It can be hard to demonstrate the impact of open education. The Open Education Research Hub (OER Hub, n.d.) is based at The Open University, UK. The Hub has been identified as a potential exemplary case for REF2021 (n.d.), the quality assessment exercise for UK universities. This presentation will explain the work of OER Hub by providing an overview of research activity alongside an impact narrative. Delegates will be provided with strategies for conceptualising and providing evidence of OER impact in their own practice.
The sequence begins in 2012 with a range of international research collaborations and fellowships (de los Arcos, 2014; Farrow, 2015) and continued through further waves of funded work conducted by the same team. Over time the OER Hub portfolio has evolved to include open textbooks (Pitt, 2015); open business models (Orr et al., 2018); MOOC (BizMOOC 2018; Pitt et al., 2017); supporting open researchers (de los Arcos et al., 2016; Jordan & Weller, 2017); participatory action research (Farrow et al., 2016) and providing framing narratives (Weller, 2014) as well as continuing to evaluate OER impact for a range of national and international funders.
Open practice is at the core of our achievements. Through our research we have discovered that open research processes can be highly effective ways of aligning activity to stakeholder needs. We have identified five key pathways to impact for our case:
• Contributing to a high-quality global evidence base OER and its impact
• Raising profile and understanding of OER widely
• Building an inclusive, global community which influences practice
• Promoting open research and open values
• Influence on policy and consultation
The presentation will explore the idea of impact as a route to understanding the broader implications of a shift to open practices in education and educational research. It will be relevant to practitioners interested in providing more robust accounts of the impact of their work as well as anyone preparing a REF submission. The historical account of the development of research into OER in recent years is also likely to be of general interest.
BizMOOC (2018). MOOC BOOK. BizMOOC. http://mooc-book.eu
de los Arcos, B., Farrow, R., Perryman, L.-A., Pitt, R. & Weller, M. (2014). OER Evidence Report 2013-2014. OER Research Hub. http://oerhub.net/reports/.
de los Arcos, B., Farrow R., Weller M., & Pitt R. (2016). Global OER Graduate Network: Raising the profile of research into open education. In Ubachs, G. & Konings, L. (eds.) Proceedings of the Online, Open and Flexible Higher Education Conference in Rome. Pp.554-557. https://conference.eadtu.eu/php/downloadFile.php?mediaId=2415
Farrow, R., Pitt, R., Weller, M. and de los Arcos, B. (2016). The Open Research Agenda. 13th Annual Open Education Conference. Richmond, VA., USA. https://openeducation2016.sched.org/event/7lpf/the-open-research-agenda / https://www.slideshare.net/robertfarrow/the-open-research-agenda
Farrow, R., de los Arcos, B., Pitt, R., & Weller, M. (2015). Who are the Open Learners? A Comparative Study Profiling non-Formal Users of Open Educational Resources. European Journal of Open, Distance and E-learning, 18(2).
Jordan, K. & Weller, M. (2017). Openness and education: a beginner’s guide. Global OER Graduate Network. http://oro.open.ac.uk/53028/
OER Hub (n.d.). Open Education Research Hub. http://oerhub.net
Orr, D., Weller, M., & Farrow, R. (2018). Models for online, open, flexible and technology-enhanced higher education across the globe – a comparative analysis. International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE). Oslo, Norway. https://oofat.oerhub.net/OOFAT/. CC-BY-SA.
Pitt, R. (2015). Mainstreaming open textbooks: Educator perspectives on the impact of openstax college open textbooks. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning 16(4). http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/download/2381/3496
Pitt, R., Friedl, C., Jansen, D. and Driha, O. (2017). The MOOC potential to address European challenges in CPD and continuous education. In: Higher Education for the Future: Accelerating and Strengthening Innovation. EADTU Conference Proceedings (Ubachs, George and Konings, Lizzie eds.). EADTU. pp. 369–380.
REF2021 (n.d.). Research Excellence Framework. https://www.ref.ac.uk/
Weller, Martin (2014). The Battle for Open: How openness won and why it doesn’t feel like victory. London: Ubiquity Press.