Using an Open Educational Resources Platform to Support Underserved Groups

Law, Patrina; Page, Anna and Storrar, Rosie (2020). Using an Open Educational Resources Platform to Support Underserved Groups. In: Sengupta, E.; Blessinger, P. and Makhanya, M. eds. Integrating Community Service into Curriculum: International Perspectives on Humanizing Education. IHETL, 25. Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 51–72.



The Open University (OU) United Kingdom manages two platforms for hosting Open Educational Resources (OER): OpenLearn, delivering the OU’s OER, reaching over10 million learners a year, attracting a mostly UK audience, and OpenLearn Create, reaching 3 million learners a year, where anyone can create and share OER, attracting a mostly international – non-UK – audience. Both platforms release OER using a Creative Commons license and afford accessibility to learning materials specifically catering to the needs of underserved groups, in other words, individuals or groups who may have limited access to education or continuing professional development (CPD) either as recipient or as educator. Using case studies, research data analytics and survey data, this chapter reveals how the approach to delivering OER on OpenLearn Create fosters community engagement and outreach across a broad spectrum of projects in a range of languages and format often to those with restricted access to professional development within organizations. The chapter discusses weaknesses in the platform’s usability for delivering online courses, but strengths and recommendations for its use as an adaptable project-based tool. Research data also reveal that where an institution is prepared to minimally support the provision of such a platform, the contribution to humanizing education for OER projects globally is great.

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