Observing the 1980s: creating an educational resource

Kirby, F J (2013) Observing the 1980s: creating an educational resource. In: Unofficial Histories, 15 June 2013, Manchester Metropolitan University.

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This paper explores the themes of the conference by examining the recent creation of the JISC-funded ‘Observing the 1980s’ online open educational resource. The resource brings together voices from the Mass Observation Project (MOP) and the British Library Sound Archive oral history collection with a range of contemporary documents (ephemera). The materials are made available online, freely to anyone under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA licence. They are offered both as raw research data and a constructed undergraduate teaching module and under the terms of the licence can be used by anyone for any non-commercial purpose, and amended and repurposed as they wish.
Creating such a collection raised many issues. Although the starting point for the teaching module was an existing course, what we found in the archives raised questions about what subjects and themes should be represented. It also highlighted considerable ethical and practical issues about selections of material, copyright permissions, and usability. Underpinning it all were our assumptions, beliefs and expectations about how the resource would be used, which clearly affected both its production and dissemination. Fundamental to our motivation was a desire to make the resources as open ended as possible in order to avoid closing down some voices or experiences in favour of our own themes and interests.
The project also exposed the competing and corresponding motivations of the different stakeholders and the varying interpretations and understandings of ‘open educational resource’. Not least it required careful consideration of the impact of the project on the authors and interviewees whose words constitute this ‘history’. The very nature of creating an educational resource requires the categorisation and packaging of materials into themes and particular forms of research practice, which do not necessarily correspond with how the authors or interviewees understand their contributions.
By considering some of these issues and examining a few examples from the experience of creating the Observing the 1980s resource, this paper will illustrate and explore one particular approach to creating history from an educational and research perspective.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Schools and Departments: School of History, Art History and Philosophy > History
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA History of Great Britain
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Jill Kirby
Date Deposited: 04 Jun 2014 10:15
Last Modified: 02 Apr 2019 15:04
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/48880

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