This case study provides guidance on discovering, reusing and repurposing of Open Educational Resources (OER). It is presented within the context of research ethics OER for higher education learning and teaching and, together with the OER guidance, provides examples of OER found for this subject area.
In 2009-2011, the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) funded the SHARE project (Supporting, Harnessing and Advancing Repository Enhancement) at Nottingham Trent University (NTU) as part of the JISC Information Environment Programme, to implement and integrate the learning repository in its virtual learning environment, Desire2Learn, within learning and teaching. Unexpectedly, SHARE became a catalyst for raising awareness of Open Educational Resources as colleagues began to discuss and investigate issues with respect to sharing their resources beyond NTU. In an attempt to establish further engagement, in partnership with academic, library and staff development colleagues, the project team developed introductory OER training and support, which is now part of NTU’s online resources and support activities.
When the SHARE project concluded, it recommended that more work could be undertaken to promote further
widespread adoption of OER and to encourage movement beyond awareness to integration within teaching. Additionally, those involved in the project had already noted that some study components were ubiquitous across a range of courses; for example, project management, final-year dissertation and research methods. The identification of these common components had generated discussion with respect to whether institutional ubiquity was reflected in the OER available in these areas and whether a course or part of a course could actually be comprised of OER. This case study, therefore, focuses on the availability of OER in one of these areas, research ethics within the context of research methods.
Creating OER that can be reused and redesigned is particularly challenging for the academic community and it is a challenge acknowledged in William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s 2007 report A Review of the Open Educational Resources (OER) Movement, which posed the question:
How can we create material that can be radically repurposed and remixed where appropriate? (Atkins et al., 2007 p.66)
Lane (2010, p. 7) states that “evidence of significant repurposing other than using study units as is, is limited”. He also argues that ease of reuse and value to learning and teaching pose significant barriers to adoption of OER. Considering these challenges this case study, also, investigates whether:
• a resource discovery case study design can be created that can be reused and repurposed in different disciplines;
• appropriate research ethics OER can be found and repurposed.
As the case study focuses on both the discoverability and reusability of OER the group that was formed to create the case study comprised:
• social sciences academic librarian, who provided advice on resources discovery and copyright issues;
• senior academic/learning and teaching co-ordinator from within social sciences, who provided advice on the academic content;
• senior e-learning developer, who provided advice on reuse.
The case study provides guidance on OER and illustrations of OER for research ethics. To articulate this it is divided into two parts:
• Part 1: An introduction to OER, providing guidance on how to identify OER, the benefits to learning and teaching, quality assurance issues and discovering OER.
• Part 2: Provides illustrations of OER for topics that would be within a Research Ethics study unit in areas of data protection, confidentiality and anonymity, and informed consent, concluding with the positives and negatives of using OER.
With respect to finding and evaluating OER for the case study, this work was divided between the group members. The case study was then written up and presented online using the Wimba Create web authoring tool, which enabled easy navigation through the study and allowed the integration of the identified OER via weblinks. The case study was then shared with NTU staff, using the learning repository tool within NTU’s virtual learning environment Desire2Learn. Staff can then choose to link to the resource or download it to their course within the VLE, which enables them to make changes if they wish.
This extract is from a case study by Anne Liggett, Sharon Potter and Vicki McGarvey, published online at https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/system/files/oer_cs_anne_liggett_research_ethics_oer.pdf under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 UK: England & Wales Licence.