Little and Large OER

Block 2, Activity 11: The advantages and disadvantages of big and little OER

little and largeThe Openness Creativity Cycle (2012) , written by Martin Weller, suggests that there is a feedback loop for scholars operating in a digital and networked environment. When scholars practise ‘open scholarship’ they produce open educational resources which contribute to an iterative creative process that benefits themselves and others.

Many OERs are developed through large scale institutional projects, such as The Open University’s OpenLearn, and this ‘big OER’ approach has advantages. The cumulative expertise, access to resources, brand impact, global reach and so on.

However there are issues regarding the funding and sustainability of this form of OER. Weller’s ‘little OER’ offers a different way to think about OERs and Open Educational Practises (OEP) more broadly.

If scholars engage in OEPs then public engagement and outputs from university academics takes on a different form to the traditional. The motivation of open scholars to engage in collaborative work with colleagues means a ‘long tale’ (Anderson 2006) of outputs is created almost forever available through the internet. The input/start up costs are low but through the web and social media tools the outputs can be of high quality and accessible to an almost infinite audience.

OEPs in the form of ‘little OERs’ also contribute to the academics’ development of their ideas and research. This can  contribute to more traditional university outputs such as journal articles or books (which of course could be published in an open format too!). An issue must be how to make others aware of the resources created in a web saturated with content. Crucially, within universities, a culture needs to evolve that values academics working in this way to enable the approach to flourish and for the feedback loops to operate.




4 thoughts on “Little and Large OER

  1. katkander

    There is another issue with encouraging teachers – institutes have to allow for the opportunity to fail. We hear about the innovators who use wikis to create COPs, Blogs for reflective thinking, but what about the teacher who tries to use technology to engage students only for students to say they don’t think games, blog or social media belong in a formal learning environment on their end evaluations. This has happened in courses where I teach. The motivation for teachers to experiment in a commercial open-access (in terms of who can do the course – not OER) course may not continue if teachers feel they have to get it perfect first time out of the gate.
    By choosing this module or masters’ we are already expressing a willingness to and an understanding that LTs are an expected element, but what about for other, more traditional subjects?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. erithacusrubecula

      I hear you. Don’t you find though that most teachers are just too burdened with ‘normal’ work that they don’t have the time and/or energy to ‘play’ and ‘explore’ possibilities with OER. I mean I have a very dumb suspicion that I could probably do a MUCH better job at teaching maths if I subscribed all my students to the brilliant explanations of Khan Academy and then have them do some of the drills through that. However, I resist doing it because I’m not 100%, or even 85% or even 60% sure that it will work and I would want to ‘play’ and ‘try it out’ and do some wee action research with some pupils, or some pupils some of the time, to see if it really is what I suspect it is. And the reason I don’t, is because of time. Time really is one of the most precious resources 😦

      Liked by 1 person


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