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Technology Enhanced Knowledge Research Institute (TEKRI)

Openness in Education

Research Topic Overview:

Higher education institutions worldwide continue to face significant challenges related to providing increased access to high quality education, while containing or reducing costs. New developments in higher education all speak to the efforts on the part of the traditional higher education community, as well as more flexible providers such as open universities, to address these challenges. Open Educational Resources (OER) constitute an important resource with the potential to facilitate the expansion of quality education and learning opportunities worldwide. The relevance of OER is augmented by the exponential growth in online accessibility afforded by the wide range of new mobile devices.

OER are teaching and learning materials freely available online for everyone to use, including instructors, students, or self-learners. Examples of OERs include: full courses, course modules, syllabi, lectures, homework assignments, quizzes, lab and classroom activities, pedagogical materials, games, simulations, and many more resources contained in digital media collections from around the world. The UNESCO/COL Chair in OER programme is leading this research area by promoting the use of OER at the institutional, national and international levels with universities and colleges, with a focus on the developing world. The specific research focus is on the assessment and accreditation of learners who use OER for informal learning but desire recognition and credentials. In partnership with eMundus, the Chair is also conducting an exercise to map all of the participants in OER globally. Information about Why are OER important? - OER improve the quality of learning content - OER are free and accessible to anyone on the internet - OER free users from copyright restrictions, licensing problems and digital locks - OER can be adapted, repurposed, reused or localized for different environments - Extend and enhance learner achievement in informal and formal contexts - Improve instructor time and effort through course assembly rather than course creation

Researchers Involved:

Team Lead: Rory McGreal
Research Members: Dianne Conrad, Wayne Mackintosh, Terry Anderson, Kinshuk, Cindy Ives, George Siemens

TEKRI Activities in OER:

Collaborators:
Open Courseware Consortium
OER Foundation WikiEducator

Conferences:
OCWC April 2012 Cambridge, UK
Open Ed Conference, Salt Lake City UT, October 2011

Publications:
A Basic Guide to Open Educational Resources Commonwealth of Learning/UNESCO: Butcher
OER U Open Education Resource University: Towards a logic model and plan for action. OER Foundation: Mackintosh,Taylor, McGreal
Open Educational Resources handbook for educators Gurrell & Wiley
Open Educational Resources: The way forward: Deliberations of an international community of interest UNESCO: D’Antoni

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