Introducing TOUCANS to OERten

Posted on November 4, 2011


On 9th and 10th November, I will be attending the OERu Anchor Partner Meeting virtually. In a Skype call with Wayne Mackintosh last Friday, we discussed the possibility of me having a few minutes on the programme to introduce myself and the TOUCANS project to the OERten network. In the meantime, I’ll use this blog entry to summarise what the TOUCANS project is about and why it may be of interest to OERten members.

TOUCANS is a research project under the auspices of the Open University (UK)’s SCORE fellowship programme, funded by HEfCE, and it runs until the end of June 2012. My main research aim is to ascertain the attitudes and perceptions of stakeholders in the UK Higher Education sector towards the OERu concept, considering the notable absence of UK-based members amongst the Anchor Partners to date.  I also hope to generate some guidelines or recommendations for institutions in the UK which may be considering participating in the OERu.

I will be the principal researcher on the project, supported by my SCORE mentor at the Open University, Dr Patrick McAndrew, other members of the SCORE fellows community, and my colleagues at the Beyond Distance Research Alliance at the University of Leicester, in particular Dr Alejandro Armellini. For more info about me, please see my bio.

One of my main research methodologies will be interviews – both with stakeholders in UK HE institutions and with committed OERten members. I will therefore be making contact with representatives of the OERten network after the inaugural meeting to try to set up interviews with them.

A few indicative questions for these interviews:

  • What courses or programmes are you planning to contribute to the OERu?
  • What is your business model for participating in the OERu? (Or: How will you ensure that your institution’s OERu offerings are financially viable?)
  • How are you planning to approach requests for recognition of accreditation given by other institutions in the OERten network?
  • What kind of support, if any, will your students be given?

I will then be arranging for a series of online webinars to raise awareness about the OERu amongst stakeholders in UK universities, and to start sharing findings from discussions with existing network members, such as options for business models, and ways of approaching accreditation frameworks. Interviews with UK stakeholders will follow.

I will be blogging here throughout the project – and also at Open Learning News.

I am very much looking forward to engaging with members (existing and potential) of the OERu community over the coming months on my research journey. Comments and feedback on my blogs will be welcomed.

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