my year as a SCORE Fellow

As part of my SCORE Fellowship project I am to display a poster. Here’s one I prepared earlier.

My project explored the relationship between OER and the research-teaching nexus by looking closely at how academic staff at research universities are supported in their ‘academic practice’ looking at the synergies between OER and Open Access Publishing and Open Source Software where OER provides another dissemination mechanism for research, impact and public engagement.

 This project gave me time to promote and engage with ‘joined up thinking’ about OER across the board beyond that which I might have normally managed to do.  In a rapidly changing landscape filled with many OER projects the aims of this SCORE project shifted slightly and in some places began to run in parallel with initiatives shaping the sector.  It emerged that there were many other projects looking at links with the HEA PSF and so, after an initial mapping I did not pursue that line of research much further. It became clear that impact at institutional level could be better achieved by sharing of experience and lessons learned and embedding OER skills in learning technology support. My work with Leeds University was joined by opportunities to work more closely with nearby neighbours Oxford Brookes University and Harper Adams College promoting institution-wide uptake of OER and to present at Leicester and Kingston universities as well as SCORE events.   I think there may have been some initial suspicion from other institutions as to what Oxford ‘was getting out of’ the sharing we were doing in terms of institutional development and this led me to reflect on Oxford’s  role in the HE community.

There also emerged an  increased focus on ‘sustainability’ and with that in mind I investigated  the aspects by which something could be considered to be sustainable, drawing upon literature from  sustainable development and developing a ‘four Es’ framework of economic, environmental, equitable and emotional factors against which to evaluate. I chose to focus particularly on the emotional aspects of academic ‘buy-in’ in relation to academic ethos at University of Oxford and I continued to promote the open source learning tools which I consider to be OER (if not content).The main areas of work of the project are listed in the poster shown above:  Revisiting business models; meeting expectations;  protecting the brand; joined up thinking; sharing experiences with other institutions; models of re-use; sustainable storage, institutional support; discovering collections; promoting creative commons; open content literacy, adding value, reward and recognition, institutional support, exploring outreach and impact, case studies and student engagement. The networking opportunities offered by the fellowship have been very useful. I have enjoyed meeting with other managers, such as those from Nottingham to discuss institutional approaches.I have supported successful SCORE Fellowship applications from colleagues at Leeds and Oxford .

 My outputs have been interim reports, staff development materials, conference presentations, and regular bog postings. During the course of my fellowship the Oxford OER collections have continued to grow.  Our staff development activities have continued at Oxford with more sessions on skills for podcasting, understanding copyright and using podcasts for teaching in the VLE.  We are also producing case studies to support OER release which will be shared widely.  

As a professional learning technologist I have always seen OER projects as learning technology initiatives. The skills are the same and the drivers very similar. The key to learning technology success has always been in matching the technology to the task and the activity to the institution.  At University of Oxford in linking our learning technology (podcasting) to activity widespread in the institution (inspirational lecturing and dissemination of research) we found a rich stream of content. By linking our OER projects to that same activity we ensured that creating Creative Commons licensed materials is an easily achievable academic practice. By focusing on born digital materials we avoided, for the most part, the challenges that third party materials caused in other institutions.  By aligning our support to ideals of outreach, public understanding, impact and giving we attracted colleagues whose own academic ethos and identity fit with the values of OER. By training students and staff in the skills they use for OER production we develop capacity for all our learning technology initiatives and each of those initiatives, in turn, produces more OER. By sharing our experiences with similar institutions we hope that the volume of materials appropriate for reuse in our teaching will increase.  There are many institutions in the sector whose content and teaching is research led. I hope lessons learned at Oxford can be of use more widely.

We continue to develop ideas about measuring impact and sustainability. Watch this space.

Blog posts relevant to this project include: ‘rooftops’, Christ Kindle?announcing our engagement’ , ‘Opening doors’circle your wagons’ ‘What’s the Score? What’s mine is yours , ‘copyright and elearning’, ‘Unlocking the Gates, ‘open politics’what’s wrong with open?, ‘Rhetoric or reality’, Looking for OER- Your journey’s end’, Looking for OER- dig deep, Does OER shape pedagogy? ‘Aim for success not perfection’’For sustainability build on solid ground’, ‘Don’t call it OER, call it Creative Commons’ ‘Don’t underestimate the power of PowerPoint’going global’, Universities with walls and hedges, Sustainable resources’ ‘four Es of sustainability’, ‘what’s the use of books without pictures or conversations?’peaks spikes and pads’just what I always wanted’ ‘student podcasting, ‘academic podcasting’, ‘transformation, it’s all about the sharing’consider authority’

(My SCORE project is not to be confused with the What’s the Score? project at the Bodleian. Which is a project to crowdsource  descriptions for 64 boxes of piano music, mostly sheet music from the period 1860-1880. I love the fact that librarians have ‘boxes’ as an understood measure of quantity.)

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