Open content

Two OER sites for researchers

I've been involved very peripherally with a project funded through SCORE, and led by my colleague Robin Goodfellow. The aim was to develop two sites, one aimed at overseas postgrads coming to the UK to conduct research study. This site gives advice on matters such as research methods and writing for academic purpose. It is at

The other site is aimed more at UK undergraduates and looks at digital literacy, digital scholarship type issues, so addresses topics such as learning with social media, plagiarism, collaborating online. It can be found at:

The interesting thing about the project was that the brief was to build it using only OERs as content. This led to quite a bit of agonising about what constituted an OER, for instance did it need to have an explicit reuse licence attached? In the end we have opted for CC licensed, good quality OERs where we can, but occassionally had to opt for a different resource.

The role of the team then was to find and select appropriate resources then. We didn't want a site that provided an exhaustive list of all possible resources, but rather one that deliberately selected what we thought were the best ones. This reinstigation of a filter, after it has been removed from the publishing stage, is a potentially significant role for higher education I think.

While it was probably quicker to find, select and describe resources and then coordinate a nice site around them than it was to produce them all from scratch, it wasn't that quick. But I do think the overall quality is better as a result and this may be the better selling point for OERs. There is an obvious analogy with teaching here – we could have just as easily been creating a course in these subject areas. 

Anyway, I hope you find them useful and can maybe think of some people to pass them on to.

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