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Yesterday we had our kickoff meeting with the Derby project team for the OSTRICH project. Ale, Tania and I were the Leicester contingent, and Derby was represented by Rene, Linda, Pete, Sam and Simon.

Ale and Rene consider their dreams for the OSTRICH project

Ale and Rene consider their dreams for the OSTRICH project

We started by (literally) laying all our dreams and nightmares about the OSTRICH project on the table. This is what came up:

NIGHTMARES

  1. ‘WHAT did you say you wanted to do with my materials??!!’
  2. ‘Easier to start from scratch than to repurpose this rubbish!’
  3. Formalised bureaucratic process stifling creativity and engagement
  4. People in the project team working on the wrong version of an item duringt the CORRE process
  5. Not enough time
  6. Insecurity – my stuff is not that good. I’d rather not share it.
  7. Legal issues – finding a host of unattributed images in materials; not being able to clear a large set of materials (for IPR); no knowledge of where third party materials were sourced
  8. Getting into trouble with a rights holder or being sued
  9. Copyright legislation made tighter and more restrictive
  10. Empty or fragmented repositories or low quality
  11. Will the OERs get used by other people once they are published?
  12. Lack of engagement at faculty level. Cultural shift may be needed to persuade academic staff.
  13. Lack of understanding about OERs and Creative Commons licences by academics
  14. Academic disconnection because of job concerns
  15. Losing the ‘context’ (pedagogical, for instance) – in an attempt to make the OERs ‘generic’ and reusable by others
  16. No policies created for continuing/ sustaining gains made after OSTRICH project
  17. Metadata!

DREAMS

  1. Delivery on time and successful outcomes for Derby staff
  2. Culture of openly critiquing; learning from each other’s practice
  3. Personal ‘promotion’ within the academic community: ‘If my stuff gets used, I’m good!’
  4. Much improved institutional visibility worldwide and potential to create some material to market and promote the institution: prospective students will look at OERs rather than glossy brochures
  5. Is seen as a good thing to be involved in (CSR issues)
  6. This will reinforce that content is not the most important element. The lecturer/ tutor is!
  7. Cross sector funding for shared resources
  8. More time for teaching!
  9. Increasing the pool of excellent quality, reusable OERs available on the Web: there will be one big, searchable repository, which is a sustainable knowledge base
  10. A big stock of copyright-cleared video educational material
  11. Releasing good quality OERs which are reusable and repurposable
  12. Quality: academics will think twice about the materials they offer to their students; equal level of quality across subjects
  13. OER will be developed with the dynamism of Wikipedia and YouTube
  14. Reversioning made easy
  15. Realisation of all the wonderful ‘free’ stuff already produced – less duplication. Increased awareness, ability and willingness to reuse OERs from other sources before developing from scratch.
  16. Thinking about using 3rd party materials before sourcing – and getting permission or working within licences
  17. All third party rights holders allowing reuse of their materials for free!
  18. Clear intellectual property rights (IPR) policy for Derby
  19. Trigger sustained and substantial adoption of OER at UD
  20. The CORRE model is adapted so that it works within the Derby way of doing things
  21. Simple mashup tools for direct academic use
  22. Easily cascaded knowledge and good networking between Leicester, Derby and Bath. Good practice shared by all OSTRICH members.
  23. Having enthusiastic and cooperative contributors of materials
  24. Encourage cross-departmental working for new Dept (LEI) at Derby

We are confident that, by drawing on the experience of the OTTER project, and the collective experience of the OSTRICH team, we will be able to avoid (or minimize) the nightmares – and live the dreams!

Gabi Witthaus, 29 Oct 2010

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The University of Bath has rolled up its sleeves in preparation for the creation and release of at least 100 credits’ worth of teaching materials as open educational resources (OERs). A workshop led by members of the OSTRICH project team from Leicester (Ale, Tania and myself), with the project team and academic contributors from Bath, marked a milestone in the startup of the project. The main aim was for the Leicester group to share knowledge based on our experiences of the OTTER project.

Yesterday morning’s session involved the core project team members from Bath (Andy, Vic and Julian), along with members of staff responsible for all matters related to intellectual property rights (IPR) and copyright in the institution (Kerena, Phil and Cara). Tania, Leicester’s copyright administrator, gave a summary of the IPR issues that had been encountered in the OTTER project, and a comprehensive account of how we had dealt with the challenges that had arisen. It was clear that Bath intends to take a rigorous approach to copyright management in the project.

The afternoon involved just the core project team, with the addition of Marie, who is planning to produce OERs in collaboration with a number of Bath’s partner institutions. This session focused on the workflow templates and spreadsheets that we had devised during the course of the OTTER project, which the Bath team will enhance and adapt to suit their own context. We also had an in-depth discussion on our respective responsibilities and commitments to one another and to the project.

This morning we met with the academics who have committed themselves to, or are considering, contributing OERs to the project. We started by eliciting everybody’s dreams and nightmares about OERs, which generated some interesting discussions on the purpose of OERs, the business model for producing and using OERs, the benefits for institutions and academics in producing OERs, and the challenges involved in incorporating other people’s OERs into our own teaching materials. The dreams and nightmares fed nicely into Ale’s presentation on FAQs (what our ex-colleague Sahm used to call ‘Frequently Avoided Questions’) about OERs. Ale and I were excited about the high level of enthusiasm for the project and the commitment to designing for openness that was evident.

This afternoon we had a ‘debriefing’ session amongst the core project team members, in which we discussed the next steps, mainly around liaising with academic contributors to help them implement the CORRE OER framework and processes. We rounded off the two days by developing a plan for internal, stakeholder-driven evaluation, which will complement and feed into the summative external evaluation at the end of the project.

Arising out of all these discussions, it is already clear that OSTRICH will go beyond the OTTER project outcomes by addressing the following challenges:

  • Managing workflow and information sharing in a virtual team – we will experiment with a Moodle space, to be created by Julian.
  • Implementing a more systematic approach to creating metadata for OERs
  • Gathering and collating data from key stakeholders at Bath (academic contributors, senior management, Directors of Studies, Students’ Union) about perceptions on OERs, as well as feedback on the cascade process and the quality of OERs released, as part of the internal evaluation process
  • Trialling a version of the CORRE framework in which contributors have more ownership of the process, as opposed to the original version of CORRE as piloted in the OTTER project, in which responsibility for all processes leading up to release of the OER rested with a centralised team. The new model has been nicknamed D-CORRE, the D standing for ‘devolved’.

I’m looking forward to seeing this all unfold.

Gabi Witthaus, 15 Oct 2010

(Edited 18 Oct)

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