The UK Centre for Bioscience is taking part in a pilot programme for the release of Open Educational Resources (OER) following a successful bid for £250,000 from HEFCE/JISC as part of the subject strand. This is part of a wider programme on £5.7m to encourage and enable the open sharing of educational resources.
The OER approach is growing internationally as a means to share and re-use resources for learning and teaching efficiently. 'Resources' in this context are all types of course material; software, assessments, booklets, fulll course materials, videos, images - anything that can be used or re-purposed and re-used. As a subject centre we often hear about the difficulty in finding suitable resources even though so many materials are being produced. Discovery of suitable content (in whole or, more usually, in part) and licencing concerns are common, especially in Higher Education. It is hoped that by adopting an OER approach more learning and teaching resources will be liberated and re-used effectively.
What are we seeking to achieve?
By working in partnership with the Academy, professional bodies and insitutions we will identify the issues and problems for developing OER in the Biosciences. We have selected a broad sample of learning and teaching materials which we believe are representative of the types of resource available to support practical work in many Bioscience disciplines, which also illustrate a range of approaches. These will become 'An Interactive Laboratory and Fieldwork Manual for the Biosciences' and made available through links on our project site and numerous services including the forthcoming JorumOpen. Although these are targeted towards level 1 practical classes we expect components to be useful for various levels.
The Centre will use its networks and contacts to promote the use of OER and explore the issues of the potential adopters to inform the post-pilot programme.
You can keep up-to-date with the project's progress through the Bioscience OER Blog