OER1003 Oral Presentation ppt

Exploring institutional attitudes to open learning, the BERLiN experience

Andy Beggan, University of Nottingham

Conference Theme: Open education communities

Abstract: BERLiN (Building Exchanges for Research and Learning in Nottingham), is a 12-month JISC-funded project to enhance and expand Nottingham’s existing Open Educational Repository (OER), u-Now , one of the first OERs in the UK and a member of the international Open Courseware Consortium. The aim of the project is to progress the vision of sustainable OERs by making 360 credits of existing learning resources freely available online. Over the last 12 months, the BERLiN project team has increased the amount of open learning material available on u-Now. This has led us to re-examine u-Now and to explore the broader benefits of publishing learning materials openly for Nottingham academics and hence how they can be encouraged to participate. The benefits for contributing OER are varied and bring with them their own challenges. Mechanisms to encourage adoption and re-use within individual contexts are required to realize many of the benefits offered by OER. It is not always appropriate or desirable to make materials created for delivery within a blended context available openly without support mechanisms for use and re-use. To that end, it continues to be a careful balancing act to ensure the needs of both the content providers and end-users are met. At Nottingham, three principal reasons for publishing OER materials have been identified: social responsibility, promotional opportunities and cost efficiencies/time management. During 2009, the BERLiN project team explored the barriers preventing the adoption of OER through a series of academic and student focus groups, organized to explore how the publication and re-use of open learning materials is perceived at Nottingham. The detailed results were illuminating though they did confirm our suspicions that anxieties lay in areas such as the fear of loss of control, legal or moral restrictions, time and effort required, quality controls and the extent to which the numerous forms of teaching can be represented in OER. The results of the focus group investigations, and the strategies developed to enhance OER submission and reuse will be discussed during this presentation. The presentation will also include a demonstration of the U-Now OER, facilitating continued participation with audience members.

Keywords: OERUK, JISC-BERLiN, Nottingham, U-Now