Learning and Teaching Matters

Open Educational Resources

Posted on: 23 March, 2009

This is a report on the first session of Learning and Teaching Week 2009, organised by Hugh Davis (University Director of Education for E-Learning) – 11.00-12.30 Monday 23 March in B27/3007. It focused on the issues raised by the current movement towards open (freely shared) educational resources, especially in relation to EdShare, the University’s new learning resource repository.Su White (ECS) started the session by quickly listing typical reasons why people don’t deposit their learning resource in a repository – to do with ownership, quality, copyright, effort, reward etc. The rest of the session explored the issues raised by these objections from several angles.

Les Carr (ECS) took the moral high ground (quite literally, in a video recorded on the Acropolis in Athens) and stressed the necessity for academics to share and disseminate knowledge.

Next up was Jessie Hey (EdShare project) who outlined the history of educational repositories and showed a map of the 1195 institutional repositories now online. Some of these (such as Open CourseWare from MIT) are global in scale and showcase the instition’s courses, while most (such as EdShare) are local collections for local use.

David Read (Chemistry) talked about his experience as a school science teacher, where the national curriculum and sheer number of teachers make sharing extremely desirable. It makes no sense whatever for 20,000 science teachers to all create their own resources – what a waste of effort and ill-afforded time! He talked about the ‘feel good factor’ of knowing the resources you have shared have been downloaded hundreds of times, and the value of seeing how other people approach the teaching of a specific topic even if you don’t copy it exactly i.e.sharing good practice as well as sharing learning resources.

Vicky Wright (Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies HEA subject centre) has used projects to develop high quality resources and deposition in a repository is a condition of funding. This funding enables the resources to have the ‘finish and polish’ that tutors look for – but may not be able to replicate in their own unfunded resources. She asked the key questions “What are the incentives to share resources? What are the pushes?”

Tom Randall (Psychology) gave an academic’s perspective; the perceived benefit of downloads acting as ‘personal publicity’ and adding to your reputation; the way that sharing increases the sensitivity of copyright issues; the extra time required to deposit resources;  and the importance of personal contact in knowing who is downloading and using your resources.

Debra Morris (Library and EdShare project) taked about a repository as an extension of the Library, enabling access to all authorised users. The role of librarians in curriculum development and review allows them to see the duplication of effort across courses and programmes, especially with ‘generic’ skills materials. The Library has always paid close attention to copyright and has high expectations of resources produced for sharing.

Finally Hugh Davis (ECS and University Director of Education for E-Learning) highlighted the difference between ‘open educational resources’ which are often ALL the materials associated with a course and ‘sharing resources’ which are smaller scale and partial. The latter are easier to find and re-use in a ‘cut and paste’ approach to the development of learning materials. He also raised the issue of ‘student entitlement’ to lecture notes in advance of the lecture – or even entitlemment NOT to attend the lecture if they choose.

The session finished with a 30 minute discussion on the issues raised, mostly around the potential benefits of sharing and the thorny copyright challenges that need to be negotiated.

Personal comment – Adam Warren: as more resources are added to EdShare, quality becomes a key issue – how can we find the good stuff? This is where a rating system, like that used by Amazon comes in – or a sophisticated ranking algorith like Google’s. The Library may even have a role in identifying and showcasing really useful generic resources.

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2 Responses to "Open Educational Resources"

http://www.edshare.soton.ac.uk/1950/

Here is my EdShare link to my chandler collection of notes from myssite and has my own creative commons licenced notes from today’s presentation.

direct link just in case
https://hub.chandlerproject.org/pim/collection/e97312fc-1292-11de-dc40-0017f20277e2?ticket=25i2plbf40

I’ve just come across an excellent paper about open educational resources, written for a general academic audience, which talks about the benefits of open licensing and sharing and delves into issues around copyright and IPR:

Permission Granted: open licensing for educational resources
Ahrash N. Bissell 1/2/09
http://pdfserve.informaworld.com/172885_751318978_909092757.pdf

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