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Emerging themes: Understanding of OERs

Page history last edited by Anna Gruszczynska 9 years, 3 months ago

Below you will find excerpts from conversations during project meetings and responses to reflexive tasks which touch upon partners' understanding of OERs.


1. An excerpt from Phil's response to reflexive task 2 ("Exploring OERs"), where he discusses ways in which his understanding of OERs evolved throughout the project


My understanding of OERs has certainly changed from the pre-meeting task as at that point I believed they were reasonably formal in nature and I was unaware of the range of resources that were available. I previously believed they were mainly lecture notes, seminar work and assessment exercises and did not realise how diverse and creative they could be. I was also unaware of the depth of some of the resources and did not know that complete books and full modules could be so accessible.


The frequent use of video, audio, images and games in addition to textual resources has also been a surprise. This has influenced my understanding of openness as I now appreciate its application to teaching methods as well as content. The powerful label ‘edupunk’ illustrates the extent of this openness as OERs can address established educational barriers and put the student at the centre of their learning experience. The students’ promotion to creators of educational resources potentially creates a level of engagement that cannot be reached via their traditional role as resource-recipient.


My understanding of openness has also changed in the sense that I did not realise the importance they gave to public involvement in their use. I was unaware of the extent of the concept of ‘Teaching in Public’ and its promotion of teaching as a public good. I have followed this principle before and believe that the localization of these OERs will assist the development of this approach. It surely is important to increase awareness of the benefits of higher education at anytime, but its relevancy must be increased when the system is under such intense political and financial pressures. 

In summary I now see OERs as representing a vast amount of accessible resources that can be used without any copyright concerns from both lecturers and students. In addition to increasing opportunities, their openness for being remixed and localized creates a potentially dynamic process to the development of knowledge.


2. An excerpt from the discussions at the 20 October 2010 partner meeting, which focuses on the concept of "repurposing"


Through the day, we kept returning to the concept of “repurposing” OERs – that is, an open-ended process of transforming a teaching resource so that it can be shared with others through an online repository and then ideally enhanced by feedback from people using the resource. Phil came up with a very useful suggestion that maybe we could start viewing OERs more as a “sharing” rather than as a “taking” process. Another way of understanding the concept of repurposing is to think in terms of a shift from “owned” to “borrowed” material, and we discussed the ways in which most teaching is actually borrowed as it builds on ideas from mentors, students etc.


The concept of “repurposing” is related to repositories – we tried to come up with appropriate explanations for the role of JorumOpen and similar repositories for the project and settled on the metaphor of a central library/vault where master copies of a teaching resource are stored. Importantly, once a resource has been deposited, it will remain in that location – only the creator of the resource/support team at Jorum can introduce changes or ask to have the resource taken down. Other users of the repository can download the resource and use it for their teaching either without changing anything or by adapting the resource (“repurposing” it) – ideally, these users have also the possibility to give the  ‘new’ resource to the academic community by making a new deposit. For clarity, it might be worth noting that what we really mean by ‘re-purposing’ is ‘finding a new purpose’ for an open resource – thus ‘re-purposing’ is the dynamic action that encapsulates this process.

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