Special Issue on Open Educational Resources

European journal Elearning Papers devotes its 10th issue to five essays on the state of Open Educational Resources:

This issue of eLearning Papers is dedicated to the thriving work around Open Educational Resources (OER) by committed individuals, institutions and user communities. Five selected papers by the guest editors investigate the organisational, social, cultural, pedagogical and technical aspects of implementing OER.

Open Educational Resources (OER) are learning and teaching materials that are offered freely to anyone under licenses that allow to use, modify and distribute the items. But that’s not all. Through the world-wide movement of OER, magnified with user-generated content and underlying Web 2.0 technologies, the advantages and opportunities are numerous for teachers, authors, eLearning practitioners, developers and content providers, researchers and decision-makers, and last but not least: learners.

We have two papers that investigate how higher education institutions work OER into their policies and practices. “Open Educational Resources for Management Education: Lessons from experience” elaborates on a French faculty which created a digital distribution place to share and disseminate university courses. The initial resistance of the faculty members evaporated as they started receiving positive feedback on their courses, as well as international interest in their French content. On the other hand, “Reflections on sustaining Open Educational Resources: an institutional case study” shows how first gaining high level policy support within the institution for the initiative of OER was turned into a sustainable institutional practice.

The following two papers talk about tools for teachers and faculty members to create and share content. Both initiatives go further than just making content available; the important factor of creating a community of like-minded users around the content is well elaborated in both platforms. We first have the paper “OER models that build a culture of collaboration: a case exemplified by Curriki” followed by a second paper on the LeMill educational authoring environment, “Simplicity and design as key success factors of the OER repository LeMill “. Both contributions emphasise the ease of use.

The last paper presents an idea of transferring successful practices from Free and Open Source software development to the collaborative process of creating OER. “Applying software development paradigms to Open Educational Resources” presents a case study that investigates how the idea of software developers working on the same code and keeping track of changes can be applied to the collaborative construction of learning content.”

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