OER14 homeApplication › Mr Paul Booth

Disrupting the discourse – the challenge of engagement in open education resources

Tuesday 9:00-10:30 (3), Darwin Suite

Type: Short paper

Theme: Academic practice, development and pedagogy

#oer14 #abs99


Mr Paul Booth, Senior Lecturer in Media, Manchester Metropolitan University, [email protected]



Between September and November 2013 I conducted a study producing and distributing open education resources to enhance the campus experience and provide better learning opportunities for students. My project flipped the classroom by providing a series of online videos and resources that students could access in their own time, and could connect to other communities to extend knowledge outside of the campus and use digital spaces as areas to engage in knowledge exchange.

The research presented seeks to explore the challenges in engaging learners in using open education resources and examines both the students and the institutional resistance to the innovation as disruptive to the university discourse. The paper argues that rather than a threat, open education resources can develop and enhance the campus experience, however, these resources challenge and find resistance through the re-establishment of the learning place. In an article by Papert and Caperton, they commented that educators have tried ‘to use new technologies to solve the problems of school-as-it-is instead of seeking radically new opportunities to develop school-as-it can-be’ (1999, p.2). The question of ‘how it can be?’ finds resistance as it challenges traditional values of campus based study and offers a pedagogy that is located in spaces defined by networks and the exchange of knowledge and open communities, rather than physical place. The traditional campus experience seems to be threatened but, as Marc Auge (2008) argues, that the facts of post-modernity ‘point to a need for radical rethinking of the notion of place. Place, he argues has traditionally been thought of as a fantasy of a society anchored since time immemorial in the permanence of an intact soil’. How can we use open practices to develop new sites of learning and alternative digital spaces?


The study was conducted as part of the BA(Hons) Film and Media Level 6 Film: Process of Production Unit at Manchester Metropolitan University in September and October 2013. The unit is a filmmaking unit and is structured around a flipped classroom model using open education resources produced for the course and distributed through HTML5 slides on Creative Commons licenses. The resources were distributed to students weekly online over eight weeks and discussed in class-based seminar later in the week. Each resource contained about 10 short lecture videos and a number of YouTube clips. Information about the resources was used and analysed through a weekly survey and student engagement was analysed through online analytics. The project was evaluated through a series of qualitative student interviews.


Students welcomed the use of resources and found them easy to access. However, the resources were accessed similar to accessing digital music tracks in that students would skip to various sections rather than listen to the whole album. In this case it changed the context of the work and the narrative that I had developed was changed once the materials were shared. Part of the problem was in distributing and sharing the work to build communities, students would use the shared resources but not share them, therefore the knowledge they could develop in a community was not realised as there was a resistance to sharing.


In my results I found some resistance to digital learning spaces, but more was a re-appropriation of these spaces and one that changed the meaning of the materials. There were still challenges in engaging students but weekly additions, such as a quiz changed the rate the students interacted with the resources. One of the defining characteristics of new technologies is they embody mass socialization of Internet connections and activities based around the collective actions of communities of users rather than individuals. In this sense, much digital technology use can be seen as a ‘hybrid of tool and community’ (Shirky 2008, p.136), referring to services and applications that rely on ‘openly shared digital content that is authored, critiqued and reconfigured by a mass of users’. In this case the students used the materials but the context of them was distorted by the university discourse in their exact meaning and context.


Auge, M. (2008). Non-places: an introduction to supermodernity. London: Verso
Papert, S, and Caperton, G. (1999). Vision for Education: The Caperton-Papert Platform. Available from http://www.papert.org/articles/Vision_for_education.html. [Accessed 13 November 2013].
Shirky, C. (2008). Here comes everybody: the power of organizing without organizations. London: Allen Lane

Recap recording

A recording of this presentation is available at https://campus.recap.ncl.ac.uk/Panopto/Pages/Viewer/Default.aspx?id=05ff1476-dc39-42cb-bbc2-443c97becd54 Manchester Metropolitan University 2014 Paul Booth cc-by 4.0

Further details

Keywords: OER, flipped classroom, open access, digital pedagogy

Mr Paul Booth, Senior Lecturer in Media, Manchester Metropolitan University

Twitter: @mmumoocs

Twitter abstract: How do student engage in OER and how do they find resistance through traditional university discourse