Changing the Learning Landscape: OER and open data in research methods teaching and learning


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A presentation given at an HEA organised workshop under the Changing the Learning Landscape initiative (February, 2013). The focus of the presentation was on developing open academic practice in teaching research methods.

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Changing the Learning Landscape: OER and open data in research methods teaching and learning

  1. 1. Changing the learning landscape Reusing open educational resources (OER) and open data in social science research methods teaching and learning
  2. 2. Changing the learning landscape Reusing open educational resources (OER) and open data in social science research methods teaching and learning Dr Ester Ehiyazaryan-White, University Centre Doncaster
  3. 3. Changing the learning landscape •SCORE teaching fellowship 02/2011-03/2012: •Focus on raising awareness of OER and open practice, working closely with research methods tutors across Social Sciences at University Centre Doncaster (UCD) •UCD teaching fellowship 02/2012 – 09/2012 •Focus on the student experience of learning with OER and open data. Role of the tutor Useful types of OER Different practices in teaching research methods Learner experiences OER and open data Pedagogy of embedding in T&L practice Context
  4. 4. Changing the learning landscape •Raising awareness in UCD staff of the value of OER; active involvement in the evaluation and embedding of OER in academic practice •Exploring the potential of OER and open data to research methods teaching and learning. •Working towards the embedding of OER in teaching practice across several disciplines, with a focus on research methods skills and knowledge. •Knowledge management, sustained engagement with open practice in the institution Aims engagement pedagogy embedding sustainability
  5. 5. Changing the learning landscape Teacher Education Applied Social Sciences Criminal Justice •Questions focused on the pedagogical effectiveness/ responsiveness of the OER (LOAM tool, Windle et al, 2010) •Questions focused on pedagogical, technical and quality issues (ORIOLE project) •Collection of existing OER set up through Cloudworks •OER on Coudworks selected to provide a range of pedagogical and technical attributes allowing tutors to explore OER with different granularity, context specificity, adaptability, interactivity. OER evaluation by tutors
  6. 6. Changing the learning landscapeThe tutor’s role •OER provide access to material which tutors would find it difficult to generate themselves •E-moderating/ communities of learning - Human contact is a necessary element in the knowledge construction process (Njenga and Fourie, 2010) •Maintaining the boundaries between providing access to information and constructing knowledge Tutors’ stance: OER provide access to information. The tutor’s role is to facilitate the underlying knowledge construction. Read tutors’ comments
  7. 7. Changing the learning landscapeConcerns regarding reuse Engaging in reuse which offers potential for rethinking and innovating curricula Prioritising OER which are quick and easy to reuse (time saving)
  8. 8. Changing the learning landscape Embedding OER in research methods teaching
  9. 9. Changing the learning landscapeChallenges Challenges for the learner Key difficulty in research methods learning – the knowledge and concepts are not immediately related to professional or subject contexts which students have chosen to study. Research methods constitute troublesome knowledge: ‘when what is to be assessed lies outside their prior knowledge and experience’ (Land and Meyer, 2010, p. 62) • Contextualising abstract concepts - OER flexible enough to allow for context specific adaptation • Discursive resources and stimuli which create opportunities for the learner to think like a researcher. • ‘Real world’ ESDS data The role of OER and open data
  10. 10. Changing the learning landscapeEmbedding OER in T&L Online QDA, University of Huddersfield Web link: .uk/ Jorum persistent link: k/xmlui/handle/123456789/ 5644
  11. 11. Changing the learning landscape •Key challenge – learners need to acquire theoretical knowledge as well as procedural skills – the OER was seen as supporting self directed study •Advantages - interactivity and learner control – being able to pause, rewind, take notes at their own pace. Supportive of self directed learning. Embedding OER in T&L Read learners’ comments…
  12. 12. Changing the learning landscape The value and dangers of interactivity •Interactive coding exercises – useful as they allow the learner to practice interactive coding exercises. •Danger – students may learn the procedural layer without understanding the underlying principles of constant comparison, or stages in coding. learning of troublesome knowledge requires some form of transformation in the learner. Unless this transformation takes place, the learner may be unable to acquire knowledge and could instead engage in a form of ‘mimicry’ or ritualistic/surface learning (Meyer and Land, 2005: 382). Read learners’ comments… Embedding OER in T&L
  13. 13. Changing the learning landscape •The Economic and Social Data Service - a jointly-funded initiative sponsored by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC). •Giving access to large scale quantitative and qualitative data •Covering a broad range of subjects including economics, education, employment and labour, environment, health, housing, law, crime and legal systems, population statistics and society and culture etc… Open data
  14. 14. Changing the learning landscape Advantages of using real world data: •Addresses troublesome knowledge – the data is subject specific and situates learning in context. •Statistical analyses return results which learners can relate to knowledge acquired in other modules (examples: social policy; child development) •For more on the value of secondary data (Smith, 2011): • ces/using-numeric- secondary-data-education- research Open data
  15. 15. Changing the learning landscapeOpen data •Growing Up in Scotland – large scale child development survey; similar to the Millennium Cohort Study •Openly accessible data through the Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS)
  16. 16. Changing the learning landscape Learners explored: •Food and nutrition – formation of healthy eating habits •Neighbourhood and community – active citizenship; social policy •Activities with others – distributions of outdoor/ indoor play •Demographic factors – work, employment and income Learners’ perceptions: •SPSS was considered user friendly •The scale of real world data – daunting; students would have preferred to work with their own data •Learners needed to establish a personal connection with the study and a better understanding before analysing the ESDS data Read learners’ comments… Learner feedback
  17. 17. Changing the learning landscapeOpen data Understanding quantitative research methodologies: longitudinal cohort studies Understanding social policy: children’s health, education, welfare GUS open data Understanding descriptive statistics Skills in SPSS use
  18. 18. Changing the learning landscape Sustainability
  19. 19. Changing the learning landscape Activities to promote sustainability: Virtual Graduate School – Doncaster college hosted website aimed at supporting postgraduate study through providing a range of resources: •Qualitative and quantitative research methods •Writing for publication and dissemination of research •Ethics guidance on research projects •Advanced literature searching Open access Drawing on OER and linking out to open courseware modules of study. Content being developed by teaching staff at University Centre Doncaster Sustainability
  20. 20. Changing the learning landscape Thank you Dr Ester Ehiyazaryan-White, Lecturer in Professional and eLearning Development, University Centre Doncaster Email: Tel: 0130 255 3809 Twitter: @eehiyazaryan SlideShare:
  21. 21. Changing the learning landscapeReferences Ehiyazaryan-White, E. (2012) ‘Developing Open Academic Practices in Research Methods Teaching within an HE in FE Context’, Journal of Interactive Media in Education (JIME), [online], Available from:, Accessed: 04/10/2012. Land R. and Meyer, J. (2010) Threshold Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge (5): Dynamics of Assessment. In Eds. Meyer, J., Land, R., Baillie, C., Threshold Concepts and Transformational Learning. London: Sense Publishers. Njenga, J. K., & Fourie, L. C. H. (2010) The Myths about e-Learning in Higher Education. British Journal of Educational Technology, 41(2): 199-212. School of Human and Health Sciences (2013) Online QDA: Learning qualitative data analysis on the web. University of Huddersfield. [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 21st March, 2013]. Scottish Centre for Social Research (2012) Growing Up in Scotland Study: Providing Information to Help Develop Policies Affecting Children and their Families in Scotland. [Online]. Available from: [Accessed 4th October, 2012]. Smith, E. (2008) Secondary data analysis: an introduction. In Using Secondary Data in Educational and Social Research, Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill Education. Smith, E. (2011) Using numeric secondary data in educational research, British Educational Association online resource. [Online]. Available from: [Accessed 13 September 2012]. Windle, R, Wharrad, H., Leeder, D., Morales, R. (2010) ‘Analysis of the Pedagogical Attributes of Learning Objects’ [Online], SONET: Educational Technology Group, The University of Nottingham, Available from:, Accessed: 30/11/2011.