Exploring OER issues

Three key issues in OER

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has defined OERs as ‘digitised materials offered freely and openly for educators, students and self-learners to use and re-use for teaching, learning and research’

Following the 2013-2014 OER Research Hub Evidence report I have identified three key issues:


Whilst there is some evidence that OER is creating opportunities for broader access to education than across the traditional education spectrum, there is mixed evidence that OER are reaching new learners. Whilst the report found that “88.4% of learners say the opportunity to study at no cost influenced their decision to use OER” only 4.1% of informal learner respondents had no formal education qualification, indeed 57.3% of informal learner respondents had either a Bachelors or Post Graduate University degree.  Initiatives such as Open Education Week (www.openeducationweek.org) and the European Commission’s OpenEdu project (www.is.jrc.ec.europa.eu/pages/EAP/OpenEdu) are examples of how these issues are being addressed.

Digital literacy

The capacity to search and identify relevant, high quality OER is fundamental to growth and sustainability. Understanding what is available and where to find it is a barrier to uptake and also further development of OER repositories. The OER evidence report highlights that ‘knowing where to find resources is one of the biggest challenges to using OER’ and whilst 95% of educators do share information about OER, there are still issues around where to source OER. A reason for this may be the lack of one central OER search engine and sense of being overwhelmed on searching for ‘OER resources’.

OER google saearch

Another reason may be the dominance of the three most widely used resources, YouTube, Khan academy and TED.

Individuals such as Javiera Atenas are so frustrated that they have attempted to pull together as may resources as possible. She has published them in her blog (she has found 73 to date)  https://oerqualityproject.wordpress.com/2012/10/22/directory-of-oer-repositories/


Whilst Creative Commons can help to give confidence that a learning object can be adapted, knowledge of the existence of Creative Commons does not in itself help facilitate the capacity to experiment with resources. The OER evidence report finds that not knowing whether you have the permission to change a resource is a blocker to reuse and adaptation. In addition, ‘quality is the most important’ element in engaging students and that just because something is free, that is not enough to engage.  There is a second potential issue, the disparity between using and sharing practice e.g. 82.5% of flipped Learning educators report adapting OER but only 5.1% have shared this under a Common Core open licence.

In 2014 Wiley conducted a study into the reasons why scholars chose to share, or not to share, their research data. The findings make interesting reading

Reseracher data sharing insights


One issue here is the lack of methodology to credit and attribute researchers for data sharing the Contributor Roles Taxonomy CRediT initiative may be the start of a methodology which will progress this. http://casrai.org/w/images/casrai.org/5/50/CRediT-Fact_Sheet-Jan_2016.pdf


Atenas, J. (August, 2014) Directory of OER repositories. Blog post [Online] Available at www.oerqualityproject.wordpress.com/2012/10/22/directory-of-oer-repositories/ (last accessed 1 April 2016)

Casrai  website (2016). [Online] available at http://casrai.org/Main_Page (last accessed 31 March 2016)

Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (2007) Giving Knowledge for Free: The Emergence of Open Educational Resources, OECD. Available from: www.oecd.org/ dataoecd/35/ 7/ 38654317.pdf (accessed 1 April 2016)

de los Arcos, B., Farrow, R., Perryman, L.-A., Pitt, R. and Weller, M. (2014), OER Evidence Report 2013–2014, OER Research Hub [online]. Available from http://oerresearchhub.org/ about-2/ reports/(last accessed 30 March 2016).

Meadows, A.  (Nov 11, 2014) ‘to share or not to share that is the research data question’ blog post [Online] available at http://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2014/11/11/to-share-or-not-to-share-that-is-the-research-data-question/ (last accessed 31 March 2016)

Open edu project (2016) European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Information society unit. [Online] Available at www.is.jrc.ec.europa.eu/pages/EAP/OpenEdu (last accessed 1 April 2016)

Open Edu Week website, (2016) [Online] Available at www.openeducationweek.org/ (last accessed 1 April 2016)

H817 Week 8 Activity 7


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