Planning the OER landscape

McAndrew, Patrick; Makriyanni, Elpida; Casserly, Cathy and Vollmer, Timothy (2011). Planning the OER landscape. In: OCWC Global 2011: Celebrating 10 years of OpenCourseWare, 04-06 May 2011, Cambridge, MA, USA.


The Open Educational Resources (OER) field will soon be entering its second decade and is thirsting for an analytic frame for the eco-system of content, tools, projects, institutions and enthusiasts. Community members are expressing concerns about redundancy and repetition in the field and the difficulty of tracking new developments and building on the work of others. We need to understand OER activity in a way that is descriptive of projects, goals and target audiences, and analytic with respect to educational efficacy and promising models. As the field advances, we need to create a common language, share a collective understanding of the gaps in the landscape and consider processes to improve connections and lessons learned.
In this paper we look at options to “map” OER as they travel from institutional ideas to community use to next generation learning. Such a map will be of limited value imposed from outside but instead we need to form the right seeds for a map to emerge as dynamic and capable of being owned. There are many options for presentation that can be considered such as roadmaps, process diagrams, cartoons and animations. Each representation has different merits for communication, and indeed a hybrid approach may be what is needed. A particular approach used in looking at data from more than 100 funded projects has been to use an online system, Cohere, for researchers to describe the characteristics of each project and to derive different views. These provide possible starting points for more general summaries of work on OER.

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