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Open Educational Resources (OER) Project Materials Subject Strand

Project Title - CORE-Materials: Collaborative Open Resource Environment – for Materials


In December 2008, the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) and the Higher Education Academy (HEA) announced their intention to fund pilot projects and activities that support the open release of learning resources for free use and repurposing worldwide.

JISC/HEA’s main reasons for promoting open learning include:

  1. To encourage the sharing of learning resources between institutions, between academics and within communities of practice;
  2. To enable learning materials and resources can be shared universally - locally, nationally and globally to support learning;
  3. To encourage development and uptake of tools and processes supporting the release of open resources that will enhance both productivity and relevance by being customisable and adaptable by both academics and students;
  4. To act as a marketing tool where students can view resources produced by an institution prior to applying to study there.

The potential benefits of the open release of learning resources by UK higher education institutions are seen as follows:

  1. An increase in student satisfaction concerning the quality of learning materials;An enhancement of the global academic reputation of the UK HE system;
  2. An increase in applications to UK HEI courses from international, and non-traditional, learners;
  3. Improved value for money in resource creation for the UK HE sector;UK higher education’s contribution to the public good and the developing world;A significant increase in the open availability and use of free high quality online Advertising and marketing benefits to individual lecturers, HEIs and UK education, opening up universities to potential students (e.g. widen access; promote the uptake of science subjects),;
  4. Making use of the significant investment that has already been made in digital content by providing ways to reuse and repurpose existing resources and to demonstrate how they can be used for teaching and learning;
  5. Support for new modes of online learning, such as those that involve the use of web 2.0 tools.

In the short space of time to construct the bid, the UKCME approached its subject community in order to attract partners with Materials learning resources into this venture. We managed to attract 20 partners from HE, FE, industry and the main professional body, the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3).  The UKCME submitted their bid to this programme in March 2009 and were successful in securing funding to pilot a subject-specific OER project between April 2009 and April 2010.

The objective of the CORE-Materials OER project will be to make available in an open form, free from licence restrictions, existing learning resources in the area of Materials Science & Engineering. Projects are expected to make a significant amount of existing learning resources freely available online, licensed in such away to enable them to be used and repurposed worldwide. By “significant amount” JISC/HEA expect at least the equivalent of one complete undergraduate degree course worth of material (360 credits). The learning resources will be deposited in JISC’s new open repository – JorumOpen – which will be open worldwide, and also deposited in a discipline-specific website set up by the UKCME. The CORE-Materials project will also be asked to show evidence of the use of these materials in the UK HEI community.

The objective of the CORE-Materials project is thus:

  1. To identify and scope existing electronic resources for learners and teachers in Materials, and to specify legal and technological protocols (drawing on recommended sources and technologies advised by JISC and CETIS) to release content in an ‘open’ format accessible by all.
  2. To scope, specify, build and pilot a ‘taxonomy matrix’ – which may be constructed along the lines of the diagram below – to interpret, codify, and possibly act as an interface to ‘a core of open access learning resources, organised coherently to support on-line and blended learning by all HEIs, and to make it more widely available in non-HE environments’ (Cooke Report to Denham, 2008).
  3. To establish a collection that would make use of JorumOpen, but also a more discipline-specific site, and investigate their use by Materials teachers and students; users will be encouraged to source, use, submit, share and reuse electronic learning resources from the collection.
  4. To work with the Academy/JISC, their services, and other projects funded within this OER call, to develop a robust information architecture, resource description, cataloguing / collections policy.
  5. To investigate attitudes of users and potential barriers to sharing and making resources publicly available across the Materials community.
  6. To gain initial feedback of viability and usefulness of the learning resources in their open format; this will be with a range of users / stakeholders from across and beyond the Materials community.
  7. To disseminate and evaluate project outcomes; dissemination will draw heavily on networks of the UKCME and of consortium partners, whilst evaluation will be both formative and summative.
  8. To explore the use of RSS feeds as a means of providing content for personal learning environments (PLEs). In addition, to investigate systems and criteria for the portability of interactive learning resources in high demand by users.

You can read the JISC website document here.
(PDF logo PDF format, 60kb)




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