The OER Research Hub (OERRH) project works collaboratively with open education initiatives around the world to examine the impact of open educational resources or OER (Atkins, Seely Brown & Hammond, 2007). In this presentation I will outline methods for organizing and disseminating open research into OER. In particular, I focus on the value of curation when combined with strategies for the visual presentation of evidence (especially mapping). The discussion is framed by a presentation of the OER Impact Map, an asset of OERRH.
In part one I argue there is a widely recognized need for a shared evidence base for OER impact which can support effective evidence-based decision making and OER advocacy (McAndrew & Farrow, 2013). The diversity of the collaborations means that the project has generated lots of different types of data at various levels of granularity. There is, therefore, a need for a process of arbitration and dissemination which can support and communicate judgments made about the evidence base back to the OER community (Farrow, 2013). OERRH hypotheses act as both a filter for the relevance of data as well as a way of aggregating disparate evidence that can be aligned to a particular claim. While of course there are reasons for respecting the differences between different countries and sectors, the claim to be able to draw direct comparisons is supported by the consistency of the hypotheses across projects and sectors. Our approach appeals to elements of both a mapping service (D’Antoni, 2012) (to raise awareness of the global ‘picture’ and reveal patterns across different sectors) and the attempt to support existing interactions and sensemaking (making explicit key issues and gaps in the evidence base) (De Liddo et al., 2012).
In part two I show how our research data is aggregated and organised by means of the OER Impact Map (http://oermap.org). This platform is a custom WordPress build which has been adapted for easy customization and bespoke post types. We are therefore able to publish information (currently limited to projects, policies and evidence but which could in future include repositories, experts, educators, funders, etc.) that is structured consistently and in ways which help users to search and filter to find the content which is relevant to them. Central to this approach are visual representations of the data which can be an effective support for navigating complex information and seeing underlying patterns of OER impact.
In the final section I will present some of the latest research findings from OERRH live from OER Impact Map and show how the system works to synthesize highly diverse data into single page reporting. Audience members will be invited to give feedback on the usefulness of the system, contribute to live data entry, and reflect on whether similar mapping and curation tools could be of use in other fields where collaborative gathering of evidence can be challenging. This presentation is likely to be of interest to OER practioners and policymakers as well as delegates with an interest in data visualization and methods for communicating research evidence for impact.
Atkins, D. E., Seely-Brown, J., and Hammond, A. L. (2007). A Review of the Open Educational Resources (OER) Movement: Achievements, Challenges, and New Opportunities. William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Report. Connexions Website. Rice University. http://cnx.org/ Curriki Website. http://www.curriki.org/xwiki/bin/
D’Antoni, S. (2012). A world map of Open Educational Resources initiatives: Can the global OER community design and build it together? Summary report of an international conversation: 12 – 30 November 2012. Available from https://oerknowledgecloud.org/?q=content/world-map-open-educational-resources-initiatives-can-global-oer-community-design-and-build-i.
De Liddo, A., Buckingham Shum, S., McAndrew, P. & Farrow, R. (2012). The Open Education Evidence Hub: A Collective Intelligence Tool for Evidence Based Policy. In Okada, A. ed. (2012). Open Educational Resources and Social Networks: Co-Learning and Professional Development. London: Scholio Educational Research & Publishing. Available from http://oer.kmi.open.ac.uk/?page_id=1201.
Farrow, R. (2013). ‘OER Impact: Towards an Evidence Base’. Open Education 2013.
McAndrew, P. & Farrow, R. (2013) ‘Open Education Research: From the Practical to the Theoretical’ in McGreal, R., Kinuthia, W. and Marshall, S. (eds) Open Educational Resources: Innovation, Research and Practice. Commonwealth of Learning and Athabasca University, Vancouver. pp.65-78
McAndrew, P. and Farrow, R. (2013). The Ecology of Sharing: Synthesizing OER Research. In Proceedings of OER13: Creating a Virtuous Circle. Nottingham, England. Available from http://oro.open.ac.uk/37755/.
|Affiliation||The Open University|