Open Educational Resources and the Creative Commons (part 3)

This is a guest post by Graham R Gibbs, University of Huddersfield

Video OERs

In parts 1 and 2 I discussed licencing OERs, finding open materials to use in your teaching and learning materials and how to share your OERs. Today I want to discuss a particularly popular form of OERs, videos, and what you need to think about to ensure all your OERs are of good quality.

More recently, putting videos online and watching online has become very popular. YouTube itself was successful enough to be purchased by Google and the site made the whole process of making videos openly available to students (and others) very easy. My experience is that for most disciplines, YouTube is the place students (and teachers) go to to find videos. The exception to this is for the visual creative disciplines (including video production) where Vimeo is the place where the best videos are found.

In 2010 I decided to record some of my own postgraduate level lectures. I put these onto my new channel on YouTube under a Creative Commons licence and was immediately impressed at how many people were watching them. Having been used to teaching a few tens of students each year as a lecturer I was astounded that thousands were watching these videos on recondite areas of the social sciences. It was clear that students were looking for such instructional material and that it was meeting a learning need both in my own students and in postgraduates across the world.

I have now produced over 120 videos varying from 5 mins to over an hour long on a range of topics in social science research methods. Most use a form of lecture capture but with considerable visual enhancements, but there are also some that take other formats (e.g. interviews with practitioners).

Use in MSc Social Research and Evaluation (Distance Learning)

With the success of the videos on YouTube in mind, in 2013 I proposed a distance-learning version of the MSc from which many of the videos had come. This was validated and recruited its first cohort in Sept 2014. The course is delivered entirely online and is based on the flipped classroom concept where students are given preparatory work to do before online webinars. The videos I have made and others made by colleagues following this model are key components of the resources that students use before webinars. These are complemented by other videos chosen from YouTube along with selected readings, data sets and some collaborative tasks. The course celebrated its first graduates in August 2015.

Quality issues

Another issue that cropped up in the Jisc funded project that I worked on that was encouraging academics to create OERs was just how worried some were about letting other academics see their work. Going public with your teaching materials can feel like peer observation and a teaching inspection. But of course you only need to share your best work and what you are proud of. Nevertheless it is worth checking for quality before you release anything. There are several steps you can take. First undertake the normal editing checks you would undertake on any published material: spell check, grammar, cross referencing, bibliography and ensuring URLs are live and up-to-date. Second, try out the resource. Use it in your own teaching and see how it works and what students think of it. It’s quite likely you have done this anyway and it gives you the chance to update and edit the resource before you share it more broadly. Third, get a knowledgeable colleague to look at it. This parallels the refereeing process that we are all used to in research publications and there is good reason for adopting the same process for educational productions. That’s where there is another advantage of YouTube if you are sharing videos. It’s relatively easy to include corrections or overlays on the videos if you find mistakes later (as I did in one of my videos where I misspelled ‘Likert’ in a video on questionnaire scale construction).

Works you create as directly required by your teaching employment (such as your lecture notes) are probably owned by your employer, the University. So if you want to release those as OERs, it is probably best to seek your employer’s agreement (e.g. in the form of your line manager). But if you repurpose other materials or if you produce materials well beyond that required by your employment then ownership and copyright remains a murky area. For example, you retain copyright in any books you write and publish. When you create OERs it is quite likely that you will have to go well beyond what is required by your teaching employment to produce a polished and re-usable resource. So it is arguable that you should retain the copyright as you do for books and journal articles.

Now share your resources

I hope this discussion encourages you to start sharing some of your teaching and learning materials as open educational resources. I’m sure all of us have some aspect of our teaching that we are very proud of and that we would like others to see or use. It’s not that hard to do and with the hints above I hope you now know how it can be done. Good luck with your sharing.

Links to other websites on OERs

OER conferences in the UK

Creative Commons Licence
Open Educational Resources and the Creative Commons by Graham R Gibbs is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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About talintuoh

Supporting and connecting colleagues to develop inspiring and innovative teaching and learning
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