Open Educational Resources Programme Briefing Day

A rather belated summary of last week’s HEFCE / Academy / JISC Open Educational Resources Community Briefing* meeting. This meeting pretty much did what it said on the tin – it provided the community with additional information on the OER Programme call and an opportunity to put questions to JISC and HEA representatives.

Malcolm Read and of the JISC and David Sadler of the Academy opened the meeting with a general introduction to the aims and objectives of the call – to link together a corpus of open educational resources at national level and to promote cultural change at institutional level.

David Kernohan then went on to discuss the pilot programme in a little more detail before introducing the JISC and Academy representatives with responsibility for each of the three programme strands:

  • Subject strand – David Sadler and Joanne Masterson, Academy
  • Institutional Strand – Heather Williamson, JISC
  • Individual Strand – Sharon Waller & Ellie Spilman, Academy

David stressed the ground breaking nature of this pilot project which, if it’s successful, will help to increase the range and quality of educational resources available in the public domain, facilitate re-use, build capacity and expertise across the sector adn act as a catalyst for institutional change. All projects are encouraged to include a range of content and to attempt to embed the practice of opening access to educational resources within their institutions beyond funded phase of the programme. Sustainability is key.

Next it was over to Amber Thomas to outline the technical requirements of the programme, which I’ll cover in a separate post, followed by an excellent presentation from Liam Earney of the CASPER Project on the realities of addressing legal considerations based on the experiences of the RePRODUCE Programme. Liam stressed that “open” means the ability to download and modify resources, not just to read them, but added that many institutions have contradictory policies on what can be done with educational materials. The main lesson projects must learn is to allow lots and lots of time for rights clearance and to allocate sufficient resources and budget to this task.

Unsurprisingly Liam’s presentation on legal issues set the tone for much of the following discussion with many of the questions relating to the practicalities of rights clearance across project consortia. Many of the other questions focused on the logistics of constructing bids, the practicalities of putting together consortia agreements, and what constitutes match funding. A somewhat opportunistic question that surfaced more than once was given that educational content represents a valuable asset from the institutional perspective can JISC funding be used to effectively buy out this content? Malcolm Read quickly pointed out that HEFCE are not offering money to “buy” content and that the commitment they are looking for from institutions is sustainability.

For a fuller record of the day’s discussions, and in particular the question and answer session see However to my utter, utter, shame I used the programme tag #ukoer rather than the briefing day tag #oerday for the earlier part of the day so see also

Presentations from the day are available at

* I was told that JISC no longer use the term town meeting but no one was able to tell me why!