Have your say on Open Education Resources

Guest blog post: Eva Sharpe, Higher Education Policy Officer, Society of Biology calls for people to fill in a HE teaching survey

There are many excellent teaching resources publicly available for lecturers to use and re-use in the biosciences across various websites, publications and discussion forums. Although some of these resources are featured in specific online repositories such as Jorum, many are hosted directly on institutions’ own websites and require a bit of searching to find them. Preliminary results of a survey we’re currently carrying out suggest that the main barriers to the use of Open Education Resources (OER) are that people don’t always know where resources are located or can’t find what they are looking for.

The Society of Biology recently received funding from the Higher Education Academy and JISCthrough their OER Programme to work with the Heads of University Biosciences (HUBS) to address this by promoting the use of OER by the bioscience community.

As part of this project we are developing a new website which signposts OER in the biosciences. We are not creating new resources, but instead collating all the existing resources, and displaying them in a searchable, user-friendly way. This will create a peer-reviewed site where these resources can be easily found by the teaching community, ensuring better access to a variety of support and reducing the time spent searching the web.

Our website will primarily focus on OER that support laboratory and fieldwork teaching in biosciences higher education. This could include open access laboratory and fieldwork protocols, online multimedia alternatives to laboratory work, pedagogical case studies; and a database of centres that are available to hire for fieldwork.

We are currently running a survey to find out what you will find most useful from this website, so if you are a biosciences lecturer please fill in our survey here. It doesn’t matter whether you currently use OER or not. In fact if you don’t currently use them, we’re keen to find out what the main barriers are, so that we can work with you on these. We will also be running a series of workshops in the autumn and producing publications to promote the use of OER, as well as guides about the new website which will launch in the autumn.

For more information on Open Education Resources, JISC have an excellent OER InfoKit with information on using and generating OER, covering copyright and intellectual property issues; and ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ for creating your own resources. There are also features on all of the previously funded JISC/HEA projects to give you a flavour of some of the great existing resources which we’ll be promoting through the site.

If you are already familiar with OER and have made resources available which would be suitable to feature on the site then please get in touch: evasharpe@societyofbiology.org

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