OER World Map

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OER Academic Practice in Higher Education


Aims of the project: To create an index to Academic Practice related Open Educational Resources (OER) in the UK.


As part of the work undertaken in this SCORE fellowship, an OER was created entitled “OER Academic Practice in Higher Education”. This study unit draws together a selection of OER materials that can be used by Academic practitioners, and others, in the Higher Education (HE) community. Although initially intended to be a collection of signposts to UK based OER, a selection of international Academic Practice OER have also been included, especially from the US and Australian OER communities.


The creation of this unit involved establishing a Moodle based template and applying XML coding to the contents. Signposts, primarily to UK OER but also to international Academic Practice OER were collected and added to the unit index. Regular attendance at the Fellows monthly ‘Last Thursday’ meetings offered the Teaching Fellow the opportunity to draw on colleagues’ experience that was complementary but significantly different to that already discovered. In addition feedback on the unit was gathered from a variety of sources including from those attending a number of JISC/HEA related events.

Dissemination activity included displaying an associated OER Academic Practice poster, numerous presentations and a variety of workshops delivered at a number of venues including different JISC/HEA events in the UK (e.g. DELILAH, London), the OER11 conference (Cambridge), the OpenCourseWare Consortium 2011 conference (Cambridge, Mass, USA) , the Open Education 2010 Conference (Barcelona, Spain), and the ALT Conference 2011 (Leeds).


The OER study unit is currently divided into five sections:

The Introduction gives an overview of the unit and establishes its learning outcomes. Section 2, What is Academic Practice in UK Higher Education? considers topics such as Identity, the UK Professional Standards Framework, Teaching and Learning communities, as well as national and international support networks. The third section collates a variety of OER developed specifically for use in the Academic Practice area, while section 4 is dedicated to OER for use in a wide range of discipline subjects, both in the UK and worldwide, together with a comprehensive list of links to repositories to assist users on how to find OER. Finally, the last section catalogues the first two phases of JISC HEA OER projects, which have made a significant amount of existing learning resources freely available online. Additionally, each section contains an array of quick links to other pertinent materials.

Outcomes and conclusion

The development of this resource reinforces the importance of having access to a network of colleagues/OER practitioners, as the work often involved consultation with colleagues’ expertise. It also involved the use of OER and associated search engines. There is no doubt that awareness of such a valuable resource needs to be raised, but questions relating to its sustainability will also require that it remains up to date and relevant.

It was last updated in March 2011 thus giving a snapshot of OER Academic Practice up to that time. Since then, for example, JISC/HEA have released a third phase of OER related funded projects.

The unit is available online at http://labspace.open.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=5732

Case study by Teresa Connolly, published online at https://web.archive.org/web/20130510222409/http://www.open.ac.uk/score/oer-academic-practice-higher-education under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

Teresa Connolly, OER Academic Practice in Higher Education, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.