Drawing on All Resources: developing open educational practice in art, design and media
Debbie Flint, University of BrightonFaculty of Arts, University of Brighton 16 May 2012 This event was, we think, the first conference to take a focused look at open educational resources and practice in the context of creative practice higher education. Hosted by the University of Brighton, the event brought together people and projects, many funded by the JISC / Higher Education Academy Open Educational Resources Programme (2...
Faculty of Arts, University of Brighton
16 May 2012
Drawing on All Resources: developing open educational practice in art, design and media was, we think, the first conference to take a focused look at open educational resources and practice in the context of creative practice higher education. Hosted by the University of Brighton and partly funded by the HEA, the event brought together people and projects, many funded by the JISC / Higher Education Academy Open Educational Resources Programme (2009 - 2012), and many part of OER projects led by the Art Design Media Subject Centre until recently based in the Faculty of Arts.
Many of our universities’ policies and strategies relate to, or even directly align with, the development of open educational practices; that is with making our teaching and learning resources (in the very broadest sense) openly available online for use in a whole range of contexts. For example, our policies relating to: social engagement (providing access to the university’s resources); curriculum development and the student and staff experience (understanding how students learn best and utilising appropriate technologies to support this); management of the physical environment (managing scholarly information and resources); and our marketing and communications strategies. However, the majority of higher education institutions in the UK are still grappling with how to make more open approaches work in practice.
Work undertaken by the Art Design Media Subject Centre over the past three years suggests that the development of open educational resources and practices poses distinct opportunities, as well as challenges, for our subject disciplines and creative practice higher education.
Open educational practices may support staff / student, cross and inter-institutional collaboration; provide opportunities to articulate the nature of creative practice higher education; raise individual, departmental and institutional profiles; and perhaps the recording, digitisation and sharing of skills-based resources may free up time to spend on other aspects of teaching.
Some of the challenges relate to unclear understandings of, and conflicting motivations for, the development of open educational practice. There are concerns about its relationship with, and impacts on, established disciplinary teaching practices, staff roles and workloads. There are also issues about quality; the need for institutional policies, systems and provision of technical support; and the consequences of ‘giving away’ hard-won resources.
Drawing on All Resources aimed to: capture, recognise and share burgeoning practice and enable open dialogue about the themes and issues that are emerging around the creation and use of online teaching and learning resources in creative disciplines.
The post-conference survey asked Drawing on All Resources delegates for ‘one thing you will do as a result if attending’ and their responses demonstrate that there is a strong appetite for deriving mutual benefits from cross-faculty and inter-institutional collaboration relating to teaching and learning, and through the development of more open educational practices. The event has initiated several potential collaborations and the feedback revealed arrangements to meet, share practice, develop projects and discuss collaborations across departments and between institutions. In a representative comment, one delegate plans to ‘keep in contact with relevant people to help support their work and inform mine.’
In the context of their own institutions, delegates plan to use their learning: making use of each other’s resources, applying processes for developing more open practices; informing research and teaching; using existing software more effectively and contributing to open access websites. The feedback also indicates the potential for a ripple effect as delegates pass on their learning to creative practice students, postgraduate teaching students, colleagues and managers, in their teaching, at conferences and online.
(I’m) considering setting up a cross-discipline open website for the sharing of resources within my department.
Finally, the event served to encourage and inspire those already on the road to open educational practice: to expand practice; develop further research, undertake further study; to apply the principles of open learning to teaching planning; and to generally ‘keep at it!’
In a recent article for the Times Higher, Thomas Docherty made a powerful argument against a ‘ruthless, distorted idea’ of competition in the higher education sector, promoting instead ‘the idea that we share certain needs in the social realm, and that the university should be addressing those needs and not serving competitive advancement measured by private gain’ (p.38). Delegates’ generous contributions to Drawing on All Resources, their work to make teaching and learning resources openly available and plans for the future, suggest that the desire for a collegiate and collaborative approach to teaching and learning is, amongst art, design and media tutors at least, alive and well.
Docherty, T. ‘Zero-Sum Game’, Times Higher Education, 31 May - 6 June 2012, No. 2,052.
Listing and header image: Section of logo for Drawing on All Resources, designed by compoundEye