OER Steering Group Meeting – Meeting-4

Wednesday 13thJanuary2010, 10:00-12:30

Location : Queen’s 1C

Progress Report on Open Exeter

1.0 Introduction

The following is a brief report on the progress of the JISC-funded project on Open Educational Resources (OER). The project, called ‘Open Exeter’ runs for one year from 1st May 2009 to 30thApril 2010.

This is the 4rdprogress report. By way of preparation, you may also find it useful to peruse the 1st, 2ndand 3rdprogress reports and the subsequent minutes for the first two reports, available from:

The format of this report will follow that for the previous three reports.


As noted in the previous Steering Group Report, an interim report had to be submitted to JISC by 10th November. It is not regarded as a ‘public’ document by JISC and so will not appear on either their or our website. However, it can be accessed from Only people with U/Exeter authentication can access this file. Albeit using JISC’s template, much of the information mirrors that which follows. On 15/12/2009, Tom had a conference call with Heather Williamson (JISC Programmer Manager) and Lou McGill (Institutional OER Synthesis Support) to discuss our interim report. No alarms were raised, indeed they are pleased with our progress and particularly with the very ‘open’ (!) way in which we keep the wider community informed of our activities. We are identified at being at the most cautious end of the spectrum regarding attitudes to IPR challenges and they are both relaxed and very interested in our approach, as part of the overall story JISC are keen to accumulate.

JISC are very enthusiastic with our modified plan, whereby Sue Rodway-Dyer will undertake an evaluation of our project and they have proposed that Sue works closely with the JISC evaluation team.

Please note my text associated with the final bullet point in Section Nine of the JISC Interim Report. JISC sympathise with the views expressed.

3.0 Project Progress

The progress within Open Exeter will be outlined through each of the workpackages.

3.1 Staff Recruitment (WP-0)

No changes in staffing have occurred since those noted in the previous report.(Phew!)

3.2 Project Management (WP-1)

The project reports and subsequent minutes are now forming a very useful body of information that are greatly assisting our ongoing reflective evaluation and will prove to be of immense value in preparing our final, overall evaluation.

Continuing the important theme for this Steering Group of having a focus on ‘life after the project’ and identifying and taking forward recommendations to the University regarding how to promote the long term sustainability of the OER agenda, please note Section 3.12 of this Report.

3.3 Review of Current Practice / Challenges (WP-2)

The Abstract, as noted in the previous report, that was submitted to the OER10 conference at Cambridge has been accepted. The abstract is entitled ‘The challenge of OER to academic practice’. JISC are delighted with this outcome. Tom will give the presentation (22-24/3/2010) but it is hoped that the primary authorship will be our Educational Technologists. We are also invited to prepare a more formal paper, which will be subject to peer review. These activities will be a significant deliverable for this workpackage.

Please recall that the ambition is to draw upon the material in the internal blog at also the many other encounters that have taken place when liaising with academics and professional support staff. Your engagement with this blog continues to be urgently sought.

Comment: More blog participation please!

3.4 Quality Enhancement (WP-3)

Previous Reports and conversations have discussed two highly overlapping themes, namely how to ‘evaluate’ quality and what frameworks for reward and recognition could be employed. Both these conversations are still very fluid but we will need to offer some recommendations in the paper that will be submitted to the VCEG and which this Steering Group will be asked to endorse at our March meeting. At our previous meeting, we identified a number of models for reward and recognition. For this report, more information on evaluating quality is brought to your attention. It is hoped you will read and comment upon it at our 4th meeting. Even better would be your comments on our internal blog.

Evaluating Quality :Following a very useful conversation Tom had at the ascilite conference that Tom and Matt attended last December (see Section 3.11 of this report), Tom made a very useful contact with a Trish Treagus, who is the Exchange User Support Manager for the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC). ‘Exchange’ (see: ) is very roughly equivalent to the UK’s OpenJorum. Trish subsequently forwarded the paper available at: It is entitled ‘A peer review model for the ALTC Exchange: The landscape of shared learning and teaching resources’. This research was commissioned by ALTC.It is an excellent exposition of the pros and cons of various models. As yet ALTC has not yet decided upon which model to use. Apparently, the closest they got was a star rating system which was abandoned in their second version ‘due to general scorn of that Web2.0 system’.

Comment: The Chair may wish to have a discussion here or take as part of Agenda item-5.

3.5 Identification of Material’s Provenance (WP-4)

There is nothing new to add since the previous report, although there continues to beconsiderable activity

3.6 Licensing & Clearing (WP-5)

As of 6/1/2010, we have 136 credit equivalents of material that has been cleared and another 354 credits in the pipeline. Equivalent figures at the time of the September report were 113 and 357 respectively. We do now need to bring this clearance phase of the project to a speedy conclusion. Our objective is to meet the required minimum of 360 credits by mid February. We will not reduce our vigilance in our IPR clearance procedures but where necessary, we will put much less effort into finding alternative material, though aiming as far as possible to maintain ‘quality’. By such means we can very rapidly achieve a total of 275 cleared credits. Please note the external blog post from Richard (Holding) dated 17/12/2009 from : which illustrates the challenges the team are dealing with. But please also recall from section 2.0 above that JISC are relaxed and pleased with our progress and fully appreciate the consequences of our conservative approach to IPR clearance. Full details of progress can be found at:

(N.B. if you wish to print this spreadsheet, you will need to turn on background printing for the colours in your chosen browser). This spreadsheet is updated every Wednesday.

Please note the latest information from our University solicitors, previously circulated by email from Rachael Morgan on 10/11/2009. These responses necessarily will greatly inform our approach to IPR and any recommendations we may make in our report to the VCEG.

Comment: The Chair may wish to have a discussion here or take as part of Agenda item-5.

3.7 Interoperability (WP-6)

We are now beginning to package up our materials using the JISC-funded RELOAD programme.

3.8 Metadata (WP-7)

Ahmed Abu-Zayed has continued to work closely with our BISS colleagues to refine various aspects of our metadata schema. Our latest mapping can be found from:

With much thanks to Kevin Evans, and with much expert guidance from Ahmed and Matt, a rudimentary test repository is now available at: It currently lacks content (which will come from WP-6) and needs much work undertaken on the interface. We are working closely with our previously funded Charter project and the University Web team to ensure we obtain both compliance and attractive usability in our design. We have now paid for a 10 year licence for our Handle System.

Comment: All questions to Ahmed and Matt please!

3.9 Delivery Platforms (WP-8)

There is nothing new to note.

3.10 Tracking (WP-9)

  • There is nothing new internally to note. On 19/11/2009, several colleagues attended a JISC Elluminate session on Tracking. A recording is available at :

3.11 Training Materials/Dissemination (WP-10)

  • The external blog continues to be updated on a weekly basis and it provides a rich source of information upon which subsequent reflection and evaluation can be drawn, as well as informing both internal and external audiences about our activities and progress.
  • On the 17/11/2009, an OER staff development workshop was held at Exeter, in conjunction with the Open University. Aspirations for the workshop are available at Tom has posted an informal summary of the workshop in our internal blog ( dated 5/1/2010. The major lesson learnt was that we should focus more on the demand side of OER and its integration into L&T practices rather than pitching in so early into the supply side. There was also an unfortunate confusion of mixed messages that arose from so overtly conflating the OU’sCloudWorks agenda and Exeter’s OER agenda.Sue Rodway-Dyer is currently undertaking a comprehensive evaluation of the workshop.
  • Building in part upon the workshop noted above, Tom met with colleagues within Staff Development in Education Enhancement, namely Marge Clarke, Barry Cooper and Chris Longman to determine how the OER agenda could be weaved into the LTHE programme. Barry is taking this forward for the programme, to be delivered this term.
  • Tom and Matt presented a paper at the Australian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education (ascilite) conference in Auckland, New Zealand on 6/12/2009. The full reference is: Browne, T. J. and Newcombe, M. (2009). Open Educational Resources – a new creative space. In Same places, different spaces. Proceedings ascilite Auckland 2009. There was considerable interest in our paper and the wider JISC/HEA programme more generally. Both Tom and Matt are writing reports on their reflections of the conference and they will be available from our external blog at:

3.12 Ongoing and final evaluation (WP-11)

As noted in Section 2.0, Sue Rodway-Dyer, with support from JISC is just embarking upon a comprehensive evaluation of our project.

As noted in previous reports, for the OER agenda to have a sustainable future at Exeter, consideration needs to be given to how the University responds to a number of important challenges. Agendaitem-5 has been set aside for this discussion. Please recall that Sue/Tom will present a paper to the March meeting of the OER Steering Group, prior to it being presented to the VCEG. A highly draft outline of the headings is provided below.

  • Introduction
  • Description of project (draw from Exeter’s ascilite paper and Open Exeter website). Also widen perspective to include e.g. CTA project.
  • Cost / Benefits (draw from CTA project)
  • Staff attitudes (draw on Exeter’s OER10 presentation and Exeter’s workshop)
  • Student attitudes (will need to identify any case studies elsewhere)
  • Demand side – using OER in L&T.
  • Supply side –should Exeter major on producing material? Note essential reading in sections 3.4 and 3.6 above.
  • Staff and student development.
  • Identifying relevance to Exeter’s strategies on Internationalisation, Employability, Research and Knowledge Transfer, Education.
  • Summary of pathways, with consequences for each.

To assist you in considering the above headings, you may wish to browse the report by McGill et al(2008) available from : All the references noted here were used to inform our successful bid.

Comment: The Chair may wish to have a discussion here or take as part of Agenda item-5.

4.0 Other Activities

  • On 25/11/2009, Tom attended the U/Nottingham Learning and Teaching conference, at which they had made OER their primary theme. It proved very instructive to be able to talk to numerous colleagues engaged in OER projects at other institutions. Please note the common concern identified in points 8 and 13 in the internal blog post dated 5/12/2009 from:
  • Last December, Martin Bean, VC at the OU has written to our VC concerning a new 3-year HEFCE-funded initiative they are launching called the Support Centre for Open Resources in Education (SCORE). Through this initiative, the OU is wishing to work with other institutions and on behalf of our VC, Michele Shoebridge, Director of Academic Services has encouraged our project to seek to identify if there are any areas of common interest we could pursue.

5.0 Budget

Please see Section 10 of If an updated budget is available from Research Accounting in time, I will make it available for the meeting.

6.0 In Conclusion

We are now at the stage where we need to pull together the many and disparate strands of this project. We are on schedule to complete our objectives. The real challenge now is to plan for life after the project.

Tom Browne,

Education Enhancement, Academic Services

Page 1 of 5 Report-4 submitted to OER Steering Group, 13/1/2010 (v2) Tom Browne