Learning the Lessons of Openness
Patrick McAndrew, Rob Farrow, Gary Elliott-Cirigottis & Patrina Law, The Open University, UK
Conference Theme: Impact
Summary: What is needed to adopt Open Educational Practices and use OER? Lessons from OER lead to key factors and services
Abstract: The OER movement is now building up a record of experience and achievements since it was formed in the last 10 years as an identifiable approach to sharing online learning materials. In the initial phase much of the activity was driven by ideals and interest in finding new ways to release content, with less direct research and reflection on the process. In this presentation we will consider the impact that OER has and the types of evidence that are being generated across initiatives, organisations and individuals. Drawing on the work of OLnet (http://olnet.org) in bringing together people through fellowships and in research projects we will consider both the messages that are emerging. The findings highlight the potential for impact of OER on policy and on practice in education but also that there are weaknesses in the evidence base. However as decisions are made to adopt OER practical guidance is needed and key factors can be identified with reasonable confidence. The way forward is therefore to accept some of these partial pieces of evidence while making their basis clear and understanding the contexts in which they can apply. We can then help new projects and initiatives to make good choices as they work with Open Educational Practices. The presentation will:
Review the approach adopted by OLnet to combine research with fellowships and ways to present results. Look at the particular lessons that came out from studying projects and organisations that received funding from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Identify some of the remaining research areas and how a distributed and collective approach can help address them. Consider how those challenges can be met and the services needed for adoption of open education approaches and practices The way in which the experiences from the research in OLnet have helped put OER into practice in another project, Bridge to Success, will be reviewed. This has led to identifying the range of services that are needed in adopting a more open approach. Those services will be outlined to draw out the support that can be found and examples of possible solutions.