CoPILOT and OER Research Hub: A year of reflection and activities

The summer time is the ideal period for all Academic Librarians to recharge their batteries in anticipation of the new term. My recharging time includes a lot of pausing to reflect on my annual professional praxis and set new personal and professional goals for the year to come. Unlike the end of the calendar year, the academic year is complete mid-summer, a time for me to take stock and create resolutions.

This academic year has been very busy and I barely managed to blog about everything that happened. Two of my posts were about my involvement in CoPILOT and our collaboration with the OU OER Research Hub (OERRHUB).

In this post, I revisit this piece of research and reflect upon it.

CoPILOT stands for Community of Practice for Information Literacy Online Teaching and is a collaborative effort to disseminate information among librarians, fill in training needs with regards to OER and influence Open Educational Practice (OEP).

CoPILOT was the outcome of a research project and therefore any further research activities are part of the community’s DNA. This year we had the opportunity to collaborate with the researchers for the Open University Research Hub and further explore Librarians’ attitudes towards OER. Most importantly, we had the opportunity to investigate to what extent OER adoption attitudes have changed since Bueno-de-la-Fuente’s, Robertson’s & Boon’s report, (2012); De Beer’s (2012) SCORE findings; Graham’s and Secker’s report (2012), along with Harris’s (2012) and Taylor & Francis’s most recent findings (2013).

In preparation of the questionnaires, we reviewed all the known surveys that targeted Librarians’ use of OER but also we broadened our review to other reports that referred to Librarians’ role in openness in general. We believe that our roles are evolving as a result of open initiatives undertaken by our Institutions and therefore OER cannot be seen in isolation.

These reports, along with our personal interactions with colleagues, enriched our perspective and informed the formation of the questionnaires to fit a global community of Librarians.

Learning achieved:

Problem solving: While the literature review can be seen as a lonely process and due to my research interest it preceded the survey, the formation of questions was a collaborative bouncing of ideas that could start as a thinking-loudly reflective monologue evolving to a dialogic inquiry between representatives of CoPILOT and the OERRHUB researchers. That was a very productive collaborative practice giving us a taste of working remotely but effectively as a team and liaising back with our extended communities.

The surveys attracted a global pool of respondents with a decent number of Librarians offering their contact details to participate in further research. Back in February, I blogged about the preliminary results after Beck Pitt who leads the research project, posted a detailed account of the first findings.

 Learning Achieved:

The Following Infographic summarises some of the main findings:

 

Librarians and OER

 Note: If you want to embed this Infographic on your website please follow these instructions You can also view the Infographic at PiKtoChart
 

The following section reflects the broader perspective among CoPILOT members. Ella Mitchell, Chair of the Committee comments:

  • What key findings have come from evaluation activities undertaken by this piece of research?

The results concur with earlier surveys mentioned above and in the literature review. While it is good that the previous surveys have been supported by the findings of this research, it might also require some further analysis to investigate if more conclusions can be drawn from the research.

The quality of OERs seems to be questioned; perhaps, this is a reason why their use is not always so widespread. Also finding where OERs are still seems to be an issue and certainly ties with CoPILOT’s main objectives in providing training for librarians in those aspects.

One of the questions that come to mind is whether a more widespread creation of OERs would improve their quality. While less than 15% of respondents had replied to say they had created and published resources under a CC licence it seems that the demand outstrips the supply.

  • What opportunities and barriers currently exist that the project could help with?

Perhaps an opportunity exists to explore the reasons why so few respondents have produced OERs. It would be beneficial to know what holds librarians back from producing Open Educational Resources so that we could inform our training and workshop activities.

 

CoPILOT outreach and conferences:

CoPILOT members attended and presented in several conferences during the year where the above results were shared with a broad audience. The lively feedback received from colleagues worldwide through Social Media, along with the high number of viewings following the upload of the presentations suggest a wide dissemination of the CoPILOT impact. (e.g. Secker’s presentation in Portland has attracted 6,657 views to date.) These conferences included:

Conferences:

Graham, N. et al., 2014. From local to global: sharing good practice in information literacy. In LILAC 2014. Sheffield: Sheffield Hallam University, 23rd-25th April 2014. Available at: http://www.slideshare.net/infolit_group/grahamseckerflynnburke [Accessed August 18, 2014].

Pitt, R., Graham, N. & Zazani, E., 2014. Spreading the Word! Librarians and Open Educational Resources. In OER14: building communities of open practice. Newcastle, 28-29 April 2014. Available at: http://www.medev.ac.uk/oer14/45/view/ [Accessed March 6, 2014].

Secker, J. & Graham, N., 2014. From local to global: open and sustainable ways to share our teaching resources. In Library Instruction West 2014. Portland Oregon: Portland State University Library, 23-25 July. Available at: http://www.slideshare.net/seckerj/from-local-to-global-sharing-information-literacy-as-open-education [Accessed August 18, 2014].

Sieber, V. & Secker, J., 2014. CoPILOT: Supporting teaching with open educational resources (OER). In Higher Education Academy Annual Conference 2014. Birmingham: Aston University.

Workshop:

Workshop hosted by Glasgow Caledonian University, Wednesday, 12th February 2014

 References cited above:

Bueno-de-la-Fuente, G., Robertson, J., & Boon, S. (2012). The roles of libraries and information professionals in Open Educational Resources (OER) initiatives: Survey Report (p. 52). Retrieved from http://publications.cetis.ac.uk/2012/492

De Beer, T. (2012). SCORE Library Survey Report (p. 15). Retrieved from http://www.open.ac.uk/score/news/score-library-survey-report

Graham, N., & Secker, J. (2012). Librarians, information literacy and open educational resources: report of a survey (p. 19). Retrieved from http://delilaopen.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/findingsharingoers_reportfinal1.pdf

Harris, S. (2012). Moving towards an open access future: the role of academic libraries. London. Retrieved from http://www.uk.sagepub.com/repository/binaries/pdf/Library-OAReport.pdf

Taylor & Francis. (2013). Facilitating access to free online resources: challenges and opportunities for the library community (p. 38). Retrieved from http://www.tandf.co.uk/libsite/pdf/TF-whitepaper-free-resources.pdf

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