OER Impact: Collaboration, Evidence, Synthesis


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Mapping has emerged as a key tool for building collective understanding of the world of OER. The UNESCO mapping initiative began with a period of collaboration between the Athabasca University OER mapping project and the OLnet project (OLnet 2012a) at The Open University, (a partner institution of the UNESCO Chairs in OER). The Athabasca Learning Chair in OER was created to promote institutional, national and regional adoption of OER. Over three weeks almost 900 members of the Athabasca OER community discussed and reflected on the potential use of an OER map (D’Antoni, 2012). This led to a wider period of consultation which gave rise to a simple metadata structure which was refined for the purpose of mapping evidence. While the description was never used to implement a full mapping service the approach has remained in the consciousness of the OER movement and there remain a recognized need for an OER map.

OER Impact Map (2014) is a custom Wordpress build which has been adapted for easy customization and bespoke post types. We are therefore able to publish information (currently limited to projects, policies and evidence but which could in future include repositories, experts, educators, funders, etc.) that is structured consistently and in ways which help users to search and filter to find the content which is relevant to them. Central to this approach are visual representations of the data which can be an effective support for navigating complex information and seeing underlying patterns of OER impact.

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OER Impact: Collaboration, Evidence, Synthesis

  1. 1. OER Impact: Collaboration, Evidence, Synthesis Dr. Rob Farrow The Open University
  2. 2. Structure OER Research Hub Collaborative Research Evidence Model Synthesis: Mapping and Curation OER Impact Map
  3. 3. please tweet to #oermap
  4. 4. • Research project at The Open University (UK) • Funded by William & Flora Hewlett Foundation for two years • Research team led by two professors • Tasked with building the most comprehensive picture of OER impact • Organised by eleven research hypotheses • Collaboration model works across different educational sectors • Global reach but with a USA focus OER Research Hub oerresearchhub.org #oerrhub
  5. 5. Rationale • Consolidatory phase for OER movement after years of investment and piloting • The need for an evidence base: advocacy, strategy, policymaking • Lack of robust evidence for OER impact • The evidence ‘problem’ in OER impact research • Isolated ‘pockets of innovation’ • No agreement over best methods for impact comparison • Compare diverse experiences to assess the influence of ‘open’ • Mixed methods data from experimental + non-experimental research
  6. 6. Collaboration Developing an ecology of sharing
  7. 7. • Research instruments applied consistently across collaborations: surveys, interview questions, focus groups, etc. • Supplemented by integration of secondary research • ‘Agile’ research, sprinting • Thematic and methodological cohesion provided by research hypotheses Research Process
  8. 8. Inclusive Holistic Validation of experiences at the ‘cutting edge’ Open to diverse perspectives Incommensurability? Granularity? Synthesis? Practical Advantages / Methodological Disadvantages How will comparison of experiences be made rigorous?
  9. 9. Hypotheses Key claims about open education
  10. 10. Keyword Research Hypothesis Performance OER improve student performance/satisfaction Openness People use OER differently from other online materials Access OER widen participation in education Retention OER can help at-risk learners to finish their studies Reflection OER use leads educators to reflect on their practice Finance OER adoption brings financial benefits for students/institutions Indicators Informal learners use a variety of indicators when selecting OER Support Informal learners develop their own forms of study support Transition OER support informal learners in moving to formal study Policy OER use encourages institutions to change their policies Assessment Informal assessments motivate learners using OER ‘Evidence’ is only evidence in relation to a claim or hypothesis: the project hypotheses form the core of the metadata model.
  11. 11. Evidence Model Design for information architecture
  12. 12. Key Questions for Evidence Model What evidence exists to support key claims about OER? How do patterns of OER impact differ across countries? How do patterns of OER impact differ according to sector? How can the veracity of evidence be checked? How can diverse evidence forms be meaningfully collected together?
  13. 13. • TextTitle • Text / HTML - Supports embedding of multimediaCopy • Association of evidence with hypothesisHypothesis • Evidence is either +ve/-ve in relation to a hypothesisPolarity • GeolocationLocation • School (K12) / College / Higher Education / InformalSector • Academic citation or Hyperlink / URLCitation Evidence: Information Architecture
  14. 14. Support embedding Evidence Records
  15. 15. • Popular OS platform • Easy to customize • Over 27,000 existing plugins Wordpress • CSV importer • Location plugin • JSON Customization • Project code available on GitHub • Easy to link, share and engage Openness Technical Development
  16. 16. Synthesis Synthesis Methods • Isolating data by hypothesis, sector, country, or any combination • Collaborative curation of research data • Data visualization, reporting • Editorial quality control exercised centrally Validation • Iteration through current and future patterns of evidence • Open citation trails allow public auditing of evidence • Community voting
  17. 17. Synthesis Mapping and curation
  18. 18. in service of The Open University
  19. 19. OER Impact Map oermap.org
  20. 20. OER Impact Map: Maps oermap.org • Country Summary Map - evidence nodes organized by country • OER Project Map - OER initiatives and projects around the world • OER Evidence Map - all impact evidence is categorized according to the OER Research Hub hypotheses • OER Policy Map is the single largest curated collection of OER policies • OER Impact Map aggregates the other maps • Tweetmaps show a geographical summary of tweets for a particular Twitter hashtag. E.g. #oermap for outreach; #oerrhub for tracking project activity. • Maps by others
  21. 21. Global Impact Summary Select country to zoom
  22. 22. in service of The Open University Flowmap changes according to country selected…
  23. 23. Impact Summary (USA) Node colour = sector Node border = polarity
  24. 24. in service of The Open University Positive Evidence Negative Evidence Uncategorized Evidence OER Evidence Map
  25. 25. OER Policy Map L R N I Local/Institutional policies Regional policies National policies International policies CC Open Policy Network POERUP SPARC
  26. 26. in service of The Open University OER Projects OER Project Map
  27. 27. in service of The Open University OER Impact Map
  28. 28. in service of The Open University OER Impact Map Combines other maps Supports filtering
  29. 29. Hypothesis Reporting
  30. 30. Hypothesis Reporting
  31. 31. in service of The Open University
  32. 32. in service of The Open University
  33. 33. Summary • A collaborative approach to OER research is recommended • OER Impact Map is a tool designed for the needs of the open community • Open methods for researching openness: openly licensed instruments; remix and reuse data; working openly; sharing • Takeaway message: the whole is greater than the sum of the parts
  34. 34. Next Steps • Adding qualitative data analysis to evidence base • Increasing the evidence base through desk research • Plan for final phase of map development • Case studies • New collaborations? • New hypotheses? • School of Open course on open research; Open Data; CC-BY research tools • Survey data ‘exploration tool’
  35. 35. in service of The Open University Survey Data Explorer (prototype)
  36. 36. in service of The Open University Survey Data Explorer (prototype)
  37. 37. in service of The Open University Survey Data Explorer (prototype)
  38. 38. tweetmap tiny.cc/oermap #oermap
  39. 39. in service of The Open University
  40. 40. We want to put you on the map! So let us know about OER activity and impact in your institution
  41. 41. Join us in building understanding of open education
  42. 42. Thanks for listening! oerresearchhub.org oermap.org rob.farrow@open.ac.uk @philosopher1978