OERs have grown in popularity over the last few decades. A review of the OER literature shows different motives why institutions have taken up OERs. The following summarizes the multiplicity of motives behind OER production and development.
Within this motive, OER production and development is driven by a desire to provide access to information freely and openly. Wikipedia and PubMed are classic examples of the TELL motive for OER production and development.
This motive derives from making OERs available in order to ‘sell’ an institution and make it more competitive, e.g. student recruitment. Within the SELL motive, OER production is designed to increase visibility and reputation. The best examples are perhaps the MIT OpenCourseWare and OpenLearn of the Open University, UK. Both institutions have reported increases in student numbers partly attributed to OERs. Obama’s OER initiative is also motivated by a need to make America more competitive.
WELL motives are base on altruism. The key driver to OER production is benefit to those who for various reasons do not have direct access to higher education. WELL motives arise out of a desire to be socially responsible and promote inclusive education. A good example is OER Africa, which is working with many partners across the globe to support educational institutions across Africa.
CELL is about creating a community of learners around OERs. OLnet is perhaps a good example. Connexions and MERLOT are also good examples of OER development motivated by the need to develop learning communities.
It needs emphasising that the above categories are not mutually exclusive and it is therefore common to find institutions that fall into more than one category of why they make teaching and learning materials freely and openly available.
How would you classify the motive(s) of your institution for joining the OER bandwagon?
1 March 2010