OER and Jorum News May11

It’s interesting times in the field of OERs / open content for education. There have been several key events, from Open Nottingham, Open Course Ware Consortium  (OCWC) in the States, and this week is OER11 . There are very lively debates to be had, and a huge amount of experience to be learnt from. Whether you see OER as about open practice or open content, there’s certainly a huge amount of work taking place!

I’m pleased to be able to provide some important news and updates that will be of interest to people interested in sharing teaching resources online in FE/HE.

JISC/Academy HEFCE-funded OER Programme

HEFCE have written to JISC and the Higher Education Academy asking us to design a third phase of the successful UKOER programme. We plan for this one year programme to start later this year with a total value of around £4m. The programme is currently being designed to build on the sustainable practice identified in the first two stages, and to expand in new directions to link OER to other areas of work. Further details will be released at a later date.

This request builds on the success of two years of collaborative OER programmes, encompassing more than 80 institutions in more than 50 projects. Notable outputs include the OER infokit, the tools developed by the OER IPR Support team, the technology support project at CETIS and  the ongoing Evaluation and Synthesis work. Materials released can be accessed via a variety of online services, and are represented in the UK national learning materials repository, Jorum.

Digitising Content for OER

As part of the funding for digital content and digitisation, some funding is going to be made available for digitising content for use in open educational resources. This will be a complementary activity to the OER Programme continuation, and a way to bring together what we know about creating good digital content with what we know about compiling open resources for educational use. Initial details are available on the digital content team blog.

OER-funded technical projects and a literature review

Back in March I blogged details of some funding opportunities . Selections have now been made and the projects are starting up.

  • The Literature Review of learners use of online resources to aid their learning is being managed by the HE Academy. The contract has been awarded to SERO consulting, and the project  is now commencing . We hope this will be an important building block to increase sector understanding of learner’s needs and preferences relating to open content.
  • The CETIS technical mini projects pilot has awarded two projects, details available in a post by Lorna Campbell at CETIS . We used an open bidding process on the oer-discuss list (a jiscmail list we manage jointly with the OU Score Project). The process has been really interesting, and I’d like to say a big thanks to all of the bidders and commenters for joining in the spirit of open exchange.


Last but by no means least, I also oversee the work of Jorum, and we have news to report on this too.

We have been listening carefully to feedback from the sector, and I have been working with the Jorum team, stakeholders and an external consultant to analyse what Jorum needs to be. I’m pleased to announce that JISC has agreed to fund Mimas to take the next step in Jorum’s future. Further details are available from the announcement.

It’s a busy week for updates! I look forward to sharing more details with you on all these developments.