From print to Web: issues in re-purposing for an Open Resources Repository

Ferreira, Giselle and Heap, Nicholas (2006). From print to Web: issues in re-purposing for an Open Resources Repository. In: EADTU 2006, 23-24 Nov 2006, Tallinn, Estonia.


The Open Educational Resources (OER) movement has gained rapid support for its goals of universal access to education. The UK Open University's contribution is OpenLearn, a project funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation which, over the next two years, aims to re-purpose several thousand study-hours of existing learning materials for online delivery.

The UK Open University has gained a hard-won reputation for the quality of its learning materials and integrated Supported Open Learning model. However, these materials are, as a rule, developed within the framework of long courses that typically require between 300 and 600 hours of study. Furthermore, many of the courses are 'interdisciplinary' in that they are developed by teams that include members associated with different faculties. The courses are, therefore, generally structured in terms of themes that run throughout the course and may span a variety of academic disciplines. Also, despite the breadth of knowledge brought into play when a course is developed, the courses normally reflect pedagogical and disciplinary assumptions and views that are prevalent in the UK.

Based on the authors' experience of the OpenLearn project, this paper explores some of the key issues encountered when re-purposing resources. These issues include how to provide material not supported by tutorial guidance, the suitability of media components for conversion and the inter-relationship between the multimedia components. The paper will also briefly discuss the requirements for evaluation of the re-purposing process. The issues raised are potentially of relevance to other re-purposing initiatives.

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