Category Archives: Open Educational Resources

Open Educational Resource Project

This is a HEA/JISC OMAC 3 Open Educational Resources Project which aims to support the provision and sustainable use of shared learning resources and explore the benefits of this for individuals and Higher Education Institutions.

Project Overview

The project has three main strands:

 Strand 1 – 20 Rough and Quick Guides to Learning & Teaching

 These previously internal publications are being released as OERs via open access repositories.  All of the guides are being released under creative commons licences to enable easy access and use by the wider academic community.  Both series address a range of key L&T issues or specific L&T methods.

Quick Guides are very short and provide ‘top tips’ and practical examples from L&T practice with access to further resources.  Titles include:

  • Programme Leadership
  • Action Learning
  • Engaging Students

Rough Guides are more substantive texts that provide more in-depth guidance and case studies.  Titles include:

  • Work-based Learning
  • Employability
  • Progress Files

Strand 2 – Open Learning Units

Open learning units are being developed which draw on and extend the ideas and tips in the Rough & Quick Guides.  These are stand-alone units that will be mapped to the UK Professional Standards Framework for Teaching and Supporting Learning in Higher Education (UKPSF) (2011).  Titles include:

  • Achieving HEA Individual Recognition
  • Employability
  • Digital Literacies
  • Distance Learning

Piloting of one of the open learning units is underway; this provides the opportunity to evaluate its appropriateness for the audience, inform further development and better understand how to enhance the shared approach to learning.  The pilot unit, and the learning gained from it, will provide a model for the production of further units.

Strand 3 – Collaboration with Others/Raising Awareness 

To ensure a sustainable approach to the development and use of open resources, the project team is liaising with other OMAC 3/Open Education Practice project teams and members of Our Friends in the North (a network of PG Cert leaders and other staff who are engaged in developing learning and teaching) to collaborate on the development of units and UKPSF (2011) mapping.

By working collaboratively with others, we aim to raise awareness of the open educational resource agenda and enable more widespread and sustainable use of the resources.  As the various aspects of the project have been developed and delivered, opportunities for dissemination and sharing the learning from the project have been pursued, i.e. through conference workshops, papers and seminars.

In addition, a project blog has been created to provide up to date project information, access to project resources, project evaluation, and team reflection on the process and progress of the project.

The project blog can be found at:

For further information, or to participate in piloting the units please contact Gill Janes at


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Why SEDA publications should go open

In John Naughton’s recent article in the Observer he gave some persuasive arguments why academic journals should become ‘open source’.

The subscriptions to journals is a massive cost to university libraries and in turn the taxpayer, ”the average cost of an annual subscription to a chemistry journal is still $3,792 and many journals cost far more. The result is that unconscionable amounts of public money are extracted from our hapless universities in the form of what are, effectively, monopoly rents for a few publishers”. Surely this money could have alternative uses.

Academics are setting up their alternative freely available journals. There is even advise on the web on ‘How to run an open access journal’;

This in turn is being supported by lecturers promoting their own research articles via Blogs and Twitter. The evidence is beginning to grow that this is a very effective way of getting these articles read by people that matter. See for example, ‘The verdict: is blogging or tweeting about research papers worth it?’:

SEDA publishes Innovations in Education and Teaching International (IETI) and Educational Developments plus numerous special publications….which are fantastic!!I think Seda publications should follow ALT’s lead and become ‘open access journals’ This would lead to better access to SEDA publications, substantially reduce publication fees, speed up the publication process and increase the influence and relevance of SEDA ideas in education.

Chris Rowell


  • I agree Chris. Open access would enable the dissemination of research to reach a much wider audience and as you mention the technological affordances of social media encourage such sharing. This sharing culture then opens further potential for future collaborative research. An open online journal could also be linked to the SEDA conference with calls for short and long papers.

    Steve Wheeler’s post ‘The open case’ includes a growing list of open journals as does the Directory of Open Journals


    • I think this is somehting we shoud seriously consider


    • Hard to be against open. Some things to think about.
      1 Publishing costs! The committee, copy editing, marketing, print, distribution. New publication models can change and reduce these. But they won’t all go away .
      2 Open needn’t mean free. Some open journals charge the author. This would be an interesting transition for SEDA.
      3 I am sure SEDA will soon experiment with e-publication, print-on-demand and other new good stuff. Publication partners such as JISC will want us to use Creative Commons.
      4 But this is all producer-led. We need to talk and listen to current and future members and customers. “What do you want?” would be a good first question.
      5 Let’s experiment. We’re small and agile enough.
      6 And whatever we do we have to at least cover our true costs, and make a
      modest surplus to invest in new products and services.
      7 And keep on producing excellent stuff that our customers want, including new topics and formats.
      Thanks for raising this, Chris. I agree it’s important.


      • For me David raises the three key questions:
        4 But this is all producer-led. We need to talk and listen to current and future members and customers. “What do you want?” would be a good first question.
        5 Let’s experiment. We’re small and agile enough.
        6 And whatever we do we have to at least cover our true costs, and make a
        modest surplus to invest in new products and services.

        At the current time and given SEDA’s ethos, I think we should be presuming that OA is the way to go unless point 4 or point 6 above indicate otherwise.

        There are factors to investigate relating to direct and indirect costs, such as:
        a. Can we still use the same (or similar) publishers with a changed access and cost model?
        b. Should we experiment with publishing in-house (using Free / Open Source software tools like OJS – Open Journal Systems – see a webinar I organised on this at
        c. By making IETI and EdDevs OA are we reducing the value of SEDA membership? Do we receive income from paid subscriptions to these journals that we would be losing?

        There are many more considerations to be made, but for me this should not be a barrier to going OA but rather a means to ensuring that we find a way to make it work.

  • I agree with David that publishing costs will need to be considered. Personally, I’m not comfortable with charging authors, as that leads to all sorts of questions about the type of person/organisation that can afford to pay for their research to be published; financial means does not seem to be an appropriate measure for deciding which papers get published.

    The problem with scholars simply publishing their research on their own blogs is quality control. As I am forever telling my students, the difference between a peer-reviewed journal and ‘Joelle’s blog’ is that, in theory, the editorial decision for a peer-reviewed academic journal is made on research quality, while anyone can publish any old rubbish on a blog (see my blog for proof of half-developed ideas and reflections).

    If we can find a way to offset costs, I think that an open-access, peer-reviewed journal with Creative Commons licensing would be a welcome asset to the SEDA community, and beyond.

    So, how to offset costs? Advertising? Charging authors? Charge more for other SEDA events and services? Volunteer editorial committee, reviewers and copy-editors paying their own travel and subsistence?


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