Open academic practice in action: research to teaching and back again in the OpenLIVES project – Kate Borthwick #abs110


Abstract available at

I’m putting any attempt at objectivity aside for a moment to enthuse that OpenLIVES is a truly exciting project that really demonstrates the limitless potential of OER!

For a start it has a clever acronym (not always a reliable guide to a project perhaps!); “LIVES” is for Learning Insights from the Voices of Emigres. A collaboration between the Universities of Southampton, Leeds and Portsmouth, the project has numerous strands with its starting point the digitisation and open publication of research data derived from stories and other ephemera pertaining to (mostly) Spanish emigres (e.g. child evacuaees during Spanish Civil war / Franco regime) and the subsequent development of OER based on the material. OERs and related open practice would also be embedded in ongoing teaching with an emphasis on research, teaching and students as producers. See, even from that short synopsis it sounds awesome!

Learning Insights from the Voices of Emigres; Research data – stories, ephemera pertaining to emigration

Learning Insights from the Voices of Emigres
Research data – stories, ephemera pertaining to emigration

Obviously this material is very personal though Kate suggested there were no real issues around permission – people gave their stories freely because they wanted them to be heard though the project has naturally been careful about how the material is presented; it is vailable from HumBox with licence information embedded on all resource components and carefully contextualised – – indeed, in the process of OER creation the context around ephemera (e.g. interviews) was always of central importance and student involvement was very high.

Each lecturer used material in different ways, in translation classes developing Spanish – English synopses, for example, or embedding into practice to teach research skills, comparing reported experience with media and historical accounts. The variety of activities and learning outcomes from such a rich, contextualised data set is huge.

Student feedback was very positive and the project gives the lie to the idea that if students/teachers all have same OER, they will all have same learning experience.

“We were a little bit of everything at the same time: transcribers, translators, proof readers and editors. We are really proud of the result!” Students at Southampton who worked on the subtitling project.

“I have really enjoyed the OpenLIVES module as it has given us, the students, an opportunity to do our own primary research and genuinely engage with the issues we are studying. Having more academic and creative control over our own education is extremely stimulating and motivating.” Final year undergraduate at Leeds

I for one will be exploring OpenLIVES further.

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