D3.1 Report on in-depth case studies

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Type of outcome: Report Online (public)

Delivery date: May 2013

Nature: Report

Language versions: English

Target languages: National Language of each case-study origin

In-depth analysis of six case studies, plus 1 for Athabasca (see D3.3), the seven chosen from 2 primary schools, 2 secondary schools, 2 universities, 1 other - describing the characteristics and dynamics of the communities behind the OER initiatives, the target group of study being the end-users–producers–consumers within the OER communities. OUNL is the overall lead author/editor but the research leader of each case study will write the first draft of the case study.

OER communities will be analysed using Social Network Analysis methodologies. The report will give insight into:

  • the number, role, characteristics and competences of the key players within the community
  • the dynamics and structure of the community
  • driving forces behind the community
  • critical organisational factors.

This report is aimed at OER initiative managers, coordinators, stakeholders and policy advisors.


Executive Summary

This study is conducted within the frame of the POERUP project, funded by the lifelong learning program of the European Commission (POERUP, 2013). The POERUP project aims to enable the development of policies to stimulate the uptake of open educational resources. Within the POERUP project, partners from the [[Open University of the Netherlands]], Sero Consulting, the University of Leicester and the University of Athabasca collaborated to gather the data with help from the OEP initiatives under investigation.

The in depth analysis is written down in the IRRODL journal article "An investigation into social learning activities by practitioners in open educational practices". (Schreurs, van den Beemt, Prinsen, Witthaus, Conole and de Laat, 2014).

Main case studies

1. Digischool is a national initiative in the Netherlands that was started by two teachers in 1995 and resulted in a collection of virtual schools where primary and secondary teachers can share open learning materials. In 2000 they also added an online platform to enable teachers to discuss the use of the open learning materials in virtual communities. 70 teachers manage the virtual communities. The initiative is closely linked with another Dutch OER initiative, Wikiwijs. (http://www.digischool.nl/)

2. The first MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) in the Netherlands, titled “Introduction to Communication Science” is an initiative of the University of Amsterdam’s College of Communication and the Graduate School of Communication Science. It was first conducted in in 2013 and has also been run in 2014. The target group consists of college students and lifelong learners all over the world. (http://mooc.uva.nl/portal)

3. The OERu (OER universitas) is an international initiative of the Open Educational Resource Foundation, based in New Zealand set up in 2011, with the aim of widening participation in higher education by accrediting OER-based learning. The OERu is a consortium of over 30 public post-secondary institutions (http://oeru.org/). Alongside the consortium, OERu is enhanced by a system of volunteers (Mackintosh, McGreal, & Taylor, 2011; Witthaus 2013a, 2013b and 2013c) (http://oeru.org/ and http://wikieducator.org/OERu/Home)

4. Canadian initiative BCcampus is a publicly funded organization that aims to bring together British Columbia's post-secondary system and make higher education available to everyone through the use of collaborative information technology services. BCcampus was established in 2002 by the provincial government to provide British Columbia learners, educators and administrators with a web-based portal to online learning programs and services across the B.C. post-secondary system. Within this study we investigated the open education subgroup of the BCcampus project. (http://bccampus.ca/)

5. FutureLearn is a private company fully owned by the UK Open University (FutureLearn 2013). It has partnered with over 20 leading UK and a few non-UK universities to form the FutureLearn consortium. Since October 2013 the consortium has offered a range of MOOCs focused on informal learning in a variety of subjects typically taught at university level. In addition to partnering with universities, FutureLearn has partnered with three UK institutions with massive archives of cultural and educational material.

6. Re:Source is an initiative of the Scottish Further Education Unit aimed at developing OER for Scotland's colleges. The initial development work took place during 2012 and it is currently managed by the (Scotland) College Development Network. All resources, with a few exceptions, are held under a Creative Commons 3.0 Unported licence.(http://resource.blogs.scotcol.ac.uk/)

Full report

See File:POERUP D3.1 Report on in-depth case studies v1.0.pdf