Integrating OER into Open Educational Practices

 This chapter describes a set of guidelines developed from an extensive review of OER initiatives from both developing and developed countries. The guidelines aim to encourage OER usage amongst individuals and institutions by providing a benchmark to evaluate their own OER and by proposing they develop a vision and implementation plan to further develop OER usage.

The Research–Policy–Practice Technological Intervention Framework was developed to illustrate the need for research, policy and practice to be linked if effective OER and elearning systems are to be implemented effectively.

Factors that are deemed important to success of this framework are:

  1. Social- understanding benefits of OER and of sharing resources
  2. Policy- developing sustainability and long-term funding models
  3. Skills and support- development of necessary skills to maximize use of OER
  4. Technical Aspects- providing access to required technologies.

This framework was used in the development of the Open Educational Quality (OPAL) initiative. And from this the Guidelines for Open Educational Practices in Organisations were developed. These guidelines are designed to allow the stakeholders in an organization namely the learners, teachers, support staff and policy makers to improve their open educational practices (OEP).  There is also the OPAL clearinghouse which highlight examples of good practice using OER.

I have found in the course of my research that OER are difficult to find and that the quality of the resources varies. I agree with the author that the take up on OER is slow and that it is to do with attitudinal problems within the educational sector in general towards embracing technology. But I also think that OER would be more widely used if there were more visible levels of quality control. The frameworks and guidelines proposed are one way towards this as resource developers need benchmarks to work from and examples of best practice that are easily accessed.

For the purposes of our Dyslexicon project it proved very difficult to find appropriate resources related to the outcomes we wanted. Having searched resource databases NDLR.ie, OERCommons.org, Curriki.org and Merlot.org I was only able to find one resource that was applicable to our needs. Adding to the frustration was the high incidence of search results having no resources attached. This was especially problematic on the NDLR website.

Bibliography

Conole, G. (2012). Integrating OER into Open Educational Practices. In J. H. Glennie, & N. &. Butcher (Eds.), Open Educational Resources and Change in Higher Education: Reflections from Practice (pp. 111 – 124). Vancouver,, British Columbia, Canada: Commonwealth of Learning.

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