meet the needs of partners they were swiftly adapted.
Humbox interim findings: at depositor level, guidance has been provided through the provision of partner workshops that are practical in nature, online technical guidance for HumBox, advice on quality assurance through the peer review (commenting) process. In the area of copyright and IPR we are providing internal support but are also working across projects and institutions as we feel that if the risks of OER are to be effectively managed in the future, responsibility for this cannot rest solely on the shoulders of the academics depositing in the repository.
OERP was in practice the first project to produce guidance and it has already received over 400 views on JorumOpen
ADM-OER finding: Staff need considerable support to ready resources for digitisation and open release. sharing of existing guidance materials across partners has allowed good examples to emerge
CORE-materials: finding that technical skills and support that are critical for OER design and development, as well as for OER content management
Biosciences finding: resource providers do not have to be learning technologists and it should not be assumed that they have significant experience with using all types of software and media, nor have time or are willing to engage with them. This project was very clear in its recommendations that that learning technologists are key to supporting individual academic providers of OERs and have so far been under-represented in the OER movement.
Project outcomes and evidence
Feedback on effectiveness of HumBox guidance to community members
Feedback on effectiveness of ICS support desk offering technical and pedagogic advice
Analysis of support provided by OERP including support documentation
CORE-Materials: feedback and reflections on user guidelines for (i) populating / using the resource collections, (ii) building personal learning environments from RSS feeds, and (iii) the portability of interactive content.
CORE- materials: any feedback/evidence of uptake of template letters etc.
S4S track processes of repurposing/uploading and downloading/reusing a resource, and document any support required
ADM-OER guidance document on copyright for depositors, and technology guidance: any feedback on their uptake and value to users
OER Sim Legal: guidelines and advice on the design and use of simulations and serious games, and assessment of students using these tools. Feedback on these guidelines to assess value and uptake.
OER CSAP: supportive toolkit; value assessed through content review; exploratory feedback
MEDEV OER: piloting of toolkits at 17 partner institutions; evidence of ten further institutions seeking use.
Bioscience: short guides on: IPR Clearance; Preparing Packaging and Uploading; Evaluation and Quality Assurance; Release, Dissemination and Sustainability.
STEM OER Guidance Wiki This wiki constitutes a collection of guidance documentation on all aspects of Open Educational Resources (OER), produced by the STEM project teams from a number of Higher Education Academy/JISC OER pilot projects, and is based on the teams’ combined experiences working with practising academics to explore the issues surrounding OER production and release. The resource has been designed as a starting point for those interested in OER, and contains a general overview, information on intellectual property rights, packaging and uploading resources, evaluating suitability of resources and ensuring their promotion and sustainability.