Three OERs are now on Blackboard, Reading University’s virtual learning environment for students and staff. Student feedback on two of them indicates that they are usable and interesting. Here are one student’s comments on Display Ethics, a resource which interviews two zoology museum curators to investigate the ethics of displaying animal and human remains (which includes the picture above):
‘Keeping the objects – allowing access to researchers – is very different to displaying. But then in denying access to a wider public are museum curators guilty of censorship and such like – this is a minefield full of controversy that has very personal values of what is acceptable in a museum at its heart. There is sure to be legislation behind it somewhere.’
This is the main aim of the resources – to encourage thoughtful engagement with the content, although of course this is down to the individual student as much as the resource design. The same student said whether they used the audio, the transcript or both:
‘The media support each other. Important to hear the curators speak as much can be learnt from inflection and tone of voice in answer to the questions. Can print the transcripts to read, re-read, compare and write notes on them at key points.’
At the moment though they are still closed educational resources, since Blackboard is not open access. The next stage is to consider how to make them open – whether through JORUM or one of the University’s websites, or both. We are hoping to have one on the museum website in time to demonstrate to prospective students at the University’s open days in October.