Day Three!

Well, here’s my first blog post… on the third day of my new role at the Open University (UK)! I’ve moved from the Project Support Office in the Institute of Educational Technology to join the Open Educational Resources (OER) Research Hub project (OERRH) as a Research Assistant.

The aim of this project is to assess the impact of OER in four different sectors (K-12 (schools), Higher Education, Community College and “informal learning”) via a series of focused research questions and collaboration with a number of educational institutions, organisations and projects primarily based in the USA… Data will be released “openly” via a Creative Commons licence and be available from an enhanced version of the existing OLnet Evidence Hub. We’ll also be producing lots of OER best practice information and documentation as the project progresses and actively encourage participation via our fellowships scheme, our involvement at conferences/events (look out for us at OER13 at The University of Nottingham this March!) and of course by you getting in touch with us regarding your OER projects and ideas.

Four researchers are working on this project, which is funded by The Hewlett Foundation. I will be responsible for three of the collaborations, including the “informal learning” aspect of a project I previously supported: Bridge to Success. More on this project, and the others I’ll be responsible for, in forthcoming posts!

One of my first tasks has been to collaborate with Research Associate Rob Farrow on an Ethics Manual for the project. I’ve been working on this the past day or so, mainly at this stage via a comprehensive review of the project’s original bid and background reading. One of the most striking, and exciting, things about this project are the different foci and remits of the collaborations… It will be interesting to find out more about existing data collection practices over the coming weeks as we begin to plan and draft this document.

Myself, Tim Coughlan (previously the Research Associate on Bridge to Success, now a Research Fellow at Horizon at The University of Nottingham) and Nassim Ebrahimi (Director of Learning Outcomes at Anne Arundel Community College, Maryland, USA: a partner in the Bridge to Success project) have also had our presentation accepted for OER13. Our paper is entitled “Assessing OER Impact across Varied Organisations and Learners: Experiences from the ‘Bridge to Success’ Initiative.” We’re currently drafting text for this. I’m enjoying reflecting back on the lessons and outcomes of the project – useful not only for co-authoring this paper but for thinking about data collection best practice for the OERRH and beyond.

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