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Open learning resources workshop for higher education institution development projects emphasized the importance of cooperation

Open learning resources workshop for higher education institution development projects emphasized the importance of cooperation

Anna Lindfors, Eeva Polvi

A workshop on open learning resources for higher education institution (HEI) development projects, held on 16 February 2018, was attended by representatives of development projects, libraries and study and information administrations from various HEIs. The workshop was held at the Harald Herlin Learning Centre of Aalto University in Espoo. Organized by CSC and the DIGIJOUJOU project, the workshop focused on providing tools for cooperation to development projects, with an eye toward the use and lifecycle of the learning resources produced in them.

The workshop was organized as part of CSC educational and teaching cooperation services for HEI development projects. The development projects are those which received separate funding from the Ministry of Education and Culture.
 

Learning resources in educational cooperation

The workshop included four presentations, after which the participants engaged in a learning café style of group work. The first presenter of the workshop, Head Project Coordinator of the DIGIJOUJOU project, Director Heidi Rontu of Aalto University led a discussion on the continuity of preserving learning resources produced in the projects as well as HEI cooperation. The project coordinated by Rontu, which involves 52 teachers, is producing learning resources for the study of Finnish and Swedish. With information collected from several HEIs, the project explores, in particular, the ability to find resources after the project period has ended as well as the availability of resources without requiring authentication bound to a specific HEI. 

The questions posed by Rontu also raised questions for other development projects.

– Participants in all of the learning café theme discussions pointed out the need for a common platform, which would facilitate the sharing and finding of open learning resources as well as long-term activities, states Eeva Polvi, Project Manager from CSC. 

Current publishing opportunities can, in many cases, restrict the availability of learning resources to only one HEI, such as by blocking access to them by requiring authentication for the learning platform. The discussions examined whether a shared, integrated and user-friendly solution for flexible educational cooperation between universities should be promoted. Open learning resources were seen as being one of the tools for educational cooperation, which could promote joint development under the right direction.

Open learning resources are located in several different places, as was discussed in the workshop. This topic was also examined from a metadata perspective in a presentation made by coordinator Anna Lindfors from CSC. Learning resource metadata can help in finding high-quality learning resources that meet given needs. Resources located in several different places can be accessed on a single screen by consolidating the metadata for resources found on different platforms. In this case, the user does not need a certain user interface to access the resources, but rather different actors can use solutions that are best suited to their specific needs.
 

Developing open learning resources

In the learning café, other solutions for the development of open learning resources were also proposed. Increasing awareness of open learning resources and the copyright issues related to their production were found to be a particular need. Senior Lecturer Vesa Linja-aho from Metropolia University of Applied Sciences offered his own perspective concerning this issue. He felt that the fragmentation of the field and short-term nature of activities hindered an increase in the use of open learning resources.

The final workshop presentation was made by Creative Commons Finland representative Tarmo Toikkanen, who discussed copyrights. Toikkanen explained the operating principles of Creative Commons licenses, stating that particularly licenses which permit editing would be suitable for open learning resources. 

In addition to licenses, a revenue generation model for open learning resources was also discussed. A desire for additional discussion on ensuring the development of open learning resources was also expressed. Seeing open learning resources as a means of promoting the qualification of HEI teachers is part of this.
 

Workshops support the work of development projects

According to the feedback given, participants felt that the workshop had provided them with tools for their work and their own development projects. The open learning resources workshop is part of a series of events organized by CSC. The aim of these events is to promote development project cooperation and bring actors together to address common themes. The progress of open learning resources produced in development projects can be followed on each project's own website.

Recording of the workshop presentations can be viewed on the event website. The website also contains a compendium of the challenges and solutions for open learning resources as well as discussions on the open sharing and availability of learning resources.
 

The higher education institution development projects

  • HEI development projects receive separate funding from the Ministry of Education and Culture.
  • These projects are supported by implementation of the Finnish Government's Key Project Accelerated transition to working life by, for example, making use of the possibilities afforded by digitalization.
  • CSC supports the work of the higher education institution development projects and ministry commissions by offering its expertise in the dissemination and publishing of project results as well as finding local and shared student administration and information services.
     

PICTURE: EEVA POLVI / CSC



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