OER has a broader potential for learning and teaching than simply making resources publicly available. Widely available learning content, is fundamentally changing the relationship between students and their institutions as sources of expertise. On a related note, we made the issue of student engagement key element of the cascade project bid for the second phase of the OER programme, where we are looking at ways in which can be integrated sustainably into curriculum design processes in a manner which effectively engages the students. We are also planning to involve students at partner institutions in the process of reviewing the cascade support framework. While the framework for student engagement will keep evolving in the course of our project, in the meantime we decided to revisit the pilot project to learn about experiences of the individual strand projects who have been engaging directly with learners,
Overall, the consensus from the individual strand projects was that students support the open sharing of teaching and learning resources and view OERs as supplementary resources that could improve the quality of their learner experience. In terms of potential benefits, OER can make it easier for students to access materials on topics that cannot easily be accommodated within the main curriculum. Furthermore, students can also benefit from applying knowledge in a wider context than their course would otherwise allow, such as for instance international dimension. Interestingly, in terms of students’ own readiness to share, according to the OTTER project at University of Leicester, a third of students say they would not be willing to turn their own materials(e.g. lecture notes) into OERs and share them with other students. At the same time, the involvement of students in producing OERs introduces additional issues related to IPR and copyright since not all universities have a clear IP ownership policy for student work. Hopefully, the forthcoming meeting with the phase II project partners in October will be a great opportunity to discuss these issues and start embedding student engagement within the cascade framework.