The recent JISC meeting on 22 September marked the start of the next round of the JISC/HEA Open Educational Resources programme – or ‘OER II’ as we refer to it. The day was very useful in many ways; introducing new release projects to the range of work which took place across the pilot programme, allowing those involved in the pilots to give advice and feedback to those new to OER, and also providing discussion for the strand project looking at ‘cascading’ OER and using ‘collections’ of OER. The slides from the start up day give an overview of the background factors which all of the projects will engage with (IPR and copyright, technical and depositing strategies, evaluation, and overall programme management).
For the afternoon session I was involved in discussions for our other C-SAP OER II project in the collections strand, however our co-director Helen Howard did a great job of feeding back the headlines of our pilot project to a new audience, and then in discussing approaches to the cascading OER with other projects in the same strand. We are, of course, all right at the start of this (draft project plans recently sent off!), but already there are some common threads amongst the 5 cascade projects that are useful to note. In no particular order, some of those are:
- working across FE/HE to cascade and share OER
- barriers and incentives to OER use and release across institution types
- capacity building and ‘readiness’ – cascading support and guidance to allow people to use and create OER
- case study methodologies
- collaborative project ethos, working together
- iterative ongoing evaluation
- diverse subject areas
- involvement of students
- integration with curriculum design / review and OER
All of the projects funded in the cascade strand are working to various extent with these issues and themes, and all are looking forward to engaging with institutional partners who are new to the OER landscape and the services, resources, and other material which is now available (a good part resulting from the OER pilot programme). New projects also recognised some of the challenges that will occur as we progress, from dealing with institutional admin to the whole notion of sustainability in OER – one of the themes of the pilot which is difficult to ‘evidence’ (much more detail in the excellent pilot synthesis evaluation framework – part of our task in leading a cascade strand will be in communicating the messages from this to our projects). But whatever the challenges, we look forward to working closely with our partners over the next year, and contributing to this next phase of the OER programme.