Climbing the stairway to OER nirvana: Climbing the stairway to OER nirvana -- 235 -- Workshop

09:00 - 10:00 on Thursday, 13 September in 4.205

Are you finding OER a smooth escalator? Once you start you travel inevitably and effortlessly towards openness in all things? No? Is it an obstacle course, full of challenges and surprises? Is it a set of stairs or ladder, where you can elect to pause and take stock, with a changing viewpoint at each step as you progress towards OER nirvana? If OER is not simply to be ghettoised a promising but irrelevant initiative which failed to catch fire what more does your institution need to do? So many questions need a workshop of interested participants to provide answers. Using the seven-stage OER stairway model you will asked to consider how you can raise your OER game, and that of those around you.

This framework was generated through extended groupwork involving experienced OER practitioners at the 2011 SCORE Symposium, where the task was set to determine how a state of ‘OER nirvana’ could be achieved. The authors drew on experience of engaging with OER as teachers, managers, staff developers and systems developers, through Subject Centre, JISC/HEA funded UK OER and institutional OER initiatives, community engagement building for JorumOpen and staff development through HEA initiatives. The draft model informed subsequent discussions with SCORE and OLNET OER fellows and has overlap with Joanna Wild's OER ladder (a SCORE fellowship development). The similarities suggested its potential as a focus for workshop activity to establish and explore institutional and individual engagement with OER. A particular strength of the ladder and stairway models is recognition that practitioners are not equally OER-ready and that individuals and institutions may intentionally become ‘out of step’. The workshop will draw on contexts and examples identified by ALT-C participants who will locate themselves and other stakeholders within their institutions on the OER stairway continuum. The workshop format provides opportunities to critique the model and suggest new metaphors or alternative institutional-, role- or discipline-specific steps.

The OER stairway encourages engagement with strong foundations through seven clear stages. Step 1: Come as you OER – providing a stable base for progress in line with the injunction to ‘turn over stones’ in the Leeds Manifesto. Step 2 – goER – is where OER starts to become productive as practitioners engage with networks and make connections to the work of others. Step 3 – pOERus (porous) expects users to start moving confidently outside their usual institutional, formal community, project or discipline boundaries and share and use more openly. Step 4 – mirrOER is where best practice becomes reflected in sharing/using OER as preferred personal practice and perceptions of professional identity start to shift. Step 5 – Open Practice is where there is serious opening up of what we each do on a consistent and habitual basis. A higher stage of OER maturity which leads to Step 6 – PhwOER! Near the top of the staircase for individual practitioners OER is at this level transforming what they do and how they do it. Individual practice is now optimally open. Step 7 – OER nirvana – Is when this activity gathers momentum for more than a few and OER goes viral (virile). This staged transition is mirrored by an institutional stairway which progresses from critical appraisal of institutional policy to embracing and rewarding public scholarship.

Moving through these OER stages is a process which will be informed by context and this workshop invites you to critique our view of the process by applying this to your context. Using persona cards and creating your own you will populate the process, suggesting who would be comfortable at which stages and what would persuade them to climb the staircase, or in some cases retreat. Bring your own experiences to explore and critique our metaphors.

This session will include 10 minutes introduction, 30 minutes individual and group activity and 20 minutes discussion and review to expand on and apply the stairways model.

The outcomes will be shared through the ORIOLE (Open Resources Influence on Learners and Educators project) as a staff development activity (itself an open-licensed resource) which others can use and remix. This will be publicised and shared through the OER-Discuss and other groups such as the new ALT-C Open Education SIG and through events such as OpenEd 2012 (Vancouver) and OER13 (Manchester).