However people were not about to share their own resources until they knew exactly where they stood with regard to departmental and institutional policy. They were afraid that they may lose ownership and the right to use material they created if they moved to a new institution.
I sit on the university Learning and Teaching sub committee which deals with teaching quality issues. I described what we were doing and the problems facing us in the promotion of OER use and production. I explained the need for an institutional policy to help clarify the situation of staff members who wish to engage with OERs. Guess what happened? I was charged with leading a working group to write a draft institutional policy.
We based our policy on the guidance which already existed and included a range of lecturers, learning technologists and paedagogical researchers and trainers. We aimed to get input for all those involved with OERs in all schools. We also wanted to develop a “ground up” policy in the hope that more of the lecturing staff would engage with OERs.
Our main problem was that once we started looking and OERs, we needed to refer to institutional guidance or policies on IPR and copyright. Unfortunately we had none, so the group decided to widen its remit and produce drafts of these too.
The creation of these draft policies was monitored at the LTSC and was then written in to the Engage Learning and Teaching action plan. This gave us an official framework to work within and some timescales to follow. This helped till we actually came up with three draft policies, then discovered we had no clear path to follow to have them adopted!
After some detective work, we found an interested member of the university senior executive to sponsor and progress our project. This involved further consultation with research and commercialisation teams and other executive members.
Once we had revised the policies they were submitted to the university lawyers for further vetting. This is where we are now. We may end up with several documents or none at all! We may also end up with two versions of each, a plain English one for everyday use, and a legal document full of more complex language.
When the policies are approved and adopted. I hope to be able to incorporate them into my day to day work as library copyright advisor and to start running some practical workshops to promote OER use across the university. This will put us in a good position to contribute to the Open Scotland movement and to share OERs in Jorum and our new multimedia repository project.