Different cultures of openness

The ability to influence and instigate change is very different at different institutions; there is not ‘one solution fits all’ which can be applied to everyone and not all institutions can respond with the same agility. Each institution has its own policies, politics, and embedded processes for change which cannot easily be influenced by the lead institution in a programme of support such as Cascade. However, feedback indicates that the Ripple workshop approach is providing an effective programme of support for our two very different partner institutions. Part of this success is our partners’ ability to invite a range of staff to each workshop, often different people at each one. Whilst this could appear to lack continuity it ensures that a wide variety of staff with different roles and influence within their own institution receive some information about OER, thereby increasing their OER literacy and supporting the institution-wide awareness-raising of the programme.

Both partners have said that Ripple is “making a difference”; it has changed the way that individuals are approaching their work when they return to their institution. Whilst this may be felt in different degrees at the two institutions, there is still an impact. The change process may be in its infancy but Ripple is helping to bring people together to discuss the issues.

Prompted by Helen Beetham of the Evaluation and Synthesis Team, I have re-read her notes from discussions at the recent JISC OER Programme interim meeting. Helen refers to “the different cultures of openness at different institutions” and that “this is obviously not as simple as a single dimension from closed to open: rather there are many different ways in which institutions can support open practices and start to move towards more open policies with respect to educational resources”. Helen’s blog goes on to share some further reflections and is well worth a read http://oersynthesis.jiscinvolve.org/wp/2011/01/25/reflections/.

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