Thursday, 18 June 2009

JISC - Open Educational Resources evaluation and synthesis function

The Caledonian Academy has been funded to carry out the evaluation and synthesis function of the JISC programme on Open Educational Resources. The programme has funded indivudal, subject discipline and insitutional projects, which are expected to make 'a significant amount of existing learning resources freely available online' see:

The evaluation and synthesis function has three strands:
  • A generic framework tool that will provide a strong foundation and common language for collating data from projects. The framework will allow us to structure our interventions with projects, and will be used a means of evaluating the 'openness' of their outcomes.
  • Strand-specific evaluation activities will address how different communities and cultures are progressing towards openness in their shared practice. These will recruit mixed methods to examine social, technical, pedagogical and legal / organisational issues in each strand, and provide a synthesis account detailing barriers and opportunities for change.
  • The final synthesis report will include recommendations to the funders and to the stakeholders represented in the three strands of the programme, and a version of the framework tool for use by the sector to audit progress towards more open practices around educational resources.

Working with consultants Lou McGill and Helen Beetham, Allison Littlejohn is the principal investigator and Karen Smith will lead the individual strand evaluation.

We have a project wiki which will keep you informed about the progress of the project:

International students' experiences of exams

Karen Smith from the Caledonian Academy is part of team who have successfully secured funding from the Centre for Sociology, Anthropology and Politics (part of the Higher Education Academy) for a project to look at international students' experiences of UK exams. Karen will be working with Jackie Riley (School of Engineering and Computing, GCU) and Nick Pilcher (Edinburgh Napier).

Many students find examinations problematic; we argue, however, that the experience is all the more difficult for international students who may have language issues, potentially unrealistic or different expectations of examinations and limited time to acculturate themselves (especially for taught master’s students). The proposed project intends, through in-depth interviews and questionnaires, to explore international students’ expectations and experiences of examinations in Scotland and then to use those research findings to develop an online resource to support exam preparation.