The Impact of Developing OERs on Novice OER Developers
Jane Hughes & Colleen McKenna, HEDERA, UK
Conference Theme: Impact
Summary: Academics’ transformative experience as new OER developers was explored. Findings suggest the OER creator role is central
Abstract: We will discuss research into the impact that creating OERs has had on academics who were developing open resources for the first time. In particular, we will address themes including educational values, audience, authorship and identity as well as considering the effect of working in new institutional collaborations. Funded by the UKOER programme, a group of academics worked with technical and rights experts to create around 300 study hours of open educational resources (CPD4HE, http://www.ucl.ac.uk/calt/cpd4he/). The materials originated in a selection of masters level courses. None of the academics had previously had any active involvement with the OER/Open Courseware movement. The working process devised by the project team gave individual teachers responsibility for developing OERs on one or more of the topics that they taught. After consultation with the project’s rights and licensing adviser, the teacher-developers made their own decisions about whether to include third party material and, if necessary, negotiated permission to use it. They also worked within guidelines on technical standards, with backup from the project technical specialist. In talking informally about their OER development work, the questions that engaged the teachers most strongly were about audience - who would use the materials and how they would use them; about pedagogy – how to provide an active and interactive learning experience for an unknown audience in an unknown context; and about the Creative Commons licensing of their own resources – particularly whether to include the non-commercial (NC) restriction. The project provided guidance for potential users of the resources in the form of audio-recorded interviews with the teacher-developers (see http://www.ucl.ac.uk/calt/cpd4he/resources/). Informal response from the teachers suggested that they had found the interview process rewarding. When asked what they had gained from the project as a whole, the responses justified a claim in the project report that “the most visible impact is on the teachers involved in the project”. We also believed collaboration between academics and support staff could have a lasting impact. We followed this up, after the project end, by interviewing all members of the project team, not only the teachers but also those supporting them in library and technical services. Analysis of the interview material has enabled us to make claims about the heightened awareness of issues surrounding Open Education that OER developers had attained. We would suggest that if institutions want to embed OER approaches and practices they need to be alert to the experiences of teaching staff as they engage with this broad area, particularly in relation to the shift in ownership of IPR, and to provide opportunities and support for them to share their materials more widely. Specifically, in this talk we will describe the context for the project and this study in relation to the conference themes of impact and innovation, then present some observations on ways in which institutions can more fully support the processes and context for OER development.