The UKOER community, cultivated in part by the HEFCE-funded Open University SCORE project (http://www.open.ac.uk/score/), has remained an enduring and influential presence within the open education and OER landscape. Evidence of the impact of the UKOER community can, in part, be found in two recent awards gained by SCORE Fellow Author 1, one naming him among the 50 most influential social-media-using professionals in UK higher education – recognition of the public engagement impact of his CYP-Media project. CYP-Media takes a three-platform approach to public engagement. Core to the project is a blog (www.cyp-media.org) for which Author 1 curates and evaluates free multimedia and e-learning resources relevant to trainers, academics and the children and young people’s (CYP) workforce. Blog posts are then disseminated via Facebook and Twitter. The CYP-Media Facebook page has an average reach of 7,244 per item, with a maximum of about 500 shares or 50,000 views of an individual item.
This paper details the conceptual background to CYP-Media, which has roots in research around the ‘public open scholar’ (Author 2 & Author 1, 2013; Author 1 & Author 2, 2012), itself grounded in Weller’s (2011) ‘digital scholar’. CYP-Media’s multi-platform social media strategy is outlined alongside a discussion of the challenges encountered since the project’s inception in 2010. The paper also analyses quantitative and qualitative evidence of CYP-Media’s impact on the children’s and young people’s workforce, where there is often little funding for training and professional development, and compares the project with other curation initiatives within the UKOER community. We conclude that public-engagement through open educational practices does not have to be the province of institutions and organisations, or even smaller projects, and that by listening to the needs of your target audience, rather than adopting a top-down approach, real educational transformation can be achieved by any single individual.
Author 2 and Author 1 (2013). The realities of ‘reaching out’: enacting the public-facing open scholar role with existing online communities. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, article no. 21. Available from http://oro.open.ac.uk/39100/ [Accessed 10 November 2015]
Author 1 and Author 2 (2012). Reaching out with OER: the new role of public-facing open scholar. eLearning Papers, 31 article 31_1. Available from http://oro.open.ac.uk/35934/. [Accessed 10 November 2015]
Weller, M. (2011). The Digital Scholar: How Technology Is Transforming Scholarly Practice. Basingstoke: Bloomsbury Academic, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5040/9781849666275