The University of Cape Town's OpenContent initiative - Cheryl Hodgkinson-Williams

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Cheryl Hodgkinson-Williams' presentation given at the SCORE event 'Institutional Strategies for OER' on 11 March 2011.

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  • Good afternoon and welcome from the University of Cape Town. Thank you for inviting me to present a short session on our institutional strategies for Open Educational Resources (OER) at the University of Cape Town. I am joined by the current co-ordinator of OER, Glenda Cox and two other members of the OER team Michael Paskevicius and Shihaam Donnelly.
  • On 12 Feb 2010, the University of Cape Town (UCT) launched its OpenContent directory and thereby joining the broader OER movement.
  • Although inspired by OER initiatives undertaken by other universities such as MIT, the Open University and the University of Michigan, UCT had to develop its own institutional strategy due to its particular context and constraints.
  • The OER UCT project, located within the Centre for Educational Technology at the University of Cape Town …
  • … was an implementation project that grew out of the Shuttleworth Foundation sponsored Opening Scholarship project which aimed at exploring the opportunities that Information Communication Technologies (ICT) and open dissemination models could offer for enhanced communication and more effective knowledge dissemination in one South African university, namely UCT ( http://www.cet.uct.ac.za/OpeningScholarship ). ). It paid attention to issues around Open Access, Open Educational Resources and what we termed “Open Community” – the kind of social engagement / responsiveness activities that universities often include in their mission statements alongside Research and Teaching.
  • This project was strongly supported by one of our Deputy Vice-Chancellors. During this period, DCV, Prof Martin Hall, provided evidence of his support for OER by signing the Cape Town Open Education Declaration in 2008.
  • Proposals for two follow-up implementation projects were presented to the Shuttleworth Foundation to take forward ideas for creating an OER initiative at UCT and for continuing to advocate for Open Access within and beyond UCT. The OER UCT project, officially commenced in March 2009 and officially ended in February 2010. At the same time a separate Health-specific OER initiative sponsored by the Hewlett Foundation was established. It is a collaboration between the University of Michigan , OER Africa, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) , the University of Ghana (UG) , the University of Cape Town (UCT) , and the University of the Western Cape (UWC) (http://www.oerafrica.org/healthproject/HealthProjectHome/tabid/956/Default.aspx).
  • To understand the development of the OER UCT project, we need to understand the context of UCT. While UCT is a government-funded, campus-based university with 24 661 students and 3144 staff of whom 1515 are professional staff and 1629 are non-professional professional or administrative staff. It has three core missions – research, teaching and learning; and community engagement – the research aspect is the prime focus and the one for which the South African government provides direct funding. There is no direct funding for teaching materials – only for throughput – in other words for the numbers of students who register and eventually graduate. It is assumed that academics will produce suitable teaching materials, but there is no university policy that stipulates what these materials should look like, in what form they are to be presented or if or where they should be archived. The teaching process is left entirely to each lecturer. Limited funding is available for developing teaching and learning materials. The one fund that does exist – the Teaching with Technology grant is funded by a philanthropic foundation and this is about to cease.
  • The OER UCT project, f unded by Shuttleworth Foundation to the total value of R800,000, had as its key activities: Surveying existing T&L resources with potential to be OERs Providing support to OER creators Facilitating the publication of 5 exemplar OERs Creating an OER Directory for UCT Documenting the OER UCT process as a case study Promoting longer-term sustainability of the initiative   With only a limited amount of funding - the equivalent of about £73 000 we needed to meet all our objectives (as stated above). As we knew that we could not rely on further funding from the Shuttleworth Foundation, we devised a number of strategies to ensure the longevity of the project. I will elaborate upon the 10 key strategies, but there are other smaller tactics that the team has used to push forward the OER agenda.
  • Our first challenge was forming a team to take this project forward. As we realised that we had very little funding for salaries, we decided to make the most of the time and skill sets of existing staff members of CET and only employed a part-time project manager and two part-time graduate students to implement the project. An academic in CET was appointed the director of the project and the Co-ordinator of the CET Learning Technologies section was appointed as technical manager as part of their usual activities and one learning technology consultant was co-opted from the learning technologies team. In addition we invited our colleague from Health Sciences who was project managing another OER project to join the team meetings on a regular basis.
  • A seminal decision was to opt for a resource-based approach and not a course-based approach as adopted by both MIT and OU. AS we did not have the funding to offer lecturers instructional design support, we chose to request lecturers to make available the resources they were prepared to share – from entire courses to individual resources such as podcasts, powerpoint presentations, lecture notes, worked examples, manuals, e-books). Our research in the Open Scholarship project had identified a number of potential resources and the willingness of many academics to contribute a selection of their resources.
  • A further strategy was not host resources on a separate repository, but rather to create a ‘portal’ to act as a directory to where the resources are already hosted so as to reduce duplication and maximise the use of existing infrastructure. Additional functions of the directory included capturing metadata, searching the site, linking to lecturers self-created portfolios and allowing lecturers to upload or remove resources themselves.
  • Rather than develop a directory from scratch, the team decided to investigate various Open Source Software (OSS) options and after trialling various products decided upon Drupal . Some of the specialist programming was undertaken by a software consulting company, but most of the customisation of the directory was undertaken by one of the graduate assistants under the guidance of the learning technology consultant. Once key requirement was that the directory would need to be integrated with the UCT login system so that there was no special username and login required for academics to contribute their resources.
  • By allowing individual academics to upload and maintain their resources directly , the process of making materials available on UCT OpenContent would not need intermediary technical personnel thereby reducing staffing costs. The quality assurance therefore rests with the lecturer – following the “pride-of-authorship” model adopted by MIT, but unlike the quality assurance model adopted by the OU.
  • In keeping with the pride-of-authorship model, a minimal moderation process was adopted where the OER team would check for copyright compliance - i.e. that an alternative intellectual property system such as a Creative Commons licence had been specified; that no embedded copyright was evidenced in the materials; that the format of the resource was congruent with the type of licence specified and that sufficient metadata was provided about the resource.
  • In order to increase visibility and discoverability, the team made the decision to use the Dublin Core metadata standard to ensure that the resources in UCT Open Content could be automatically harvested by international aggregating services such as OER Commons, the Open CourseWare Consortium and Google.
  • To ensure the sustainability of the UCT OpenContent directory, it was decided that after the funded project period that the management of the OER initiative would become part of the portfolio of the Curriculum Development Officer in the Centre for Educational Technology (CET) as this person already deals with supporting the development of digital resources for teaching and learning. This has also enabled CET to exploit various synergies with the Teaching with Technology grant funded by another philanthropic foundation. To ensure that the technical aspects of the UCT OpenContent directory were monitored and maintained, CET’s Learning Technologies team took on the maintenance of the directory as part of their portfolio.
  • To promote the idea of Open Educational Resources we have adopted a range of marketing initiatives including running seminars and workshops on OER creation; running an OER blog, a project Facebook and Twitter account; arrange social events where OER contributors are acknowledged and negotiate a button on the UCT homepage to connect directly to The UCT OpenContent website.
  • The OpeningScholarship project recommended that the OER initiative at UCT should not be seen in isolation but should be seen as part of a more ambitious Open.UCT project that included making research and community engagement resources available to the general public. The initial plans for Open.UCT are in place and initial funding has been granted.
  • The University of Cape Town's OpenContent initiative - Cheryl Hodgkinson-Williams

    1. 1. Institutional Strategies for Open Education Resources at the University of Cape Town Presentation to the SCORE event: Institutional Strategies for OER 11 March 2011 Cheryl Hodgkinson-Williams (Former OER UCT Project Director)
    2. 2. Welcome from the University of Cape Town http:// www.flickr.com/photos/51607907@N03/4793218574/sizes/z/in/photostream/
    3. 3. On 12 Feb 2010 UCT launched … http://opencontent.uct.ac.za/
    4. 4. Inspired by … http://ocw.mit.edu/ MIT http://openlearn.open.ac.uk/ Open University https://open.umich.edu/ University of Michigan
    5. 6. History of UCT OpenContent Funded by the Shuttleworth Foundation http://www.cet.uct.ac.za/OpeningScholarship
    6. 7. UCT signs Cape Town Open Education Declaration April 2008
    7. 8. History of UCT OpenContent Funded by the Shuttleworth Foundation Funded by the Shuttleworth Foundation Funded by the Hewlett Foundation
    8. 9. UCT Context <ul><li>Government-funded, campus-based university </li></ul><ul><li>24 661 students and 3144 staff of whom 1515 are professional staff and 1629 are non-professional professional or administrative staff </li></ul><ul><li>No direct funding for teaching materials – only for throughput </li></ul><ul><li>Limited funding is available for developing teaching and learning materials </li></ul>
    9. 10. OER UCT Project <ul><li>Funded by Shuttleworth Foundation from March 2009 – February 2010, total value R800,000 (= £73 000) </li></ul><ul><li>Activities: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Survey existing T&L resources with potential to be OERs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide support to OER creators </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Facilitate the publication of 5 exemplar OERs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Create an OER Directory for UCT </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Document the OER UCT process as a case study </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Promote longer-term sustainability of the initiative </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Strategies and tactics </li></ul>
    10. 11. Strategy 1: Small part-time team <ul><li>Employ a part-time project manager & 2 graduate assistants </li></ul><ul><li>Use existing staff members of CET </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Academic in CET – Project Director </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Co-ordinator of the CET Learning Technologies -technical manager </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Invite OER Project Manager from Health OER </li></ul>
    11. 12. Strategy 2: Resource- based approach <ul><li>Includes: </li></ul><ul><li>entire courses </li></ul><ul><li>individual resources </li></ul><ul><ul><li>e-books </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Manuals </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Presentations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Podcasts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lecture notes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Animations </li></ul></ul>
    12. 13. Strategy 3: Directory of resources <ul><li>Decided not to host resources on a separate repository, but rather to create a ‘portal’ to act as a directory </li></ul><ul><li>Reduce duplication and maximise the use of existing infrastructure </li></ul><ul><li>Directory allows </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Lecturers to upload or remove resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lecturers to capture metadata </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Selection of resources by category or keywords </li></ul></ul>
    13. 14. Strategy 4: OSS - Drupal <ul><li>Use Open Source Software - Drupal modules </li></ul><ul><li>Customised by CET team </li></ul><ul><li>Specialist programming done by consulting company </li></ul><ul><li>Uses same authentication as other UCT sites </li></ul>http://drupal.org/
    14. 15. Strategy 5: Lecturers upload <ul><li>Allow individual academics to upload and maintain their resources directly </li></ul><ul><li>Reduce intermediary technical personnel thereby reducing staffing costs </li></ul><ul><li>Quality assurance therefore rests with the lecturer – following the “pride-of-authorship” model adopted by MIT, but unlike the quality assurance model adopted by the OU </li></ul>
    15. 16. Strategy 6: Minimal moderation <ul><li>Employ a minimal moderation process was adopted where the OER team would check for copyright compliance </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Creative commons </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No 3 rd party copyright </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Format of resource </li></ul></ul>
    16. 17. Strategy 7: Metadata standard <ul><li>To increase visibility and discoverability, used the Dublin Core metadata standard to ensure that the resources in UCT Open Content could be automatically harvested by international aggregating services </li></ul><ul><ul><li>OER Commons </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Open CourseWare Consortium </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Google </li></ul></ul>
    17. 18. Strategy 8: Project incorporated into existing portfolio <ul><li>To ensure the sustainability of the UCT OpenContent directory, the management of the OER initiative would become part of the portfolio of the Curriculum Development Officer in the Centre for Educational Technology (CET) </li></ul>
    18. 19. Strategy 9: Marketing <ul><li>Seminars & workshops </li></ul><ul><li>Blog – OER@UCT </li></ul><ul><li>Facebook </li></ul><ul><li>Twitter </li></ul><ul><li>Social events </li></ul><ul><li>Button on UCT homepage </li></ul>
    19. 20. Strategy 10: Open.UCT <ul><li>OpeningScholarship project recommended that the OER initiative should not be seen in isolation </li></ul><ul><li>To be part of a more ambitious Open.UCT project that included making research and community engagement resources available to the general public </li></ul><ul><li>Initial plans for Open.UCT are in place and initial funding has been granted. </li></ul>
    20. 21. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 South Africa License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/za/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA. Prepared by Cheryl Hodgkinson-Williams [email_address] OpenContent Directory : http://opencontent.uct.ac.za Companion site on Vula: https://vula.uct.ac.za/portal/site/openuct OER UCT project blog: http://blogs.uct.ac.za/blog/oer-uct Follow us: http://twitter.com/openuct Presentations: http://www.slideshare.net/mpaskevi

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