Course development by higher education partners of the OERu

Course development by higher education partners of the OERu

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Abstract: According to UNESCO, demand for higher education increases globally by approximately 1% each year (Marginson, 2016). This demand will stimulate further coevolution of educational organizations and educational technologies. Along with the increasing demand for higher education is a desire for equality, which can be partially attained through access to higher education (Marginson, 2016).
One option for helping to fill this demand is to use open educational resources (OERs) which are defined as ”Teaching, learning or research materials that are in the public domain or released with an intellectual property license that allows for free use, adaptation, and distribution” (UNESCO, 2011). OERs are widely available as are guides for their adoption (e.g. UNESCO & COL, 2015). However, OERs are not widely used, and there remain questions as to how to increase their adoption by institutions (Kaatrakoski, Littlejohn, & Hood, 2017).
This presentation describes a case study of an anonymous institution which has developed OERs in partnership with the OERu. The OERu uses an open business model with transparent planning processes aimed at sustainability. It is “[a]n international network of recognised partner institutions from five continents – providing top-quality tertiary courses to students everywhere” (OERu, n.d., para. 1). This research aims to examine how the institution developed OERs. Data about organizational culture and processes were collected through interviews with OER developers, analysis of literature pertaining to the institutions and online planning documents, and analysis of course content.
Davis’ (2018) arena of change with technology in education was used to map the institutions’ practices within a global organizing framework to better inform partners about the complex changing educational ecosystems within which they are embedded. Davis’ framework was combined with Cox and Trotter’s (2017) OER adoption pyramid to map barriers and enablers (called stressors in the analysis) on an arena in an effort to enable planning for innovation in educational technology. The findings aim to support the OERu and its partners to fulfill their vision of providing affordable access to education.

Cox, G., & Trotter, H. (2017). Factors shaping lecturers’ adoption of OER at three South African universities. In C. Hodgkinson-Williams & P. B. Arinto (Eds.), Adoption and impact of OER in the Global South (pp. 287–347).
Davis, N.E. (2018). Digital technologies and change in education: The arena framework. London & New York: Routledge.
Kaatrakoski, H., Littlejohn, A., & Hood, N. (2017). Learning challenges in higher education: An analysis of contradictions within Open Educational Practice. Higher Education, 74(4), 599-615. Available at: [Accessed 1 Dec. 2018]
Marginson, S. (2016). The worldwide trend to high participation higher education: Dynamics of social stratification in inclusive systems. Higher Education, 72(4), 413-434. Available at: [Accessed 1 Dec. 2018]
OERu. (n.d.). OERu partners. Available at: [Accessed 1 Dec. 2018]
UNESCO (2018). Open Educational Resources (OER). Available at: [Accessed 1 Dec. 2018]
UNESCO, Commonwealth of Learning. (2015). Guidelines for open educational resources (OER) in higher education. Vancouver: COL & UNESCO. Available at: [Accessed 1 Dec. 2018]

Danielle Dubien is Canadian and is enrolled as a PhD student in Education at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. She studied chemistry and later found her passion to be in education. She worked for several years as an instructional designer of science courses and will soon complete her PhD and return to work as an instructional designer. She is now thrilled to be back in Canada to enjoy the best snow storms in the world!