Presentation at OER11, 11 May 2011

Developing workflow models for the creation of sustainable Open Educational Resources: Built in or bolted on?

Conference slides (PDF)

Abstract
In this presentation, we discuss issues involved in the development of workflow models for the creation of sustainable OERs, with reference to a case study of a JISC- and HEA-funded project called OSTRICH. We define sustainability not just in terms of cost, but more broadly in terms of how OERs might ‘meet provider objectives for scale, quality, production cost, margins and return on investment’ (Downes, 2007: 33); in other words, the ability and desire of both the funders and the providing institutions to continue supporting the release and updating of OERs. Since many of the OER projects in the UK are driven by government funding, the emphasis in national strategy on encouraging the development of OERs for the promotion of UK Higher Education will be outlined, and implications of the potential conflict between conceiving of OERs as both marketing tools and learning materials will be considered. OER project teams are both informed and constrained by the perceptions of sustainability of their institutional managements and funders, and the operational workflow processes that they devise reflect these perceptions and associated tensions.

In the OSTRICH project, the University of Leicester is sharing knowledge gained from a previous OER project (called OTTER) with partners at the Universities of Derby and Bath, and supporting these institutions in adapting the key lessons learnt to their contexts in sustainable ways. At the heart of the knowledge exchange process is a workflow model called CORRE (Content, Openness, Reuse & Repurpose, Evidence), which was developed and piloted at Leicester during OTTER.

The CORRE model has a strong focus on quality at every stage in the process, and involves a high degree of central coordination and curation. The workflow models that are emerging at the partner institutions are tending towards greater devolution of tasks and responsibilities, and potentially a correspondingly greater sense of ownership by participating academics. The presenters will discuss key lessons learnt and challenges arising out of adapting this workflow model to the different needs, contexts and cultures of the two universities, with a focus on the ways in which sustainability is perceived in each institution.

 

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