“I find the whole enterprise daunting”: Staff understanding of Open Education initiatives within a UK university

Sinead Harold, Vivien Rolfe


“Open” initiatives, which focus on increasing access to education, resources, and research, are often practised by individuals rather than universities. However, universities must now produce openly accessible research to comply with research funding and assessment requirements. To encourage staff participation, universities need to understand what participation barriers their staff face.

67 University of the West of England staff were surveyed about how they understood and participated in open initiatives. Four staff gave qualitative interviews about their experiences. This data was analysed to find correlates for participation and to identify participation barriers. Participants valued open initiatives and supported their underlying goal of increased public access. Staff faced many entry barriers, especially around resource maintenance, copyright, and permissions. Universities could reduce these issues by emphasising how open initiatives allow staff to save time and to avoid reduplicating resources, and by creating unified “open policies” that make staff permissions and restrictions clearer.


OER; open access; higher education; faculty; open policy

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5944/openpraxis.11.1.918