Open Educational Resources II

Giving Knowledge for Free: The emergence of OER (2007)

Key Points

  1. Who is using/producing OER?
    1. The number of OER projects is growing
    2. A majority are in English, but translations are growing
    3. A majority of producers are in developed countries
    4. Supporting institutions are high-status
  2. Why are people sharing for free?
    1. Social
      1. Because of improved, cheaper technology (structure, hardware, software) it is easier and cheaper to create content.
      2. There are now licensing schemes, like CC, that facilitate sharing
    2. Governments
      1. Non-traditional students
      2. lifelong learning
      3. bridge formal and informal learning
    3. Institutions
      1. altruistic knowledge sharing is one of the traditional values of universities
      2. things developed with taxpayer money should be shared
      3. quality can improve and const of development reduced
      4. Good for PR
      5. looking for new cost recovery models because of competition
      6. stimulate improvement and keeping track of resources
    4. Teachers/Researchers
      1. altruism
      2. publicity or improved reputation
      3. sharing my offer first-move advantage
      4. it can be too difficult to keep things proprietary
    5. Models for sustainability
      1. user-producer – creating a place to share
      2. co-production – promote collaboration on reources
      3. replacement model – open content replaces other things
      4. endowment model – grants
      5. segmentation model -the provider offers other services for a fee
      6. conversion – start with free then charge?
      7. membership – fundraising or dues

2012 Paris OER Declaration

Historical Significance

  1. A product of the World OER Congress, UNESCO, Paris, June 20-22, 2012
  2. Builds upon several UN/UNESCO etc. declarations and conventions concerning education as a universally human right and the promotion of multilingual and multicultural materials.

Key Points

Recommends that states:

  1. Foster awareness and use of OER – contributing to social inclusion and lifelong learning
  2. Facilitate enabling environments for ICT – bridge the digital divide
  3. Reinforce the development of strategies of polices on OER –
  4. Promote the understanding and use of open licensing frameworks
  5. Support capacity building for the sustainable development of materials – support institutions and teachers in building OER
  6. Foster strategic alliances for OER
  7. Encourage the development and adaptation of OER in a variety of languages and cultural contexts
  8. Encourage research on OER
  9. Facilitate finding, retrieving and sharing OER
  10. Encourage the open licensing of educational materials produced with public funds.

The OER ecosystem (Hewlitt, BCG)

Key Points

  1. OER is most commonly used in a classroom, with the teacher remixing and sharing content
  2. OER is strongest in higher-ed and K12 math/science
  3. Quality material is hard to find and not packaged in a useable way.
  4. Usage of OER moving into mainstream, but the development is behind.
  5. Procurement processes hinder OER
    1. some states require physical text books
    2. RFP processes lengthy and difficult (who makes an RFP for an OER?)
    3. Districts fear losing funding
    4. Cultural preference for traditional materials
  6. Confusion about teachers’ intellectual property rights -can they share even if they want to?
  7. Why aren’t teachers using OER
    1. Time to remix your resources and logistics of getting someone to cover your class etc.
    2. Design knowledge

OER: A Literature Review

  1. Defining “Open”
    1. Wiley (2010) – Open is a matter of cost and copyright – 4 (now 5) Rs
    2. Wenk (2010) – Freedom to use, study, redistribute and change
    3. Patrical, del Rocio & ELizabeth (2010) – have open license in the definition
    4. Tuomi (2006) – have levels of openness in definition
    5. In practice refers to things under the CC license
  2. OER Research
    1. Models of sharing OER – can be shared as a single resource, a textbook or courseware. Sharing in “recognizable” chunks makes adoption smoother for faculty.
    2. Models of producing OER
      1. Institutional (MIT OCW) – can be prohibitably expensive to create as well as to maintain
        1. integrity – very similar to original, as complete as possible
        2. essence – condensed to essential features
        3. remix model – adapts material for web delivery
      2. Commons-based (Wikipedia)
    3. Benefits of OER
      1. Institutions/faculty
        1. Mission aligned – public outreach, especially in public universities
        2. make course development faster and easier
        3. PR – attention, relationships with partners
        4. Internal publishing and production
        5. influences students to attend
        6. increase revenue through distance education
        7. more cost-effective for students
  3. Challenges for OER
    1. Discovery – combated through refractories, indexes, metadata, recommender systems
    2. sustainability – suggestions include donations, and charging for some parts
    3. quality – “you-get-what-you-par-for mentality” and difficulties finding the high quality OER. Mitigated by user assigned ratings, though this crated problems of perspective.
    4. localization – OER is licensed so that users can remix it, but there is no way of knowing if they will have the skills to do so. People from outside a given culture don’t have the context to remix properly
    5. remix – people are rarely remixing. Reuse can be difficult when design/pedagogical assumptions are not clear.
  4. Future directions
    1. More nations are joining in the OER effort
    2. Very little work in open assessment


  1. Should open assessment be in it’s own repository or in a package with resources?
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