The project team held a workshop on 23rd May, as part of the HEA OER seminar series, ‘Collaborative working using open research data to create open educational resources for the humanities.’ This interactive event was attended by local Southamptonites and welcome visitors from further afield, and was the first time that the whole project team have been together to present our work. It proved to be an exciting and inspiring day!
The data to be published:
Alicia Pozo-Gutierrez described why she became involved with the OpenLIVES project: she explained how she had collected a wealth of research data for another project, but then it been archived on “on the shelf,” destined to gather dust forever…however, the JISC project had offered the chance for that material to have a continued life. The materials that she had collected were primarily oral testimonies from Spanish emigres who had left Spain during the civil war, and had either remained exiles, or had returned at some point in the intervening years. Alongside the recorded testimonies were images, drawings, ethnographic notes from the original research team and other ephemera. All of this will be digitised and published under a creative commons licence for the OpenLIVES project. She admitted to being “totally seduced by this concept” of openness for her data, and by the enticing prospect of seeing students across different institutions producing new materials based on her work, and of collaborating with colleagues in innovative and inspiring ways to produce OERs.
She noted that for her, there had been some worries about how the data may be used, or misused – she felt it would be important to make sure that metadata and the context of presentation reflected “the spirit in which the materials were collected.” She also noted that this particular group of interviewees had experienced extreme cultural oppression, and had a mistrust of officialdom – this meant that the issue of requesting additional permissions for open sharing was one which required great sensitivity. Alicia’s presentation led to an interesting group discussion on licensing, permissions and creative commons. The group agreed that increased sharing will be the situation in the future, and all staff and students need to become literate in how to do this effectively.
The OERs and embedding into teaching:
Alicia was followed by her project colleagues showcasing their ongoing work embedding the research data into their teaching. Irina Nelson, at Southampton, revealed how she is creating learning objects, using the LOC tool (an authoring tool developed at Southampton featuring an in-built pedagogical template), on the topic of research skills for oral history, for example, one LO deals with how to create effective questions for interviews. These materials will be piloted and evaluated by students in the next academic year, and made available as OERs.
Miguel Arrebola, from the University of Portsmouth, has been actively using the OpenLIVES interviews in his teaching in the last semester and he could provide current examples of his students’ work. He got his year 2 students to create interactive magazines based on the life experiences of the emigres and this involved them researching around the stories, collecting other information to use as illustrative material, collaborative working to produce the magazines and acquisition of technical skills. The magazines are currently being checked and marked but will all become OERs in their own right once this has been done. Miguel conducted interviews with his students to document their experiences of creating the magazines and you can see his video of their comments on HumBox. He noted that he was impressed by their conscientious approach to obtaining permissions from third parties for use of content.
A glorious cross-institutional collaboration – students as producers
Miguel also showed a video that he had recorded with one of the interviewees (Germinal Luis Fernandez) in Barcelona. His students had recorded questions, in Spanish, to put to Germinal – and Miguel videoed his responses. When Miguel returned to Portsmouth, he passed the video to Irina, in Southampton, who set some of her students the project of subtitling it -which they did magnificently. The Southampton students worked as a team to understand subtitling conventions, methods and techniques for good subtitling, and to decide who would subtitle which sections. Then they taught themselves how to use the technology to do it – and they did it! This video is available as an OER.
A new module based on OpenLIVES materials
Antonio Martinez-Arboleda, from the University of Leeds, spoke about his plans for a new module which will run in the next academic year: Discovering Spanish Voices Abroad in a Digital World. This final year module will require students to work with the primary data and to create their own responses to it in the form of video documentaries. Students will acquire a range of technical, critical and research skills – and will be encouraged at every stage to make their work available as open content and “give it back to the community.” Antonio also intends to create a series of autonomous learning activities which other teachers can use in conjunction with the OpenLIVES interviews in working with their own students. See an example on HumBox.
The afternoon saw workshop participants setting up accounts on HumBox and looking through the resources. Alison LeCornu, from the HEA, attended as Academic Lead for Flexible Learning and explained the work of the HEA and the various events and funding opportunities available through that body. She recommended becoming an HEA Associate…which one of our team noted sounded like a free employment agency – which has to be a good thing! She also flagged up the Learning and Teaching Development grants on offer, and played a key role in workshop discussions and activities.
It was an excellent day representing a project which is a joy to be part of, and which is producing a rich and creative collaboration from all involved – the project runs until January 2013…follow us and see what happens next!
Kate Borthwick, LLAS