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A framework for assessing Open Education Resources (OERs)

Paper being prepared for CITRENZ on Open Education Resources

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A framework for assessing Open Education Resources (OERs)


The Open Education Resource (OER) movement is gaining traction in New Zealand, notably Otago Polytechnic, and by some prominent institutions overseas.

OERs have many challenges There are many challenges OERs

This paper’s first provides an overview of OER, describe the OER movement in New Zealand and globally, including how delegates can become involved in the OER movement, and looks at a basic framework for assessing Open Education Resources by looking at the benefits and challenges.

Key words

Open Education Resources (OER), WikiEducator, virtualMV Wiki


According to the OECD (2007) report "Giving Knowledge for Free",

"Higher education is facing a number of challenges: globalisation, an aging society, growing competition between higher educational institutions both nationally and internationally, and rapid technological development. OER is itself one of these challenges, but may also be a sound strategy for individual institutions to meet them. The trend towards sharing software programmes (open source software) and research outcomes (open access publishing) is already so strong that it is generally thought of as a movement. It is now complemented by the trend towards sharing learning resources – the open educational resources movement."

In a report to the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Atkins, Seely Brown, and Hammond, (2007)[1] describe Open educational resources (OER) as:

"teaching, learning and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use or re-purposing by others. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials or techniques used to support access to knowledge.

In 2001, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), announced the release of nearly all its courses on the internet for free access. As the number of institutions offering free or open courseware increased, UNESCO organized the 1st Global OER Forum in 2002 where the term Open Educational Resources (OER) was adopted. ((Open Educational Resources, 2011)[2]

OER includes learning content (courses, lesson plans and learning objects), tools (software supporting development, management and re-use of content) and implementation resources (the intellectual property licences that promote open licensing and other principles of best practice)."(OECD, 2007[3]; Open educational resources, 2011[4])

Literature review

Barbara Chow, Director of Education Program at The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has prepared a short paper on copyright and OER which is currently being used as a resource for the UNESCO / COL international discussion forum on "Taking OER beyond the OER community".

In Australia:

Case studies







Video instruction





Free resources

From Wayne.. There are already professors at public and private universities publishing textbooks in PDF form under Creative Commons licenses. See, for example, the California Free Digital Textbook Initiative, , and the much more extensive listings at which also include public domain government education resources along with free (as in beer but not as in speech) content that users may not modify and redistribute.


Funding of the OERu international collaboration

Courses will be based solely on OER (existing plus new OER donated by participating institutions). Tutor support will be provided through "Academic Volunteers International". The shared infrastructure needed for the OERu network collaboration is funded by the OER Foundation. The OER Foundation is a non-profit entity which that provides leadership, international networking and support for educators and educational institutions to achieve their objectives through Open Education.

The OER Foundation derives funding from institutional membership contributions, general public donations, government contracts and contributions from international agencies. We work collaboratively on developing grant proposals from the international donor community for strategic components of the ecosystem (i.e. not operational funding.) . So for example, the Hewlett Foundation have funded the Learning4Content project -- which is the world's largest training initiative to build wiki skills for collaborative OER development in the formal education sector.

UNESCO provided funding support for streaming the international planning meeting for the OERu on the Internet and has offered to host the ongoing planning discussions for the OER university. UNESCO has also contributed to important strategic components which are necessary for the OERu, for example capacity development in open content licensing -- where we provide free training on copyright, creative commons etc. The OER Foundation has received funding support from the Commonwealth of Learning in Vancouver towards the infrastructure support of WikiEducator - -a flagship initiative of the OER Foundation.

Single Signon

Wikiresources: Educator/Versity/Commons

Creative Commons


Cloud based



This paper was constructed using wikiresearcher ( ) I would like to acknowledge the assistance of the following people

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  1. Atkins, D., Seely Brown, J., Hammond, A. (2007). A review of the the Open Educational Resources movement: Achievements, challenges and new opportunities. Retrieved from
  2. Open Educational Resources (2011) In UNESCO. Retrieved from
  3. OECD (2007) Giving Knowledge for Free: The emergence of Open Educational resources. Retrieved from
  4. Open educational resources (2011). In Wikiversity. Retrieved from