This module draws upon and expands on advice found in the UNESCO OER Toolkit to provide a framework for consideration when planning an institutional or organizational OER project for implementation.
Open educational resources (OER) are a relatively new area of educational practice with specific implementation challenges when considering an institutional or organizational implementation. For this reason, there is usually a need to track and assess progress, to record successes and to identify challenges. You can do this with a plan, a journal or an online document that tracks the steps you take to identify value in OER models for you or your organization.
Planning your project
It is usually a good idea to outline the main ideas and objectives for a project in a planning document. This serves as a project management tool to make sure your project is successful.
OER projects should usually address the following points in a planning document:
Activity: Begin to plan your own OER project
Use Google Docs to build a table like the one below to describe the OER project you will design for your institution or organization.
Start by clearly stating the purpose, target audience and OER products for your project. This Google Doc and its notes will become the foundation of your own plan for OER creation or adoption.
Establishing an OER strategy
Institutional staff members are often concerned that publishing OERs will add to their already high workloads.
Two strategies can help to address this:
Some strategies to consider
An instructor-focused strategy uses lessons from courses as the main source for OERs. The aim is to make it as easy as possible for instructors to publish their course materials online. Instructors need support to address content licensing issues, and usually need help for the design of digital resources and their conversion into web-based resources (HTML pages, LMS lessons).
The MIT OpenCourseWare strategy has been widely replicated at other institutions. It was designed to add support and services to move content online and make it public (i.e. to move it from a learning management system, or from instructor files into a digital library).
For universities in resource-constrained countries, there may be challenges for an instructor-focused approach. For example:
Some universities are experimenting with involving students more directly in the production of OERs.
For example the University of Michigan's dScribe project provides incentives for students to record lecture notes, collect presentation materials and upload them to the institutional OER library. The professor is only required to make available the resources he or she uses to teach the class, and review the final online version.
Most of the work in thedScribe project is done by students. Some students stated that the main benefit of working on the project was getting more opportunity to interact with their professors.
In developing countries, other incentives might be needed, such as prizes or payment as part of student-work arrangements.
One of the most powerful strategies in education is the modelling of good or innovative practices. One way to quickly get started on an OER initiative is to make your own course, course notes or textbook available as an OER for colleagues and students to use.
This approach takes confidence and the knowledge that your work is entirely your own and that you can make it available as an OER with a Creative Commons license.
Discussion: Which strategy appeals to you or fits your organization?
Think about some of the ideas presented about the instructor-focused and student-focused OER strategies. Think about your own institution or organization.
Activity: List important factors that will guide your OER strategy
Use the table below to begin to list important factors that you must consider if implementing one of these strategies.