Students as open content producers

One of the themes we chose to embrace as part of our Great Writers Inspire project was the concept of students as producers of OER. We experienced success with this during the Triton project as part of OER phase 2, when we had a small number of Student Ambassadors supporting content acquisition for the Politics in Spires blog. In fact, the initiative worked so well that students continue to play a significant role now that the Department of Politics and International Relations run the blog.

So a month ago we started the search for some graduate student helpers for Great Writers Inspire. We were amazed at the initial response: well-considered applications quickly filled my in box, all full of enthusiasm to get involved. We short-listed the strongest candidates (no easy task) and met with them to discuss the project and the duties they would be expected to undertake. Principally, their role would be to support our academic content producers to develop the collections of resources to be released by the project, including:

  • Preparing some introductory essays (in the form of a blog posts) which establish context and set the scene for the materials presented within a collection.
  • Writing additional contextual pieces for the blog which may be used to enhance content items.
  • Assisting in the evaluation of relevant epubs/ebooks for use on the site.
  • Source images under a suitable licence for use on the site.
  • Support the project’s engagement with schools.
  • Support the project’s social media campaign.
  • Support audio and video production.

As part of the selection process we invited interested candidates to write a blog post on their chosen great writer and this was extremely effective in capturing some excellent student-generated content for the site. Some of the blog posts are beginning to appear on the project’s WordPress blog, see Sylvia Plath, Anne Brontë, Frances Burney and James Joyce and more will be appearing soon. We also took the opportunity to raise awareness of OER at the meetings with the candidates, thereby increasing open content literacy amongst the student community at Oxford. Of course the successful candidates will become experts in such matters and they have already received their first briefing from the project team. We are delighted to welcome Charlotte Barrett, Cleo Hanaway, Alex Pryce, Colleen Curran, Kate O’Connor and Erin Johnson to be part of the Great Writers Inspire project.

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