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HEA Workshop and Seminar Series 2012-13

Embedding Open Educational Resources institutionally

University of Leeds

Date: Thursday 24th January 2013

Time: 10:00 – 15:30

Venue: University of Leeds

oer 2

First there was a welcome and introduction from The Higher Education Academy and Professor Vivien Jones, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Student Education, University of Leeds

The first presentation was on ‘Institutional OER project: experiences & outcomes’ by Dr N Morris, Dr D I Lewis,  [University of Leeds]


They started with a definition of OER’s, ‘Digitised teaching and learning and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released by the copyright owner under and intellectual property licence (eg Creative Commons) that permits their use or re-puposing (re-use, revision, remixing, redistribution) by others’. Thus not to be confused with open accessed resources.

Next followed a brief outline of the Project’s aims

  • Raise institutional awareness of the potential and usefulness of open educational resources through a series of workshops for academics and teaching support staff from a diverse range of disciplines;
  • Work with individual academics in a range of disciplines to locate, evaluate and embed appropriate open educational resources in their teaching practice;
  • Produce a series of written and audio-visual case studies of practitioners’ experiences of using open educational resources for the first time;
  • Establish an institutional OER steering group to develop an institutional strategy for the use of Open Educational Resources.

The Workshops took a similar format; give e.g.s of subject specific OER’s (15 mins). Then got the participants to find OER in their subjects. Then general discussion on challenges and benefits of OER’s. The feedback was very good although attendance at the workshops was quite low. They also produced Case Studies pamphlet highlighting some good practice. Also presented at student education conference.

The Workshops highlighted a great need for staff guidance and support. Some themes emerged: Web portals for resources, Staff like advice on producing OER’s, Staff would like a publishing guide, Staff wanted recognition and to be rewarded and finally, staff would like clear advice on copyright.

Finally a Steering group was set up

  1. Included reps from all sectors of the conference
  2. Consulted with academic community
  3. Draft policy circulated widely
  4. Produced set of recommendations to accompany policy
  5. Final policy agreed by senior management and Taught Student Education Board https://elgg.leeds.ac.uk/phsnpm/files/-1/4461/University+of+Leeds+OER+guidance+%28November+2012%29.pdf
  6. disseminated to Faculties for implementation http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/projects/detail/oer/OER_COM2_Leeds

There are further events planned:

  1. Spotlightlight on OER’s on “for staff” (Intranet) showcasing videos
  2. Short staff/student workshops on OER
  3. Faculty specific support as required,from learning technology

Before lunch we then had a discussion session on ‘The challenges of embedding OERs institutionally’ led Rebecca Dearden, (University of Leeds)

In the afternoon we had Keynote lecture by Professor Wyn Morgan, (University of Nottingham) on ‘Embedding OERs at the University of Nottingham’ He started by explaining ‘What is Open Nottingham?’ and the two main drivers for using OER’s at Nottingham University;1. Internationalisation 40,000 students, 6,000 international students 6 Campuses 2. Having a well developed Learning Technology Support that supports Open Learning)

It has been a relatively new initiative. U-Now launched in 2007. Member of OCWC in 2008. BerLin Project 2009/10. Open Nottingham started in 2010.

He then outlined some of the key reasons ‘Why are we Open’ at Nottingham. Firstly for reasons of Social Responsibility – providing OER’s to other institutions (this is now in the Uni Strategic plan). Second it is an example Excellence in education at Nottingham, and thirdly for  promotion opportunities, where prospective students can get a ‘taste’ of the courses at Nottingham University.

It is also very clear that Open Nottingham has some important support from Senior management. But it  is always a ‘Opt in’ for individuals and faculties – staff are not required to make their resources ‘open’. There have also been dedicated tools developed by the learning support team e.g. Xerte – Xpert – YouTube channel – Xpert 2

The impact on the University has already been significant. 70% of schools engaged – Mature publication model – 3600 credits by 2015 For Example, School of Politics and international Relations has; School wide engagement, embraced new technology, Transformational change. Over 600 credits committed (produced ‘Politics in 60 seconds’ explaining their research in 60 second videos ….available on YouTube)

Also at an individual Level, Dr Richard Field produced a online statistical package. Produced a Handout for SPSS. He found loads on Open resources, Changed the instructions, changed some of the instructions, Changed font – Saved time only took 300 mins to produce handouts.

Furthermore ‘Encouraging Re-Use of OER’s’,  is now Optional module on PGCert for teaching staff .

Impact on students is also an important factor. OER supporting learners. Input all areas: use systems and resources.Students union support. Students given links to U-Now to access materials (www.unow.nottingham.ac.uk) As one student said, “interested in using U-Now resources….because it was like a safe ‘sandbox’….” Furthermore, UNow provided embedded OER’s into “student Essentials” (resources study kits)

From a marketing perspective the links on Nottingham’s online prospectus to UNow (links to podcasts, videos etc) give a flavour of the university

However, there are associated barriers to staff engagement with OER’s (Based on staff survey):

  1. Time constraints 65%
  2. Fear of copyright constraint %85
  3. ownership and legal constraints 43%

In terms of ‘Next Steps’ the university aims to increase focus on helping staff to re-use content, expand its publication model, investigate the potential for open courses (MOCCS) and look to embed OER in all schools across the university

Thus in conclusion not everyone at Nottingham is fully engaged with OER’s,  however, “we have tried to promote OER, make them as simple as possible and make and reuse OERs to make student learning as interesting as possible”

Case study from experienced OER practitioner [Mr Antonio Martínez-Arboleda, University of Leeds]

case studies photo

Antonio gave a presentation on Humbox and how he used it:

http://www.humbox.ac.uk which is Repository for Arts and Humanities resources Over 4000 resources.

and  SCORE Support Centre for Open Resources in Education www.open.ac.uk/score

Jorum www.jorum.ac.uk – Embedding OER oral histories of Spanish political refugees



Finally the day was concluded with a discussion session – Future individual plans for creation / use of OER [Dr D I Lewis, University of Leeds]