Our collection of resources of potential relevance to the research methods project is growing alongside our brainstorming efforts to find/design a workable approach for the collection front-end. Among other things, we are also (im)patiently waiting for lovle.com, a platform which promises to help find, assemble and publish learning collections, to become something more than just a placeholder with an expanse of blank space. Overall, there’s a lot of blue skies thinking involved, with all sorts of ideas invited to the party, including a somewhat unorthodox approach to organising the collection by adopting a revised version of Borges’s taxonomy. Specifically, the one where animals are divided into surprisingly diverse categories, including “those that belong to the Emperor”, “those that are trained”, “those drawn with a very fine camelhair brush” as well as “those that from a long way off look like flies”. At the moment, I’d be tempted to classify OER research methods resources into “those that were abandoned by their creator a long time ago and are in dire need of some TLC”, “those that belong to a museum of curiosities” and perhaps “those whose creators deserve a lifetime achievement award for excellent teaching”. Not to mention “those that make you reach for the delete button if there was one” and “those that inspire OER-related blog posts”.
At the same time, to instil some method into the madness referenced above, we would like to start throwing some of the questions we’ve been grappling with at the community of (potential) users of the yet-to-materialise collection of research methods and to that end have put together a survey, which can be accessed here. In the true spirit of OERs, the questions have been adapted (with kind permission of David Davies from University of Warwick Medical School) from an online learning resource survey conducted during the OER pilot programme by MEDEV (Subject Centre for Medicine, Dentistry & Veterinary Medicine). Some of the things we’re trying to find out include ways in which academics within social sciences search for learning resources online, the sources they use, and how they evaluate the search results. We are also asking about people’s attitudes towards user-generated ratings and comments, as well as strategies for navigating the treacherous waters of copyright and licensing. Do help us spread the word – and fill in the survey! Allegedly, altruism is good for you – and the five Amazon vouchers we have to give away to survey respondents shouldn’t hurt either.