Spending ££ on OER Research

For me, the greatest promise of OER lies in its ability to give access to education in arenas where it would otherwise be unthinkable.  My first ideas would be to research:

The effectiveness of OER to support or deliver learning 14-18.

  • Can access to education for literate, motivated students in developing countries be extended by OERs to support learning communities.

Finding and describing (match.com for OER)

  • how can OERs be described and what tools can be developed to link them to learning objectives and prior knowledge?  Can routes through OERs be defined to deliver longer term objectives?  

Overcoming technical barriers

  • If the delivery method for most OERs is by the internet, then technical barriers will exist relating to reliability of internet connection, availability of devices, and support for sideloading approaches.   Is there a need to develop OERs with a minimum specification/bandwidth?  How can these be defined?  How do we define an entry level device?  How can these be funded?

Then more broadly:

Models for accreditation:

  • how can completion of OER sourced courses be accredited? how can employers be convinced that open education can be equivalent?

“FairTrade Models”:  

  • Some of OpenLearn comes from a commitment to develop OER elements alongside standard (for fee courses).  Does this FairTrade model work?  Should it  be part of the Widening Participation agenda for HEIs in the UK?

We’ve been asked in this activity to put forward areas for research into OERs based on (shock horror) intuition & told explicitly not to undertake any research!  Be interesting to see if any of these come up in the module and fellow MOOCers blogs.  That’s my next place to look.

PS:  Xpert Attribution used to put CC bits on the FlickR photo… open practices have to start somewhere

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3 Responses to Spending ££ on OER Research

  1. A good list here, your intuition is working fine (it is quite unusual to be asked to just give your first thoughts isn’t it? But also quite interesting I think). I like the match.com idea. Of course many 14-18 year olds use OER quite happily but they probably wouldn’t classify them as such. If watching a youtube vid in order to learn how to do something in Minecraft counts as OER then they do it. As you’ll explore over the next few weeks, what constitutes an OER is debatable.

  2. Paige Cuffe says:

    Nuala there are several points here I find key too, such as the need for open standards to facilitate oer sharing to a broader audience and the match.com need! Certainly the latter is beginning to be addressed as will be introduced soon. (Your *intuition* about this activity is right 😉 having defined what you personally wish to exploore, you may now find the paths to do this in the following weeks …)

  3. Guy says:

    Hi Nuala –
    I like your comments on Dev Ed. The idea of content indexed by learning objective is good – it is similar to the original SCORM concept I think. Re technical standards, I wonder if content can be made available at different resolutions (like photos). So a low bandwidth user might get a grainy but usable version rather than no version at all (or a big network access bill!). Password protected access to free material based on courses which are paid elsewhere might be an alternative to OER for dev.ed. in a controlled environment.

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