The aim of this project was to explore the implications of embedding the scavenging and evaluation of OER multimedia content (big and little) within the curriculum of an introductory anthropology class. The activities undertaken were a combination of action research and critical reflection.
The action research component involved incorporating a number of changes to an introductory anthropology course to enable it to better develop students’ skills at finding and sharing relevant online materials to support their learning. This was done through in-class and online activities which encouraged students to find relevant materials and share them via the blog tool of the VLE and a YouTube playlist. The content collected is being analysed alongside data from the usual module evaluation channels. This will be incorporated with the ongoing process of critical reflection which this fellowship period has allowed to develop a set of activities and models for enhancing students’ collection and curation of online materials.
There were three key findings from this period. The first of these was the development of the concept clickolage which has been detailed elsewhere (Pearce 2012 – forthcoming). Clickolage refers to the self-directed creation, curation and linking of multimedia content through social media sites and tools and is related to the affordances offered by social media and the new licensing arrangements (such as creative commons) which facilitate sharing and reuse.
Another key finding of this fellowship is that it can be difficult to capture this activity within a VLE. A future project which has arisen directly as a result of this fellowship will explore the possibilities of some of the more recent social networks (such as Pinterest) for capturing Clickolage in a way which does not encroach on the more student owned spaces such as Facebook (which is already being used by some students to share their materials).
A last finding is the need for some sort of digital literacy support to encourage critical engagement with online materials. This relates to the findings of an earlier project from which this fellowship emerged (Pearce and Tan 2012) which found that students can use surprising and unhelpful criteria for evaluating the credibility and validity of online materials, such as their aesthetic value and popularity. Clearly this relates to wider issues about digital literacy and the need to transfer students’ critical thinking skills into the online space.
This score fellowship allowed me the time and space to reflect on my overall teaching practice and think through some of the issues involved in moving towards more open practice. In the course of this fellowship I have fundamentally changed my practice in an open and sustainable way. The outcomes of this fellowship have been widely disseminated and resulted in a successful funding proposal which will continue to explore the theme of openness and 3 further funding proposals which will continue the work started here.