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About OSIER

This page provides further information about the OSIER project and the repository. It is divided into the following sections:

1. About the OSIER Project

The OSIER project (Open Sustainability in Education Resource) is concerned with the open sharing of resources for the teaching of sustainable development and global citizenship. It forms part of the second round of the HEFCE-funded UK OER programme, administered jointly by the Higher Education Academy and the Joint Information Systems Committee.

With its academic partners, OSIER has built an online repository containing a large body of teaching and support resources to help with the sustainability and citizenship curricula in all four nations of the UK. The repository is open for all users, both to access materials and for submission of new resources. All materials are fully accessible and re-usable, and made available under a Creative Commons licence.

Now that the repository is operational, we are especially keen to encourage resource use and re-use. If you download a resource, please use the comments field to record your impressions, and to tell the community how you have used the resource. We particularly value information where a resource has been used outside its original context. You need to have a user account and be logged in to leave a comment.

1.1 Publicity material

The project designed and produced a print brochure in June 2011, to explain the aims and objectives. The brochure was circulated widely, and is also available in two digital formats - a print-ready PDF and an e-mail format JPEG - from this repository.

Two poster designs were prepared for the project launch event in December 2011. One design is is a 'glossy' which simply publicizes the project, whilst the second is more of a 'handbill', providing more detail on the project and OERs. The posters are both available in two digital formats for printing at A4 size - a print-ready PDF and an e-mail format JPEG - from this repository.

Two 'autorun' slide loops have been produced to support local workshops and seminars. The first would be suited to running on a computer as part of a desktop display, and is available as a download from the repository. The second slide loop has been designed for a larger screen presentation, and is also available as a download from the repository.

1.2 Project partners

The OSIER project has six partners, covering academic institutions in all four UK home nations. Several of the partners are linked directly to networks supporting the teaching of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and Global Citizenship. The partners and networks are (in alphabetical order):

1.3 Project Management Team

The project team is responsible for the day to day running of the project and meeting its stated outcomes. The team comprises:

Click on the name of the team member for contact details.

1.4 Project Advisory Group

The project team will be guided by a project advisory group comprising a representative from the Academy ESD project, a representative from the UK ITE ESD/GC network, ESCalate’s permanent ESD consultant and the Information Systems Manager from the Engineering Subject Centre. These are:

  • Sally Inman, Convenor of the UK ITE ESD/GC network
  • Henry Liebling, Education for Sustainable Development Coordinator, ESCalate
  • Simon Smith, Director of the Subject Centre for Philosophical and Religious Studies and Lead for the Higher Education Academy's Educational for Sustainable Development project
  • Rob Pearce, Information Systems Manager, Engineering Subject Centre

In addition, the project has a consultant on IPR and OER: Martin Poulter – ICT Manager of the Economics Network.

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2. About the UKOER Programme

The UKOER programme is a large activity, funded by HEFCE (the Higher Education Funding Coucil for England) and managed by JISC (the Joint Information Systems Committee) and HEA (the Higher Education Academy). The programme started in 2009 with a pilot phase with fourteen projects in the subject strand (led by HEA subject centres), seven projects in the institutional strand (based in HEIs) and eight individual projects. The second phase (2010-11), under which OSIER is funded, contains more tightly focused groups of projects.

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3. About Open Educational Resources

Open Educational Resources (OERs) are resources for learning and teaching that are made freely available to users. Although they are copyright material, they are licensed to the academic community for use under specified conditions. These may include restrictions on commercial use or the option to modify the resources. However, the resources are shared across the community, and can be used freely.

Open Educational Resources provide an effective way to disseminate and share materials. The Higher Education Academy lists nine key benefits of OERs to UK Higher Education institutions, staff and students. These include raising standards in learning materials; achieving greater value for money; allowing resources to be re-purposed, and raising institutional and individual profiles. Of relevance to ESD and the OSIER project, they also note the value of OERs outside the UK, especially in the developing world, as evidenced by the OER Africa UK project.

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4. Open Educational Resources for Sustainability

4.1 OSIER in context

Re-orienting education to integrate sustainable development principles, values and practices is UNESCO’s current strategy for the second half of the United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). For the purposes of this project ESD is defined as education that ‘enables people to develop the knowledge, values and skills to participate in decisions about the way we do things, individually and collectively, both locally and globally that will improve the quality of life now without damaging the planet for the future’ (ACCAC, 2002).

UNESCO consider that reinforcing the abilities, competencies and professional knowledge of teachers and educators are critical elements in this regard and called for action to support the incorporation of sustainable development issues in formal education as well as in non-formal and informal education at all levels, in particular through the development of effective pedagogical approaches, teacher education and teaching. This emphasis on sustainable development is now a central part of both HEFCE strategy for the future development of the higher education (HE) sector, and becoming increasingly prominent in UK schools’ curricula:

Lecturers in initial teacher education (ITE) and continuing professional development (CPD) programmes in HE need to update their teaching programmes to take account of these changes. Thus a timely opportunity exists to develop an open educational resource site within the area of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) to broker universal sharing of learning materials and resources for reuse and repurposing between programmes that have integrated ESD and those that have yet to do so.

4.2 Why Open Educational Resources?

UNESCO noted it will take concerted effort and resources to establish ESD in curricula, programmes, practices, and policies across teacher-education institutions. The proposed open sustainability in education resource repository OSIER will be a strong, useful and timely support for those making this effort to amend their education programmes in the light of new demands from the school sectors across the four nations of the UK.

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5. About the Repository

The repository site has been purpose-built to allow users to share open educational resources. By providing freely-licensed OERs, the OSIER project will:

  • Offer teacher-educators a valuable bank of resources to support their teaching and their students’ learning.
  • Provide teacher-educators and researchers with examples of best practice.
  • Stimulate new approaches to the teaching of ESD.
  • Allow the re-use and re-purposing of resources, thereby extending their value outside their original context.

5.1 The repository software

OSIER is built using the EdShare variant of the EPrints repository platform (also developed at Southampton). EPrints is a tried and tested research repository system used at over 200 institutions worldwide.

EdShare incorporates a set of extensions for EPrints that together create a more dynamic, interactive environment that is more suitable for teaching and learning materials. Key extensions include the resource preview tool, profiles, and collections.

The EdShare software is open source, and is available through the EPrints file repository. If you are interested in using the EdShare software to create your own teaching and learning repository then the EdShare team would love to hear from you.

This site is powered by EPrints 3, free software developed by the University of Southampton.

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Contact Information

Any correspondence concerning this specific repository should be sent to julian.priddle@bristol.ac.uk.