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Thursday, October 18 • 2:30pm - 3:15pm
Answering the questions of openness

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Practitioners considering using Open Educational Resources (OER) seek (i) the evidence that openness works, and (ii) models of openness which may be followed. The desire for evidence and guidance reflects the challenges faced by any new area of learning technology, but is particularly timely for OER as the potential to move to the mainstream is made increasingly obvious through major initiatives and high profile launches. Research across a range of activities involving themed research strands, studies and gathering of data has shown that there are models that we can follow and shared questions that need answers. Taking a reconstructive approach to existing research, we present a set of critical factors that emerge, each of which links to activity within the community and requirements from practitioners, and we show examples that provide possible answers.

There is a need for open education and its advocates to encourage mutual sharing of data in support of the objectives of the movement as a whole. Openness in education can be disruptive to existing pedagogical and business models. By piecing together data from a range of educational contexts both formal (K12, college, higher education) and informal (repositories, MOOCs, open online courses) we can assess the impact that different initiatives have had and plan for future learning from experience in each sector. A hybrid research and practice framework combines applying research findings to help make progress while at the same time seeking to further build up those findings and exemplars. By working with organisations from the open education movement from around the world to collate and analyse evidence of OER use we can start to build scalable frameworks for open solutions that are tailored to a variety of contexts. Thus, on the basis of data from the OLnet OER Evidence Hub, we argue that the way forward is to value partial pieces of evidence while clarifying their basis and appreciating the contexts in which they can apply; we can then help new projects and initiatives to make good choices as they work with Open Educational Resources and Open Educational Practices. This should be understood as an active and open process of extending and refining our knowledge about what works and why. The emerging picture suggests that some of the standard issues of OER – quality, sustainability, reuse – should not be thought of as OER issues per se, while remaining challenges can be divided into three categories: challenges of preparation; research challenges and emergent challenges (see http://www.open.ac.uk/blogs/openminded/?p=523 for graphic).

In this presentation we will show the summarised challenges, map these across initiatives and pick out key exemplars selected from cases where we have had OLnet research or Fellowship connections such as in copyright solutions to influence policy of Creative Commons, access approach of TESSA, cultural work within UNESCO, and assessment and social interaction of P2PU. Collation of individual evidence offers the potential to see generic answers. We will invite interactive discussion and be prepared to match individual problems to potential solutions, or, perhaps, as new issues to be investigated.

avatar for Rob Farrow

Rob Farrow

Senior Research Fellow, The Open University
Senior Research Fellow @openuniversity / Open Education through a philosophical lens / Projects: @oer_hub @gogn_oer Project URLS:https://encoreproject.eu/http://go-gn.net/https://emc.eadtu.eu/emc-lm/http://oerhub.net/

Thursday October 18, 2012 2:30pm - 3:15pm PDT

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