Leicester OER

http://www.le.ac.uk/oer - University of Leicester's first OER repository

http://www.le.ac.uk/oer – University of Leicester’s first OER repository

We received a request from the European Commission to list our university’s Open Educational Resources (OER) in a new collection of OER from across Europe, to be called Open Education Europa and scheduled to launch this autumn.

The University of Leicester has actually released quite a bit of OER, from a combination of projects and personal endeavour. Perhaps we would benefit from having all of these listed in a single portal. On the other hand, our ‘official’ OER are all available in the UK’s premiere OER site, Jorum. Here are the ‘University of Leicester sets of OER’ which I know about. Am I missing anything? Leave a comment!

1)      http://www.le.ac.uk/oer — Our first attempt to identify and correctly license and  make available our OER, as part of JISC-funded OTTER project

2)      http://www.le.ac.uk/manufacturingpasts – Products of a JISC- funded project to digitise and make available as OER artefacts pertaining to British industrial history.

3)      http://myleicestershire.org.uk –Our library launched this online database of materials having to do with Leicestershire history. Most of these materials are open-copyright.

4)      https://itunes.apple.com/gb/institution/university-of-leicester/id532189473 – Our University of Leicester iTunes U channel, just launched last Easter

5)      http://www.northampton.ac.uk/staff/enhancing-the-student-learning-experience/pedagogic-research-and-scholarship/externally-funded-projects/tiger/tiger-open-educational-resources-oer — Product of a funded project to create interdisciplinary OER in the health sciences. We were a partner along with University of Northampton and DeMontfort University.

6)      http://www.microbiologybytes.com/blog/sitemap/ – Not official university OER, but Alan Cann’s collection of (mostly) openly-licensed microbiology material.

Terese Bird, Learning Technologist and SCORE Research Fellow

New Project: Manufacturing Pasts

Manufacturing Pasts is a new JISC-funded project with the aim of creating open educational resources (OER) from artefacts of twentieth century British industrial history. Wow! This is a new sort of endeavour for Beyond Distance on a number of fronts. First, no animal acronym! Second, we are the junior partner, supporting our University of Leicester Library, the Centre for Urban History, and the Record Office for Leicestershire, Leicester, and Rutland as they head up the project. And third, while creating OER is not new to me, this is the first time I am considering issues of creating OER from material originating in the private sector.

Ghost sign for Fashion Hire on Belgrave Gate, Leicester, by Dennis Duggan
This project is particularly exciting for me because I will get to help decide on and configure the distribution channel of these materials from the ground up. D-Space? JorumOpen? Merlot, perhaps? Humbox! All of the above! Maybe even iTunes U!
Some of the resources to be turned into OER are already available on the My Leicestershire History website which has lots of interesting materials but which are not all licensed to allow for reuse. So that’s the job of this new project. Also, these materials will be incorporated into modules here at University of Leicester, and the educational value of the OER evaluated, so there should be some very interesting outputs from the project. (The photograph above is taken from the My Leicestershire History collection).
Finally, the whole project team, myself included, will be blogging about this as go along on the Manufacturing Pasts blog. We’ll be tweeting with the hashtag #manufacturingpasts. Follow us as we trace and share the industrial past of Leicestershire with Manufacturing Pasts!
Terese Bird, Learning Technologist and SCORE Fellow

The sun sets on our successful e-learning conference

Our Learning Futures Festival 2011, entitled Follow the Sun, was a 48 hour global e-learning conference that was co-hosted by the Australian Digital Futures Institute and presented consecutively from three countries: UK (Leicester), USA (Seattle) and Australia (Toowoomba).

Screenshot of Adobe Connect 8
Terry Anderson delivering his keynote during North America Day 1

Watch the recording

The conference had over 280 delegates and speakers from more than 25 countries. Keynotes, papers, workshops and debates were streamed through the online conferencing platform Adobe Connect 8, provided by sponsors CollaborATE UK

Screenshot of debate about the lecture

With Gabi moderating, Donald Clark, Jim Morrison and Stephen Downes debate the usefulness of the traditional lecture in higher education during North America Day 2

Watch the recording of Donald Clark and Jim Morrison

Watch the recording of Stephen Downes

Events were also held in the 3D environment of Second Life. These sessions were beamed – with full sound capability – into the Adobe Connect platform by sponsors Let’s Talk Online. This allowed delegates who were new to Second Life to see the environment in real time and engage through transferred text chat with the avatar delegates.

Screenshot of Second Life projected into Adobe Connect
Scott Diener looks at virtual worlds during Australia Day 1

Watch the recording

The conference Moodle site for delegates was hosted by USQ Communities (University of Southern Queensland, Australia). This site hosted a successful gallery of posters submitted by delegates, and gave delegates the opportunity to engage in asynchronous discussion around the sessions.

More than 25 hours of live events were generated by Follow the Sun. As well as the very significant financial savings and a tiny carbon footprint, a key advantage of this kind of online conferencing is the ability to record all streamed events.

Within two-and-a-half hours of the conference finishing, the recordings of all sessions were made available on the festival’s public site:


We worked very hard to give our delegates an enriching experience, and are very grateful for their appreciative comments, which included the following:

“I found the conference an eye opener and I want to be in the frontline in being a practitioner and champion of the power of e-learning in my career as a teacher and have decided to proceed to study for Masters degree in e-learning. I hope to integrate these trends in e-learning in creating powerful and rich environment to learn almost anything that is simple or complex.”

“I heard about these conferences last year when visiting the BDRA. Despite the obvious excitement people felt I had no idea just how fantastic it could be. This has been extraordinary and probably the best single experience in my 10 years in HE. So much breadth and depth and such a sense of connectedness. Congrat’s to all for conceiving and delivering this event. I’ll spend the next 6 months processing it and pointing our people to the content.”

[On Twitter] “@lff11 The technical aspects were handled expertly and the level of engagement impressive. Well done one and all you rock! Bring on lff12”

“I was particularly impressed by the programme and how you and the moderators succeeded in drawing in farflung contributors. All in all, LFF was a credit to all involved.”

“The conference was fantastic!”

The Media Zoo
PhD students Brenda and Ali (with Natalia in Denmark and Tony in Canada) deliver their paper from the Media Zoo during UK Day 2

Watch the recording

I plan to blog in greater detail in the coming months about how this innovative and exciting conference was planned and executed.

Simon Kear

Keeper of the Media Zoo

The journey from course materials to OERs


We’re only a few weeks into the OTTER project but we’ve already learned a lot. The journey from existing ‘teaching material’ or ‘handout’ to reusable, repurposable OER is exciting and full of challenges, as many others have found. We’re making modest but steady progress in our seach for viable models to generate, clear, validate, release and track OERs in 9 disciplines at Leicester.

One of the approaches we’ve taken to conceptualise this journey is to move from ‘educational material’ (i.e. what we receive from tutors) to ‘resources usable in the public domain’ to ‘open educational resources’ (resulting in ‘OERs’, of course!). Below this layer, we have identified 7 key stages and have initially found criteria associated with each of them. The diagram below shows those criteria. As we move from left to right in the diagram, the ‘OER-candidates’ need to meet different criteria at each stage. The layer at the very bottom (not shown in the diagram) will contain the evidence based on which it will be possible to establish whether each criterion has been met.

This is of course an initial attempt at understanding the journey and comments are most welcome. We will test and adapt the framework as the first OERs ‘travel’ through it and will present it in a more usable format in the coming months.

Alejandro Armellini
3 July 2009


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