Challenges Panel

beyond1What happens next, after Oxford’s successful first year producing OER through the OpenSpires project?

Some questions addressed:

  • Re-use: Did the panel consider who was actually the audience for their content? What content did they think would ‘travel’ well? And ‘portability’ – does portability mean what stays intact in your content or how much actiuvity is generated around the re-use your content? Challenge of trying to create a course made up of over 80% pre-existing content? Re-using OERs could be made easier with greater knowledge about licencing and making content more discoverable. If you can’t find OERs through Google they’re not discoverable for most teachers.
  • Sustainability? Models to explore like micro-payments? Must academia face what the music industry faced? JISC Strategic Content Alliance work to demonstrate revenue generation e.g. report: Sustainability and Revenue Models for Online Academic Resources, available as PDF. Research outcome forms should take account of the earlier delivery of media, before the publication of ‘the monograph’. “I wish I had a penny for every download!”, but why not link iTunes-U podcasts for the institutional campaign e.g. “If you have enjoyed this podcast why not donate by clicking here” – but is this a ground-shift for OED… well, it is a voluntary contribution. Sustainability – reward participation?
  • Single major challenge for OER? Answers include:
    • plethora of organisations themselves so issues therefore sustainability, interoperability, platform-agnostic or even platform-allergic, might be aided by a merging at the institutional level;
    • stop talking about educational resources, i.e. talk about how to provide education in more effective ways, OER are just a means to an end so focus on the ‘end’;
    • how to change thinking (i.e. not translate the old to the new media);
    • is my department going to employ a new lecturer when they could just run the podcast series?
  • Licensing: Audio podcast without pictures, video presentations without illustration, because of copyright clearance. Big step forward to get an agreement from the publishers not to charge for non-profit use i.e. non-commercial podcasts.
  • OER is the tool to make the curriculum cross between US states, and between levels of study. Be aware of the impact of OER are as a movement as a driver for change, to take forward a deeper learning agenda, a very important enabler for how people can work together- in the US funding in the region of billions of dollars. Is there a big change coming in the UK? Will the younger generation even understand the questions about creating OER?


  • Dr Peter McDonald, Fellow of St Hugh’s and Tutor in English, University of Oxford
  • Prof. David Robertson, – Professor in the Department of Politics and International Relations , Vice Principal and Tutorial Fellow in Politics at St Hugh’s College, University of Oxford
  • Marianne Talbot, Lecturer in philosophy, Department for Continuing Education, University of Oxford
  • Prof. Andy Lane, OpenLearn, Open University
  • Fred Mednick, TeachersWithoutBorders

Session 6 Beyond 2010.

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