A briefing paper on Open Educational Resources

Recently, I have been working with my colleagues, Sheila and Wilbert, looking at the latest developments and trends in Open Educational Resources (OER) initiatives worldwide. JISC has a long term record of interest in sharing and re-using digital content and has already supported many institutional repository projects in the provision of free access to teaching and learning materials in HE/FE (such as Jorum). It appears that OER will have a significant impact on managing and accessing the existing repositories and in taking these initiatives forward as part of a global movement. We thought it might be useful to carry out a review of OERs that might benefit the JISC community in planning funding programs and in opening up discussions on future research directions concerning the use and re-use of digital content.

The work took much longer than we expected due to the complexity and rapid development of OERs. In the last few months, we have studied several well“known OER projects, such as MIT OCW, OpenLearn, Rice Connexions and have drawn invaluable lessons from them. We have reviewed a number of large scale studies on OERs to help gain a better understanding of the main issues in the field. In addition, by following OER blogs , David Wileys and Stephen Downes s blogs, we have been able to draw upon the latest thinking and debates on major issues. We also had a number of discussions with colleagues in CETIS, such as Phil and Lorna, and they have given us lots of valuable suggestions. We finally produced an OER briefing paper as a quick introduction to funding bodies, institutions and educators who are interested in OER initiatives. The paper includes three sections: a) the conceptual and contextual issues of Open Educational Resources; b) current OER initiatives: their scale, approaches, main issues and challenges; and c) trends emerging in Open Educational Resources, with respect to future research and activities.

The briefing paper is an initial attempt to get some input from the wider JISC community and get further debate started around the OER initiatives. It is intended to be a fluid document since the landscape on this subject is changing so rapidly at present. One of the ways we would like to keep it current would be to draw a group of people who are interested in OER together to continue to explore the issues, to share some thoughts and to participate in our discussions. Please contact Li Yuan (l.yuan@bolton.ac.uk or 01204903851) for more information about Open Content working group and further events at CETIS.

15 thoughts on “A briefing paper on Open Educational Resources

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  4. Hi LI,
    I enjoyed reading your briefing paper and recognised most of the initiatives and institutions you referenced.
    Your main focus seems to be (apart from section 4.2) on formal learning and formal educational systems.
    Had you considered the possibility that future OERs might derive from general information sources (orders of magnitude greater in volume) that are harvested and contextualised for learning purposes?
    It might be worth exploring the idea that the Web will become a great repository of potential learning resources that come from commerce, industry, special interest groups and so on, and have little or no input from the educational community at all.
    Because the providers will be motivated to maintain the currency of their area of interest, it is likely that the materials will be self-maintaining.
    I think we should be looking at a world where VLEs, repositories, IPR and interoperability issues etc are things of the past. Where the role of the tutor is to facilitate and support the learning process, not provide the learning resources, and where education operates globally.


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  7. Great article. “Open educational resources” is a very good idea. It saves money and lots of people can make use of it. I think it is something that is becoming popular world wide. Thanks for sharing the information.

  8. Good post. “Open educational resources” is a very timely topic. Computer literacy rates are increasing rapidly and more and more people are accessing internet. In some countries they have the school syllabus in CD’s so students can refer them. It helps a lot. And keeping online resources is more effective since anyone can access it via internet. Thank you for bringing up the topic. I enjoyed your article.

  9. Awesome info! I was honestly just thinking about something similar to this the other day so, it was almost ?weird? when I ran across this. You would be surprised how many people simply have no idea when it comes to this kind of stuff. Anyway, thanks for getting this info out there and I?m sure I?m not the only one who appreciates you taking the time to post this for the masses.http://www.topnotchboots.com/

  10. Interesting indeed. Nowadays, the idea of pen source and open education have a real tendency of developing and helping out people to uplift their own standards. Really good initiative. It really does help in various sectors to do such programs and help everyone out.