We've now hit the stage in the OSTRICH project here at the University of Bath where our understanding of the OER environment is really taking shape. And with more experience of the processes involved under our belts, the issues and challenges of creating or converting OERs for our institutional context are beginning to show as emerging themes.
- Intellectual property rights and copyright issues
- What makes a reusable OER: an understanding of audience/end-user and of the use and reuse cycle
- The sustainability of the OER creation/conversion process
Many of these themes were echoed in discussions at last month's dissemination event for UKOLN. This talk with an invited audience and live stream online saw myself and Alex Lydiate (Educational Software and Systems Devloper in the e-Learning Team) explaining the context of the OSTRICH OER project, describing the build of the OSTRICH repository and highlighting the emergent themes at this mid-way point in the project.
The audience was a mix of information professionals, research staff and data managers. It made for some interesting discussions that mirrored many of the themes that have been raised both in the Synthesis and Evaluation stage of the pilot JISC programme and in recent conversations at programme level events for Phase Two.
The discoverability of resources was considered of great importance. It was useful to hear an end-user perspective on this in the form of Library Services staff who advise academic staff on locating suitable resources and struggling to find their way through the maze of available OERs.
This was followed by a debate about metadata; the need to get the balance right between adequate metadata to ensure discoverability of resources and the impact that providing this information has on staff time and their willingness to engage with OER. This naturally led on to a technical discussion around the automation of metadata collection and options for the presentation of metadata to enhance discoverability of OERs.
It was really useful to engage with a wider OER audience in this way and the conversations we had will provide a valuable input into our evaluations of the project and the processes we've been developing recently.