Research plan

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This is a project supported By Ako Aotearoa through their Regional Hub grant. The application for funding for this project can be viewed here: Ako application.

An explanation about the project background, plan, method and budget is detailed in the following sections.


Otago Polytechnic has been moving towards open educational practices since 2006 when it established the Educational Development Centre (EDC) to support staff development and curriculum development. EDC staff began educating staff at the Polytechnic on the virtues and benefits of openness – primarily through Internet communications and media such as blogs, RSS and wikis. By 2008, more than 100 staff members had been shown how to network online professionally, with over 20 regularly maintaining professional blogs and several more authoring more than 83 open courses and educational resources online.

In October 2007, Otago Polytechnic’s executive staff implemented a long awaited review of the Intellectual Property (IP) Policy and the Copyright Policy, resulting in an explicit encouragement to staff to claim ownership of their work, and to openly publish online with Creative Commons Attribution licenses. Additionally, the policy stipulates that all IP produced and owned by the Polytechnic would start defaulting to that same license. This policy brought the Polytechnic into an international spotlight with citations from Creative Commons, Commonwealth of Learning, Pennsylvania State University, conference keynotes and numerous educational blogs. In May 2008, the Chief Executive, Phil Ker, signed the Capetown Declaration on Open Education, cementing the Polytechnic's commitment to open educational development.

On the surface all this would appear to be good progress in the development of open educational practices at Otago Polytechnic, and on many levels and in many instances it is. However there are a number of areas in need of attention and wider discussion. This project will interrogate Otago Polytechnic’s efforts: presenting statistical data; surveying staff, student and management's values; analysing the depth of the organisational change; and case studying innovations in open educational practices.

In this project an attempt will be made to take an all encompassing look at New Zealand’s leading institution for open education, and present a balanced and authentic representation of the experience of its staff and students while working towards openness. It is hoped that this effort to document, interrogate and critique the Otago Polytechnic experience, free from hype and bias, will shed light on a case of open educational development in a New Zealand tertiary education and training institution. This will give the national and international movement something further to use as a benchmark, so open education can move forward as effectively as possible.


The purpose of this research evaluation is to:

  1. Evaluate a convenience sample of open education at Otago Polytechnic in terms of usage and value, and from 3 different stakeholder perspectives (teacher, student, manager).
  2. obtain feedback on an evaluation of the model from NZ tertiary education bodies and the international community;
  3. develop a user guide for the research method, and direction for further research and development.


  • What is the current level of engagement in open education at Otago Polytechnic?
  • How do teachers, students and managers value open educational resources and practices?
  • Is open education cost-effective for Otago Polytechnic?
  • What are the development and implementation needs for open education at Otago Polytechnic?
  • How have NZ tertiary education bodies and the international community reacted to the findings, and the model of open education in use at Otago Polytechnic?
  • How effective was the research method used to evaluate open education at Otago Polytechnic


This section is probably the most difficult, but it should be included if the evaluation is to have meaningful impact on decision-making. Trying to anticipate the decisions which can be influenced by an evaluation takes creativity and trust. Many developers do not wish to anticipate negative outcomes for their efforts, but these too must be considered.


  • Tertiary education leaders and managers
  • Head of Department, Teachers and Progamme Managers
  • Polytechnic service units such as marketing, information technology, customer services...
  • Student representative bodies


This section spells out any limitations to the interpretation and generalizability of the evaluation. It should also describe potential threats to the reliability and validity of the evaluation design and instrumentation.


Two 'measures' of a convenience sample will be taken, roughly comparing closed and open educational resources and practices. The two measures will be of usage - drawing on statistical data available around online and digital resources, and values - drawing on evidence gathered through video interviews of staff doing what it is they do to go about the preparation of their educational resources, and their practice as an educator around those resources.

Notes of the preparation and conduct of the research are being published under this blogged category name of Project-Ako.


The video interviews will not commence until we have ethical approval from Otago Polytechnic's Research Ethics Committee. Here is our application for approval from that committee, along with supporting documents such as media release forms.



This is a measure of the usage of OER which includes videos, images, audio files, slide presentations, course outlines, lesson plans, assessments outlines, and other documents based on statistical records maintained by the content management systems that host and serve the OERs, as well as external measurement tools such as Google Analytics and Alexa. It is also a measure of the worth of those content management systems based on how much it would have cost the Polytechnic to set up and run equivalent systems.

  • How many OER are online and openly accessible?
  • How long has the OER been online?
  • What proportion of a courses resources are open?
  • How many enrolled students are in a course, and how many nominal learning hours were on OER?
  • How many views or downloads has each OER had?
  • How many comments, ratings, and other responses has each OER had?
  • What is individual and collective data size of the OER?
  • How much would it have cost the Polytechnic to serve the total amount of data in the OER?
  • How much would it have cost the Polytechnic to install and manage the content management systems for the OER?
  • What is the worth of the marketing gains based on the rate of views and responses to the OER?
  • How many OERs has the Polytechnic sampled and reused in its own OER, and what is the financial worth of that reuse?


This is an evaluation of the sense of value that teachers, students and staff have for open educational resources and practices. As well as a structured survey targeting a convenience sample of teachers, students and staff, it will look into blogs and open courses for comments about open education as a resource and/or process generally.


  • Midwifery
  • Tourism
  • Horticulture
  • Cooking
  • Teacher training
  • Occupational therapy
  • Nursing
  • Foundation studies
  • Marketing
  • IT Support
  • Educational development staff


  • Statistical data published on the resource sites themselves
  • Equivalent cost of setting up and running a wiki is based on Wikieducator pricing: NZ$20 000
  • Equivalent cost of setting up and running a social media service based on University of Cantebury's UCTV project: TBA
  • Nominal costing: NZ$20 per image, NZ$500 per 5 min video, NZ$50 per hour of raw audio recording, $200 per slide presentation
  • Local brand awareness marketing campaigns used to establish a brand awareness marketing worth of open educational resources:
  • Main local newspaper: $629 for a 1/4 page going out in 47000 copies per day (based on statistics presented by the news paper)
  • One billboard: $3490 (including banner) exposed to 19000 cars per day (based on statistics presented by the billboard leasing company)
  • Actual views and response rates cannot be known


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Project manager 30 hours @ $85 per hour $2550
Administrator @ 20% of project management $510
Analiser 30 hours @ $85 per hour $2550
Writer and designer 45 hours @ $60 per hour $2700
Total staffing $8,310
Tolls, teleconferences, internet etc 100 $100
Total communications $100
Printing $300
Total printing $300
Sub total budget $8710
GST $1088.75
TOTAL $9798.75