Presentation at Open Nottingham, 7 April 2011

Some thoughts on OER reuse from Derby to Kabul

Conference slides (PDF)

This is a two-part presentation from members of the JISC and HEA-funded OSTRICH Project at the Universities of Leicester and Derby. Gabi Witthaus will start by reporting on the experience of delivering two workshops on OERs for Afghan academics and students in Kabul in February 2011, as part of a DfID-funded collaboration between the University of Leicester, the Open University and Kabul University.

Approximately 30 academics and six students attended the workshops. Most had never heard of OERs before, and all were eager to find additional sources of teaching and learning materials that could be legally copied, adapted and reused. The workshops involved participants in conducting a search for OERs relevant to their fields of study and then reflecting on the potential advantages and barriers to reuse of OERs in their context. Their reflections on both the process of searching for suitable OERs and the potential reuse of OERs in their learning and teaching, and some implications arising out of this for the wider open access community, will be discussed.

Jamie Grace will then present on the case for the use of OERs in legal pedagogy, with reference to his experience of using OERs in his teaching at the University of Derby.

Transparency in the law and transparency in pedagogy: Firstly: ‘The law’ is freely available (it is a human right, of sorts, to have access to the law in the UK, so that one might engage with one’s right to freedom of expression and right to a fair trial), and typically freely available through texts of decided cases and legislation on the Internet.

Secondly, individuals have the legal right to access our teaching materials through the Freedom of Information Act 2000, where the accessibility of teaching resources is determined by ‘prejudice to commercial interests’.

Thirdly, the publication of more information in a more competitive HE environment, not less, over time, means that it could be in our institutional interests to be more open the world at large about our educational resources.

What we must conclude is that any barrier to the uptake of OERs cannot currently be said to be legal or financial, and must only be due to institutional reticence and an ideology of academic freedom that promotes the development of pedagogic values behind closed doors.

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