Team photo at hotel

OER Research Hub team away day (June 2013)

The structure for the research for OER Reserach Hub is built around 11 hypotheses that we are testing through our work with collaborating organisations, fellowships and background studies. We are now at a stage where the collaborations are well underway and surveys are producing data and we want to bring together the views from the team around the hypotheses and reflecting on our research.

On an away day at the beginning of June we took some lessons from Agile Programming to become Agile Researchers and carried out an Hypothesis Sprint, involving Sprint Boards, T-shirt sized tasks, burndown velocity and mini-scrums!

Rob's hand holding Smartie box

The all important Smartie box that says who talks in the Scrum

Guided by Martin we picked one of our hypotheses and focused in on achievable tasks, reporting quick progress and then getting a reasonable result all in one morning. The method appears to work well and if it does give us more of what we need then expect we will expand on that and how we manage to sustain it in future posts. (If you cannot wait then a search for Agile Programming or eXtreme Programming will generate plenty of starting points to look at the approach.)

The product is the true test of effectiveness. At the end of the morning we had a shared document with examples from half-a-dozen different areas plus a list of further sources to explore on our Sprint backlog. We have refined this a bit  as a team to develop a shared document that offers items that support (or question) the statement: OER improves student performance/satisfaction. This will be coming soon as the first entry in a new hypothesis section on the website. We then plan to sprint through the other hypotheses as a way to help meet our deliverable target of a report reflecting on our research findings for release in September.

In my view the Sprint was a great success for us as a team. We think it would also work as a way to bring in other voices so with a bit more practice we should be ready for some open-sprinting :-).