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Today I visited our OSTRICH partners at Derby with my colleague, Media Zookeeper at Beyond Distance, Simon Kear. We had a very stimulating and inspiring session with Phill Gagen, Sam O’Neill and Linda Swanson. The Derby OSTRICH team is now in full swing with the gathering, screening, copyright clearance, transformation and formatting of OERs, and they’re building up a great bank of materials on subjects from Algebra through Hairdressing and Prenatal Development, to Quarrying. Many of these materials are filling gaps in the OER landscape, potentially meeting needs in specialist subject areas. (I was particularly interested in one of the Law OERs – on Law in the Music Industry – which is bound to be of interest to a wide range of people, not just Law students.)

Apart from looking over all the great OERs-in-progress, we also discussed how the CORRE workflow and evaluation model, which was developed in the OTTER project at Leicester, is being implemented at Derby. It seems that the model has transferred more or less seamlessly to the Derby context – the only major difference being that, since the Derby team is creating most of its OERs from scratch, as opposed to ‘OER-ing’ existing teaching materials, they are working much more closely with the academics than we were able to do in the OTTER project. This is likely to help lay the foundation for integrating OERs into learning design as a matter of course in future.

As a post-script, I was delighted to hear from our OER colleagues at Nottingham today that “It turns out that OER do save time and students do use them“!

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At yesterday’s workshop with OER contributors in Derby, we brainstormed the questions they would ask themselves at each stage in the process of creating an OER, with reference to the CORRE framework generated during the OTTER project. What follows is the ‘raw’ list of what was generated – this will be compared to the indicative questions in the CORRE Tracking Sheets to ultimately inform Derby’s own version of the CORRE process.

A) Gathering/selecting an item of teaching material to be converted into an OER

  1. Is the item cohesive? i.e. Can it stand alone?
  2. Is the content accurate?
  3. Is it current and correct?
  4. Would I want my mother to see it? (Or: Am I happy to be associated with this in the public domain?)
  5. Do we have a sufficiently collegiate approach to feedback? (Thinking ahead to the validation stage…)
  6. Does the resource comply with university’s regulations and requirements?
  7. Does the university have commercial ambitions with this material that I need to consider before deciding on turning it into an OER?
  8. Does it contradict or duplicate other materials?
  9. Have I identified the metadata? (Tags for searchability, as well as an abstract and information for potential users about the context for which this resource was designed)

B) IPR and copyright (Questions to be applied to the resource as a whole as well as all its separate sections)

  1. Where does this originate from?
  2. Who is the rights holder?
  3. What, if any, existing licence, has this been published under?
  4. Is this fair use?
  5. Can we contact the rights holder if needed?
  6. What is the risk?
  7. Do we have permission from people included in the images/ videos/ audio files? (Written consent forms)
  8. How long is it going to take to get copyright clearance? Can we afford the time?
  9. If clearing copyright is going to be difficult or too time-consuming, can we recreate or replace this material instead?

C) Transformation for reuse

  1. How much work is required to transform the materials so that they can stand alone? (E.g. removing references to resources that are not openly available)
  2. If we take anything out, do we need to replace it with something else to keep up the coherence?
  3. Do the materials need much work to make sense outside of context that they were delivered in?
  4. What transformation is needed as a result of IPR issues?
  5. How much of the transformation is the author’s responsibility as opposed to OSTRICH team responsibility?
  6. Granularity – what will be the ‘chunk size’ of the things we are publishing?

D) Formatting/ digitisation for reuse (choosing the file format and executing it)

  1. Corporate image (Branding – Derby formats and logos etc.? Policy decision needed)
  2. Most suitable formats/ uses to allow it to be accessible to global market? (Can we produce it in a range of formats? Including mobile platforms?)
  3. Do all the materials have to be DDA compliant?
  4. Could the resource be altered for DDA purposes (by another user) if needed?
  5. Language and dialects – e.g. will international users understand the accents in audio files?
  6. Can I do it? Are the resources available to support me?
  7. Does it require complicated technology (either for the author or for the end user)?
  8. Will it work? (e.g. if we put it in a new format)

E. Validation

  1. Which groups need to validate the resource, and at which stages? Project team? Contributors? Students? Colleagues/ other educators? School/department head/ other senior managers? Are any sign-offs needed?
  2. What criteria will be used for validation at each stage? (E.g. fit-for-purpose, accessibility, scholarship – is it good enough?)
  3. Do we need to bring in “media experts” to check quality of products (e.g. videos (Bearing in mind that students don’t necessarily want “BBC-style” perfection)
  4. How do we get people to engage in the validation?
  5. How to process the data and what will be done with it?
  6. Granularity – when to validate?

F. Tracking

  1. What resources are being viewed – any stats on what’s popular, what’s not (e.g. using Google Analytics)? Can this information enable us to make decisions about what kind of new resources to bring in?
  2. Where are the users?
  3. Are there any significant trends?
  4. Timing – e.g. is it busier towards the end of the semester?
  5. What to do with resources that are never/ have not yet been used?
  6. How can we best use the stats in reports to senior management? (Qualified by a statement from the project team explaining what the stats mean)

I’m looking forward to seeing those old OTTER checklists being revised for Derby’s context in the light of these discussions.

Gabi Witthaus, 4 Nov 2010

 

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