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OERS in the curriculum: Using the Researcher Development Framework (RDF) to Improve Accessiblity and Useability of OER's for Researcher Development -- 251 -- Short (oral) Paper

14:45 - 15:45 on Tuesday, 11 September 2012 in 4.205

This paper addresses the problem that, although a wide range of OER materials are available to support researcher development, academics and students often have problems locating and accessing good quality resources appropriate for their particular needs. One way to identify and organize appropriate resources, is by drawing upon the researcher development framework. Vitae's Researcher Development Framework (RDF) specifies a range of transferable skills and attributes that doctoral students should develop alongside their research project, envisaging a career development pathway beginning with doctoral students, moving through early career researchers, to lecturers, senior research fellows and Professors. (See

The paper will present experiences drawn from a SCORE fellowship project which concerns OER materials produced by methods@manchester, a centre based in the Faculty of Humanities, University of Manchester. The centre draws on existing expertise in teaching social science methodologies to doctoral students to build a community of practice. Methods@manchester resources are available from an open website. Videos and pod casts are also available on youtube and itunes. The methods@manchester approach is based on the premise that both methods and skills training are delivered more successfully if they are needs-driven and flexible, so that they can be accessed by researchers when they are required and perceived to be useful. This requires the development of intelligent ways to get information to the researcher at the right time. A key challenge is how to meet the diversity of learners’ needs with limited resources without diminishing the quality of learning (Lie and Kano 2001).

There is a clear need for academic practitioners to be able to access good quality, peer-reviewed resources for teaching both transferable skills and research methods. Open Educational Resources (OER's) could help to provide students with resources targeted at their level and fill in any potential gaps within the curriculum. Work conducted already has revealed, however, that the provision of open research methods resources is rather inconsistent, with little attention being paid to issues of discovery and evaluation. It is also clear that there is some ambivalence about open-access material, particularly around flagging the quality of resources, especially for PGR's/new researchers. The methods@manchester ‘brand’ acts, as a guarantor of quality, but barriers still exist to the use of these resources as researchers need to be able to find and select those appropriate to their needs. This paper argues that OER's can contribute to the flexibility and accessibility of research training resources and so encourage postgraduate engagement with them. Furthermore, OER's can be mapped on to the researcher development framework in order to help researchers identify their own development needs and access appropriate resources to address them.


Sorry I am a bit last minute uploading my slides. Hopefully those who wanted to will get a chance to see them before the talk. I look forward to seeing you on Tuesday.

Sunday, 9 September 2012, 19:16