Reflections from Gary Denby

I talked to Gary Denby twice in the past two weeks. Gary is the Teaching Fellow on the TIGER project, based at the University of Northampton. Gary is currently converting a number of materials into OERs for TIGER.  He reflected on the problems or issues that he had experienced in the process of turning materials into OERs. These are summarized into a number of areas:

Three-level of materials for an OER: Gary collected materials from two sources:

  1. ‘Chalk and Talk’ materials: including for example, presentations, handouts, student Work book, reference materials, assignments and evaluation
  2. Online modules within a VLE: including for example, embedded materials and quiz, linked materials, external assessment.

From the two sources, there are three levels of materials to be developed and released for a given OER:

  1. Learner-level materials: these are transformed chapters, materials, screens and references for the students.
  2. Facilitator-level materials: these are tutor guide with IPE aims and objectives, and instructions about how to structure student interactions online. Communication, interaction and team-working are key elements within an IPE course. Therefore how to present materials with clarity for facilitators for them to facilitate effective student interactions about the materials is essential for the OER.
  3. Developer-level materials: These include course structure and theory and guide for reuse and repurpose. For example, how the developer paced the facilitators to encourage the students, and technical guidance or lessons learnt about how to incorporate OERs into a VLE.

Gary produced a Figure (see below), and kindly gave the license for using it, in which the complexity of converting materials from different sources into OERs for different audiences is illustrated.

Repurposing OERs:


  • Mini vs. big OERs: mini OERs are easier for repurposing than big OERs 
  • The information and instruction given to other educators about how to incorporate OERs into their own learning environment will be very useful for the OER to be repurposed.

Embedded materials: there is an issue to do with how much you are allowed to use the embedded or linked materials.

Technical issues in converting materials into OERs: There are two technical issues with converting materials into OERs:

  • Converting existing online materials: As some lecturers developed their online courses by typing the materials directly into the virtual learning environment template, Gary ended up with doing lots of copy content from every single page of the course and paste them into a Word document. The process is: Blackboard online material -> Word document -> Xerte and Wimba Create.
  • Converting into Xerte and Wimba Create formats: By producing a Word document with headings and paragraph styles, you can get it converted to Wimba Create directly, but you can’t convert it easily into Xerte.

 A revised CORRE framework: Gary revised the CORRE spreadsheets by putting seven different spreadsheets into one unified tracking log. On the front of the tracking log, there are two types of information:

  • Tracking information: which tells you what phase you’re at the moment and which phases are completed.
  • Description of the OER:  for example, which level of students the OER is addressing to, key words, and educational theory

Ming Nie              15 Feb 2011


About tigeroer

Project TIGER Project Director
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