Creating open educational resources
Creating open educational resources

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Creating open educational resources

6.2 Creating your OER

Sources of material

You will probably be making an OER in an area in which you have some expertise so you are likely to already have lesson plans and resources that you use in your face-to-face work that will be invaluable to others.

As well as your own materials, you might like to look at a range of other OER repositories in addition to OpenLearn.

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Transcript: Creating OER

It’s basically about, now, a chance for you to use all the things you’ve been doing all week, hopefully, and think about your project. Now, I’m going to give you a little bit of my own thoughts about creating OER. And we’ve talked about the ideas for your OER projects.
Does everybody want to work individually on projects, or do people want to work together on projects?
So everyone’s happy to work on their own project. Okay, that’s fine.
So, how do we go about creating? There’s been lots of discussion actually over coffee about – it’s all very well, these tools, and so on, but how do we actually ensure there’s a level of pedagogy, I suppose and really what we want to do. And I’m not going to give you the answers to that really. But this is something that we came up with, which is a little framework called ASPIRE.
Now, ASPIRE those of you that come from Nottingham probably know – is actually a – what do you call it? Structure? What’s the word? I can’t think of the word.
No. I’d say ‘monument’, but I don’t mean that. An artwork.
It’s an installation that was developed – thank you – at the University of Nottingham. And it’s this great, big, tall tower that’s 16 metres high that’s supposed to represent the aspirations of the University and the people of Nottingham. So it towers up into the sky, it branches out at the top.
And so we have developed this little framework based on that, called ASPIRE which basically says, if I want to start creating OER, what should I really start doing? And it’s really sort of straightforward stuff, stuff we doing in our teaching all the time.
The first thing is to think about what are your aims. What do you really want to do? It’s very easy to go out there – as people have said – and start searching around for OER, getting really lost.
And I know that, when we’ve been working with tutors, they’ve said exactly that to us – that there’s just so much stuff out there. I don’t know where I’m going. I don’t know really what I want to do, and I’ve really lost track of what it was I wanted to do in the first place. So the first thing, I think, is thinking very clearly about what the aims of your project are.
And then storyboarding. I suggest you take some time to think how is this going to look. What are the sections? What types of things do you want to include? What’s the main layout of your OER? And then, on that storyboard, start to identify what you’ve got already that you perhaps want to convert into an OER resource, what you need to go looking for, what you maybe already know about.
So I would think that actually spending some time looking at aims, spending some time looking at storyboarding, is really crucial. And certainly thinking back to the learning objects, we know that if people get these two steps right, the rest of the project flows pretty well. If people don’t, if people have not a very clear idea about where they’re going, that’s when things start to really become time consuming, take a long time, and actually end up probably not being that usable. Because it’s not very clear. There’s not a great alignment between the need – the learning need – and the resource.
So one of the things we’re going to do first of all – I’m going to ask you to just rethink – I know some of you have got some very clear ideas. Think about what your aims are and then possibly just put a little storyboard together for your resource.
Then the next step is the kind of thing that we think of as OER, I suppose – population. Going out and searching for what’s out there with all the problems that that entails.
Production. Perhaps developing little bits of glue or little resources, like the sort of things we were talking about this morning.
And processing. Those things that you’ve got – perhaps lecture notes, PowerPoints, and so on – how can you process those to ensure that they are OER? And that also, they’re going to be usable OER – it’s not just a case of sticking your PowerPoint there with all the copyright issues and possibly not really being very usable.
Then we come to this step of integrating. How are we going to put them all together? What are we going to use to actually stick them together and to give an integrated experience to the student?
How are you going to release them? How are you going to use the resources? And then as I said, evaluation. How are you going to evaluate the effectiveness of the resources, and how are you going to close that feedback loop, really?
So, as I say, it’s not rocket science by any sense of the imagination, but it’s just a simple framework to help us think through the steps. So really, a lot of people jump in at the Production, Population and Processing stage. And that’s really where we can all get lost.
We all do it, let’s face it. I mean, I do it as well. There’s so much stuff out there, you end up off on a tangent. And really, you know, what did I really want to do in first place?
So in terms of aims – this learning package, this OER thing that you want to produce – what is its aim? What are the learning goals that you’re trying to achieve? So what’s the need for it? And what are the learning goals? Who’s it aimed at?
I know we talked about reuse. But, certainly in our experience, reuse works best if you have a core audience that you’re addressing the resource at. So if you do have a set audience, you say this is aimed at my students who are year-two students in health care studying a module, or whatever. Actually, there’s evidence that by aiming the resources, you actually make it more reusable in the long term.
What’s the level of the students? Are you interested in reuse? You know, you might be or you might not be.
And how do you think your OER would be delivered and used? Is it going to be delivered online? I guess most of it will be. How’s it going to be used?
So, I’d like you to take a few minutes just thinking about that. And we’ll share some of these thoughts about the sort of OER you’re thinking of developing. How can you answer these questions?
And then, possibly, I’ve given you a little storyboard sheet on the next page as well, where you might want to sketch out what are going to be the main sections about your OER product. So, for example, I was developing something. I had to give a new session that I’ve never done before on sepsis. Nice subject, but ...
And I thought, where am I going to start? Well, I wanted some basic stuff on immunology. And I’ve got some basic notes on immunology, so I could convert those. And then I needed some stuff on systemic shock. So I went out and started searching for OER on systemic shock. So then my next section was about that.
And then I wanted to test the students to see where they were at. I wanted something to help them apply that to practice. So I could start storyboarding my product.
The website, which I think you’re going to look at this afternoon. I’m not sure you’ve seen the OER module yet, have you? On OpenLearn? I’m not sure if that’s what you’re going to see this afternoon.
But there’s a really, really good module that deals with a lot of the pedagogical issues in relation to OER that’s found on that link at the bottom there. But it’s on OpenLearn if you want to have a look. But it’s a 15-hour module, but it really is very, very good. If you haven’t seen it yet, I really do recommend you have a look.
So, just for a few minutes – and I don’t want to spend too long on this – perhaps you could just take a step back and have a think about these questions that are on your sheet. What’s the aim of your learning package? What are your learning goals? Who are you aiming it at? What’s the level, and so on.
And then you might want to just sketch. Nobody’s going to look at these in too much detail. What is the main kind of look do you think your OER’s going to have?
This is obviously an iterative process. It’s not that you design it and then nothing changes as you go through the process. But I think it helps to have those things in place.
This little diagram here that helps to explain the different types of resources that you might use and what you’ve got to do with each one, or the things to consider with each one. So I’ve given you a copy of this. So here are the different types of materials you might develop into your OER, you might integrate into your OER project.
They’re your own stuff – your lecture notes, your handouts, possibly PowerPoints, and so on. There’s all the released OER that’s out there. There’s other things that you might know about, but you’re not really sure whether they’re OER or not. And then there are things that you might want to create, like some of the things we were talking about this morning.
And each of those really presents you with a number of questions if you want to use them in an OER project. So if it’s your own material, one of the questions you need to ask is, do you have permission to release that as OER? Does your institution allow you to actually take that whole module and just release it? So you need to be sure about the fact that you can actually do that. Excuse me.
Obviously, copyright – particularly third-party materials, which I’m sure you spent a lot of time looking at. And it’s the biggest barrier, really, to people releasing their own resources is those hidden, third-party materials – obviously images, text, and whatever else it might be. And you’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking about copyright this week, haven’t you? But you need to go through and almost audit the resources that you’re going to release for the type of copyright and third-party materials.
Quality. We’ve talked a bit about quality. But here I mean, is the quality sufficient? Are you happy to release that resource? You know, it’s going to be out there, potentially with your name on it. Are you happy that the quality of the resource is something that you want to be released?
And also, your institution. And institutions are starting to develop policies. And certainly in Nottingham if we want to put stuff into the open repository, you can’t just release anything. It has to go through an institutional quality check.
Context – this is another big issue. If you’re going to take handouts, timetables, how much context do you leave in and how much do you take out? If it’s a handbook, do you leave all the dates, do you leave all the room numbers in? There are lots of different schools of thought.
Some people would say you take it all out and make it more reusable by actually taking all that stuff out. And there are other schools of thought that say – and certainly I know that Nottingham working with OER Africa, for example. People at OER Africa are saying, no, we don’t want you to take all that context out. We don’t want you to take out the timetables, and the room numbers, and so on. Because, actually, that helps us to look at the materials when we reuse them, when we redevelop them, to see what the context of use was.
So there’s not an answer to that. It’s just a question that you might want to think about. What are all those contextual elements?
And then the portability – we talked a bit about this this morning, particularly things like PowerPoints. If you take a PowerPoint, it might make perfect sense within a lecture environment. But when you take it out and you deliver it, you release it as a standalone resource, is it really going to make sense? Is there anything you need to do to try and make your material work within the new format that you’re developing?
And in terms of how we released OER, big questions about what do you want, what types of things, what level of materials, and so on. And then obviously, the big one is searching. How are you going to search, how are you going to find what you’re going to look for?
Again, something else we talked about is how you’re going to judge the quality of the materials that you’ve looked at. I think you’ve talked a little bit about quality earlier in the week. There are two things that I’ve got here that I’ll give you.
One is some things that we’ve developed. One is a little quality checklist. It doesn’t give you the answer, but it helps you to think through some of the quality issues that might come up.
And another is a little search strategy that we’ve developed to work with our tutors. Because our tutors are saying exactly the same things – there’s so much stuff out there. How do I know what I’m looking for? Where do I go?
So this is almost like a little formatted search to help people think through what they’re searching for, what they’re looking for, and what they’re going to take from that. So again, I’ll give you a copy of that that you can have a look at.
And then this question, do you want to use all of it? Do you want to use part of it? Do you want to change it, and does the licence allow you to do that?
I’m not going to go through all this. I’ve given you the back of this little thing. You’ve probably got lots of these this week. But here’s a list of OER sources – and you’ve probably come across some of them before – that you might find useful as you’re searching through, from repositories to institutional subject based, and then different types – slides, and audio, music, and various bits and pieces.
So I won’t go through all those because I’ve given you all of that for you to play with.
One thing I will mention – I’m not sure if you’ve seen this – is this thing called Xpert. Because one of the issues, if you find an image – oh, dear. I’m probably going to be logged out again. It’s probably not going to let me show you that, I don’t think.
Sorry. If you look at Xpert rather than me spending time logging in – Xpert is a little media search that was developed, again, to go along with the Xerte toolkit. If you click on the Media Search on Xpert – so if you go to, I think it’s forward slash Xpert – it only searches for images that have genuine Creative Commons licences. So it’s a little bit limited from that perspective, but you know that anything you get is genuinely Creative Commons.
And it will also give you the attribution on it. So the image comes to you with the appropriate attribution. They’ve done quite a lot of work with just legal to look at the appropriate ways of attributing images. So it’s quite a safe way of looking for images. Although, as I say, it’s a little bit limited.
Because the problem with even things like Google – if you use an advanced search on Google, you can select only Creative Commons images. I’m not sure if you’ve looked at that this week. The problem is, it’s not 100 per cent foolproof.
Because what Google Creative Commons search will do is it will go to a web page. And if there’s any image on that web page that has a Creative Commons licence, it basically assumes that everything else on that web page has a Creative Commons licence, as well. So you can still come a little bit unstuck.
I’ll pull this up again to have a look at it in a minute. I’ll see if we can get logged back in.
So search strategy, as I say, I’ll give you a copy of a search strategy you might have a look at, asking these sort of things. If you’re producing things – we’ve been talking about this a bit this morning –
Sorry. Materials you know about – the first question you need to ask is, is it OER and what’s the copyright? Do you want to use all or part of it, and again, is it going to work inside your resource?
And finally then, in terms of materials that you create – we’ve already said that they can be quite time consuming, quite expensive. So you need to think carefully about what’s the purpose? Are there any alternatives? What tools and formats are you going to use – and we’ve had a bit of this discussion this morning – about the time and cost, and about reuseability.
So, I think, really, what the rest of the time that I’ve got with you today is about is taking your OER designs and trying to populate them with some of the OER – either your own, or found resources. And that’s really what we’ve got for the rest of the time today.
End transcript: Creating OER
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Creating OER
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Activity 13: what is available already for me to use?

1 hour 0 minutes

Look at the following OER repositories where there are often not whole units but rather useful ‘bits and pieces’ that could be mixed (but also be careful to look at the licence used in each case). This activity should take about an hour to scan what is available. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but serves as a useful starting point for creating your own reference list:


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Multimedia resources across a range of topics




Flickr – this is not a specific OER repository but some of the content is available for you to use freely under a Creative Commons licence. Be sure to use the advanced search to select Creative Commons licensed content.


YouTube – this is not a specific OER repository but some of the content is available for you to use freely under a Creative Commons licence. Be sure to use the advanced search to select Creative Commons licensed content.

General repositories


Jorum – a sharing site for Higher Education in the UK

OER Commons – this site has a range of open resources


Science repositories


Humanities repositories




Let us now explore the different types of content resources.


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