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Embed, don't Bolt-on: promoting OER use in UK universities

Embed, don't Bolt-on: promoting OER use in UK universities (full recording of panel session)

Summary: Academic staff needs support in using OER. Five panelists share their institutional approaches.


Joanna Wild, University of Oxford, UK
Terese Bird University of Leicester UK
Melissa Highton University of Oxford UK
Andy Lane, The Open University, UK
Chris Follows, University of Arts London, UK
Richard Windle, University of Nottingham, UK
Moderator: Joanna Wild, University of Oxford, UK

UK Conference Theme: Innovation

See full video here -

Abstract: Findings from the recently published report on the JISC-commissioned OER impact study highlighted the need to support academic staff in use and reuse of openly licensed resources (Masterman&Wild, 2011). One of the recommendations for improving services to staff and students encourages institutions to “capitalise on existing professional development activities in order to foster a voluntary culture of sharing and reuse.” Numerous practices have emerged in this area, all sharing the same aim – to increase engagement with and use of OER within institutions – but differing in the approach to achieve this goal. These practices, however, are still isolated cases rather than mainstream practice in UK HE institutions. This panel brings together SCORE fellows coming from five UK Higher Education Institutions that took different approaches to address the challenge of promoting academics’ engagement with sharing and use of OER. The panel will contribute towards building an understanding of:

Which main approaches do institutions take to promote the use of OER? What motivates their choices? What are the main challenges to overcome? What accounts for a successful practice to promote engagement with OER in different institutional contexts? The statements of the panel experts will be structured around the following questions:

How is your institution trying to promote OER use amongst your academics? What was the motivation behind the practice? What is the practice trying to achieve? Which of the known barriers for use of OER is the practice trying to remove? How is the practice placed within the overall institutional teaching & learning strategy? What are the challenges in implementing this practice? What does your institution want to do next? The panel presentation and ensuing discussion will be of value to anyone still struggling to decide how best to engage own academic staff/faculty with ideas and practices surrounding OER. Panelist Topics:

  • Terese Bird - ‘Designs for openness’ approach: In course design Carpe Diem workshops, staff are encouraged to ‘design for openness’ – to use and create OER as they design a course – helping to spread the idea of OER throughout that department, among students, and further afield.
  • Melissa Highton - ‘Service’ approach: Lowering barriers to production of OER by providing a single, easy route to collection, sign-off, and publication, which makes it easy for academic colleagues to get involved. Integrating tools with existing well-used systems such as the VLE to encourage re-use on campus.
  • Andy Lane - ‘Embedded systems’ approach: the use of existing technical, media and library staff employed to support education resource development for students as a central service to reach and inform course design teams on the publication and reuse of OER
  • Chris Follows - ‘Subject-community’ approach: Using Drupal to create bespoke subject-specific frameworks and sustainable communities to support OER digital literacies
  • Richard Windle - ‘Supported community' approach: bringing subject-specific workshops to the university schools and engaging wider stakeholder groups in OER creation and use, providing tools for helping in creation, finding, assessment, and collation of OER.
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