The role of Open Access and Open Educational Resources within Distance Education


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'The role of Open Access and Open Educational Resources within Distance Education.' Presentation by Dr Stylianos Hatzipanagos (King's College London; CDE Fellow) during CDE seminar The Role of Open Access and OERs within Distance Education. Full details at

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The role of Open Access and Open Educational Resources within Distance Education

  1. 1. The role of Open Access and Open Educational Resources within Distance Education Jon Gregson Stylianos Hatzipanagos CDE Fellows This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 License.
  2. 2. Overview of talk • OERs: a brief introduction • Linking previous research to current investigation • The programme directors‟ perspective
  3. 3. What are OERs? Open Educational Resources are teaching, Definitions learning or research materials that are in the public domain or released with an intellectual property license that allows for free use, adaptation, and distribution. (UNESCO) Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that are freely available online for everyone to use, whether you are an instructor, student or self-learner. Examples of OER include: full courses, course modules, syllabi, lectures, homework assignments, quizzes, lab and classroom activities, pedagogical materials, games, simulations, and many more resources contained in digital media collections from around the world. (JISC)
  4. 4. Notable OER initiatives  MIT‟s Open Courseware initiative  Open University‟s OpenLearn  JISC: project work  Jorum is the national repository for teaching and learning materials (many are OERs)  MERLOT  OERs and MOOCs
  5. 5. OERs vs. or in support of academic practice  Displaced from proprietary „silos‟, i.e. the institutional VLEs.  Copyright „free‟, as contributions to collective knowledge.  Most often come against recent improvements in creation of e-learning content. They are frequently didactic in nature.  They are often elliptical shells to fill in with context and meaning. Context and wrap around activities are missing.  Interactive aspects and their learning design are separated from content and are often implicit rather than explicit. Hatzipanagos 2012
  6. 6. What we learnt from practitioners and librarians about OERs and their use (1)  Discoverability in repositories  Lack of context a major obstacle  An OER tracking tool that would demonstrate trail of use and or /repurposing was considered valuable. JISC funded project OER Track  Materials in OERs need to be complemented by the teacher input, „presence‟.  There is a desire for a community of teachers to share.  OERs and professional/academic development Secker & Hatzipanagos 2012
  7. 7. What we learnt from practitioners & librarians about OERs and their use (2) Role of OERs  Different categories of stakeholders have different views on how to share  VLEs and OERs: institutional investment vs. sharing and opening up – OERs valuable for an institutional reputation  OERs as an important set of materials for international sharing in learning and teaching  A capacity building role for OERs. Secker & Hatzipanagos 2012
  8. 8. What we have learnt from practitioners librarians about OERs and their use (3)  Finding OERs  OERs as meta-Google  ITunes/eBooks as OERs: overcoming the proprietary issues to create OERs  Networks of people putting information together  How do people find OER? By searching? By sharing? By recommending in social networks? Secker & Hatzipanagos 2012
  9. 9. What we have learnt from practitioners librarians about OERs and their use (4) Evaluation of OERs  An evaluation/review system should be an integral part of the online repository of OERs  Can‟t evaluate until you have used – but then should OERs be quality reviewed before they are released? Secker & Hatzipanagos 2012
  10. 10. What we have learnt from practitioners librarians about OERs and their use (5) Metadata and OERs: creating context  Importance of contextualising resources.  Importance of comprehensive metadata which repositories often lacks.  Value of metadata in repositories  Who creates the metadata? whose role is to complete the metadata – librarians or teaching practitioners ? Teaching practitioner or someone familiar with web technologies? Secker & Hatzipanagos 2012
  11. 11. Evaluation of engagement with OERs, practitioners  Workshops: most practitioners not familiar with OER, strong academic development aspect of engagement.  Reusabilty/repurposing focus of workshops: preference for „useful, specific and practical OERs‟.  “Context often missing”, preference for reusable rather than repurposable.  Main potential benefit of OERs: „improved learning‟ and less „saving on academic time to develop appropriate material/content‟. (Hatzipanagos 2012)
  12. 12. Responses from UoL practitioners Within your UoLIP programme do you make use of open access materials (i.e. open access journals, open educational resources (OERs) etc.)?  4 YES, 2 NO Do you encourage your UoLIP students to make use of such materials? • 4 YES, 2 NO Are you familiar with different types of creative commons licences?  4 YES, 2 NO Qualitative questions:
  13. 13. Do you think a collaborative scheme for drawing together an OA repository across the colleges involved in the UoLIP would be useful? Mixed responses:  Not really -the world of OER is not static enough to make it meaningful other than a snapshot of that day…  Yes. I expect there may be some overlap between subject materials of interest to our students and students of computational courses provided by Royal Holloway and LSE.
  14. 14. What do you consider to be the major constraints in using OERs? 1. limited understanding of their value 2. cultural resistance – a „new thing‟, „not developed here‟, „can we trust it‟ ? etc. and 1. lack of staff development to create awareness of OERs in this area
  15. 15. What do you consider to be the main resource implications, when adopting OERs? 1. training for academics to create awareness of OERs 2. time to search and explore repositories of OERs 3. limited number of OERs in my discipline 4. perhaps less effort to maintain than institutional resources 5. like most „e‟ advancements, the development of OER eassessment materials is time and resource intensive in the short term, but should result in cost/time savings in the medium/long term.
  16. 16. The emergent landscape in OER use  Librarians seem to take the lead in the OER campaign.  Practitioners not familiar with OER: strong academic development aspect of any engagement activity  Searchability/discoverability still an overall issue.  Disciplinarity: a complex landscape.
  17. 17. Questions for discussion 1. What would be the advantages and disadvantages of OA for ODL suppliers (consider reading and other course materials and resources) 2. What would be the advantages and disadvantages of OA for ODL students 3. How could we set up an OA infrastructure for UoLIP that would draw on the expertise of the Colleges, and also add value to their own offerings ? 4. Who within UoLIP is best placed to champion OA? 5. What capacity building is needed in UoLIP to develop OA approaches ? 6. What would a suitable policy for OA look like? (Think of required themes/components)
  18. 18. Any comments?  Email  Stylianos at   Jon at