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OER Projects

The following are the Open University's major OER projects, some of which have received awards.

Current OER projects

  • The OER Research Hub (OU project) is funded by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and commenced in September 2012. Its aim is to work collaboratively and internationally with other large-scale projects that use OER, to investigate the impact of OER on learning and teaching practices.
  • iSpot is a website aimed at helping anyone identify anything in nature.  Users can participate in observational surveys around biodiversity, pollution, earthworms etc.  For more information about the project see the project page on the IET website, and the iSpot website.
  • Opening Educational Practices in Scotland aims to facilitate best practice in open education in Scotland
  • HEAT (Health Education and Training Programme) is a radical programme launched in early 2011 by The OU with a bold ambition – to reach and help train 250,000 frontline healthcare workers across sub-Saharan Africa by 2016.
  • TESS-India (Teacher Education through School-based Support in India) project is working with the Indian Government to help India reach its target of free, compulsory and quality education for all children by 2017.
  • Languages Open Resources Online (LORO) contains resources for language teaching available to download and reuse, including those used by the Department of Languages at The Open University.  The LORO project was awarded highly commended in the 'Learning contexts' category of the OPAL awards in 2011.
  • Badging free content at the OU will address what the OU has learnt from its badging pilot projects and how it is subsequently developing a suite of badges for informal and formal students.
  • OER World Map is an infrastructure development to collect and visualize information about actors, activities and resources from the field of OER. The project aims to provide the most complete and comprehensive picture of the global OER network.
  • ExplOERer is a project to promote OER sustainability through adoption and reuse in professional practice. It is co-funded by the European Commission under the Erasmus+ programme.
  • Global OER Graduate Network (GO-GN) The aim of GO-GN is to both raise the profile of OER research and to offer support for those conducting doctoral studies in the area.
  • bizMOOC is an Erasmus+ funded project on the development of MOOCs for business. The OU is one of 11 partners across Europe. Outputs will include guidance and a set of MOOCs employing different approaches.
  • Open World Learning Doctoral Training Centre 18 PhD studentships funded by the Leverhulme Trust and the Open University, will investigate the opportunities and challenges for openness to impact on the digital divide and access to formal and informal learning.

Completed OER projects

The initial projects may have been completed, but the use of OERs continues as a result of these successful projects exploring OERs in various contexts:

  • OpenLearn (initially a 2 year project, now ongoing work) for the Open Media Unit at the OU, OpenLearn is the portal for the OU's open resources. It contains learning materials that relate to the TV and radio programmes we make with the BBC and includes interactive games, videos, blogs, podcasts and opportunities to order free printed materials. 
  • Track OER was a JISC and HEFCE-funded project to facilitate Web analytics for OER. See technical information and the project's final video to the funder that explains what was achieved or read the Track OER FAQs.
  • openED was an EU funded project that sought to trial a model for open institutional course production and global open course delivery. It aimed to explore the benefits and challenges for universities, for their (fee-paying) students, for non-student participants who individually elect to join the course (free learners) and course facilitators.
  • OLnet (Open Learning Network) was a an international research project designed to aggregate, share, debate and improve OER.  
  • Open Resources: Influence on Learners & Educators (ORIOLE) is a project investigating, exploring and disseminating about use and reuse of open resources funded as part of a National Teachning Fellowship and connecting with a number of other OU OER projects.
  • TESSA (Teacher Education in Sub Saharan Africa) brings together teachers and teacher educators from across Africa. It offers a range of materials (Open Educational Resources) in four languages to support school based teacher education and training.
  • HEAT (Health Education and Training Programme) is a radical programme launched in early 2011 by The OU with a bold ambition – to reach and help train 250,000 frontline healthcare workers across sub-Saharan Africa by 2016.
  • Bridge to Success offered open, free content to cross the barrier to gaining the skills to learn, providing "bridging" content in mathematics and learning to learn. The bridging approach has been shown to increase learner capability and confidence, encourage participation, and contribute to the progression of a certificate or degree completion. The project was led by the OU, partnering with the University of Maryland University College, Anne Arundel Community College and Massachussetts Institute of Technology and the content created for it is still available and being used by institutions internationally. See this short introduction video for more information.
  • SCORE (Support Centre for Open Resources in Education) SCORE was based at the OU and was a HEFCE funded project (2009-2012) to support individuals, projects, institutions and programmes across the higher education sector in England as they engage with creating, sharing and usingOER.
  • SCORE Microsites: Ready to Research OER website for research students and Digital Scholarship OER website for digital scholars
  • The Responsive Open Learning Environment (ROLE) project is supported by the EU to develop a research platform designed to make the needs of the learner central to education. ROLE will help companies and education institutions personalise learning linked to the open availability of resources.
  • OER Evidence Hub aims to provide an environment to systematically interrogate the Open Education movement on what are the people, projects, organizations, challenges, solutions and claims that scaffold the movement. It formed part of the OLnet project, but is still an ongoing endeavour for the OU. 
  • Adopting Standards and Specifications for Educational content (ASPECT) was an EC funded project looking at how best to be able to share content with the focus on school use rather than university use.
  • Achieving Transformation, Enhanced Learning and Innovation through Educational Resources in Design (Atelier-D) was a JISC funded project to develop a virtual desgin studio space to support student learning throughout the design programme and so focussed more on open learning tools than content.
  • EduShare looked at the information and development needs for more remote areas of the world to become involved as providers and users of OER.  The countries involved included remote nations such as Bhutan and The Maldives and the work of the project has illustrated how openness can help cross boundaries.
  • Staff Innovation in Distributed Education in Caribbean, African and Pacific countries (SideCAP, linked with EduShare) looked at the information and development needs fo rmore remote areas of hte world to become involved as providers and users of OER.  The countries involved included Mauritius and island nations of the South Pacific and West Indies, and the work of the project has illustrated how openness can help cross boundaries.  Information about the project is also available on the IET research project page.
  • Interoperatble Content for Performance in a Competence-driven Society (iCOPER) was an EC funded project in which the Open University worked with partners to establish a best practice network and investigated the technical and cultural factors that prevent or enhance the sharing of educational content, including OER.
  • The Multilingual Open Resources for Independent Learning project (William and Flora Hewlett Foundation funding) promoted cooperation and collaboration between members of the European association of Distance Teaching Universities by spreading and sharing best practice in the development, publication and use of OER.  An extension project to MORIL (above), OER-HE (EC grant) looks at best practices in the innovative use of OER.
  • OPAL was an EC funded Open Educational Quality Initiative that aims to foster improvement in open educational practices in which OER are used to promote quality and innovation.
  • OpenSE took a subject focus in software engineering to collaboratively identify and develop a core of open learning material. The experiences were studied across Europe, with lessons learnt and disseminated to others interested in the evidence for use of OER. See also the IET project page about OpenSE.
  • The Project on Open Content for Knowledge Exposition and Teaching (POCKET) was a JISC funded project that investigated the potential to migrate open content approaches in a range of disciplines across a number of higher education institutions.
  • Steeple was a JISC funded project to investigate, develop, and document sustainable institutional infrastructures to support university wide educational podcasting, the software for which will be openly licensed as an Open Educational Resource.
  • Lived Experience of Climate Change e-learning (LECH-e) project developed postgraduate online learning resources and virtual learning communities on how individuals and groups experience climate change.  All the resources are now available as OERs.
  • OpenScout is funded under the EU eContentPlus programme to look at instrumental learning in management education and entrepreneurship to provide a goal oriented approach to use of open educational resources.
  • Open Education Innovation and Incubation (OEII) formulated recommendations as to how openness can help universities work more effectively with both external and internal stakeholders. This involved exploring meanings of open education and open innovation in universities.