OER14 homeApplication › Dr Robert Farrow

Where is the evidence that OER makes a difference?

Tuesday 13:00-14:30 (7), Mezzanine Balcony

Type: Poster

Theme: Building and linking communities of open practice

http://oerresearchhub.org/ #oer14 #abs58


Dr Robert Farrow, Research Associate, Institute of Educational Technology, The Open University



In this presentation I demonstrate the evidence base (chaos.open.ac.uk) being developed by OER Research Hub (oerresearchhub,org) to illustrate the global impact of OER. I begin by describing our project work which examines the evidence for eleven key hypotheses about OER and open education across the informal, school, FE and HE sectors. I then go on to talk about the development of a system which amalgamates and enhances our data while providing the OER community with the tools it needs for effective evidence-based decision making and advocacy, concluding with advice for getting involved in contributing to the OER evidence base.


OER Research Hub takes a collaborative, mixed approach to research which is both experimental and non-experimental and produces a range of research data in different formats and at different levels of granularity. Both primary and secondary evidence are considered by the project. Visual representation of this diverse evidence base is an effective support for navigating complex information and seeing underlying patterns of OER impact. I speak, therefore, about the rationale behind building an evidence base capable of visual mapping and navigation and how our approach differs from those taken by UNESCO or OLnet. Some of this time will be used for technical description of the site (which is a custom Wordpress build).


The site at chaos.open.ac.uk is already live and contains dozens of pieces of evidence, and I will present some headline data about our research hypotheses which are up to date. Phases of future development scheduled to be complete by OER 14 include two evidence maps, a policy mapping service, a visual summary of recent evidence, exploration of thousands of survey results and opportunities for community members to connect. The evidence hub also represents the fulfilment of openness in approach, embracing open data, research instruments and working practices to show the collective benefits of openness.


The discussion section will be given over to a chance for feedback on the services being provided to the OER community as well as ideas for future functionality. I will also invite participants to get involved with submitting their own evidence through the OER Research Hub 'Researcher Pack'.


Farrow, R. (2013). Open educational resources: impact, evidence and narrative. Jisc RSC Yorkshire and Humber Online Conference 2013: MOOCs, Badges and Open Educational Resources (OER).
Farrow, R. (2013). OER impact: towards an evidence base. Open Education Conference 2013. Park City, Utah.
Farrow, R. (2013). OER impact: towards an evidence base. Open Access Un/Conference. San José State University Library, San José, California.
McAndrew, P., Farrow, R., Law, P., and Elliot-Cirrigottis, G. (2012). Learning the lessons of openness. Proceedings of Cambridge 2012: Innovation and Impact – Openly Collaborating to Enhance Education, OCW Consortium and SCORE, Cambridge, UK, April 16–18 2012, Milton Keynes, The Open University, pp. 193-202. Available from: http://oro.open.ac.uk/33640/. [Accessed 26 November 2013].

Funding acknowledgements

OER Research Hub is funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Further details

Keywords: OER, metaresearch, OER Research Hub, data, evidence, policy

Website: http://oerresearchhub.org/

Dr Robert Farrow, Research Associate, The Open University

Twitter: @philosopher1978

Twitter abstract: An evidence base for OER impact #oerrhub