Open Education Info Center

Administrator: Starting an OER initiative

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Are there any step-by-step models that I can use to introduce OER in my institution?

Roadmap Project Oportunidad offers just that.

How many staff is required to start an OER team?

Many OER initiatives are operated by a one person team. In an OER initiative, you need content coordination, technical assistance, copyright expertise, and many more. Many of the OER initiatives at the Open Education Consortium have very small staff. It’s possible if there is good collaboration with other departments such as educational technology department and center for teaching and learning. Once the OER and open educational practices are integrated into the teaching and learning system at the institution, you will see that it is possible to have only one person (or even a half-time person) dedicated to the job. Of course, we don’t mean to say that a smaller team is better – just that it is possible to start a project with small staff.

How can I secure funding for the open education project?

You can look for external grants or try to secure funding within the institution. In the very early days of OER, foundations led the way for funding OER projects. Now, the grants come from more varied sources, including the government, foundations, companies, professional associations, etc. National level policies to promote open education led to adoption of funding initiatives such as TAACCT in the U.S., OpeningUp Europe by the European Commission, Higher Education Quality Improvement Initiative by the Korean Ministry of Education, Excellence in Teaching Project by the Chinese Ministry of Education and many more.
Of many funding schemes, one project stands out, and that is University of California, Irvine and its OCW-on-demand funding scheme. UCI’s OCW team looks for needs in a certain area when planning a course. For example, its prep courses on California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) started with funding from the Hewlett Foundation and the Boeing Company. When the need for a course has a strong argument, funding is easier to come by. Maybe this webinar will be of help to get various perspectives on Funding OER.

What kind of difficulties can I expect in doing this?

You can get a sense of what the barriers are in the survey done by UNESCO.

Grassroots or top-down initiative? Which is better in open education initiative?

Some people think of open educational practices as something comparable to open source movement and wonder whether the initiative should be in grassroots-like, bottom-up style. Many of the open education initiatives at institutions happened to be more top-down approach, supported by top administrators.

There are what we call “champions” at each institution to herald the movement. However, it works best when that champion is assisted by an institution-wide initiative. One example is the Webcast project from the University of California, Berkeley. The project started with a professor who began to record his lectures for his students to review at home. He started to do the same for his colleagues, and the project grew to be a major initiative at the university.

What kind of CMS/LMS is required? How can that be integrated to our existing LMS?

Many early adopters of OpenCourseWare and Open Educational Resources set up a separate content management system to upload contents. However, as open education and sharing penetrated into the mainstream teaching and learning practices, we are seeing more universities put open contents on the same learning management system.