"Do Open Educational Resources Improve Student Learning? Implications of the Access Hypothesis"

Phillip J. Grimaldi et al. have published "Do Open Educational Resources Improve Student Learning? Implications of the Access Hypothesis" in PLoS ONE.

Here's an excerpt:

Open Educational Resources (OER) have been lauded for their ability to reduce student costs and improve equity in higher education. Research examining whether OER provides learning benefits have produced mixed results, with most studies showing null effects. We argue that the common methods used to examine OER efficacy are unlikely to detect positive effects based on predictions of the access hypothesis. The access hypothesis states that OER benefits learning by providing access to critical course materials, and therefore predicts that OER should only benefit students who would not otherwise have access to the materials. Through the use of simulation analysis, we demonstrate that even if there is a learning benefit of OER, standard research methods are unlikely to detect it.

Research Data Curation Bibliography, Version 9 | Digital Curation and Digital Preservation Works | Open Access Works | Digital Scholarship | Digital Scholarship Sitemap

"Strategies for Supporting OER Adoption through Faculty and Instructor Use of a Federated Search Tool"

Talea Anderson and Chelsea Leachman have published "Strategies for Supporting OER Adoption through Faculty and Instructor Use of a Federated Search Tool" in the Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication.

Here's an excerpt:

INTRODUCTION Open educational resources (OER) are gaining traction in higher education and becoming accepted by academics as a viable means for delivering course content. However, these resources can be difficult to find and use, both due to low visibility and confusion about licensing. This article describes one university’s work with faculty members to identify barriers in their search process when they are looking to adopt OER. DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM A scholarly communication librarian and science librarian partnered to collect faculty and instructor reactions to a particular OER search tool, with the intention of better understanding the difficulties encountered during the search process. Eight interviews were conducted as participants were asked about their preferences when it comes to locating OER, understanding licensing information, and adopting materials for class. NEXT STEPS From these interviews, the librarians identified practical recommendations for instruction/liaison librarians and technical services/systems librarians as they continue working to support faculty and instructors through the OER discovery and selection process. These recommendations relate to four themes uncovered in interviews with faculty and instructors: the need for increased transparency in search tools, the importance of intuitive narrowing and broadening features in search tools, the need for detailed and consistent metadata in OER records, and the need for clarity in intellectual property statements. The librarians note that these recommendations might best be pursued through wide-scale collaboration across library units and, more generally, between libraries, consortia, and institutions.

Research Data Curation Bibliography, Version 9 | Digital Curation and Digital Preservation Works | Open Access Works | Digital Scholarship | Digital Scholarship Sitemap

EdSpace: An Educationally Focussed Repository for the University of Southampton. Final Report.

JISC has released EdSpace: An Educationally Focussed Repository for the University of Southampton. Final Report..

Here's an excerpt:

For some years, digital content has been stored in our VLE, but the VLE does not encourage sharing or re-use. EdShare is intended to act as the storage for the VLE, storing our everyday teaching materials such as presentations, hand-outs, reading lists, assignments etc., so that they can easily be viewed by others and re-used in whole or part as appropriate.

Important design principles of this share were:

  • Ease of use The share should be open to anyone to access, whether logged-in or not; any logged in member of the university can upload resources and comment on others. The user interface should be simple to use and fully accessible
  • Minimal metadata We acknowledge that requiring metadata is a barrier to use, and that search engines do a large part of the job based on free text. Web 2.0 style recommendations complement the search engines
  • Permanent URLs Every share entered in EdShare, and the description of the resource, are allocated unique and permanent URLs, which can be used to refer to them from external programs – for example VLEs such as Blackboard
  • Open Access to the descriptions, but user controlled access to the content. Anyone in the world can browse or search to discover what items are in EdShare (i.e. they can see the description), but the depositing user can control the visibility of the actual resource. The default is to allow visibility within the university, but it is possible to make the visibility wider (the whole world) or narrower (only my school, or even only the depositor and named collaborators). . . .

EdShare has been implemented as open source software on top of E-Prints, and the team are committed to working with others in supporting other institutions, or cross-institutional disciplinary consortia, to make both the technical and educational changes that we have benefited from.

JISC Final Report—CTREP, Cambridge TETRA Repositories Enhancement Project

JISC has released JISC Final Report—CTREP, Cambridge TETRA Repositories Enhancement Project .

Here's an excerpt:

CTREP created a connector between an Institutional VRE and an Institutional Repository. It is designed to be reusable in a number of different institutions where policy on deposit varies by means of a flexible deposit configuration system. In the process of executing the project:

  • the various stakeholders came to understand institutional cultural differences and address them in such a way that recent projects with a strong Repository and research dissemination/visualisation aspect have been more joined up than would previously have been possible
  • we developed an approach to policy expression designed both to avoid creating unnecessary tension within the institution during its development, and also to be authorable by a wide range of individuals
  • we have sought to record and capture lessons learnt (based, in part on case studies) for future institutionalisation projects
  • we developed a number of techniques which allowed apparent barriers to integration to be overcome by technical-architectural tools
  • we open-sourced the integration
  • we modified our approach to metadata/data binding in light of community feedback and developed a spreadsheet-based automated approach with which contributors felt comfortable, but which required a number of technical obstacles to be overcome through the use of creative programming techniques.

Digital Repositories Roadmap Review: Towards a Vision for Research and Learning in 2013

JISC has released Digital Repositories Roadmap Review: Towards a Vision for Research and Learning in 2013.

Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

The review is structured into two parts. Firstly it makes a number of recommendations targeted at the JISC Executive. The review then goes on to identify a number of milestones of relevance to the wider community that might act as a measure of progress towards the wider vision of enhanced scholarly communication. Achievement of these milestones would be assisted by JISC through its community work and funding programmes. The review addresses repositories for research outputs, research data and learning materials in separate sections.


Blended Research and Learning Object Repository: JISC Final Report—CIRCLE

The Oxford Brookes University's Common Institutional Repositories for Collaborative Learning Environments (CIRCLE) project has released JISC Final Report—CIRCLE.

Here's an excerpt:

The university has established a pilot repository system, linked to the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) that can be used for storing both teaching and research objects. The project has allowed us to look in depth at the needs of a wide range of stakeholders, including schools, researchers, Library staff, central IT staff and students. . . .

The software chosen for the project (Intralibrary) was developed as a learning object repository, and so a large part of our work involved configuring the software to deal with research outputs. Although Intralibrary can be adapted to deal with research, the project found that further work was needed for the software to meet all the requirements of the pilot groups. The university has an urgent need to establish a research archive and has therefore decided to pilot an alternative repository solution called Equella from The Learning Edge International. This follow-up project is called RADAR (Research Archive and Digital Asset Repository).

We feel that the knowledge and experience gained during the CIRCLE project have been extremely valuable and have paved the way for the development and rollout of the university’s repository. We have also explored the wider relationship between the repository and content management systems already in use in schools, ranging from Intranet to bespoke systems. The project has made a start on a co-ordinated approach to managing digital assets that will have clear benefits for schools and the university as a whole.

"SWORD: Cutting Through the Red Tape to Populate Learning Materials Repositories"

JISC has released "SWORD: Cutting Through the Red Tape to Populate Learning Materials Repositories."

Here's the abstract:

This in-depth article by Sarah Currier, the Product Manager for Intrallect Ltd., introduces SWORD (Simple Web-service Offering Repository Deposit) to those interested in sharing, reuse, repurposing and management of teaching and learning materials. The article provides an overview of the tool, technical details of how SWORD works and four case study vignettes, or SWORD Stories, on work that is already under way, which illustrate how SWORD streamlines the process of depositing learning materials into repositories.

NISO Holds Final Thought Leader Meeting on Research Data

NISO (the National Information Standards Organization) has held its final Thought Leader meeting on the topic of research data. A short summary of the meeting is available at “NISO Brings Together Data Thought Leaders.”

Earlier this year, NISO held Thought Leader meetings on institutional repositories, digital library and collections, and e-learning and course management systems. Final reports are available for the institutional repositories and digital library and collections meetings.

Open Educational Resources—Opportunities and Challenges for Higher Education

JISC CETIS has published Open Educational Resources—Opportunities and Challenges for Higher Education.

Here's an excerpt:

This briefing paper provides the background to the current development of and future trends around OER aimed at adding to our understanding, stimulating ongoing debate among the JISC community and developing a research agenda. The briefing is structured in three sections:

  • Discussion on the conceptual and contextual issues of Open Educational Resources.
  • A review of current OER initiatives: their scale, approaches, main issues and challenges.
  • Discussion on trends emerging in Open Educational Resources, with respect to future research and activities.

JorumOpen, UK Repository for Creative Commons Licensed Educational Materials, Announced

JISC has announced JorumOpen, a national repository of open access educational materials under Creative Commons licenses.

Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

It was announced today that Jorum, the UK national repository for learning and teaching materials funded by JISC, is to offer open educational resources. This will make it easier for lecturers and teaching staff to share and re-use each other's teaching resources. JorumOpen—as it will be called—will also provide a showcase for UK universities and colleges on the international stage. . . .

Jorum is managed jointly by EDINA and Mimas, the two National Academic Data Centres funded by JISC at the Universities of Edinburgh and Manchester. During the first phase of Jorum's development, the focus has been on building a system that safeguards investment in digital learning resources and offers controlled access to licensed materials. The result is a service that supports access to over 2,500 learning resources for download for direct use in the classroom and within virtual learning environments (VLEs).

Through the development of JorumOpen, lecturers and teachers will be able to share materials under the Creative Commons licence framework: this makes sharing easier, granting users greater rights for use and re-use of online content and easier to understand. Importantly, it does not require prior registration. As a result availability is global as well as across UK universities and colleges. JorumOpen will run alongside a 'members only' facility, JorumEducationUK, that will support sharing of material just within the UK educational sector; this will be available only to registered users and contributors, as is currently the case.

Review of the Jorum Workflow Report Released

JISC has signed off on the Review of the Jorum Workflow report, and it has been released. Jorum is a UK digital repository of learning and teaching materials.

Here's an excerpt from the "Executive Summary":

The report begins by providing an overview of the original Jorum Workflow model (section 3.2) and illustrates how it was implemented into the Jorum repository software (section 3.3). A general review of the original model is then provided by discussing feedback received from major stakeholders in the Jorum Workflow process (section 3.4), and the section is concluded by exploring specific issues and modifications made to the original design (section 3.5).

Section 4 considers workflow research being undertaken by similar projects involved with learning object repositories. The projects discussed in this section are included due to their focus on learning objects repositories and similarities and relevance to Jorum. Conclusions and recommendations from these projects are then considered under potential new developments and strategies for the Jorum workflow, which is presented in the penultimate section of the report (section 5).

The final section of this report reflects on the Jorum workflow review and conclusions made by existing research. Finally, recommendations are provided to indicate potential areas of development and project monitoring.

PEDESTAL: Web 2.0 Meets Repositories at Loughborough

The JISC-funded Rights and Rewards Project at Loughborough University has made its proof-of-concept PEDESTAL system public, which uses Web 2.0 concepts in a learning repository.

Here’s an excerpt from the About: PEDESTAL page:

PEDESTAL is a demonstrator teaching and learning material repository. PEDESTAL is a service, which has been developed by the Engineering Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (EngCETL), for Loughborough staff to share their teaching material and expertise with other peers. . . .

PEDESTAL is not just about the sharing content, each user has their own blog which can be used to capture user’s thoughts and interests. Links to useful documents or webpage’s can be recorded, which also may be of interest to many others.PEDESTAL boasts a search mechanism. Within PEDESTAL, a search may retrieve more than just content. For example, a search using the term ‘Digital Photography’ may return;

  • Items to embed in to teaching (textual resources, diagrams, images etc)
  • Items to inform the teaching and learning process (teaching exemplars, how to guides)
  • A list of people who are interested in ‘Digital Photography’
  • A list of blog postings that have the term ‘Digital Photography’ within them

PEDESTAL is much different than a Virtual Learning Environment (Learn). The latter is structured around course modules and is a mechanism which delivers teaching material (usually specific to a course or module) to students. PEDESTAL is structured around people—i.e. the users. Each user is given a personal profile page which can be customised to show their teaching and research interests.

For further information, see the About: 10 Things About PEDESTAL page.