Application for Category B ethical approval to conduct research on Otago Polyetchnic's open education

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Name: Leigh Blackall

Department: Educational Development Centre

Phone: +64(0)21736539


Project title: Measuring Open Education

Duration: 1 August - 30 September 2009

Summary: This is a convenience sample research project to begin evaluating Otago Polytechnic's work in developing open educational resources and practices. The project, supported by Ako Aotearoa's Southern Regional Hub, has 2 methods roughly comparing 'closed' and 'open' educational resources and practices.

The two methods are:

  1. Usage - drawing on openly accessible statistical data around the online and digital resources used to support educational activities
  2. Values - drawing on evidence gathered through video interviews of participants doing what it is they do when preparing resources and planning for an open or closed educational mode.

Conducted by researchers from Otago Polytechnic's Educational Development Centre, Otago University's Higher Educational Development Centre and Otago University's Marketing Department.

EDC Team leader:

X This research project is consistent with the Research Plan of this Department

X This research project is approved to be part of the staff member’s workload/duties

Name of Team Leader

Terry Marler


Educational Development Centre




Ethical concerns

Procedures in which research participants will be involved

Participants will be targeted based on the work they do that is known to Otago Polytechnic's Educational Development Centre, and asked if they would be willing to be video recorded in an interview that focuses on the "lived experience" of their work. People who have agreed to take part will be asked to sign a media release that permits publishing the edited recordings in a way the helps portray the findings of the project and that permits open reuse of the media (Creative Commons Attribution copyright license).

Procedures for handling information and material produced in the course of the research including raw data and final research report(s)

  • A copy of the email letter of invite to participate will be stored on the project website.
  • Responses to that email letter will be stored on the project manager's email account and not published
  • Video recordings will be stored on a secure hard drive for evaluation, editing and archiving
  • Short clips deemed useful for illustrating a finding will be published on the project website
  • Media release forms will be published with the published videos

Procedures for sharing information with research participants

  • Invitation email sent to targeted participants
  • Notes and updates posted to the project website
  • Thanks email sent out to participants at the completion of the project

Arrangements for storage and security, return, disposal or destruction of data

  • All data that is not deemed useful for publication to the project website will be stored as archive for the institutions specified time (5 years)

Recruitment and access to participants

  • Recruitment will be based on what the Otago Polytechnic's Educational Development Centre know's about staff work, targeting people who will reflect a range of responses relating to both open and closed educational practices.

Obtaining informed consent

  • Media release form will be presented to the participant to agree usage of the edited footage, containing all information about how the media will be dealt with.

Anonymity and/or confidentiality

  • Participant identity will be revealed through audio visual recordings that have been edited and approved for publication
  • Personal information about the participants will not be gathered.

Potential harm to participants and how this will be managed

  • NA

Potential harm to researcher(s) and how this will be managed

  • NA

Potential harm to the Polytechnic and how this will be managed

  • NA

Participant’s right to decline to take part or withdraw

  • At anytime prior to publication a participant may decline to take part.

How the information will be used

  • The video recorded interviews seek to give researchers insight into all that is involved for a staff member using open or closed educational practices. The researchers seek comment, responses, opportunities to observe their skills and abilities, as well as the understanding and sense of value. This data will be used to identify key themes, with short clips used to illustrate and represent those themes. Based on the themes, researchers will offer a report on the evaluation of the value of open educational practices.

Conflict of interest / Conflict of roles

  • Otago Polytechnic's Open Educational Development Centre is invested in open educational development work, and it is in its interests to regularly evaluate and understand all that impacts on that work, and to make appropriate decisions. External researchers will be able to assist with maintaining that level of separation needed to truly evaluate open education at Otago Polytechnic.

Other ethical concerns, e.g. sources of funding

  • This project is funded by Ako Aotearoa's Southern Regional Hub and is obligated to report findings in a way so that the people of New Zealand are be able to access and consider the data and findings.

Legal considerations


  • NZ Copyright Act
  • Otago Polytechnic's Copyright Policy

Other ethical bodies relevant to this research

Ethics Committees

  • NA

Professional Codes

  • NA

Other relevant considerations

Forms and Appendices to be included. Include here the other forms and appendices you have prepared as part of your application. (Remember that the whole application is to be submitted as a single Word document.)

Suggestions as to information you might include: