The Open UniversitySkip to content

Using a structured approach to authoring OER content: An evaluation of two cases

Banks, Frank (2010). Using a structured approach to authoring OER content: An evaluation of two cases. In: OER10, 22-14 Mar 2010, Cambridge.

Full text available as:
PDF (Accepted Manuscript) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (369kB)
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


The Teacher Education in Sub Saharan Africa (TESSA) OER materials are a response to the teacher crisis in many developing countries, with millions of unqualified teachers entering the classroom ( See ). The TESSA teacher professional development materials were developed by a collaboration of eighteen institutions and are currently being used by about 300 000 teachers across nine African countries. To ensure that the resources were appropriate and relevant, these OERs followed an agreed common template for construction with the intention to facilitate versioning for the different school contexts, in four languages.

OpenLearn ( See ) is an OER site containing over 10 000 hours of learning materials from the UK Open University. With well over five million unique visitors, its purpose was to showcase the Universities materials, to attract new students and to investigate new possibilities in the creation of new course content. It too was created around a template as shown by the OpenLearn module ‘Creating Open Educational Resources’ ( .

The Open University took a leading role in the development of both TESSA and OpenLearn. Using these as case studies, this paper analyses the systemic organisational benefits and constraints of a structured template approach to OER content production. It seems that such an approach is successful – both the TESSA and OpenLearn OER sites have won prestigious awards. However, this structured methodology for OER content production is considered particularly in relation to:

• The level of support needed by authors new to creating OERs
• The cost-benefits of production;
• The speed of creation and re-creation;
• The way cultural norms impact on notions of ‘ownership’, ‘sharing’ and ‘adapting’ the work of others;

It is suggested that making the construction template more explicit would encourage greater contribution to Open Educational Resources (OERs).

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item
Copyright Holders: 2010 The Author
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
Research Group: Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET)
Item ID: 21339
Depositing User: Frank Banks
Date Deposited: 14 May 2010 14:19
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2018 18:58
Share this page:

Download history for this item

These details should be considered as only a guide to the number of downloads performed manually. Algorithmic methods have been applied in an attempt to remove automated downloads from the displayed statistics but no guarantee can be made as to the accuracy of the figures.

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU