Research Overview

by Beck Pitt (OEPS project)

I’m excited to be able to tell you a bit more about what the research component of the OEPS project will be doing over the duration of the project and how we fit with the rest of the project. So, without further ado…

Who is responsible for the research?

Researchers based at the Institute of Educational Technology (IET), The Open University (UK) will be responsible for delivering the research components of the OEPS project. Led by Professor Martin Weller with researchers Dr Beck Pitt and Dr Bea de los Arcos, and expertise from across IET including our Learning and Teaching team (for example in relation to learning design or accessibility) we will work collaboratively with different stakeholder groups to ensure that the research and materials we deliver have real impact and build capacity across Scotland through our research.

Martin, Beck and Bea also work on the OER Research Hub project, which is an open research project investigating the impact of OER on learning and teaching. The project works collaboratively with projects, initiatives and organisations around the world and curates and releases its data and evidence via the OER Impact Map (which we’ll be developing further as part of the OEPS project). We’ve also been involved in lots of other OER and OEP related projects. If you’re interested in finding out a bit more about us, what we do or where we are based, check out our profiles via the relevant hyperlinks.

What will the research component of the project cover?

The project’s research will deliver in four specific areas or work packages, some of them specifically research focused (e.g. the case studies) but others utilizing the team’s expertise in other areas such as open course design or accessibility:

  • A community-created best practice guide and course focused on developing capacity and best practice in OER and OEP;
  • A series of Scottish OER and OEP research case studies;
  • A participatory map of Scottish OEP and OER;
  • A thrice-yearly cycle of workshops on various facets of OEP and OER.

How does this relate to the project’s overall deliverables?

The research team will be producing outputs that contribute toward the following five of the overall project deliverables:

  • Mapping current practice of OEP and related work in Scotland;
  • Awareness raising of Open education;
  • Developing the concept of OEP in the Scottish context;
  • Developing an evidence base of effective practice;
  • Evaluating economic models of open practice.

And what about the methodology and research questions for the case studies?

We’re working on that at the moment so look out for our more detailed plan very early Spring 2015. The aim is to produce a range of structured case studies across different sectors that, through reuse of existing openly available research tools (i.e. OERRH project survey questions), will produce directly comparable research findings. This will enable the OEPS project research findings to be recontextualised internationally. To facilitate this, we’ll be drawing on prior work conducted as part of the OER Research Hub and the openly available research data we have collected.

More specifically the case studies will be structured by research questions and themes including: widening participation, digital participation, social justice and non-traditional learners, the particularity of the Scottish context and access. We’ll also be looking at cost savings, the role of OER/OEP in a variety of contexts, and how OER and OEP can be sustainable.

The research component of the project has been designed so that outputs or deliverables for one research work package contribute to what we’re delivering elsewhere. For example, recordings of particular workshop sessions will be made available on open licenses via YouTube but might also feature as part of the course. In the instance of the case studies these will be made openly available via our map whilst some will also feature in our best practice guide and course or be reused elsewhere in the project. We are also planning a Scotland wide survey that will launch Summer 2015; the findings from this will also be made openly available.

To develop the case studies we’re hoping to involve as many different organisations, workplaces and projects as possible. To facilitate different types of collaboration we’re developing a flexible case study model which will enable as many different people to collaborate with us, at a level they feel suits them best. We can add your project to our map and if you’d be happy to participate in a short interview on what you are doing and have us write up a short case study, that’s great too!

In examining the impact of OER and OEPS, by being transparent in the way we conduct and structure our research and working collaboratively, we’ll contribute to building capacity and highlight the important role that evaluating the impact of OER and OEP has in producing evidence that helps others make decisions about their own use of OER/OEP.

So tell me more about the course…

The developing capacity and best practice in OER and OEP course will be hosted on OpenLearn Works and be openly licensed so that others can develop it further. A draft outline will be available for comment both at the Advisory Forum in March 2015 and online. Inspired by the development of open textbooks via the sprint method utilized by BCcampus, Siyavula and others, we’ll be holding a sprint to develop material for the course either as part of a workshop at a particular institution or as a separate event. Once we’re ready to go, we’ll be making the whole course available for community review and feedback in a similar vein to courses that are developed for the P2PU platform.

Of course, in developing our open course we’ll also be looking to reuse as much of the great OER that already exists out there as well as adding in our own openly licensed assets (e.g. interviews, workshop sessions and keynote speaker sessions). Similarly, in developing the best practice guide we’ll be adding detail from our case studies and adding examples of OEP and OER, survey results, examples of projects etc. to our map of OEP and OER in Scotland.

How can I get involved?

We need you! From feedback on the course, to letting us know about a great initiative at your organization or workplace, to finding out more about how to collaborate with us or to working with us to host a workshop at your institution or place of work we would love to hear from you.

More detail on the workshops will be available on the Research tab shortly. In the meantime, please don’t hesitate to drop us a line (you can email Beck or the OEPS mailbox) or comment below if you have any questions or want to make contact!

About Beck Pitt

Open Education Researcher at The Open University (UK) and trained philosopher.

Posted on February 2, 2015, in Announcement, Progress, Research and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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