A number of high-level studies have been commissioned which focus on, or consider issues around, open educational resources (OER). There are also some useful practical guidance documents available as a result of project work in this and related areas.
This section highlights many of the resources available to institutions, consortia and individuals with an interest in open educational resources.
- Kernohan, D. and Thomas, A. (2012) OER – a historical perspective.
- CETIS commissioned an article and timeline of OER developments which also covered the period before the UKOER Programme and provided a broader view of the landscape.
- Good Intentions Report. The Jisc information environment and e-learning teams jointly commissioned a report entitled ‘Good Intentions: improving the evidence base in support of sharing learning materials’, examining various business cases and models for sharing learning materials. This report offers a useful history of sharing learning materials in the UK.
Overviews and general guidance
- The open practices: briefing paper was produced by the UKOER evaluation and synthesis team in 2012 to highlight key issues around OER and open educational practice Beetham, H., Falconer, I., McGill, L. and Littlejohn, A. Jisc, 2012.
- The Open practice across sectors: briefing paper was produced by the UKOER evaluation and synthesis team to highlight aspects of open educational practice across sectors during the second phase of the programme McGill, L., Falconer, I, Beetham, H. and Littlejohn, A. Jisc, 2012
- Good intentions report. The Jisc information environment and e-learning teams jointly commissioned a report entitled ‘good Intentions: improving the evidence base in support of sharing learning materials’, examining various business cases for sharing learning materials. We would strongly recommend reading this as a precursor to identifying and describing your own business case.
- The Jisc sharing e-learning report is a synthesis of, and commentary on, findings across 30-40 Jisc projects in a number of different programmes over the past 3-4 years. The conclusions it draws are aimed at Jisc rather than individual institutions, but the report is a useful overview of existing work in this area.
- OpenLearn is part of the wider open learning network (OLnet) supported by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation which features resources, research and tools. In addition, Support Centre for Open Resources in Education (SCORE) is a HEFCE-funded project (2009-2012) based at the Open University which aims to “support individuals, projects, institutions and programmes across the higher education sector in England as they engage with creating, sharing and using open educational resources.”
- The Pocket Project investigated the potential of migrating open content approaches in a range of disciplines across a number of different higher education institutions. The project ran from November 2007 until February 2009 and was led by the University of Derby. The partner institutions were: University of Bolton, Open University and the University of Exeter.
- The RepRODUCE programme addressed the repurposing of existing content for use within institutions and for subsequent open release. Helen Beetham worked with the programme management team to provide resources concerning the evaluation of activity in this area. You may wish to view the slides as well as the evaluation and quality assurance plans.
- Jorum is a national repository for learning and teaching resources, and the Jorum Community Bay aims to support knowledge exchange and discussion on all aspects of sharing, re-use and repurposing of learning and teaching resources. The Jorum Community Bay provides links to a range of useful information, such as authoring and repurposing tools, case studies and discussion forums.
- The Learning Resources and Activities (LRA) infoKit contains further links to previous and current Jisc funded resources in this area.
- Open Database of Educational Projects and Organizations (ODEPO) is a wiki-database of organizations involved in providing educational content online. ODEPO includes over a thousand sites affiliated with various organizations, the majority of which involve the creation and expansion of Open Educational Resources.
- Steven Downes has released an e-book (August 2011) entitled Free Learning which collates many of his essays, posts and conversations around OER and Copyright – and address much broader issues of open practice. Provides some of the history and discourse in this fast moving field.
- Learner Use of Online Educational Resources for Learning (LUOER) Paul Bacsich, Barry Phillips and Sara Frank Bristow Sept 2011
- OER Impact Study: research report. Liz Masterman and Joanna Wild University of Oxford, July 2011
- The Open CourseWare Consortium (OCW) is an international organisation offering guidance to institutions and organisations across the world investigating the open release of learning content. They have provided an online toolkit to support potential projects in exploring the issues related to this form of release.
- The Open University’s OpenLearn project has opened access to a wide range of distance learning material via its website. In addition to these learning resources, OpenLearn has also provided advice for educators, which describes the nature of open content and the ways in which it can be used.
- OpenLearn is part of the wider Open Learning network (OLnet) supported by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation which features resources, research and tools. In addition, Support Centre for Open Resources in Education (SCORE) was a HEFCE-funded project (2009-2012) based at the Open University which aimed to “support individuals, projects, institutions and programmes across the higher education sector in England as they engage with creating, sharing and using open educational resources.”
- The STEM OER Guidance wiki contains guidance documents prepared by the STEM project teams from a number of Higher Education Academy/Jisc-funded projects, which ran May 2009 to April 2010. The guidance is based on the experience of the teams’ work with practising academics around issues to do with OER production and release.
- The UKOER Evaluation Toolkit was produced by the UKOER Evaluation and Synthesis Team during phase 3 of the programme to help projects with evaluation of OER initiatives.
- HE Academy
- Jisc (Users)
- Jisc (in impact report)
- OER-CSAP six partner case studies (CSAP Project, UKOER)
- OERs shining light, new textbook model, or harbinger of a new imperialism – Dave Cormier, UPEI, Canada discusses issues around knowledge and content (a discussion which is still ongoing two years later). Interesting comments and follow on blog posts carrying the discourse into the area of colonialism. (OERs, imperialism, international, politics)
- The New Colonialism in OER - Leigh Blackall, University of Canberra, Australia asks ‘To what extent is OER part of the cultural imperialism being felt “globally”? He discusses copyright and CC (Creative Commons) and attracted some interesting discussion in the comments. (OERs,politics, imperialism, International)
- OERs & Internationalisation – post on Jisc e-learning blog summarising discussions had at the UKOER programme meeting. The issue was identified by projects as interesting and important. (OERs, international, imperialism, politics)
- Big OER and Little OER – Martin Weller, Open University discusses the politics of OER and creates a definition for the terms Big OER (costly institutionally produced) and Little OER (low cost produced by individuals). The terms have become regularly used within the UK OER community. (OER, scarcity, demand, pedagogy, Big OER. Little OER, politics, economics)
- Adoption as Linking: A Response to the Stephens – David Wiley, founder of the Open School of Utah blogs on taking sharing to adoption through revising and remixing (sharing, reuse, OCW)
- Failure to define success – Stephen Carson, External Relations Director for MIT OpenCourseWare provides a list of commonly observed benefits of OpenCourseWare (OCW, benefits)
- Why Bother Being Open? – David Wiley, founder of the Open School of Utah responds to Stephen Carson’s blog post (see above) and argues that the benefits would be as relevant if the resources were published under an non open licence (OCW, benefits)
- blogging on blogging on #UKOER – David Kernohan, Programme Manager Jisc provides a summary blog post highlighting current conversations by key figures in the field (OERs, overview, creative commons, cc, licensing, imperialism, politics)
- What I didn’t see at the Open Education Conference – using negative space to outline the future of OER – Paul Stacey (Director of BC Campus, Canada) provides a useful summary of discussions at the Barcelona conference (open movement, OERs, models)
- Open education and OER is like? – John Robertson, Jisc CETIS offers a humorous look at some of the models and metaphors which abound in the open education landscape. (models, metaphors, OERs, open education, language, conceptual understanding)
- The University of Open – Paul Stacey (Director of BC Campus, Canada) presents a new model for the open university (open source, open university, open access, pedagogy, OERs)
- Openness, Socialism, and Capitalism – David Wiley, founder of the Open School of Utah argues that tax payers should be the recipient of resources developed with their money (OERs, capitalism, politics, socialism)
- Misunderstanding capitalism and OER – Joss Winn, University of Lincoln responds to David Wiley’s post Openness, Socialism and Capital and presents a strong argument around the political implications of institutionally produced (big OERs) and that these are situated within capitalism by nature of their production. (capitalism, Higher Education, economics, Marxism, politics)
- OERs, capitalism and social totality – Richard Hall, De Montfort University further develops the discussion by David Wiley and Joss Winn (see above) by arguing for the ‘need to situate OERs within the totality of critical social theory as applied to education, rather than simply treating them as fetishised commodities or shareable goods.’ He also considers the issues around exporting the Western model to other countries. (OERs, Higher Education, capitalism, Marxism, politics, economics, international)
- OERs: the good, the bad and the ugly – Tony Bates offers a critique of the open resources movement which examines where open content sits in the broader open education landscape. This post stimulated some excellent debate both in the comments and in several other blog posts. (open content, open education, sharing, OER use, OER reuse, quality, pedagogy)
- For a few dollars more? – OER reuse and value – David Kernohan in response to several posts including Tony Bates’ OERs: the good, the bad and the ugly post and to the UKOER Evaluation and Synthesis final report (OER as concept, value, benefits, OER reuse, process, practice, OER release)
- Evolution of an OER initiative: an eight year retrospective – Paul Stacey provides a summary of BCcampus (British Columbia, Canada) looking at funding, partnerships, benefits and issues around reuse. (BCcampus, review, benefits, funding, sustainability, partnerships)
- A defence of the OER movement: Any which way you can – Tony Bates highlights a response to the earlier (February) post OERs: the good, the bad and the ugly from Rory McGreal, VP Research at Athabasca University and asks for further comments. Rory argues that there is room for pure content (ie without attached accreditation, pedagogic context or instructional design, etc). interesting comments continuing the content vs pedagogy dialogue. (OERs, pedagogy, content, quality, OER use)
- A reflection on the OER debate: every which way but loose – Tony Bates continues the series of conversations stimulated by his first post OERs: the good, the bad and the ugly. Again includes several good comments on the issue of OER quality, and the discourse around content vs pedagogy. (OERs, pedagogy, content, quality, OER use)
- ocwcglobal-and-the-state-of-ocwoer-2011 – post from David Kernohan after attending the OCWC conference which discusses the links between the open movement and the search for new models of higher education (sustainability and scalability of HE models)
- Impact model diagram – Allison Littlejohn, UKOER synthesis and evaluation team provides an update of the team’s thinking around open practices and presents an impact model for the UKOER programme towards the end of phase two activities (open practice, model, UKOER)
- Clarifying My Feeling Toward MOOCs – David Wiley post on MOOCs (Massive Online Open Course) where he argues that MOOCs are of use mainly to those who are already academically prepared as he feels they generally lack structure and useful measurement mechanisms. (MOOC, Higher Education, future)
- Do open online courses have a role in educational reform? – George Siemens responds to David Wiley’s post about MOOCs which argues that MOOCs can have structure and assessment/grading aspects. George feels that MOOCs are helpful in reframing Higher Education because even if MOOCs don’t continue the underlying concepts of distributed teaching, sub-networks, peer teaching, learner content creation, social networks, new methods of aggregating information, local institution accreditation will be the foundation of future learning structures. (MOOC, Higher Education, future, learning)
- Modelling Learning Support in MOOCs in Netlogo – David Wiley responds to George’s post above by stating that ‘MOOC-like courses only support student learning if most of the people in the course already know the material.’ Some interesting comments, particularly from Scott Leslie who asks if the problem is with using the term courses to frame this approach. He points out that many communities are already operating like this although they are not labelled as courses. Other comments (although actually from Dave Cormier’s post discuss the broader issue of defining knowledge). (openness, MOOC, learning, knowledge)
- MOOCs as ecologies or why I work on MOOCs – Dave Cormier, UPEI, Canada responds to David Wiley and George Siemens arguing that MOOCs provide a structure (or ecology) where learners can take control of how and what they learn. (MOOC, Higher Education, future, learners)
- Yes, Virginia, There Is Knowledge Transfer – David Wiley responds by stating that 99% of learning is actually knowledge transfer. This elicits several more responses and the debate becomes quite heated. (learning, knowledge)
- Knowledge Transfer – Stephen Downes continues the debate around knowledge transfer (and MOOCs) by responding to David Wiley’s post and lays the conversation clearly into learning theory territory. Some challenging comments. (learning, knowledge)
- Yet Another Response to Stephen – David Wiley responds and again some really interesting comments.
- From knowledge to bathroom renovations – George Siemens brings the conversation back to MOOCs who fundamentally asks for more research (openness, MOOC, learning, knowledge)
- Knowledge Transfer: old wine in new bottles or how many contentious statements can I make in one blog post? – Frances Bell, University of Salford questions the newness of the MOOC concept but also the tone of the debate and the inclusivity of it. She calls for a more open debate. (manners, openness, MOOC, learning, knowledge)
Technical aspects of OERs
- Branding repositories, OER and awareness raising: some thoughts on embedding OERs – Suzanne Hardy, MEDEV Subject Centre talks about balancing a desire for simplicity of access from academics with the ‘need’ to brand and market repositories. (institutional repositories, branding, marketing, retrieval, finding OERs)
- Ranking and SEO – light on a dark art – Lorna Campbell, Jisc CETIS post about search engine optimisation which highlights issues around UKOER phase 2 projects. Includes links to other relevant posts and useful comments (ranking, search engine optimisation, UKOER)
- OER and the aggregation question – Amber Thomas, Jisc discusses issues around aggregation services to make OERs discoverable and how this links to storage mechanisms, metadata and curation issues. Raises some key questions for aggregations services to consider. (aggregation, metadata, curation, OER use, OER discovery, retrieval, value, benefits)
- What’s wrong with Creative Commons – Stephen Downes, National Research Council of Canada argues that CC does not challenge the notion of intellectual property and that it preserves the notion of copyright – which benefits the owner no the users or potential users (licensing, CC, Creative commons, OERs, benefits)
- No, Stephen… – David Wiley, founder of the Open School of Utah argues against Stephen Downs and for the benefits of CC licences. Some good discussion in the comments section (OERs, licensing, CC, Creative commons)
- OER, Creative Commons and a reply to David Wiley Joss Winn, University of Lincoln provides a very thorough response to David Wiley’s post (listed above) and raises challenging questions about the use of and political implications of CC licences (OERs, licensing, CC, Creative commons, politics)
- So what’s the deal with fair dealing? - post by David Kernohan responding to queries about the need for licences (fair dealing, creative commons, licensing, UK)
- CC Licences and Fair Dealing – response from Naomi Korn to David’s post emphasising that fair dealing provided defences whilst CC provides permissions (fair dealing, creative commons, licensing, UK)
- The OER debate in full – Stephen Downes presents a WSIS debate entitled ‘Should OER favour commercial use?’ as a blog post (to facilitate comments and ongoing dialogue) (licensing, commercial use)
Use and re-use
- Is an OER still an OER if no-one uses it? – David Kernohan, Programme Manager at Jisc raises questions on academic re-use of OERs and wonders if this increases the likelihood of failure for OER projects that focus on this (OERs, reuse, repurposing, academics, Higher Education)
- Do only aliens use OERs – Unesco Chair in eLearning blog post which describes the use of ‘delicious’ to track OER use and concludes that significant use by computer scientists, mathematicians and physicists implies that you need to be aware of the OER movement to re-use them. (OER use, statistics, tracking)
- Taking OER Beyond the OER Community: Part I – Mike Cauldfield, Keene State College, US talks about open practice and OERs and discusses issues around pedagogic intention, producer and users/re-users of OERs. (pedagogy, learning design, OERs, OER use, reuse, academics, producers)
- Rethinking the ‘O’ in OER – Amber Thomas, Jisc discusses OERs from a broad perspective covering a range of issues. The post challenges some assumptions about OER release and use and proposes a ‘hybrid OER version’ which reflects both the spectrum of use and release practice. (OER use, OER release, definitions, models, learning and teaching, practice, pragmatism)
- It turns out that students do use OER and it does save time – Andy Began, University of Nottingham post highlighting results from a student survey. This was offered as a case study following a call from the HE Academy and Jisc (students, OERs, OER use, Nottingham, UKOER, BERLiN project)
- Some downside to OER? – Phil Barker, Jisc CETIS highlights the issue of student’s preference for evidence of effort on the part of academics – producing materials specifically for them is valued. (OER use, students, learners)
- Making the most of open content: why we need to understand use – Amber Thomas, Jisc discusses issues of use in advance of a session at the Jisc Conference. Amber argues that we understand more about release than use and argues for the need to focus on understanding use to identify best use cases and sustainable models for release. (OER use, understanding, models, use cases, benefits, sustainability, content)
- Making the most of open content: understanding use (part 2) – Amber Thomas, Jisc follows the previous post with a discussion of the characteristics of OERs and highlights key arguments relating to the use/release. (OER use, understanding, models, use cases, benefits, sustainability, characteristics, affordances, content)
- What’s the re(use) of OER? – Andy Beggan, University of Nottingham talks about prolific use of content by academics and discusses the issue of re-use of non OERs. Uses evidence from the BERLiN Project which tried to release existing content which was made difficult due to widespread use of third party content. (OERs, content, use, re-use, third party content, learning and teaching)
- Sharing, Reuse, and Frameworks – Mike Cauldfield, Keene State College, US suggests ‘an impact theory of OER, not an input theory of OER.’ he argues that the focus on production rather than reuse is unhelpful and also calls for teachers to work through existing frameworks (OERs, sharing, reuse, OER use, frameworks, learning and teaching, learning design)
Jisc/HE Academy UKOER programme blogs
Phase 2 project blogs
- ADM-OER project blog (Practising Open Education: Developing the Potential of Open Educational Resources in Art Design and Media)
- CSAP Open Collections Project blog (Centre for Sociology, Anthropology and Politics)
- CSAP Open Cascade Project blog (Centre for Sociology, Anthropology and Politics)
- CPD4HE project blog (Continuing Professional Development for Higher Education)
- DELILA project blog (Developing Educators Learning and Information Literacies for Accreditation)
- DHOER project blog (Digital Humanities)
- EDOR project blog (Educational Development Open Resources)
- ESCalate project news on the ESCalate site (Education Subject Centre)
- IPR4EE project blog (IPR for Educational Environments)
- Learning to Teach Inclusively project blog
- MEDEV blog – aggregates posts about PORCHE project and ACTOR project (Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Medicine)
- Open Fieldwork project blog
- Open for Business project blog (BMAF)
- OpenSpires project blog (Oxford University)
- Open STEM project blog (Transforming teaching in mathematics and biosciences)
- ORIC project blog (OERs for the Inclusive Curriculum)
- OSTRICH project blog (OER Sustainability through Teaching & Research Innovation: Cascading across HEIs)
- SCOOTER project blog (Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia)
- SPACE project blog (Stimulating the Performing Arts Creative Environment)
- SWAPBox project blog (Social Work and Policy)
- TIGER project blog (Transforming Interpersonal Groups through Educational Resources)