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OERs to widen access and participation An OU/Reaching Wider project bringing FREE educational resources to mid and North Wales.

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Presentation on theme: "OERs to widen access and participation An OU/Reaching Wider project bringing FREE educational resources to mid and North Wales."— Presentation transcript:

1 OERs to widen access and participation An OU/Reaching Wider project bringing FREE educational resources to mid and North Wales

2 The project North and Mid Wales Reaching Wider Partnership project. Brings OER, OpenLearn, to mid and north Wales Building capacity in communities to use the resource to widen access and participation. Currently in year 2 of a 3 year project.

3 Main aims of the project Develop capacity through recruiting and training OpenLearn Champions within communities to help people access OpenLearn and further learning. Develop virtual ‘communities of practice’ to share learning from the project as it develops. Research and evaluate the use of OERs and impact on Widening Participation groups.

4 Who are the Champions? Community workers Local adult education tutors Librarians Union Learning Reps Job Centre Plus Advisors Community and voluntary sector groups All must complete an application form to demonstrate how they promote learning as part of their paid or voluntary role.

5 The Role of Champions Be a friendly face in your community and show others how to get started on OpenLearn. Tell colleagues and students/clients about Open learn. If you have a teaching role you may find that Open learn has material you can use Role should complement your current job or volunteer role.

6 Case study – Local rural Library

7 Resources and support for Champions Training – A mixture of instruction, hands-on practice of the OpenLearn content and group discussion around how they will use OpenLearn. A resource pack includes promotional materials, certificates, OpenLearn and progression guide. On line forum Daily tweets with OpenLearn recommendations Mentor support from project team member

8 Engagement 52 people trained as Champions Year 1, we estimate to have 112 Champions by the end of the project 2014 Difficult to track and monitor the full spread and reach. Reaching over 600 learners

9 The research

10 Barriers to access and the promise of OER Geography Prior achievement Income Digital divide Physical circumstances Individual norms Lane and van Dorp, 2011

11 Barriers to access and the promise of OER “OER are fine for confident and experienced learners…but most people who are targeted as part of widening participation schemes are unlikely to be so confident and will require other support mechanisms to achieve participation.”

12 Some questions What do learners perceive to be the value of open educational resources? How do learners approach using the resources? Is the learning seen as a bridge to formal learning or as an end in itself? What are the issues around cultural specificity and what could/should be adjusted: materials or peer and professional support? What is the optimal level of peer and professional support required for successful experience of non-confident learners? What does good OER to widen participation look like?

13 Approach Range of methods –Observation at training sessions –Semi-structured interviews –Project feedback and evaluation data –Other documentary evidence Case studies developed Themes and lessons

14 What we learned

15 For community-based organisations Ensure availability of computers with internet access and someone on hand to help with IT skills. Create and nurture a sense of belonging. Keep it social, provide opportunities for people to learn together. Signpost to specific materials dependent on learner needs and use a range of OERs including those offering basic skills. Use less formal content as an introduction to the materials.

16 For Open Educational Resource developers Focus on the audience. Learn from existing widening participation curriculum and barriers.

17 For widening participation practitioners Choosing a Champion, screen carefully to ensure the people who attend the Champion training have the opportunity to use it afterwards. Ensure that there are clear pathways and information for Champions and learners about the next steps and the move to formal accredited learning.

18 Where will the project go next? More guidance on courses and content, the development of informal pathways using OpenLearn content. Links to the new Future Learn, UK MOOCs (massive open online courses) developments.

19 Contacts/ information (practice based) and (research side) Twitter: #OLRW Project Blog : n_North_and_Mid_Wales n_North_and_Mid_Wales

20 About Openlearn

21 What is it? Open Educational Resources (OER) Biggest repository of OER in Europe Over 650 units of free courses and content 11 million users worldwide OER a growing area, eg. Coursera and other platforms

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23 What can learners do? -Over 650 courses - History and the Arts, Science, Maths and Technology, Body and Mind, Society, Education and Languages -Plan and prepare for a course of study by enrolling on one of the free courses -Browse the subject categories to discover articles, watch videos and interact with features and games -Explore new topics to build their personal knowledge or look for reference material for a course they are already studying -Keep track of their learning and print off a record of the courses they have undertaken

24 Why is this relevant to groups and individuals in the Widening Access community? OpenLearn is free, informal and flexible and can be accessed from any computer which connects to the internet. Material from introductory to advanced level is available – something for everyone Stepping stone to build confidence, ready for work or further study

25 OU and the BBC There are constantly changing topics highlighted on Open learn, many linked to the BBC e.g. ‘Stargazing’ with Brian Cox Wartime Farm BBC Story of Wales Bang Goes theTheory Coast All with related materials on OpenLearn and additional hard copy resources available.

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