Action Lab

[Action Lab] The Open Research Agenda

Robert Farrow, Beatriz de Los Arcos, Rebecca Pitt and Martin Weller

The Open University

This workshop aims to ‘flip’ the workshop. Traditional conference formats tend to be unilateral, and much of the best discussion happens informally among small groups (whether on Twitter or personal conversation). Similarly, Storify is often used to capture conference activity after the event, but by this point possibilities for interaction are limited. Just as the ‘flipped’ classroom maximizes the value of personal contact time by preparing participants for making best use of contact time, ‘The Open Research Agenda’ will use online interaction to make the most of conference time. Key areas of discussion will include localised strategies, ways to collaborate and network, and identifying clear goals.

This session will effectively begin several months before the conference. The online network of OER Hub comprises more than 5,500 OER stakeholders. Through a series of engagements we will initiate a conversation around the main research aims for the practical needs of the OER community. As OER move into mainstream adoption, so their focus shifts to solving very specific problems. The original OER Research Hub had 11 hypotheses, which were generated in collaboration with the Hewlett Foundation (de los Arcos et al, 2014). The aim here is to develop hypotheses that are open for all to investigate, generated by the community itself. As well as using Twitter, blog posts and hashtags we will ask people to submit a single research question via an online form. Outcomes from the consultation will be regularly discussed through online hangouts and through interviews with key figures in the OER movement.

The conference session itself would present highlights from the online conversation and continue the conversation threads through structured, moderated discussion both in person at the conference and through social media backchannels and liveblogging. An outcome from the session will be a set of research questions, with an indication of why they are important, and how they might be investigated. Through this activity participants will be encouraged to use open technologies to connect and network with relevant stakeholders while contributing to an open research agenda for researchers, policymakers, funders and learners.

de los Arcos, B., Farrow, R., Perryman, L.-A., Pitt, R. & Weller, M. (2014). OER Evidence Report 2013-2014. OER Research Hub.

de los Arcos, B., Farrow, R., Perryman, L.-A., Pitt, R. & Weller, M. (2015). OER Data Report 2013-2015. OER Research Hub.

Hilton, J. (2014). A Review of Research on the Perceptions, Influence and Cost Savings of OER: Looking Back and Looking Forward. Open Education 2014. Arlington, VA.


The Open Research Agenda (Krakow) from Robert Farrow