OER Programme Myths

Most JISC Programmes accrue a fair amount of myth and misunderstanding during their lifetime however the OER Programme seems to me garnering myths faster than most. So we at CETIS bring you this handy OER Programme myth busting service!

The OER Programme will produce lots of free courseware.
The programme call states that projects should release:

“…the equivalent of one complete undergraduate course worth of materials (360 credits)…”

It’s likely that the programme will release some “courseware” i.e. complete online courses. However in reality we expect a disparate range of many types of resources from a wide range of subjects and domains.

Open educational resources are just for distance learning.
Resources produced by this programme may be used for distance learning but it is probable that a large proportion will originally have been designed for blended teaching and learning.

The OER Programme will produce lots of free content for students.
A significant portion of the resources released are likely to be aimed at students but some my also be designed for use by staff.

This is just another programme about reusable learning objects.
Hopefully OER programme resources will be reusable, some of them may even be learning objects (See Courseware myth above) however the OER Programme is also attempting to change

“institutional policies and processes, with the aim of making open resources release an expected part of the educational resources creation cycle.”

It’s TLTP all over again.
Hopefully not!

It’s just about copying the OU and MIT.
Both OU and MIT are pioneers in the field of OER and we can learn a lot from their experiences however they have their own unique business models and workflows that are unlikely to be immediately transferable to other institutions. See also Business Models myth below.

It’s not sustainable.
Allocating this degree of funding to OER on an annual basis is unlikely to be sustainable however projects have been specifically asked to:

“demonstrate a long term commitment to the release of OER resources. Projects will work towards the sustainability of long term open resources release via the adoption of appropriate business models to support this. Supporting actions should include modifications to institutional policies and processes, with the aim of making open resources release an expected part of the educational resources creation cycle.”

No thought has been given to business models.
See above. The OER Programme call specifically states:

“Bidders should outline their proposed business model for the sustained release of learning resources from the institution, individual or consortium. This call does not mandate a specific business model, but suggests that bidders refer to a report commissioned by JISC from Intrallect, entitled ‘Good Intentions’ .”

It’s a waste of money.
This is a pilot programme. Whether the OER Programme is successful or not in achieving its primary aims and objectives this should be a learning experience for JISC, HEFCE and the Academy. As long as the OER Programme is appropriately evaluated and lessons are learned that inform future decisions the OER Progamme will not be a waste of money.

The OER Programme will transform HE beyond recognition.
Erm ….probably not in the short term. However we hope that the programme will act as a catalyst for institutional and sectoral change in the longer term (see Reusable Learning Objects myth above)

Anyone, anywhere in the world, will be able to freely use and re-purpose the OER Programme resources.
Sounds incredible but yes, this one is actually true!