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Open Education Resources (OERs)

April 26, 2009

The Open eLearning Content Observatory Services (OLCOS) Project Consortium

OLCOS RoadMap (note: read sectiona 1 and 2 for technical and software specs)

OER are understood to comprise content for teaching and learning, software-based tools
and services, and licenses that allow for open development and re-use of content, tools and

OLCOS warns that delivering OER to the still dominant model of teachercentred
knowledge transfer will have little effect on equipping teachers, students and workers
with the competences, knowledge and skills to participate successfully in the knowledge
economy and society. Does this mean that this type of resource will only work in a blended learning approach?

Among the critical inhibitors that have been identified the following three should receive
particular attention:

  • In order to see researchers and educators excel in OER, academic and educational institutionswill need to implement appropriate mechanisms of recognition and reward. (what does this mean?) That a flourishing of open content will not be achieved if there are no strong incentives (reward mechanisms) for producing, sharing and (re-)using such content; and that communities of interest in certain subjects will have an important role;
  • Business models in OER will remain tricky. The right mix of income streams must be found,and there will be growing competition for scarce funding resources. (Why will there be scarece funding?)
  • Regarding educational repositories at present there exists little experie in how to effectively support communities of practice, which is of critical importance if OER initiatives want to grow based on user contributions. (Rapid e-Learning development initiatives and standardisation such as AICC and SCORM?)

Promote user-centred approaches in education and lifelong learning; users not only
consume educational content but develop their own ePortfolios, and share study results and
experiences with peers. Is this in line with Svards’ “participation” metaphor?

There are also much broader interpretations of Open Educational Resources (OER). For
example, the OECD’s Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI) states on the
webpage of their OER survey that this would comprise “Open courseware and content; Open
software tools; Open material for e-learning capacity building of faculty staff; Repositories of
learning objects; Free educational courses”

Regarding the new generation of Web-based tools and services (“social software”,
Web 2.0) it may be difficult to isolate pieces of content from their rich interlinkage; Yes, absolutely. There is going to be no definitive package or “out of the box” solution. There will be a myriad of solutions to suit educators and learners.

Quality criteria and assurance will also, and perhaps particularly, play an important
role in the provision of open educational content; mechanisms like
automatic provenance detection and quality assurance would be highly beneficial; Endorsements from official bodies (in the case of Oil and Gas – OPITO)

Copyright: Today the default copyright status for creative works is “all rights reserved”. This means that Open content cannot be edited legally? To help in this, the non-profit organisation Creative Commons (CC) provides an easyto-use mechanism for choosing and attaching to a creative work one of six standardised CC licenses.

Note that a decrease in the use of the “NoDerivatives” restriction
seems to have occurred. According to data from Yahoo!, in February 2005 about 32% of the
back-links to over 10 million Web pages pointed to a CC license containing this restriction. At the end of November 2006 such licenses made up only about20% of the back-links.

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