Leicester City Council have released four guidance documents and a range of practical information to support school staff in understanding, finding, creating, and sharing Open Educational Resources (OER).
The OER Schools resource packs can be downloaded from http://schools.leicester.gov.uk/openeducation.
Josie Fraser (Leicester City Council) worked with Dr Björn Haßler and Helen Neo (University of Cambridge) to produce the resources, which have also benefited from the input of school staff, through review and practical trialling.
OER are learning materials (including presentations, revision guides, lesson plans) that have been released under an open licence, so that anyone can use, share and build on them for free. Many openly licensed resources are available for schools to use and develop. At a time when schools increasingly work with, and rely on, digital and web based materials, understanding how copyright works, and making the most of available resources, is essential for staff and schools.
Creating OER allows schools to connect and collaborate with others through sharing work. Sharing can also help promote the great work that school staff and schools are doing.
The DigiLit Leicester initiative, designed to support schools in making the most of the city’s current investment in technology, identified a gap in support and information for school staff relating to the use and creation of OER. In response to this, Leicester City Council is releasing a range of resources to help schools get the most out of open licensing.
The Leicester City Council OER Schools project provides information to school staff about open licencing, and in particular, Creative Commons.
Leicester City Council has also given permission to the 84 community and voluntary controlled schools across the city to create and share Open Educational Resources (OER), by releasing the learning materials they create under an open licence. By default, the rights of work created in the course of employment are assigned to the employer, unless specific agreements have been made. This permission makes sharing resources simpler for everyone, and provides additional opportunities for schools and school staff. Leicester City Council is the first local authority in the UK to provide its school employees with permission to openly license their resources.
The OER Schools project resources include:
School permission & policy documents: This pack includes notification of permission from Leicester City Council to city community and voluntary controlled schools, explanatory briefing notes relating to this permission, and model school policies (which builds on the Albany Senior High School Creative Commons Policy) for schools where the LEA is the employer, and for schools where the governing body (or equivalent) is the employer.
Guidance documents: Four documents which introduce OER and open education; look at copyright and Creative Commons licences; support staff in finding, attributing and remixing OER; and cover creating and sharing OER.
Supporting Documents: Six supporting documents designed to help staff in delivering OER workshops; provide walkthroughs for finding, using and attributing CC Licensed materials; and include an extensive list of annotated resources and related materials.
Additional materials: A pack of existing openly licensed resources that are either referenced in the guidance or in activities in the supporting documents, provided on a standalone basis to make life easier for school staff.
All of the materials build upon existing openly licensed works and are themselves released under a CC-BY licence. They are provided in editable documenr formats as well as PDF.
The council is also encouraging voluntary aided schools, foundation schools and academies across the city to review their own approach to digital resources, and to see how they can make the most of open licensing. At these schools, the governing body (or equivalent) is usually the employer.
All of the resources can be downloaded from http://schools.leicester.gov.uk/openeducation