OER Synthesis and Evaluation / Models
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Page history last edited by Lou McGill 9 years, 6 months ago





Models for OER and open practice are often discussed using business related terminology, mirroring the general trend to talk about the core business of educational institutions. Joss Winn (2011) in his blog post Misunderstanding capitalism and oer argues that

"What’s particularly interesting to me is that the production of OERs through institutional means seems to be very much in line with capitalist production elsewhere and I agree with David that what Martin calls ‘big OERs‘, are ‘completely compatible with capitalism’. However, I don’t agree that OERs, because they are open, are ‘completely compatible with capitalism’. I don’t think openness has anything to do with it. The institutional production of OER is compatible with capitalism because it is clearly being situated within the overall production of surplus value for the institution. When we talk about the sustainability of OERs or business cases for the production of OERs, we’re talking about how to measure the value of this endeavour and usually this is through attracting external grants and raising the profile of the institution in some way."


There is a continuing pressure to use business terminology to engage senior managers and to present benefits of OERs business cases. Amber Thomas from JISC argues that there is a need for a pragmatic approach to this for institutions interested in opening up their learning resources. They need to be aware of the barriers/challenges, benefits and approches/models they could adopt.


McGill et al. (2008) in the Good Intentions report: improving the evidence base in support of sharing learning materials attempted to provide some meaning to the terms in the context of sharing learning resources.


This study first sought to develop common understandings of the terms 'business model' and 'business case'. Whilst educational institutions clearly do need to understand and articulate their core business, this approach tends to focus on cost effectiveness and clearly defined products. Educational institutions have a wide range of outputs (products) and, often hard to measure, outcomes (benefits). Whilst this business terminology may be meaningful to the people responsible for managing institutions, it is questionable how far teaching and learning practitioners are likely to respond to it. With regards to the practices around sharing learning resources it is perhaps even more inappropriate. Whilst much of the motivation for encouraging sharing through public funding relates to cost benefits, the concept of sharing may not fit a 'traditional' business model. It is important to be aware of this potential barrier when presenting the 'business cases' to different stakeholder groups. For the purposes of this study we have used the term 'business model' to mean a mechanism to illustrate various aspects of an existing service and the term 'business case' to mean an articulation of the benefits of such a model.


 A range of models are relevant to different stakeholders. The notion that there is one business model still abounds. People are still asking questions like ' what is the business model?'and 'what is the benefits case?'


So it may be useful to start with a consideration of why we need to talk about models at all.


Business model


Business case




Benefits cases




Innovative OER in European Higher Education

Interesting EU project looking at different models and concluding that

"We have analysed different forms of groups and networks, including more loosely structured forms such as the Humanities Network with its new international Course Exchange project. Their work mode can be perceived as somewhat of a connectivist approach, i.e. without clear goals or shared agreements of the partners that should cooperate. On the other side, we have investigated the Mediterranean Network of Universities which is based on clearly defined structure. They have a predefined mission and based on that an agenda of their activities.

Now when it comes to the assessment of the efficiency of these two approaches, we discovered that the more rigid approach seem to be more conducive for the utilization of innovations such as the adoption of OER in current learning and teaching practices. The rather open approach on complementary course production was seen as to be too unstructured to take full advantage of the potentials of OER."






























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