Jan Hylén

Jan Hylén, former OECD analyst (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development – a worldwide venture), joins the conference over video link from Sweden – unable to travel to the UK because of the current flight restrictions. Initially there were technical issues with the slides – but Jan could be seen and heard loud and clear in the conference room.

Giving Knowledge for Free – a new culture of openness in HE? Open source, open access, open educational resources. www.oecd.org/edu/oer

To survey the OER movement in 2006-7 an email was sent (1,800 in total) to universities around the world. Only 100 responses were received, so a second attempt was made to target the educators themselves “the message spreading on the wind like an ash cloud”, with a much higher response rate: OER growing globally, initiatives and resources increasing, the highest response received from post-secondary instructors (then students and the general public). However poor user data was available because for OER initiatives to work there should not be the obstacle of registration and usernames/passwords.

Report available online: Giving Knowledge for Free: The Emergence of Open Educational Resources, issued in May 2007.

A follow-up study in 2008 shows an increase in number of resources between 35%-300%, and visitors up between 50%-100%. Earlier, OER were a grass-roots movement, but by 2008 institution-based initiatives were common. Users of MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) are typically: well-educated; self-learners (or professionals – for vocational subjects, medicine etc.); with a significant proportion from North America. Teachers are using OER to supplement their work – its flexibility and quality was a key for this. Teachers were using only part of the learning materials – fitting this into their teaching. Obstacles to use included lack of time/skills, and lack of a reward system for contributing to or making use of these new kinds of resources. Jan outlined the motivations for governments/institutions/individuals producing and sharing resources. E.g. institutional include:

  • academic ethos to share knowledge
  • making better use of taxpayers’ money
  • like the open-source software movement sharing resources can mean another will develop the resource further and then you can make use of that improved resource
  • from a PR perspective, some students chose their institution because they had seen these OER in the ‘shop-window’.

Challenges to the OER movement include quality and time. A caveat re. IPR is that using the Creative Commons non-commercial clause is problematic for the future – e.g. in a mixed environment where OER is trying to be used along with commerical resources may lead to difficulties (e.g. accidental lock-in). Jan’s OER sustainability check-list includes the study of different revenue/cost-recovery models (which must be appropriate to local needs).

Session 2 Beyond 2010.

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