Way back in March you may recall seeing a post on the School of Open (SOO) course we were planning on open research… Well, whilst we did go a bit quiet, behind the scenes the cogs were turning, plans were being made and (drum roll, please!) we are now pleased to announce that our first four-week facilitated run of the course will begin on Monday 15 September 2014!

The course has been timed to coincide with the launch of SOO in Africa, an exciting new initiative announced a short time ago on the Creative Commons blog.

We’ll be opening sign-up for the course on Monday 25 August, for three weeks. I’ll be writing more shortly on how you can get involved so watch out for an update once the course is available on P2PU.

Creating the Course

March’s blog post gave an overview of the course and what we’d decided to focus on in our exploration of open research. We’ve pretty much kept to the four areas we identified initially: open research, ethics, dissemination and reflection.

In this post, I want to briefly reflect on what it was like developing the course and what kinds of working practices we used. For those of you who were at CALRG14 here at The Open University (UK) in early June, I did a quick walk through of the course’s trajectory as part of a discussion on open research practices in the project (you can see the full presentation on Slideshare here).

The course really began its journey back in early/mid-February time, when we had our Awayday and held a session devoted to brainstorming ideas for the course. This kickstarted a period of regular meetings where we discussed drafts and bounced ideas around, before redrafting, circulating, discussing and redrafting sections again. Around this time we asked for general feedback on what people would like to see in an open course (both via Twitter and through chatting with our fellows). Later on we also sought feedback on when would work best for people to participate in the course.

Whilst we were drafting the course, we also identified and created suitable assets, with both Bea and myself talking to a variety of people about open research and the role of reflection in research. Thanks to everyone who participated in these interviews. After we had a final draft of the course, we then conducted our own Open University style course review (thanks, Martin!) before revising the drafts a further time and then mapping the course activities and sections.

Once we had a final draft version of the course, the next stage was open evaluation via P2PU (Peer to Peer University)/SOO community review. Once the final draft documents were ready, I posted to the appropriate Google Group and invited volunteers to conduct the review. Jane Park (Creative Commons) has been invaluable in guiding us through the process of writing a course and she also reviewed the materials. Billy Meinke (Creative Commons) also gave us invaluable feedback and it was great to talk recently with Joe Corneli (who has facilitated P2PU courses before) about the course. Thanks to everyone for their their thoughts and for taking the time out to look at the material.

If you would like to view the comments and the early draft of the course, they are openly available here. Currently we’re working on responding to feedback and producing the final version of the course. Once Jane has signed this off, we will be ready to upload this version to the P2PU site and will be ready for course sign-up. We hope you’ll be able to join us in September and look forward to meeting you then!

Beck presenting on open research at CALRG14 (Photo credit: Bea de los Arcos, CC-BY)

Beck presenting on open research at CALRG14 (Photo credit: Bea de los Arcos, CC-BY)