Project Three

Project Three

Draft Workpackage  Team Three OER_Workpackage_February 2011 final version

Team Leader

Jill Jameson, Senior Lecturer, School of Social Sciences, Faculty of Health Life and Social Sciences


Exploring the use of OER for embedding ‘employability’ in the undergraduate curriculum.

Project Summary

Staff within the School of Social Sciences[1] are not particularly aware of OER’s and as a result they are seldom used within the School to impact on student learning. Therefore an important aim of the project would be to create greater staff and student awareness of the potential impact they might have on learning, benefits to practice  and develop easily available guidelines on the practice of their use. An investigation into what OER’s are available in relation to employability and their efficacy for current teaching will then be much more informed and have potential for development. Currently in the school, employability is addressed by generally embedding transferable skills into the curriculum and in the case of Criminology, via a specialist employability module entitled Criminology in the Professions. The Criminology in the Professions module has developed a number of resources including a DVD production, podcasts and other useful materials, that might be of value to other courses internally and externally to the university, so it would be useful to investigate how these could be turned into effective OER’s and how these could then best be disseminated through open source environments. Apart from this, all students have to produce materials relating to their own future ‘career’ development after graduation, as well as producing teaching materials for a seminar that they lead in small groups related to one of a number of practitioner talks. It is thought that some of these materials might have the potential to be developed into useful OER’s. This would also fit into the ethos of ‘Student as Producer’ where students are involved in the development of the curriculum (see Neary and Winn 2009), and is valuable to ascertain a ‘student perspective’ on learning materials and their dissemination.


  • To create greater awareness of the existence of OER’s for staff and students in the School of Social Sciences, and investigate how such materials might be used and sustained to enhance current programmes of employability teaching
  • To explore the availability of OER’s on the subject of employability, and investigate how these may be effectively linked to current teaching modules in the School of Social Sciences.
  • To explore materials currently produced for the teaching of a criminology employability module entitled ‘Criminology in the Professions’, and identify how these can be disseminated in the form of OER’s for the benefit of the institution and beyond into the wider academic community.
  • Within the context of ‘Student as Producer’ (Neary and Winn 2009), investigate how student contributions developed for the Criminology in the Professions module can be incorporated into viable OER’s.


  • Produce a presentation to be delivered in the School of Social Sciences staff colloquia series informing staff about the value of OER’s.
  • Develop a section on the university blackboard learning environment for the Criminology in the Professions module devoted to OER’s and investigate how this might be applied to other modules across the school and university.
  • Begin the development process of staff and student resources from the Criminology in the Professions module and explore ways of disseminating the information as a viable sustainable OER through open source environments.
  • Preparation of a conference paper for the 2012 SRHE (Society for Research in Higher Education) Conference, with possible collaboration with Karin Crawford’s OER project on ‘OER and eportfolios for students and practice educators on undergraduate and postgraduate work based learning awards’.


  • Scope current OER content available for supporting employability and the decision processes required around reusing and repurposing such content to make it viable to current courses.
  • Conduct a small survey over email of staff from the School of Social Sciences to ascertain their knowledge and awareness.
  • Conduct a small focus group with students on the impact that OER’s might have on their learning.
  • Explore and collate information around the practice using of OER’s, for dissemination within the School of Social Sciences.
  • Identify current materials that are being used in the Criminology in the Professions module, and the School of Social Sciences in general and ascertain the viability of these for external distribution on open source environments.
  • Recruit a small working group of level 2 students who are studying on the Criminology in the Professions module to work with staff on the project. Students will help with the investigation into current OER content on employability, and will also have input into any resource production.
  • Liaise with the ‘technical support team’ lead by Julian Beckton to explore how best to use open source environments to disseminate any suitable materials.

[1] includes disciplines of Politics, International Relations, Criminology, Social Policy and Social Science

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