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Open Educational Resources (OERs) can be seen as social movement but are also implemented as strategic measures in higher education institutions (HEIs). This chapter describes the current aims and experiences of OERs in HEIs. Starting with definitions and milestones in respect of the current status, this chapter gives an overview of projects and implementation objectives and it describes two concrete case studies, i.e., the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Open CourseWare project and the OpenLearn project at the Open University in the United Kingdom. The aim of this chapter is to give a comprehensive overview to decision makers and policy drivers within higher education organizations, and thus it develops a blueprint of an implementation model.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Preliminarily version of: Schaffert, Sandra (2010). Strategic Integra-
tion of Open Educational Resources in Higher Education. Objec-
tives, Case Studies, and the Impact of Web 2.0 on Universities. In:
Ulf-Daniel Ehlers & Dirk Schneckenberg (eds.), Changing Cul-
tures in Higher Education – Moving Ahead to Future Learning,
New York: Springer.
Abstract Open Educational Resources (OER) can be seen as social
movement but are also implemented as strategic measures in higher
education (HEI). This chapter describes the current aims and experi-
ences with the implementation of OER in HEI: Starting with defini-
tions and milestones in respect of the current status, this chapter will
therefore give an overview of projects and implementation objec-
tives and it describes two concrete case studies, i.e.: the MIT Open
CourseWare project and the OpenLearn project at the Open Univer-
sity in the UK. The aim of this chapter is to give a comprehensive
overview to decision makers and policy drivers within higher educa-
tion organisations and thus it develops a blueprint of an implementa-
tion model.
Keywords: Open Educational Resources, Strategic Integration,
Higher Education, OER, Open Content, Open Access
A free and open usage of educational resources such as books, tools
and lectures is not possible for the majority of people. From the uni-
versities’ perspective, the accessibility of learning materials is tradi-
tionally limited to students who have subscribed to a special course.
Now, open content materials are available and distributed via the In-
ternet and gain a lot of attention from international organisations as
well as educational institutions. In the last few years, there have
been a number of high profile international initiatives promoting
OER and the use of Open Source Software tools for learning.
This chapter describes the current goals and experiences with the
implementation of Open Educational Resources (OER) in higher
education. Starting with definitions and milestones in respect of the
current state of OER, this chapter therefore presents an overview of
projects, implementation objectives and describes actual case stud-
ies. Additionally, the impact of Web 2.0 on the OER movement is
described. The aim of this chapter is to give a comprehensive over-
view of OER implementation for decision makers and policy drivers
within higher education organisations.
Definitions and Examples of Open Educational Resources
Much attention has been paid to Open Educational Resources (OER)
in recent years, for example through the extensive media coverage of
the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Open CourseWare in-
itiative (, the work of the increasing number of organi-
sations promoting Creative Commons licenses1, and the success of
Open Source Software applications such as Moodle ( in
the education sector.
Nevertheless, an authoritative definition of Open Educational Re-
sources (OER) has not yet been agreed on. Stephen Downes writes
that “there is a great deal of debate extant concerning the definition
of ‘open’ resources” (Downes 2007, 299). However, the UNESCO
International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) Forum
formed a consensus that OER include Open Course Content, Open
Source development tools and Open Standards and licensing tools
(cf. International Institute for Educational Planning/UNESCO,
2001). Open therefore means that the content (inclusive of meta
data) is provided free of charge, that the content is liberally licensed
for re-use, favourably free from restrictions to modify, combine and
repurpose, that it is produced in open format and designed for easy
1 Creative Commons is one of the most popular licensing schemes for open con-
tent that offers/allows a clear description of the author’s and user’s rights, e.g. the
re-usage and modification of the materials, see
re-use and developed and hosted with open source software (Geser
2007, 20).
In the following, we concentrate on the aspect of open content as
one part of OER, and therefore disregard Open Source Software for
educational purposes. This list illustrates the variety of formats of
OER available on the Internet:
slides and other lecture materials;
reading materials and assignments;
research papers and other scientific publications;
figures, tables, photos and other illustrations;
tools of e-assessment, such as online questionnaires, tests;
videos of presentations or “how-to” material;
collaborative work, for example developed with the wiki technol-
communication spaces or applications for learners, for example
discussion forums, mailing lists, groups within social network ap-
plications, also language learner networks;
“interactive” materials such as web based trainings;
descriptions on how to use materials, didactical approaches;
software and applications with educational relevance;
meta information about the materials;
sources of information as encyclopaedias or news sites.
However, in reality, educational resource repositories and projects
following the idea of OER are often not fully compliant with the
above mentioned criteria or the definition by UNESCO: Hence, the
meaning of “open” is often reduced to i) a free access to resources
and ii) the possibility of use without authorisation to modify them.
According to the OER definition, materials should also be liberally
licensed, so that is allowed to use or, modify and republish them.
Whereas the legal rights in the US provide the possibility of a “pub-
lic domain” this is unknown in other countries: This relinquishment
of the intellectual property rights in favour of the public is not pos-
sible in European countries like Austria or Germany. That means for
the EU that, before using, copying or modifying learning materials
created by someone else, one has to obtain prior permission of the
copyright owner and enter into a contract with him/her. With an
open content licensing, a clear descriptions of the rights of the au-
author(s) and the users supports the handling, re-usage and if
wished, modification of materials. For example, the Creative Com-
mons license “does not mean giving up your copyright. It means of-
fering some of your rights to any member of the public but only on
certain conditions" (Creative Commons 2006).
Milestones of the OER movement and exemplary projects
The OER movement has its roots in and also connections to the
movement of Open Software and Open Access for scientific publica-
tions. Therefore the founding of the “Free Software Foundation” by
Richard Stallman in 1985, the release of the Open Source operating
system “Linux” in 1992, which later became one of the most promi-
nent examples for the new software development process, the re-
lease of the Creative Commons License (2001), and the Berlin De-
claration on Open Access to Science (2003) can all be seen as
important for the core OER movement, too. Concerning the discus-
sion on and around OER, the UNESCO initiative “free educational
resources” was the initialising milestone in 2002 which brings a
broader public interest in the topic. In 2003, the MIT Open Course-
Ware project was another milestone. Afterwards, several important
initiatives and projects were implemented, OER started to be one of
the important topics in several weblogs and forums of education-
alists. The OECD has published a study (2007) about OER based on
the results of an international survey, and the William and Flora
Hewlett Foundation have undertaken a review of the OER move-
ment (Atkins, Brown, & Hammond 2007). The European Commis-
sion has also started to fund projects focused on open educational
content and Open Source tools (e.g. OLCOS, Bazaar).
There are several projects and repositories where OER for HEI are
developed and/or collected and presented. The following list gives
some examples.
MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and
Online Teaching, MERLOT is a growing cata-
logue of peer-reviewed online learning materials, organized by
disciplines with currently more than 20.000 resources.
OER Commons ( OER Commons is a
teaching and learning network offering a broad selection of high-
quality OER, using Web 2.0 features such as tagging and rating
with currently nearly 15.000 materials and 2.500 libraries and col-
Open CourseWare Finder (OCW Finder, The
OCW Finder shows results from several collections and brings to-
gether materials from more than 200 international HEI institutions
WikiEducator ( A Wiki for collaboratively de-
veloped OER for schools and HEI with nearly 6.000 registered
Connexions ( Connexions supports the collaborative de-
velopment of OER organised in modules under a Creative Com-
mons license and has currently more than 4.500 modules.
Other comprehensive overviews are provided by the OER-Wiki of
the UNESCO (2009) or within the WikiEducator (2009).
Reasons for institutional involvement in OER
According to Hylén (2006), the following points are possible rea-
sons for an institutional involvement in OER:
Sharing knowledge is a good thing to do and also in line with aca-
demic traditions, ultimately supported by the United Nations Hu-
man Rights Declaration which states that “everyone has the right
to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary
and fundamental stages.” (Article 26, citation)
Educational institutions should leverage on taxpayers’ money by
allowing free sharing and reuse of resources developed by pub-
licly funded institutions to prevent double work and reinvention.
By sharing and reusing, the costs for content development can be
cut, and the quality would improve compared to a situation where
everyone starts from the scratch.
Institutions to be engaged in OER will profit from good public re-
lations, the materials can function as a show-window attracting
new students.
Besides these altruistic, political, and financial arguments on why
and how institutions should invest in the involvement in OER, there
are several arguments that build on the possible influences and ef-
fects of OER on learning and teaching and organisational culture in
general: For that, we point out possible changes and challenges re-
garding the three aspects of education known as the “didactical tri-
angle”, i.e.: the subject, the learners and the teachers.
Concerning the subject itself, the accessibility of OER perhaps
seems to be as of no big importance. But indeed, OER can lead to
richer and more varied use of materials in lectures that a single
teacher has no possibility to provide and develop, or is legally not al-
lowed to use. The above mentioned materials give a lot of possibili-
ties to diversify lecturers and learning in the sense of multimedia
usage or creative content.
Concerning the learners, OER carries to several consequences:
1. First of all, the materials are available for free and normally
easier than through copying and buying books. (Neverthe-
less, especially in an international context, the possibility to
access these materials is restricted to computer and internet
access which cannot be taken for granted for students in
many countries). In general, students become more inde-
pendent from materials developed by their own lecturer.
2. Additionally, people interested in a certain university can get
insights into the quality of the learning materials provided by
a (potential) institution. Last but not least, students can par-
ticipate in the development of OER or create own learning
materials, together with other students, and also lecturers. As
known from pedagogical psychology, the possibility to serve
as a tutor for other students pushes the student’s learning
enormously, the possibility to publish these materials can be
additionally attractive.
3. The third aspect is the teachers or lecturers within higher
education: With OER they have the possibility to get attrac-
tive and inspiring materials for their own lectures easily and
quickly; at least easier than via normal channels (e.g. books
in their library). Developing OER can also lead to an inten-
sive cross-institutional exchange, collaboration and inspira-
tion as well as reputation.
The consequences of the sketched changes and influences concern-
ing subject, learners and teachers are also seen as potential to a shift
of educational settings and didactical changes towards a new institu-
tional learning culture: OER can take very different forms within
educational settings as multimedia “click & learn” offers on the one
hand, and source and result of a collaborative development within an
arrangement of cooperative learning on the other hand. The latter
approach can be seen as one form of an open educational practice
also known as “open learning”, which follows a competency-
focused, collaborative paradigm of learning and knowledge acquisi-
tion. Within open educational practices priority is given to learning
communities instead of teacher-centred education, and development
of knowledge and skills required to tackling and solving problems
instead of subject-centred knowledge transfer (see Geser 2007, p.
38). Generally, this demands an active, constructive engagement
with content, tools and services in the learning process. OER is also
to be seen as one (but not the only) crucial factor to develop these
learning and teaching approaches and fitting organisational learning
cultures: The knowledge society demands competencies and skills
that require innovative educational practices based on open sharing
and evaluation of ideas, fostering of creativity, and teamwork among
the learners. Collaborative creation and sharing among learning
communities of OER can be regarded as an important catalyst of
such educational innovations. Therefore, OER should become a key
element of policies that aim to leverage education and lifelong learn-
ing for the knowledge society and economy (cf. Geser 2007,
Schaffert & Geser 2008).
Obviously, OER leads to new challenges, too: Students and staff
who want to use or develop OER need certain competencies in the
research of adequate resources, in using several application and
licenses, and media competence in general. Nevertheless, the devel-
opment of these competencies goes along with the demand of life
long learning and new media competencies. Another critical issue is
that the quality of these materials can not be guaranteed.
Examples of OER in higher education
There are several organisations within which OER was already im-
plemented as strategic measure on an organisational level. In the fol-
lowing we will describe case studies from the US and the UK, the
MIT Open CourseWare and the OpenLearn at The Open University.
The following information is based on the self-description on the in-
stitution’s homepage if no other sources are mentioned.
MIT Open CourseWare
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, known as MIT, is one of
the universities in the United States with a large scale OER pro-
gramme. Following the description on the Webpage, the MIT con-
sidered the use of the Internet in pursuit of the of MIT's mission,
which is described as “to advance knowledge and educate students”.
In 2000, the Open CourseWare (OCW) project was proposed and in
2001 it was announced in the New York Times. Open CourseWare
represents complete course materials, including for example a sylla-
bus, timetables, lecturer slides, assignments or video recorded
classes. A pilot version of the OCW project goes online with 50
courses one year later. In 2003, already 500 courses were published
as part of the official launch. In 2004, OCW adopts a Creative
Commons license. In this year, Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese
translations were made available, a first mirror site was established
and other institutions collaborate with the MIT and start to create
their own OCW. In 2005 the OCW project won a dozen awards, had
1.250 courses published and formed the OCW consortium. Since
2008, audios, videos and photos are available via popular content
platforms content, such as YouTube, iTunesU and FlickR. Today
more than 1.890 courses from 33 disciplines are available. The re-
sources are totally institution based in the sense that all materials or-
iginate from MIT staff (Hylén 2006) and follow a “producer-
consumer” model (Mora 2008, 62).
What were the objectives in implementing OER? How is their im-
plementation supported and financed? Concerning the first question
on objectives, the MIT homepage names two aims, i.e.: to provide
free, searchable access to MIT's course materials for educators, stu-
dents, and self-learners around the world and to extend the reach and
impact of MIT OCW and the “Open CourseWare” concept. Addi-
tionally, the OCW project is very often mentioned regarding as to
how OER can serve as public relations measure (e.g. in Hylén
If there were concrete implementation plans or strategies and how
the OER idea was disseminated within the MIT remains somewhat
unclear. In 2000, a faculty committee proposed the idea, but nobody
was forced to publish OER within the OCW project: Nevertheless,
the vast majority, over 90 percent, of the faculty had already volun-
tarily contributed.
Concerning the financing, it is known that the MIT OCW initiative
was funded jointly by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation,
the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology (MIT), as well as support of a software company.
Nevertheless, the costs of the project – currently just under $4 mil-
lion a year – brought up the need for additional financing: The MIT
asks for donations on their homepage, “We need and genuinely ap-
preciate your personal donation to OCW”.
The MIT and the other members of the OCW consortium try to con-
tinuously evaluate who their users are. A report states that the ma-
jority are learners, typically with a bachelor’s or master’s degree
(48%), followed by students (31%), and educators (15%) (Carson
2005 in Hylén 2006).
OpenLearn at The Open University in the UK
Contrary to the OCW project of the MIT, which follows a prosumer-
consumer model, our next case study, the OpenLearn project, fol-
lows a co-production model which includes external volunteer con-
tributors (Mora, 2008, 62).
The OpenLearn project at the Open University in the UK is located
in a distance learning university. In April 2008 5.400 hours of cur-
rent content through over 450 study units ranging from 1 to 50 hours
in study time from all academic levels, is available in the “Learn-
ingSpace” that is mainly aimed at learners. Additionally, 8.100
hours of archived content of almost complete courses are available
in the “LabSpace”, which serves as an enhanced learning envi-
ronment with various tools and technologies (e.g. chat, video con-
ferencing, video blogging, knowledge mapping), including materials
that came from outside the Open University (Lane 2008). In April
2008, 60.000 registered users are using the “various social comput-
ing tools and technologies to make forum posts, create knowledge
maps, book video conferences and keep learning journals as well as
simply studying the Units)” (Lane 2008).
Lane (2008) describes as a direct result of the emergence of OERs as
a new activity, most notably the launch of MIT’s Open CourseWare
project, that “strategic discussions were promoted by the Vice Chan-
cellor and a Review Group convened to assess how the University
should adapt to something that fits so closely with the University’s
mission” (Lane 2008). A reviewers’ report was fully supported by
the academic board and council in mid 2005, so a planning group
was established to make proposals submitted to the William and
Flora Hewlett Foundation.
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation granted the University a
“substantial sum” to establish an Open Content Initiative called
“Open Learn” over 2 years in 2006: The objectives of the project
were: to enhance learning experiences for users of OERs; a greater
involvement in higher education by under-represented groups and
empowerment for various support networks that work with them, an
enhanced knowledge and understanding of OER delivery and
thereby an enhanced understanding of sustainable and scalable mod-
els of OER delivery (see Lane 2008).
Internally the following aspects are summarised as results (Lane
2008): In general the OpenLearn project has demonstrated that the
Open University can cope with rapid and large scale changes, and
that it can implement the Web 2.0 philosophy of perpetual beta, re-
lease changes often and release early. According to Lane (2008), the
project also attracted new students and brought the university into
the “forefront of open education and web based learning” (Lane
2008) which lead to an enhanced external web presence and new
(international) partnerships and co-operations (Lane 2008).
OER is now seen as established feature of the Open University the
strategy for sustaining the development and the usage of OER gets
into the focus, the current strategies are being built upon the follow-
ing three strands (Lane 2008): (i) to embed OER in all existing ac-
tivities, where possible (ii) to secure additional recurrent and project
funding and (iii) to investigate new business models and potential
revenue strategies (p. 10)
Envisaged organisational changes through strategic
implementation of OER
As we have seen in the case studies, different reasons for introduc-
ing OER in higher education exist. The following figure distin-
guishes currently envisaged organisational changes through strategic
implementation of OER in higher education. Therefore, altruistic
motives are not listed; this focuses on organisational processes and
Figure 1: Envisaged organisational changes through strategic implementation of OER. Annota-
tion: The basic idea of this illustration is derived from a figure in Euler & Seufert, 2005 (about
innovations through e-learning)
On the one side, the focus of the implementation lies in the optimisa-
tion of existing things or change and development of new things. On
the other side, the implementation can be directed at existing and
new target groups. The following four forms of envisaged changes
can be distinguished.
OER is implemented as catalyst of the development of a new
learning approach and culture for and with existing students and
teachers within their own organisation
OER is implemented to create new (better) materials and ap-
proaches in collaboration with external learners and teachers
through “open innovation”
OER is implemented to optimise the accessibility of materials and
to ensure the quality of educational resources developed for exist-
ing students and teachers
OER is implemented to attract future students as part of public re-
lation measures, as described in the example of the MIT. Addi-
tionally, the OER implementation can be a consequence of the
contract specifications of sponsoring bodies. For example, the
Hewlett Packard Foundation or European Commission tends to
support or demand explicitly the development of OER. Therefore,
OER is also implemented through market issues.
In reality, organisations focus often on more than one of these envis-
aged organisational possibilities for enhancement and innovation.
Blueprint of an implementation model
There are several good and convincing reasons why OER has been
implemented in educational institutions, especially in higher educa-
tion. Nevertheless, the introduction of an OER model on an organi-
sational level is challenging and also produces costs. Thinking about
an implementation, the institutions should give answers to the basic
questions of organisational change: “What happens, if we will not
introduce OER?” and “Why now?” to clarify how urgent and worthy
an implementation is. According to Lane (2008) organisation have
to decide whetherOER implementation is to be “central or marginal
to the existing mission of the organization and whether it is there
simply to maintain existing activity, albeit in a new form, or to act as
an incubator or test bed for a new activity that serves the mission in
previously unthought-of ways. In other words how do OERs fit both
with organizational strategy and with organizational practices?” (p.
The following implementation model is a blueprint, describing cru-
cial steps and aspects which a successful strategy should imply. It
builds on the experiences and descriptions of implementation in
HEI, e.g. the case studies described previously.
Figure 2: Implementation model of an Open Educational Resources (OER) policy
As described above, several aims for the implementation of OER ex-
ist. In a first phase, these aims should be clarified and discussed, be-
cause they influence all further steps, e.g. the evaluation of the pro-
cess and its results.
The sketch of the implementation strategy describes these aims and
how the framework has to be adjusted and who is responsible for
what. As a comparison of OER projects and Open Source develop-
ment shows, the OER projects are usually started more top-down in-
stitutionally driven than bottom-up (cf. Mora 2008).
The following aspects concerning the adjustment of the framework
seem important: The technological infrastructure (e.g. the homepage
or repository and also the computers of the staff) within the organi-
sation have to be adapted. The use, development and publication of
OER need the development of new competencies for the majority of
the staff, courses. The implementation of OER on an organisational
level is also a question of money: Cost benefit analyses and finan-
cing strategies have to be developed. The aspect of “business model”
includes the necessary development of alternative business models
where the provision of learning materials was traditionally paid with
students’ fees. Another aspect are possible incentives for the cre-
ation of OER within the organisation: How can teachers be moti-
vated to actively support the new policy? Last, but not least, an OER
policy needs also a lot of arrangements on an organisational level,
e.g. librarians within universities have to take over new tasks and re-
sponsibilities. Finally, the implementation of the OER strategy will
be accompanied by continuous quality assurance and evaluation ac-
tivities to optimise the impact.
Further recommendations on the implementation of OER, also on
the level of educational policies and internationally and for the direct
practice of usage and development of OER were produced within
the European OLCOS project. It explores possible pathways towards
a higher level of production, sharing and usage of OER and provides
recommendations on required measures to support decision making
at the level of educational policy and institutions. In particular, edu-
cational policy makers and funding bodies should demand that aca-
demic and educational resources that have been fully or to a larger
part publicly funded are made freely accessible under an appropriate
license (e.g. Creative Commons or similar) (see Geser 2007, and the
OLCOS tutorials via
The impact of Web 2.0 on OER
Web 2.0 is the active development of perpetual betas, so that content
and tools are always seen as unfinished and under construction,
combined with new software applications, which makes the contri-
bution to the Web and the collaboration with others easy.
OER is not a result of the new development of a “Web 2.0”, but it
deeply influences the technologies, policies, strategies and materials
of OER. For example, the variety and accessibility of tools and ma-
terials, e.g. Weblog postings, grassroots videos in YouTube, or lib-
erally licensed photos in FlickR, and the possibility to integrate and
to mash up these materials and services is impressive. The huge
amount of resources and tools leads to the demand of new concepts
of virtual learning management and the concept of “personal learn-
ing environment”. Concerning our two case studies, the OpenLearn
project directly built on Web 2.0: Lane (2008) argues that it has im-
plemented “the Web 2.0 philosophy of perpetual beta, release chan-
ges often and release early”, and additionally new tools are used and
the co-creation with learners and external developers is supported.
Not surprisingly, the majority of the younger OER projects build on
the Web 2.0 philosophy and tools. This includes more interactive
and collaborative development of OER, including other teachers and
learners. Examples are the Curriki project (a Wiki with educational
material for K-12,, the LeMill project (a social
network and enhanced Wiki system for teachers, or the
WikiEducator project (a Wiki with educational materials focussing
on technology enhanced learning, This new de-
velopment has several consequences for institutions dealing with the
idea of introducing OER as strategic measure. The Web 2.0 practice
and tools deal more with unfinished materials and a lot of material
“snippets”, compared with the complete Open CourseWare materi-
als, including bulky and not easy to modify (if allowed) materials
(e.g. pdf). Web features as tagging, rating, comments, reviews and
social networking are additionally implemented, for example at the
OER Commons project (
This Web 2.0 influence in the OER development also includes the
usage of distributed tools such as several Wikis, Weblogs, media
portals (such as FlickR or YouTube) as well as social networking
sites (such as MySpace or LinkedIn), and a new concept should
probably include such developments. Future institutional offers of
OER will mash up these distributed resources.
Conclusions and Outlook
There are several reasons and objectives why institutions in higher
education should be or are engaged in the development and use of
OER, for example: altruistic motives to share knowledge, or the
possibility to gain positive PR, or projects granted by sponsor insti-
tutions, which favour OER initiatives. From our point of view, the
possible changes, concerning learning and teaching activities and the
learning culture within a university, especially if collaborative de-
velopments of OER are supported, should gain more attention.
If universities think about a strategic integration of OER, they
should think not only about implementation issues, but also on the
general fitting of OER into the current organisational culture and
Despite considerable investment in technology enhanced teaching
and learning, there is little evidence of profound changes in educa-
tional practice. In particular, the idea that the use of ICT would pro-
mote student-centred and collaborative approaches to teaching and
learning has not been fulfilled. Instead there appears to be a growing
mismatch between institutional approaches to teaching and learning
and strategies and practices of knowledge development and imple-
mentation in the world of work. In addition, there is also a growing
gap between institutional practice and the way young people are
using technology to communicate and for ”creative activities, writ-
ing and posting of the internet, mixing and constructing multimedia
and developing their own content” (Lenhart and Madden, 2005).
OER may form a key element in policies aimed at leveraging educa-
tion and lifelong learning for developing a knowledge society and
economy. Simply incorporating OER within a model of teacher-
centred knowledge transfer will have little effect in equipping teach-
ers, students and workers with the competences, knowledge and
skills to participate successfully in the knowledge economy and so-
The introduction of OER policies in higher education is important,
but should be accompanied by the development of fitting open edu-
cational practices based on a competency-focused, constructivistic
paradigm of learning to promote a creative and collaborative en-
gagement of learners with digital content, tools and services in the
learning process. The Web 2.0 in general and its influence in the
OER projects towards more collaborative development of OER and
an even more liberally licensed approach could support this.
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... In line with these standards, building upon different publications and experiences (Schaffert, 2010;Ebner et al., 2016b;Nascimbeni & Burgos, 2016), the OER policy therefore refers to the following potentials and desired effects: 4. OER enables inclusion. 5. OER serves as a feature of good teaching for the university and its teachers. ...
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Based on the increasing demand for and promotion of Open Educational Resources (OER, see (UNESCO (2019), this chapter describes the objectives of Graz University of Technology (TU Graz) in Austria for good teaching. A description of how the impact of OER at TU Graz will be analysed and considerations around it is the central contribution. In addition, the effects, and potentials of selected OER initiatives of the university are described as examples and discussed as key potential for good teaching. For a better understanding of the role of OER at TU Graz, the national context of OER in the Austrian higher education landscape is described at the beginning of the chapter.
... TU Graz is not the first Austrian university with a dedicated OER policy; the University of Graz (Universität Graz, 2020) published an OER policy in March 2020. Also worldwide, countries and first universities are positioning themselves in relation to OER for strategic reasons and are developing and publishing dedicated OER policies (Schaffert, 2010;Inamorato dos Santos et al. 2017, e.g. University of Edinburgh 2016. ...
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The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of approaches to and insights for impact assessment on open educational resources (OER) in higher education and building on this to sketch a framework for university focussed OER impact assessment. The authors describe the literature on impact assessment in the OER context and the existing contributions to OER impact assessment in higher education. Findings of the analysis are that there are few contributions on the effects of OER in general or of specific OER initiatives. Four contributions are presented in more detail. From these examples and the literature analysis, derivations, and challenges for OER impact assessment are drawn, such as the large diversity in OER purposes and the invisibility of the re-usage of OER. The contribution sketches a framework model for describing OER-relevant results, outcomes, and impact, and more specifically demonstrates how this can be done for exemplary OER-related objectives. This contribution is thus of relevance to funding bodies and institutions working in the context of higher education that wish to systematically evaluate and monitor statements about the effectiveness of OER activities according to the UNESCO (2019) OER recommendation.
... One of the many advantages of Open Educational Resources (OER) is that they can be used free of charge but can also be adapted and reused (e.g., Ebner & Schön 2011). Higher education institutions (HEIs) use OER in different ways (Schaffert, 2010); for about 15 years, countries (Hoosen & Butcher, 2012) as well as the first HEIs have been positioning themselves favourably towards OER for strategic and publicity reasons and developing and publishing dedicated OER strategies (dos Santos et al. 2017;e.g., University of Edinburgh, 2016). National policy documents on OER are developed and published to promote OER. ...
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The 2019 UNESCO recommendation on Open Educational Resources (OER) encourages member states to monitor policies and mechanisms in OER across the world. In higher education, there are many initiatives and policies around OER. This contribution gives insights into the current situation concerning OER policy documents that are of national or institutional relevance for public higher education institutions in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. For each country, a different approach for identifying OER policy documents was chosen, dependent on the availability of documents and different dominant forms of documentation. Whereas digital documents available on the web were found as helpful sources for Germany, and performance agreements between the national ministry and individual universities were used for analysis in Austria, a survey amongst all universities was the chosen research approach in Switzerland to give an overview about potentially OER related policy documents. All these documents are now made available via the OER World Map. With this contribution, the authors also highlight the possibility of using the OER World Map as a powerful tool to collect and evaluate OER policy documents.
... Their usage is recommended as OER are seen as a base for a more inclusive, open, sustainable education and world [2]. Universities share for copyright issues in teaching, that OER gives new teaching opportunities, or that OER simply supports lifelong learning and public relation [4]. Although there are many national and international initiatives and projects, one gets the impression that practical OER usages is still lagging behind in primary, secondary and tertiary education. ...
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The focus of this research is to find and implement OER to be used in learning German as a foreign language levels A1 to B1 of the The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) standards and to implement in teaching at Universitas Negeri Malang (Indonesia). An overview of the OER will be given, which was categorized language learning level, themes, among others level and themes. From the implementation in university classes with about 19-21 years old, our interviews with five lecturers and their answers in an online questionnaire showed that the OER material in learning did provide many benefits for lecturers and students, including the variety of materials, the forms, and the economic aspect. However, the existing OER still have some downsides, like their suitability to the needs of lecturers and students, in terms of their themes, the technical requirements and levels of difficulty.
... International organisations such UNESCO and OECD as well national initiatives and strategy papers recommend their development: They are seen as a base for a more inclusive, open, sustainable education and world (UNESCO, 2019;Orr et al., 2015). Universities share such ambitions and add some more pragmatic aspects such as that OER is a solution for copyright issues in teaching, that OER gives new teaching opportunities, or that OER simply supports lifelong learning -and public relation (Schaffert, 2010). ...
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The initiative "Open Education Austria Advanced'' develops infrastructures for open educational resources (OER) in higher education. One part is the development of certification procedures to point out OER competencies of teachers in higher education and OER activities at Austrian universities. We present the results of our research on existing OER certification procedures from the German and English-speaking world. We started by searching in the OER World Map and there listed OER policies of universities worldwide and then tried to find examples for existing OER certification for people and organisations. There are several examples for certifications of persons such as in MOOCs on OER, university training on OER or the Creative Commons certification itself. We found only a few references of (partly) OER certificates for organisations. The publication then describes ambitions towards openness of the OER movement regarding possible certification procedures, namely open development, open content, open assessment and open certificates.
... As Hylén [27] points out: "Institutions to be engaged in OER will profit from good public relations, the materials can function as a show-window attracting new students". [28] collected the rationales of universities that introduced OER strategies, concentrating on the organizational change processes being pursued (rather than any altruistic motives). OER can also be considered as "digital social innovation" [29]: The majority of projects mapped by the European digital social innovation (DSI) project focused on education and skills [30, p. 6]. ...
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This paper discusses the general thesis that massive open online courses (in short MOOC), open educational resources (in short OER) and learning analytics are an impactful trio for future education, especially if combined. The contribution bases upon our practical experience as service providers and researchers in the department “Educational Technology” at Graz University of Technology (TU Graz) in Austria. The team members provide support to lecturers, teachers and researchers in these addressed fields for several years now, for example as host of the MOOC platform, providing only OER since 2015. Within this contribution, we will show, against some doubtful or conflicting opinions and positions, that (a) MOOCs are opening-up education; (b) learning analytics give insights and support learning, not only online learning, if implemented in MOOCs; and (c) that OER has the potential for sustainable resources, innovations and even more impact, especially if implemented in MOOCs.
... grant their own research the status of "open" in order to increase their scientific authority (Schaffert, 2010); create teams together with students to develop OER, which will enhance their learning activities (Kopp et al., 2017); use the principle of openness to promote their own discipline. Experts note that it can be not only parts of educational information but also booklets, promo videos, presentations of training courses, photos, works of the best students (Becker, 2012;Jaggars et al., 2018); use OER for creating communities of practitioners from relevant fields of scientific activity, which will stimulate the expansion of professional contacts between teachers of different educational institutions (Li, 2013;Li and Wong, 2015;Feldman-Maggor et al., 2016). ...
The relevance of the study is determined by the fact that open educational resources carry the ability to overcome the basic methodological construct complicating the learning process among students and namely the use of international experience while learning and obtaining knowledge. This study shows the aspects of functioning open educational resources and their technological basis. The novelty of the work was the formation of a model for the use of open educational resources in training of specialized courses of the Department of applied chemistry. The authors showed that the effectiveness of open educational resources use depends directly on the share of online learning and technological isolation of subjects. In particular, not only learning processes in the implementation of the program in applied chemistry, but also other disciplines that require the exchange of experience between countries and the use of a wide range of technological equipment and online structure are considered. In particular, training on the example of databases, information networks, and other spatially distributed structures are considered too. The practical significance of the study is defined by the fact that the use of open educational resources will not only intensify the learning process at the university, but also to determine the possibility of integration into the world educational space.
Conference Paper
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Offene Bildungsressourcen entfalten ihr Potenzial erst, wenn Dozierende sie mit gängigen Suchmaschinen finden und danach mit offener Software an die eigenen Bedürfnisse anpassen können. Der Beitrag richtet sich an Dozierende, die OER finden, nach Bedarf verändern und eventuell weiterverbreiten wollen. Er beschreibt praxisorientiert, welche Anforderungen OER dazu erfüllen müssen: geeignete Dateiformate, standardisierte Metadaten, von gängigen Suchmaschinen indexierte Repositorien für die Metadaten.
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This paper depicts the sustainability of Open Educational Resources (OERs) in terms of the three models: funding, technical, and content. Discussion and recommendations are focused on the sustainability of OERs and the requirement that we think of OERs as only part of a larger picture - one that includes volunteers and incentives, community and partnerships, co-production and sharing, distributed management and control. Le présent document décrit la durabilité des ressources d'enseignement ouvertes (REO) en fonction de trois modèles : financement, aspect technique et contenu. La discussion et les recommandations sont axées sur la durabilité des REO et sur la nécessité de voir celles-ci comme faisant partie d'un plus grand ensemble, lequel comprend les bénévoles et les incitatifs, la collectivité et les partenariats, la coproduction et les échanges, la gestion et le contrôle partagés.
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In the last few years, Open Educational Resources (OER) have gained much attention; for example, due to the extensive media coverage on the Open Courseware initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the work of ever more organisations that promote the use of Creative Commons licenses, and the success of Open Source software-based systems such as Moodle in the educational sector. However, in order to further benefit from Open Educational Resources it is necessary to gain a much clearer understanding of the role OER can play in changing educational practices. Therefore, the Open e-Learning Content Observatory Services (OLCOS) project, which is a Transversal Action under the European eLearning Programme, has produced a roadmap to provide educational decision makers with orientation and recommendations on how to foster the further development and use of OER. This article provides a brief overview of the context and focus of the OLCOS roadmap 2012, explains why it gives priority to open educational practices rather than resources, and presents some drivers/enablers and inhibitors of open educational practices and resources. Furthermore, it summarises some of the recommendations of the roadmap report. The article also mentions and provides links to forty selected projects and resources that illustrate the richness and diversity of the current initiatives in open educational and related resources and practices.
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This paper reviews some of the literature on the sustainability of Open Educational Resources (OER) and what it has to say about successful or sustainable open content projects on the internet. It goes on to argue that OER need to be considered with respect to the different types of economy � market, public and social � that operate for educational materials in particular and education in general. The paper then examines what sustainability means to different actors in these economies and the relationships between them, notably within organisations, between organisations and amongst communities and individuals, but not within or with political institutions. This is followed by a case study of one project within one higher educational organization: OpenLearn at The Open University in the UK. The case study outlines the objectives of the OpenLearn project; notes its relationship to The Open University�s mission; lists the major internal and external benefits that have arisen from the project; and sets out the future directions for the project. These traits are then compared with some key factors for successful projects listed in Guthrie et al (2008). The paper concludes by looking at the different sources of funding for OER projects and issues of both financial and social sustainability. It notes that sustainability for these projects, at least within organizations, depends upon the activity fitting closely with the goals of the organization such that most of the activity is absorbed into existing systems and practices. It also argues that they can act as a test bed for extending activities and securing a mix of new or improved funding streams. Al inicio del presente artículo se repasan algunos de los estudios realizados sobre la sostenibilidad de los recursos educativos abiertos (REA) y sus conclusiones sobre proyectos de contenido abierto en Internet exitosos o sostenibles. A continuación, el documento sostiene que los REA deben considerarse en relación con los distintos tipos de economía �de mercado, pública y social�, que entran en juego para los materiales educativos en particular y para la educación en general. Más adelante, se analiza lo que la sostenibilidad representa para los distintos agentes de estas economías y las relaciones que existen entre ellos, especialmente dentro de las organizaciones, entre las organizaciones, y entre las comunidades y los individuos, dejando de lado las de las instituciones políticas y dentro de estas. Posteriormente, se presenta un estudio de caso de un proyecto en una institución de educación superior, OpenLearn at The Open University (Reino Unido). El estudio de caso destaca los objetivos del proyecto OpenLearn, subraya la relación que existe con la misión de la Open University, enumera los principales beneficios internos y externos generados por el proyecto y presenta las orientaciones futuras del mismo, antes de comparar dichas características con factores clave de proyectos exitosos enumerados en Guthrie et al. (2008). Antes de concluir, el artículo presenta las distintas fuentes de financiación para proyectos de REA y describe los problemas de sostenibilidad tanto financiera como social. Asimismo, recalca que, al menos dentro de las organizaciones, la sostenibilidad de dichos proyectos depende de que la actividad se adecue estrechamente a los objetivos de la organización, de manera que los sistemas y las prácticas existentes absorban la mayor parte de esta. Por último, el documento afirma que dichos proyectos también pueden servir como banco de pruebas para ampliar actividades y para garantizar una combinación de nuevas o mejores fuentes de financiación
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In the last few years, Open Educational Resources (OER) have gained much attention. From January 2006 to December 2007 the Open e-Learning Content Observatory Services (OLCOS), a project co-funded by the European Commission under the eLearning Programme, explored how OER can make a difference in teaching and learning. The project aimed at promoting OER through different activities and products such as a European OER roadmap and OER tutorials. In this paper we present some results of the roadmap which provides an overview of the OER landscape and describes possible pathways towards a higher level of production, sharing and usage of OER. Moreover, the roadmap provides recommendations on required measures and actions to support decision making at the level of educational policy and institutions. The roadmap emphasises that the knowledge soci ety demands competencies and skills that require innovative educational practices based on open sharing and the evaluation of ideas, fostering creativity and teamwork among the learners. Collaborative creation and sharing among learning communities of OER is regarded as an important catalyst of such educational innovations. The OLCOS project also developed free online tutorials for practitioners. The objective of these tutorials is supporting students and teachers in the creation, re-use and sharing of OER. To promote hands-on work, the tutorials advise on questions such as the following: How to search for OER? Which materials may be re-used and modified? How to produce and license own OER? The tutorials will be accessible and, potentially, will evolve beyond the end of the OLCOS project, because they are published on an open and successful Wiki based platform ( and can be updated by anybody.
A review of the open educational resources (OER) movement: achievements, challenges and new opportunities
  • D E Atkins
  • J S Brown
  • A L Hammond
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