UAL Teaching and Learning Day


Sarah, Stephanie and I ran a session at the annual UAL Teaching and Learning Day last week. We had an hour’s slot. Sarah started by showing a short PowerPoint presentation to introduce OERs, and then we split into three groups of about 8-10 people to discuss people’s perceptions of OERs, current practice, incentives to contributing and people’s concerns. After 20 minutes or so, each of the three groups presented what had been discussed.

There were a lot of questions – and feedback was plentiful:

Perceptions / concept – the ‘nature’ of a resource

  • It is not new – academics have been using offline resources for years!
  • Materials are only one part of teaching and learning.
  • Teaching resources are a “work-in-progress”.
  • What constitutes a resource – in terms of OER?
  • Is it a lesson plan or is it something that would inform teaching – such as a case study?
  • Would the resources inform teaching only? What about educational resources for students?
  • What is open education?
  • University teaching / learning is different school teaching / learning. In schools there is more ownership of ideas / pride in work.
  • The philosophy of OER seems to be at odds with the publication route of academia. Maybe these two models could work in parallel?
  • MIT OpenCourseWare and OU OpenLearn were mentioned, as having been viewed / used.

Current practice

  • Sharing locally.
  • Using existing open resources.
  • Wikis (with password access), which includes videos, software demos etc.
  • BlackBoard. One group said that they used it as little as possible, but another group thought that it was adequate and that that would be a barrier for using anything else. It was suggested that a technical solution be found to move material from BlackBoard to the OER automatically.
  • Gateway, set up for Conservation students (password-protected).
  • Discussion lists of professional bodies, which include document areas to share resources.


  • Feedback / peer review / ratings were considered important. Therefore, comments boxes and ratings system would be welcomed (it was suggested that it would be useful to be able to sort by ratings – and also by date – c.f. below).
  • Time / money!
  • Rewards from institution.
  • Sharing / benefiting from other institutions.
  • Pride in showing work to others.


  • Ownership / copyright / IPR was probably the biggest concern. Many were worried about who owns copyright when creating a teaching resource as part of a course – is it the university, or the author? Can the author deposit content in the UAL OER that was created while teaching at another university? Many people at the event were visiting lecturers, who lecture at a number of universities. Therefore, branding from multiple institutions could be a problem.
  • Third-party copyright was a concern. It was thought that a Compliance Officer would be needed to give advice.
  • The Language Box idea of re-appropriating resources was not liked. It was felt that it was inappropriate for the author’s name to remain on the newly edited and uploaded resource, when it might be completely different from what the original author had intended. However, it was also felt that the original author should be acknowledged in some way.
  • Would ‘my’ material be (re-)used appropriately? The material is often created for a particular class / room / situation, which can not always be replicated (i.e. the online experience is not the same as the ‘eyes on’ lecture). Therefore, in re-using the online material, it might not be used as originally intended.
  • Teaching and Learning resources are never really complete. Therefore, it would be essential to date it, and to be able to sort by date.
  • Would academics be given time to develop their teaching resources in this way? It was thought that it would be time-consuming.
  • Would academics be given a grant / money to develop their resources?
  • What about updating the resources?
  • What about joint authorship? Recent collaborations have generated training resources produced jointly with University of Kingston, AHRC etc.
  • Logos, branding, funder’s name?
  • It was felt that the work should be given voluntarily – in good faith.
  • There was concern that the teaching materials would not be suitable for public consumption – or not suitable for everyone all the time / own materials are not stylistically pleasing.
  • “Would other people want to see what I’ve done?”
  • Wouldn’t want the resources to be too dry.
  • Would need help in developing the resources online.
  • “Would this replace me?”
  • Would there be enough relevant information to use?

Other questions / thoughts

  • One group said that they would be happy to use the work from other institutions – why re-invent the wheel? Another group said that in arts, design and media subjects re-invention is important / part of the process.
  • It was felt that there was a strong difference between disciplines. Practitioners of language subjects may be used to sharing online, but one person said that they “never have to write a lesson plan”. (Arts subjects are perceived to be more fluid.)
  • Can science subjects be included in the ADM OER – e.g. cosmetic science? If it was created for a course at UAL then she was re-assured that it could be included.
  • One group preferred the idea of a combined database with the UAL Research Online, rather than a separate teaching and learning database, as it was thought that often there is a very fine line between research, and teaching and learning.

Mary Burslem
27th January 2010

4 Responses to “UAL Teaching and Learning Day”

  1. 1 admopened

    Well done Mary and the UAL team. Thanks for compiling and posting the themes of the day.
    The responses seem to point to a consensus – ownership, work, time etc.

    It was interesting to see that many of the themes were not exclusive to art design and media subjects but appropriate across disciplines.

    Very useful responses for the final project reports.

    Steve Mallinder

  2. 2 Stephanie Meece

    I also call that some academics suggested that the best way to get good quality materials online, and to increase use of these resources, would be to provide funds and time for creators; they already have very many demands on their time and energy. This could come from their home universities, or be part of a project specifically devoted to developing materials for the OER.

    I was wondering if this suggestion has been heard before? or if anyone has managed to secure funding of this type?

  3. 3 admopened

    Agreed Stephanie. It seems one of the biggest barriers is the addition to an already full workload.

    In time it would perhaps become common practice but certainly the argument is strategies are required to encourage the process to gain some momentum.

    One counter-argument though is that a high proportion of staff already produce materials that they put up on Blackboard. The shift is that they are now putting them up for global, rather than internal access.


  4. You have observed very interesting points ! ps nice internet site .

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