OERs in HE in FE: Creativity for Edupunks?
Phil Johnson & Craig Hammond, University Centre at Blackburn College, UK
Conference Theme: Impact
Summary: Creativity for Edupunks seeks to encourage engagement with OERs and is now a staff development programme for HE in FE tutors.
Abstract: Creativity for Edupunks (C4E) is an OER that was created as a result of the authors’ involvement in C-SAP’s Open Educational Resources Phase II project: Cascading Social Science Open Educational Resources. That project investigated the dissemination of OERs from a critical social sciences perspective and involved four UK institutions. C4E was subsequently put forward as an appropriate resource for introducing OERs to lecturers working at HE in FE institutions. In September 2011 the resource was awarded staff development status at the University Centre at Blackburn College and can now be a course of study equating to thirty-three hours. This classification means that participants can claim this time as remission against their annual teaching hours and twenty-one members of staff have volunteered to do this. This figure represents almost a fifth of full-time lecturers and the resource has also been frequently referred to in internal annual programme reports and validation documents. Staff development at HE in FE institutions has long been identified as a concern (e.g. HEFCE’s “Supporting higher education in further education colleges” from 2001) and C4E therefore attempts to redress this deficiency by introducing a more appropriate form of development. The resource has eight separate ‘OER topics’ that seek to enhance OER literacy amongst HE in FE staff and to encourage their involvement in the cycles of use and re-use. The participants who have been given teaching remission are obliged to become OER producers as by the end of the academic year they must produce their own OER and deposit it into jorum. The resource uses reflexive methods to pursue these goals and equally prioritises the questions of ‘why-open’ as well as ‘how-to’. The programme aims to recognise the challenges brought by open education but also to encourage reflection on its subsequent possibilities. The open movement has enabled UCBC staff to repurpose the edupunk term from its original anti-consumerist roots bemoaning the actions of corporate e-learning giants into a more appropriate proposition for HE in FE, namely ‘anarchogogy’. It is contended that this pedagogical approach is suitable for teaching and learning in the open age and its call ‘to get out and do it’ has the potential to create a sense of identity for a frequently misunderstood branch of higher education.