Summary of my OERRH fellowship activities

I started at the OER Research Hub as part of my fellowship on 20 January and spent three weeks with the group within the Institute of Education Technology at the Open University. This post is just a short summary and overview of my activities and a place to store all the links, references and contacts I have made.

The Jennie Lee Building at the Open University in Milton Keynes, which houses the Institute of Education Technology.

First week


  • Research sharing with Leigh-Anne Perryman about her involvement in the TESS-India project and localization of OER, specifically translation

  • Met with Patrick McAndrew, Director of the Institute of Education Technology and principal investigator in the OERRH to get an overview of Open University, discuss Siyavula and what we do, and learn about some of the innovation in pedagogy and education technology taking place

  • Research sharing with Rob Farrow about research evaluation tools for OER, OER policy and philosophy, insight into broadening Siyavula’s potential impact

  • Lunch with the founders of Flipped Learning Network to learn about the research they have been doing with the OERRH


  • Met with OERRH collaborators to finalise educator surveys

  • Planned case study about Gr 4-6 translation into isiXhosa

  • Started putting together references for the OER impact map, specifically from South Africa

Second week


  • Met with the Open Media Unit at the Open University to learn about how they deliver content over OpenLearn, YouTube, iTunes, and BBC for social reasons, and also business/marketing

  • Andy Lane – Professor of Environmental Systems at The Open University, and formerly director of OpenLearn for research sharing

  • Martin Weller – Professor of Education Technology and principal investigator of the OER Research Hub to share ideas/research

  • Babette Oliver – External Relations Officer for the OU to learn about OU’s history and sustainability model

  • Chetz Colwell – discussed the OU’s accessibility programme for people learning with disabilities (also brainstormed ideas for what we can do at Siyavula going forward)

  • Met with the Learning and Teaching Solutions about the way their processes and pipeline for produce and delivering content for their courses, developed by the academics and made available over multiple platforms and formats. Read more about their ‘Structured Content’ and one of the tools they use, Oxygen.

  • Phil Butcher – learned about the OU’s eAssessment using Moodle, as well as OpenMark, and the various questions and responses they are able to do. All open source.


  • Finalised Educator Survey to send out

  • Coordinated with Siyavula colleagues to send out survey to their networks and I contacted various people and groups directly

  • Put together references for evidence from South Africa on OER to populate the OER Impact map – also put Siyavula and FHSST in as projects (see this map)

Third week


  • Met with Learning and Teaching solutions again about their production pipeline and their main TeX expert who wanted to find out about the way we produce our content

  • Met with the group that does usability testing for all the Open University websites and courses and learned about their machinery, software, tests for doing so

  • Took part as a participant in one of their usability studies for a PhD student looking at usable spaces within art galleries

  • Met with Bea de los Acros about her research within the OERRH, specifically in K-12, on projects such as the Flipped Learning Network and Vital Signs


  • Contacted various people and mailing lists about the educator survey

  • Collated references for OER research and evidence for impact in South Africa

  • Did a recorded interview with Beck Pitt from the OERRH

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