By Adrian Stagg and Emma Power, USQ
In this final post, Emma and I will address some of the questions from the Course, and provide some newly emerged resources should you want to explore OER further.
OER: Your Next Steps
Firstly, we want to thank everyone who dropped by the Coffee Course and especially for those who provided such a rich discussion over the week. The value of these sessions is that we have an opportunity to learn from the participants too. The main areas that opened up new perspectives for us included:
- Some disciplines apply copyright protection to teaching methods which can make offering OER in those disciplines challenging; it requires an in-depth knowledge of the discipline that only comes from practitioners.
- Participants advised piloting any explanatory material (especially videos) with a wider audience before launch – make sure that it doesn’t look like a cheap ad, or propaganda, and make sure that if you’re stating that OER are inclusive then your representation of practitioners and students should reflect this.
- You all positively reinforced the idea of ‘context’ in openness. Adrian is using a version of the Ecology of Human Development (Bronfenbrenner, 1979) as a way of exploring the complexities of practice, and you can check out a recent webinar for the Global Open Graduate Network that acknowledges context here.
- The tension between publishing needs for academic recognition and publishing for open access is not as great as we thought (though still definitely present).
- You all reinforced that quality is a topic for some very serious discussion in OER.
There were over one hundred and seventy comments across the five days, so hopefully we’ve tried to capture the main points of our own learning. There were also some outstanding questions and requests for resources, so let’s move on to addressing those.
Your questions (and some resources)
We’re very keen to see this course turn into action, and as such there are a few resources and considerations that arose both through the discussion, and also at coffee.
- Late last year, the OLT-funded Open Education Licencing (OEL) Toolkit was launched as a joint project from Swinburne University and University of Tasmania. It is a great tool for deciding on licencing options and offers tailored guidance (it links in to all Australian universities and their respective IP Policies. I’d highly recommend that you take a look (and share it with a colleague). http://www.oel.edu.au/
- You’ll recall that we explored Beall’s List during the course. The Australasian Open Access Strategy Group (AOSG) ran a webinar for Open Access Week entitled ‘Not the Beall and end-all: the death of the black list’; places for the webinar filled very swiftly. However, AOSG have posted the recording here: https://aoasg.org.au/webinar-series-2017/
At the coffee meet-up there were questions about OER quality systems. I Tweeted here:
— Katie Freund (@katiedigc) March 31, 2017
— Adrian Stagg (@OpenKuroko) March 31, 2017
— Adrian Stagg (@OpenKuroko) March 31, 2017
This is an issue that is receiving more attention, especially as publishers challenge the open movement to ‘demonstrate quality’. It’s a contentious issue that has unfortunately placed commercial resources at odds with open resources – I’d prefer a conversation about how we can meaningfully use both appropriately for the benefit of learners, though.
The road goes ever on and on… (with apologies to J.R.R. Tolkien)
Lastly, there is the question of a longer-term conversation. You can certainly contact Emma and I via Twitter (@emmmpower and @OpenKuroko respectively), but in the interests of community, you might consider adding #openinform to any Tweet that continues this discussion.
Open Inform was an initiative by USQ a couple of years ago to facilitate some open planning and draw in practitioners from around the world. It hasn’t been particularly active since then, so I’ll revise and repurpose the site for this need (which is definitely aligned with the original). To become part of the community, drop by http://open-inform.info/join-the-conversation/ and register. You’ll see posts on here that you can comment on, and if you’d like to pose questions, please do so. If you ever want to write a post, reach out – I’d love to include more people and revitalise (not one of the 5R’s, incidentally) the site.
If you are planning any research, activities, projects, or anything to do with openness and want to discuss it, feel free to contact Emma and I. This group might be a perfect place to start some cross-institutional collaboration.
Thanks for an excellent week, and we both look forward to hearing about your open projects in the future.
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