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Public health resources in the university sector PHORUS
Helme, Marion

PublishedJuly 2010
PeriodicalPages 1-148
PublisherJoint Information Systems Committee

This project began with three principle objectives:
• To critically assess the enablers and barriers to releasing learning resources in Public Health
• To develop a conceptual framework to inform OER implementation, and
• To actively release resources
PHORUS has been a great opportunity to move Public Health forward. In this discipline, more than any other, the release of Open Educational Resources has the potential to save lives by bringing up to date and accurate educational materials to people across the UK and indeed the world.

But herein lies one of the most challenging issues faced by the project. All our contributors were
acutely aware that materials made freely available may be misinterpreted, or used past their sell-by date. Much of our research has centred on how to make resources accessible, whilst minimising the risk of their being misused.

The project launched with an event hosted by RSPH, where an audience of some 50 delegates were introduced to the project and started to contribute their views on the feasibility of releasing resources and potential stumbling blocks. The key issues to emerge at this stage were concerns about ownership of materials, the resource that would be required to bring materials into a suitable format, and the competitive position of universities if they released their materials more widely.

This group formed the basis for a Delphi study, designed to understand more about what the barriers and facilitators to releasing resources would be, and how they could be overcome or enhanced. In parallel, a benchmarking study was underway, to establish the nature of resources that were currently available, and which organisations were most active in this respect.

An important finding from this work was that many relevant resources were not being accurately
tagged, leading to a misleading view on how prevalent these resources were, and also making it
virtually impossible for potential users to find vital information.

The final months of the project focussed on encouraging and supporting institutions and individuals to release resources. Resources were (and continue to be) deposited into JorumOpen repository. The keywords were reviewed carefully and the appropriate labels tagged e.g. UK OER and Public Health at the broad level and then detail.

In order to provide a firm foundation for long term release of OER, the project team has developed a conceptual framework to inform future developments and to highlight the dynamics within the process.
This framework comprises seven levels that develop from context to theory to practice and then draw out seven elements that summarise the synthesis from the range of resources: i.e. critical reflection, inquiry and consultation, dialogue as resources were released, the research, and other discussions as the project progressed

Keywords business case · Delphi study · copyright · healthcare · challenges · OER quality · meta tagging · metadata

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