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Workshop: Cloud 2: Share your knowledge and use of OERs

Cloud created by:

Giota Alevizou
6 November 2009

The discussion can happen in face to face groups and/or here in Cloudworks

  • How would you define an OER?
  • Have you used any and why?
  • What resources would be useful from your point of view? 
  • What are your views on this approach to developing learning and teaching resources and designs?


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Rebecca Galley
12:07pm 17 November 2009 (Edited 12:13pm 17 November 2009)

Discussion group:

How would you define an OER?

Questions were asked within the group to establish what is or isn't an OER. We realised that the boundaries are not clear cut and whether something is an OER or not will sometimes depend on its use and reuse. Questions asked included:

  • Who are OERs for? Educators or everyone? 
  • Do we need to change definitions around who are the educators and who are the learners? What is teaching and what is learning?
  • What do the terms 'open' and 'free' actually mean in the context of OERs?

3 criteria emerged from the discussion about what an OER is:

  • Open for use and reuse
  • Sufficiently free copyright
  • Likely to be online

It was noted that using OERs will not necessarily save time; indeed finding, discussion, repurposing etc will add time to the design process but that is not necessarily a bad thing. 

Have you used any and why?

Everyone in the group had used OERs (if a broad definition of OERs is used!) The group demonstrated a very good understanding of OERs and were generally quite open and sharing in their approach to their resources. Some discussion around commercial issues - ie some really good resources that they have developed may hold some commercial or professional value in the future. Some resources had been shared and it became clear someone overseas had started using the material commercially etc. It was noted that commercial issues, and of course universities are businesses too, was an important one to explore. If an academic/ university shares resources freely, are there benefits in terms of PR etc that can offset losses?

What resources would be useful from your point of view?

It was felt very strongly by the group that they wanted small pieces of resources that they could pick 'n mix from. They found packaged up OERs difficult to handle and off-putting. The group discussed the importance of cataloguing/ meta data.

What are your views on this approach to developing learning and teaching resources and designs?

Very often what is available it either too packaged up, or is only half a resource with no indications about how it could be used or why. The group was positive about using OERs but more reticent about sharing their own - generally this was because of fears about what other people might think. It was felt that once discussion and sharing became the cultural norm this barrier would evaporate. It was noted that MIT have started adding incomplete or less polished OERs and this was seen as really reassuring to academics thinking about sharing their own designs!!


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