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Upcycling: the challenges of bringing old resources to a new audience

Tuesday 13:00-14:30 (9), Mezzanine Balcony

Type: Poster

Theme: MOOCs and open courses

#oer14 #abs76


Miss Sue Burnett, Facilitation & Publishing, University of South Wales, [email protected]



The University of South Wales (USW), formed in April 2013 by the merger of the University of Glamorgan and the University of Wales, Newport, is one of the largest HE institutions in the UK. Through its founding bodies, USW has a history of creating and distributing high quality resources online, with innovative elearning projects such as eCollege Wales, ATEB and SkillSet Screen Academy Wales, as well as its commitment to sharing with the wider audience of learners demonstrated through its activity with iTunes U, OERu and the all-Wales HE statement of intent to adopt OER at a national level.

The digital and online learning awards generated by eCollege Wales (ECW) comprised two full programmes: the BA Enterprise and the MA Professional Development. Selected resources had already been redeveloped for free, public access through iTunes U; with the University’s increasing commitment to the principles of OER, there was a recognition that more of the ECW materials (housed in a closed, web-based learning platform) would be of value to a wider audience, however a suitable medium was required for distribution.

When Apple introduced the next generation of ebooks, the iBook, and extended the iTunes U platform to include fully rounded, pedagogically driven Courses, the University’s elearning teams (CELT and Blended Learning Services) saw the opportunity to review and republish through these complementary interactive media and digital distribution outlets.


This case study is presented as work in progress.

Two key criteria were identified for the new iBook and iTunes U Course: to find a subject which held appeal and relevance to a wide range of students, and which had content that would be relatively stable over time. A review of the existing online resources was undertaken, and the MAPD module entitled ‘Research Methods’ was selected as meeting these core requirements. This would also bring added benefit of providing the University and the wider community with a standardised base for a module which is, in the main, common to many subject areas.

A full content review of the module has been conducted by a select team experienced in online delivery and publishing, comprising an academic subject expert, an instructional designer, a multi-media developer and an editor. Production is currently under way to update, redevelop and enhance the content, and publication of both iBook and Course is scheduled for Spring 2014.


This case study is presented as work in progress, however we anticipate a high demand given our experience with iTunes U, where downloads have exceeded two million.


The challenges: How were they identified? How were they overcome?

The outcome: Was there measurable benefit for an institution and for the potential audience? Did this justify the investment of time and resources?

The future: If the outcome is positive, can this approach be used as a model for other ‘upcycling’ activity? What lessons could be learned? What improvements to the process could be made?


University of South Wales. 2013. USW’s iTunes U web channel. [Online]. Available from: http://itunes.southwales.ac.uk/. [Accessed 26 November 2013].
Burnett, S. 2012. Going global with iTunes U. ARCLIB 25th Anniversary Conference, 12 July, Oxford.
Burnett, S. 2013. Going global with iTunes U. ARLIS UK and Ireland Annual Conference, 12 July, Bristol.

Link to the presentation of the poster by Sue at OER14: https://vimeo.com/93485086


Further details

Keywords: publishing, research, iBooks, iTunes, redevelopment, recycling, OER, elearning, case study

Miss Sue Burnett, Facilitation & Publishing, University of South Wales

Twitter: @sueburnett

Twitter abstract: Upcycling: the challenges of bringing old resources to a new audience with iBooks and iTunes U Courses