Having in mind our focus area for the topic 2 studies in the PBL group 2 (How can I share my resources in a responsible way and what advantages are there for me as a teacher? How can I use educational resources responsibly and what am I allowed to use?), and at the same time trying to make the connection to my professional field, as that of offering good quality clinical studies for university students of different professions coming to the clinical reality at primary health care entities, I would like to develop some thoughts specifically on the sentence of ”what advantages are there for me as a teacher” sharing and using OERs.
I was thinking as I read about the many benefits of OERs (such as strengthening an institutions reputation, cost reduction, time effectiveness, quality improvement, learning efficiency improvement, and so on) in general (Weller, 2014), that depending on your specific teaching/learning conditions, the potentiality of the benefits might be bigger or smaller. I am thinking that perhaps there are specific contexts where using and sharing educational resources can make quite a big difference.
Clinical studies have different challenges from the start. One of them is to bridge the gap between theory and practice. To make a smooth link and an understandable bond between the abstract, the utopia, the ideology vs the chaos of reality, the lived life and the organizational structures of primary health care every day working life.
Another challenge is the cooperation and networking between the university on the one hand and the clinical supervisors on the other. These are two worlds, two cultures meeting, and there is an urgency for good cooperation.
Yet another challenge is the need to bring together different professional identities and different disciplinary fileds, as it is core to make students from different professions meet and learn together during their clinical studies.
With these challenges as a starting point I see great potential for the sharing and using of educational resources in an open way. We might really benefit from creating and openly sharing resources that can link these ”differences” or extremes.
As for the students, it might be interesting to access a blended environment with contributions from both university and the clinical primary care entity. Offered as an open space it might facilitate for students to reach information at optional times, they could even prepare themselves before reaching their clinical unit the first day.
Evaluation and summery comments could be gathered in the transition back to the theoretical courses.
And in the future, why not offering theoretical courses paralel with the clinical studies?
As for the universities, the academic primary health centers and for the primary health units and its supervisors, the proper process of creating some kind of open educational common resource might be a good opportunity to actually dig into the ever returning challenge of unifying theory and practice, as well as it might bring some new light on the possibilities and difficulties of interprofessional learning.
Bringing theory into practice and lifting the clinical situation to a theoretical discussion is a universal issue. Openly sharing and making use of published resources of this matter might therefor be effective both ways.
The nature of an open digital educational environment with a mixture of contributions from both academic, not-for-profit organizations, national agencies and commercial interests (Wellers, 2014) might also be interesting when introducing students to the clinical reality, since this is in a way representative for the clinical every day life, where we all need to be prepared to valid different knowledge sources and underlying motives of information.
One example as for nursing in primary care is the big knowledge field of wound treatment. Here we have inumerous commercial actors developing new forms of treatments and materials, knowledge necessary to continously keep up with as practicing nurse and student, but hard for the universities to present in a neutral overview.
An open network of universities and primary health organizations and clinical units might offer students a diversity of angles of knowledge and guidance as it comes to validation of commercial knowledge sources that would better prepare students for their clinical experience, inclusively more naturally link different profession groups.
Making use of the framework of creative commons (Creative Commons Guide) might more easily enable other universities and institutions to use established concepts and solutions from such an open network and in turn incentive them to connect and contribute with even more quality and diversity.