Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Jorum Steering Group

On 17th October I attended the first meeting of the Jorum Steering Group at Mimas (excuse the delay in posting). The group has been convened to provide strategic input to Jorum during what is a transitional year for the service, with members asked to act as advocates and critical friends especially in regard to grassroots perspectives, market intelligence and user feedback.

UKCoRR has been identified as a potential partner organisation to Jorum during this time and although the expertise within our organisation is primarily Open Access to research, which arguably has occupied a different space to Open Educational Resources (OER), both in terms of technical infrastructure and also, I think, national and institutional stakeholders there is nevertheless a degree of cross-over; Jorum runs on a modified DSpace repository and a minority of UKCoRR member institutions do manage OER in their repository alongside their research. Perhaps more importantly, however, I would argue that recent political and economic developments in UK HE, combined with a zeitgeist that had already moved a long way towards “open” dissemination of scholarly output (even before the Browne review* was published) has brought OA and OER closer together, possibly a conflation in some respects (in the public mind) but also a real phenomenon as illustrated in this post in the Guardian and subsequent discussion during Open Access week:

“arguably no other aspect of digital holds the promise of the open access (OA) philosophy and open educational resources (OER)

* The Browne review, of course, may make it less attractive for institutions (though perhaps not individuals?) to openly share teaching & learning resources if they perceive it as giving away a competitive asset which is, perhaps, in contrast to renewed drivers towards Open Access to (publicly funded) research exemplified most recently by the government white paper Innovation and Research Strategy for Growth.

Against this background, it is extremely important that Jorum is both responsive to its existing users’ needs and is able to attract new users; in the changing landscape of HE what are likely to be the mainstream requirements; what do (potential) users need and want and how can this be evidenced? What is the evolving relationship between HE and FE and how can Jorum / ukoer support it?

User requirements have been discussed throughout phases 1 and 2 of the ukoer programme particularly on John, Lorna and Phil’s CETIS blogs and on my own institutional blog and the Jorum team are now blogging regularly at http://www.jorum.ac.uk/blog/.

Early priorities include work on the existing user interface to make it easier to download  resources, particularly when they comprise just a single file and improved metrics, with a “dashboard” for users to visualise, for example, how often their resources have been downloaded. Longer term, the plan is to redesign the user experience in a more fundamental way, in response to collated user feedback - so please, if you use or manage OER yourself, or are interested in ukoer in your institution and the wider sector, do get in touch.

The full membership of the steering group is as follows: Margaret Coutts (Chair) (University of Leeds), Jackie Carter (Mimas), Laura Shaw (Mimas), Lorna Campbell (CETIS), Phil Barker (CETIS), Joe Wilson (Scottish Qualifications Agency), Rachel Bruce (JISC), Amber Thomas (JISC), Hetesh Morar (JISC), Luis Carrasqueiro (British Universities Film & Video Council), Brian Kelly (UKOLN), Antonio Martinez-Arboleda (University of Leeds), Simon Bains (University of Manchester), Doug Belshaw (Northumbria University), Jean Downey (The Higher Education Academy), Bob Strunz (University of Limerick), Nick Sheppard (Leeds Metropolitan University & UKCoRR).

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

UKCoRR Wins Jason Farradane Award

On November 30th Dominic Tate attended the Online Information conference at Olympia to represent the UKCoRR and collect the Jason Farradane award, presented by UKeIG. The award was presented at the CILIP stand in the exhibition hall. UKeIG Chair Martin White commended UKCoRR for its hard work and success in moving forward the Open Access agenda in the UK. Commenting after the award ceremony, Dominic Tate said “UKCoRR is all about its members – and this award is important in recognising the hard work, time and commitment that all the members have given over the last few years. UKCoRR’s success lies in its members’ willingness to share their experiences in this new and rapidly changing field. This award is for all UKCoRR members.”

Pictured L-R: Peter Griffiths, Martin White, Dominic Tate, Simon Edwards.