Leveraging passion for open practice

Day 27 March 2013, Time: 12:00-12:30 Room: A03

#oer13 #abs27


Joanna Wild, Researcher, University of Oxford, Joanna.Wild@it.ox.ac.uk
Anna-Comas-Quinn, Lecturer in Spanish at the Department of Languages, The Open University, Anna.Comas-Quinn@open.ac.uk (presenting)
Jackie Carter, Director of National Repository and Senior Manager, University of Manchester, Jackie.Carter@manchester.ac.uk


Since 2011, many UK Open Educational Resources (OER) research and development projects (e.g. Masterman & Wild 2011, Follows et al 2012, Nikoi & Armellini 2012) have focused their attention on the issue of reuse of OER. The JISC- commissioned OER Impact Study (Wild & Masterman 2011) identified benefits of using OER in teaching in Higher Education and listed factors conducive to uptake of OER. In acknowledging the importance of institutional support in raising lectures’ engagement with open educational resources and open educational practices, the study recommended that institutions “capitalise on existing professional development activities in order to foster a voluntary culture of sharing and reuse.” Building on the ‘Impact’ study, the SCORE-funded OER Engagement Study (Wild 2012) explored 1) how OER is being promoted in UK higher education institutions, and 2) what steps lecturers need to take when moving from ‘novice’ to ‘expert’ OER users.

The main outcome of the study – the OER Engagement Ladder – models progression stages in lecturers’ engagement with OER reuse. The four stages: ‘none’, ‘piecemeal’, ‘strategic’ and ‘embedded’ describe lecturers’ behaviours in using OER. The three steps: ‘understanding’, ‘need’ and ‘reflection’ each represent a change in lecturers’ awareness with regards to OER, which, in turns, triggers a change in behaviour and takes a person from one stage to another.

By capturing 1) how engagement with OER manifests itself in people’s behaviours and attitudes in various stages of progression from ‘novice’ to ‘expert’ users and 2) what factors impinge on a person’s engagement with OER, the ‘Engagement’ study potentially offers a framework onto which the institutional OER promotional activities and support services can be mapped and assessed for their integrity and completeness. Alternatively, it could be used to guide the process of building up from scratch a network of support around the use of OER.

This paper examines two possible application scenarios for the framework from two different disciplinary contexts: Languages and Quantitative Methods teaching.

In the first example, we use the framework to assess the degree to which teachers at the Department of Languages, The Open University, UK, have engaged with OER reuse following the introduction of LORO, a departmental open repository of teaching materials for languages. The model helps us assess the success of various community building and user engagement initiatives designed to raise awareness and embed open practices for the creation and reuse of teaching materials.

In the second we consider the potential of the framework to an emerging community of open practitioners, quantitative social science teachers. The UK is investing in Quantitative Methods (QM) teaching at the undergraduate level, through a number of initiatives as a consequence of the need to “combat the skills deficit in quantitative research methods across the social science research base“ (ESRC (2012); Nuffield (2012)). The open sharing of teaching resources and practice developed through these programmes of activity stand to benefit from a structured framework to engagement.

Based on these two examples, we discuss the usefulness of the OER Engagement Ladder as a diagnostic and/or developmental tool for use by OER promoters. We also consider possible implications of setting the ‘embedded’ level as a desirable goal.


ESRC (2012) Economic and Social research Council Quantitative Methods Initiative. http://www.esrc.ac.uk/funding-and-guidance/tools-and-resources/research-resources/initiatives/qmi.aspx (accessed 31.10.2012).

Nuffield (2012) Nuffield Foundation Quantitative Methods Programme http://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/quantitative-methods-programme (accessed 31.10.2012).

Follows, C., Gruszczynska, A., Ming, Nie., Wild, J. (2012) Examples and issues in OER Use and Reuse. HEA/JISC Open Educational Resources Case Study: Pedagogical development from OER. To be published.

Masterman, L. & Wild, J. (2011). OER Impact Study: Research Report. JISC Open Educational Resources Programme: Phase 2. University of Oxford: http://bit.ly/Lajesu.

Nikoi, S., & Armellini A. (2012). The OER mix in higher education: purpose, process, product, and policy. Distance Education. 33(2), p. 165 - 184.

Wild, J. (2012) OER Engagement Study: Promoting OER reuse among academics. Research report from the SCORE funded project: http://bit.ly/UEcbPi.


Further details

Subject areas: STEM, Arts and Humanities

Target audience: Senior managers, Managers, Others

Theme: Experience

Keywords: OER, OEP, engagement, support,

Mrs Joanna Wild, Research Officer, University of Oxford twitter: @askawild

Leveraging passion for open practice at #oer13 with two examples: language teaching & quantitative methods


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