Collaborative Development of Open Educational Resources for Open and Distance Learning

Lane, Andy (2012). Collaborative Development of Open Educational Resources for Open and Distance Learning. Higher Education Academy.



Open and distance learning (ODL) is mostly characterised by the up front development of self study educational resources that have to be paid for over time through use with larger student cohorts (typically in the hundreds per annum) than for conventional face to face classes. This different level of up front investment in educational resources, and increasing pressures to utilise more expensive formats such as rich media, means that collaborative development is necessary to firstly make use of diverse professional skills and secondly to defray these costs across institutions. The Open University (OU) has over 40 years of experience of using multi professional course teams to develop courses; of working with a wide range of other institutions to develop educational resources; and of licensing use of its educational resources to other HEIs. Many of these arrangements require formal contracts to work properly and clearly identify IPR and partner responsibilities. With the emergence of open educational resources (OER) through the use of open licences, the OU and other institutions has now been able to experiment with new ways of collaborating on the development of educational resources that are not so dependent on tight legal contracts because each partner is effectively granting rights to the others to use the educational resources they supply through the open licensing (Lane, 2011; Van Dorp and Lane, 2011). This set of case studies examines the many different collaborative models used for developing and using educational resources and explain how open licensing is making it easier to share the effort involved in developing educational resources between institutions as well as how it may enable new institutions to be able to start up open and distance learning programmes more easily and at less initial cost. Thus it looks at three initiatives involving people from the OU (namely TESSA, LECH-e, openED2.0) and contrasts these with the Peer-2-Peer University and the OER University as exemplars of how OER may change some of the fundamental features of open and distance learning in a Web 2.0 world. It concludes that while there may be multiple reasons and models for collaborating on the development of educational resources the very openness provided by the open licensing aligns both with general academic values and practice but also with well established principles of open innovation in businesses.

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