Open educational resources: tracking their use or releasing them into the wilderness

I’ve been pretty busy over on the Copyright Literacy blog in the last few months which has led to me rather neglecting my own blog. However a few days away at the I2C2 conference, staying just outside Scarborough, is a perfect time to recharge and take some time to reflect on all the stuff I’m interested in (of which copyright literacy is of course a huge part). I’m currently reading Brene Brown’s Braving the Wildnerness so the title of the post partly reflects this. However, the focus of this post is open educational resources, in light of the work Chris and I been doing on the new copyright, open access and scholarly communications game: The Publishing Trap. We’ve now written quite a number of blog posts on the creation of the game (on our blog, on the LSE Impact blog and on the Kent Office for Scholarly Communications blog), which we launched during Open Access week. We’ve also been planning a post about the licensing decisions we made about the game itself. But in the run up to writing that, I had a bit of a scout around to look into how you track and work out who is using your open educational resources. We wanted to release our game, but our experiences from Copyright the Card Game meant that we were keen to try and see how many people might download the new game, and then what they might do with it.

Some of the decisions we made about licensing the Publishing Trap reflect my long term desire to see a way of tracking and measuring the use of open educational resources. Years ago when I worked on a Jisc OER project, DELILA, in the final recommendations we concluded that as teachers we wanted people to use our materials, but it would be so nice to know what they did with them, how they used them and were inspired. In the way that research outputs are tracked through citation analysis, why is it still not possible to find a way of tracking OERs? Perhaps I am trying to control something that it’s not possible to do though, once it’s out in the wilderness?

However, the experience of releasing Copyright the Card Game has been wonderful and liberating, we’ve heard from some people who use it in their teaching, or have been inspired to create adaptions (there is even an online version in development) but we actually now have no reliable metrics since Jorum was retired and the resource is now on our website. This is really not a great situation. It’s something I raised on Twitter a few weeks ago, asking how to measure or track OERs. Short of putting it in an institutional repository, and only putting your resource in that one place, you are a bit stuck. So our decision to opt for the most restrictive of the Creative Commons licences for this resource is also shaped by feeling like I want to know what happens to the Publishing Trap. I know that our creative work should be free to inspire other people, and in this case it’s not just a matter of wanting credit. It’s because the game is still in development, it’s still quite precious to me and Chris. We’d like to oversee how it grows and evolves for a little bit longer, while letting the wider community experience it. We hope this makes sense to people. We are both hundred percent committed to open practice, we are also committed to shaping how our teaching resource develops though.

I’m happy the Publishing Trap is out there, but if anyone has any great ideas about how best to track an OER, then do let me know, but for now it’s in the wilderness (sort of on our website with some tracking) so do have a look at it.

Library Instruction West – part two

reflections in lake patriciaI headed off for a few weeks to visit the Canadian Rockies in search of bears, (four spotted) elk, (20 plus spotted) lakes and mountains (too many to count but Lake Louise and Lake Maligne up in Jasper were highlights). It was also a good chance to spend time thinking and reflecting on what I had learnt at the conference I attended from 23-25th July in Portland, Oregon, Library Instruction West. I’m grateful to the CILIP Information Literacy CO-PILOT committee and LSE for supporting me to attend a great conference.

Working in the newly renamed team, Learning Technology and Innovation, I was on the look out for new ideas and innovations. We have this sense in the UK that exciting things are happening in North American universities that we need to be aware of in the UK. I certainly came back with a sense that things are different, I’m just still trying to pin down exactly how! So here’s my attempt and in my first blog post written during the conference I was struck by the differences in terminology we use. I think in terms of people’s job titles it is worth thinking about this a bit more. I met instruction and outreach or information literacy librarians (not subject librarians or academic support) I also met instructional designers (what LSE would call educational developers) and I heard talk of educational technologists but from what I heard many did not seem to be working alongside the library folk as often as in case in the UK. Those differences suggest academic support services are set up slightly differently in US and Canadian universities. However, people did talk about the same issues such as how to engage faculty, how to embed digital and information literacy effectively into the curriculum, how to be innovative in their teaching and use technology appropriately.

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Sharing information literacy resources to support researchers

Last week Nancy Graham and I presented at the ALISS Summer Conference about the CoPILOT community of practice, and how by sharing information literacy resources as OERs librarians are really advocating open education and acting as exemplars to other teachers. We talked about the background to the CoPILOT Committee being established – it is a sub group of the CILIP Information Literacy Group. We also talked about the DELILA project, the survey of librarians we completed last year and the CoPILOT project which was a 2 month project funded by JISC and the HEA to explore whether some of the OERs we created during the DELILA project could be used in an international context. Other than a fire alarm going off shortly into our talk, it was a good opportunity to talk about this work and to encourage those supporting researchers to share their materials as OERs. I was therefore really pleased to see the Jorum Research Data Management collection launched today.

Reviewing the NetworkED seminar series

I’ve had to write a report last week for LSE’s Annual Fund, who funded the new seminar series we launched in my department last year. Known as NetworkED: technology in education, the series brought a number of speakers to LSE to present to staff, students and some invited guests. However, the key feature of this series was that we tried out a variety of lightweight technologies to amplify the series. So we used Twitter and the hashtag #LSENetED to allow people to follow the seminar remotely, but also post questions for the speaker. We live streamed the events, purchasing some new, but fairly inexpensive kit to do this. You can read the blog post from my colleague Darren Moon about how we did this. It’s worked well and so we have a schedule on the website for speakers we are lining up for next academic year. Our first speaker will be Diana Laurillard from the Institute of Education, speaking about Teaching as a Design Science.

If you would like to watch any of the seminars from last year they are all available on our website. The seminars are quite hard work to set up, but a really useful experiment to find out how you can live stream an event to potentially reach a global audience. It’s also seen a number of challenges, including technical and legal issues we need to consider when ‘broadcasting’ in this way. For example, we now have a release form our presenters sign to allow us to licence the recordings under Creative Commons, but also to protect LSE from any potential copyright infringement, through presenters including third party copyright in their presentations. Do tune in on the 10th October at 3pm to our latest seminar!

Project CO-PILOT is live as I take a short break

It’s that time of year when I am seriously in need of a holiday before we get too close to term starting again. After all the traveling of this year, you would think I would be tired of it, but in fact there is nothing I like more to unwind than to explore a new place, try the local food and drinks, and spend time outdoors in the sunshine, so the glorious island of Madeira is calling me!

But before I jet off I must introduce CO-PILOT. This is the catchy title Nancy Graham and I have come up with for our latest project, the Community of Practice for Information Literacy Open Teaching. Well I think that is what is stands for, but my memory is a little hazy! We have set up a JISCMAIL discussion list (IL-OERS@JISCMAIL.AC.UK) for anyone interested in sharing their information literacy teaching materials as OERs. We have also created a wiki as a place to share ideas. And we made our survey report on Librarians, Information Literacy and OERs available last week on the DELILA Project website. The initiative is a spin off from DELILA, where we really felt there must be a way to facilitate the sharing of information literacy resources across the UK. Over 50 people have joined our list and we had a really lively workshop a few weeks ago, so fingers crossed we can get this off the ground!

On the go!

For those of you following me on Twitter you’ll know I’ve been here, there and everywhere recently. Last week I was in Paris, at UNESCO at the OER World Congress. I have written up a short blog post on the DELILA blog about this event and you’ll find the slides of the presentation I gave with Nancy Graham on the UNESCO website. We were speaking about sharing information literacy resources as open educational resources.

It was a fabulous opportunity to be part of the event, to meet so many people and also to visit UNESCO, which is actually a fascinating building – a little like a museum. It was built in the late 1950s and from the air looks like a tripod. It has a lot of space below ground level, and stunning views across to the Eiffel Tower, from the seventh floor where the restaurant is.

I’ve also now put my slides online from the CONUL event in Dublin on the 14th June. Then earlier this week I was in Newcastle, attending the first CILIP ARLG Conference, which is the new group formed from UC&R (University, Colleges and Research) and COFHE (FE librarians). Emma and I were running a workshop which was quite similar to those we did earlier in the year at LILAC and ALDinHE on the New Curriculum and how you can use it to carry out an institutional audit. I also had a chance to say more about the exciting work we are doing at LSE on this topic. We are almost coming to the end of the interview process and did the last focus group with students yesterday, which was a chance to hear how they think the library should support them.

Finally, this is a weekend of editing and amending the chapters for our new Facet book, Rethinking Information Literacy. It is due at Facet on Monday, so on that note I had better get back to it!

Sharing ANCIL as an open educational resource

I’ve finally deposited ANCIL: the full curriculum and supporting documents into Jorum, the UK’s national repository for learning objects and it is licensed under Creative Commons. Emma and I had the curriculum on the New Curriculum blog since last July, but I really felt that by depositing it in Jorum, then it might be picked up by different teachers outside the library world.

I’m also getting very excited and open educational resources again and seeing them as coming under the information literacy umbrella and an area where librarians play an important role. Sharing, presenting and communicating information is something teachers and learners all need to understand, so to me OERs fit neatly into a session for either students or staff around finding resources. I’ve certainly been talking about Creative Commons licences more and more frequently in my teaching. Either as a place for teachers and students to find images, or more broadly as a way of licensing their own content if they are happy to share it. Last week at the LSE Teaching Day conference I was presenting a poster with Natalia Madjarevic our Repository Manager at LSE to promote LSE Learning Resources online. We are getting quite a collection of resources now, but it was our first real promotion of the collection.

I also had a great conference call this morning with Nancy Graham from University of Birmingham and Irmgarda Kasinskaite-Buddeberg from UNESCO. Nancy and I are thrilled to be attending the UNESCO OER World Congress from 20-22nd June this year. We are presenting a session about sharing information literacy resources as OERs. We had over 100 responses to the survey we put out in April 2012 and hope to organise a workshop to discuss how we can better share IL resources, but also build a global network.

The ANCIL audit is also continuing at LSE, if somewhat slowly as exams are taking place. But we’ve got responses from all our academic support librarians now and are slowly getting survey responses back from a variety of staff at LSE. More soon!