WP3 The role of Community in OER

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Month 9 thru Month 20 (12 months)

This work package, led by OUNL, is responsible for the multiple case-study analysis, focusing on the dynamics of the communities behind the OER initiatives. Six initiatives, plus one for Athabasca, will be selected from the inventory to undergo case study research. (The overall 7 are to include at least two for primary schools, two for secondary schools, two for universities and one other.) Contacts will be established with initiative stakeholders and the partnership will use its own sources in order to facilitate the gathering of information. The topic of study will be the communities behind the OER initiatives, more specific the end-users–producers–consumers within the OER communities. The communities will be analysed using Social Network Analysis methodologies (see e.g. http://www.orgnet.com/sna.html). Multicultural and language issues in such communities will be of particular interest.

OUNL will provide the necessary competences and research skills to set up Social Network Analyses and will supply centralised advice and specialist data processing.

To get the case studies done, smaller workgroups will be set up with case study partners in order to gather the needed data.

Social Network Analysis methodologies will give the project more insight into the processes of the communities and aim to provide an answer to the following questions:

  • How are the lively communities organised?
  • Who are the key players in these communities and what are the competences of these key players?
  • What are the driving forces behind the dynamics of the lively communities?

Combined with Social Network Analysis partners will do an in-depth interview with the coordinators of each initiative to ask about the organisational aspects of the community support.

This in-depth information will provide the necessary input for workable and tested guidelines and lessons learned, which will be used as input for the policy lessons.

The results will give us also the opportunity to contrast results by sector.

Nearer the end of the work, experts from the International Advisory Committee will be given the opportunity to comment during an IAC meeting at a relevant event.

Third Country Partner (Athabasca)

Athabasca via TEKRI and Terry Anderson in particular has considerable research expertise in analysing communities. Athabasca will contribute this experience to the RdMC-OUNL team finalising the methodology for the WP3 case studies.

Contribute ideas for case studies especially for one based outside EU.

Do one case study.

Please explain how the overall project management will be implemented

RdMC-OUNL is in charge of WP 3. University of Leicester has specialist research expertise in communities of practice via Professor Conole and she is expected to make input to RdMC - but RdMC will define and then propagate one common framework. It is always a challenge to run separate research teams in a coherent way - RdMC will provide a centralised advice service and also centralised data processing support for analysis of SNA data - this will allow teams without the exact same level of expertise as RdMC to cope within the common framework defined. However, unlike most other WPs, in this one the research tasks have been concentrated to those partners most experienced with such research (including Athabasca) - the other partners' role is to review the case studies. This minimises risk while still allowing a range of detailed approaches and thus flexibility and adaptation to the particular situation of each case study - and linguistic/cultural/geographic proximity to each case study locus.

Explanation of work package expenditures

Each case study = fixed allocation Category 2 Review of case studies = small fixed allocation Category 2.

It was considered to include travel to case study sites but it was decided that this was not appropriate. Case studies may be remote from the partners (perhaps in another country) and the methodology is designed be used with "remote" analysis of case studies especially those which may span a whole country (as many national programmes do).