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Tag Archives: Open Educational Resources

‘Digitisation Perspectives’ – Ruth Rikowski


Critical Perspectives on ‘Open-ness’ in the Digital University

University of Edinburgh

Friday November 2nd 2012, 12-4pm


Openness and impacts in academia using social media

Jane Tinkler, London School of Economics

Academic communication is changing. Traditional dissemination methods are being supplemented by digital technologies that academics can use to share their research with each other and external stakeholders and thereby help their work to create impact. But what are the real benefits of using social media to share academic work? How does this openness lead to greater impact? And what are the potential problems with this form of short, immediate and frequent communication? This session draws on the findings of a three-year research project examining the ways that academic work can be better communicated in order to maximise its impact.


Is University Scholarship becoming more Open? Or just more Digital?

Robin Goodfellow, Open University

The developing digital context for scholarship in the University brings pressures and opportunities for change in both the established practices of scholarly communication and conventional ideas about who participates in it. But how far is digital practice amongst university academics really open to the engagement of non-professional scholars, and what are the implications of internet knowledge cultures for the processes and ethics of academic scholarship?  In this talk I will use examples of work in the field of Digital Scholarship that is currently going on at The Open University (see to explore these questions, and to work towards a concept of scholarship in the digital university that is committed to both the democratisation of the academy and the furtherance of academic approaches to knowledge and learning.   


Open Educational Resources: salvation or subjectification?

Jeremy Knox, University of Edinburgh

This presentation will critique the implementation of Open Educational Resources in higher education.  Open access has emerged as a prominent debate in the field of distance and digitally-mediated learning, in which technology is advanced as both the vehicle for widening participation and the solution to the perceived elitism of the traditional institution. OER have been in the forefront of this dialogue with claims of social transformation and global deliverance from poverty; however they remain significantly under-theorised.  While OER literature often emphasises the removal of barriers to information, it fails to adequately address the consequences of open access in terms of education itself, tending to make assumptions about the capacity for individuals to act purely in an autonomous fashion as ‘self-directed’ learners.  This paper will therefore problematise the ways in which the OER movement implies particular notions of freedom and independence in the advancement of their educational agenda.


Network Convenors:

Dr Lesley Gourlay, Senior Lecturer (Department of Culture, Communication & Media) and Director (Academic Writing Centre), Institute of Education, University of London.

Dr Kelly Coate, Vice Dean (Graduate Studies, College of Arts, Social Sciences and Celtic Studies) and Lecturer in Higher Education (Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching) National University of Ireland, Galway


Event booking details

To reserve a place at this seminar please register at or telephone +44 (0) 207 427 2350.  

SRHE events are open to all and free to SRHE members as part of their membership package. The delegate fee for non-members is £45. Non-members wishing to join the Society may do so at the time of registration and the delegate fee will be waived. Please note that places must be booked in advance and that a £45 fee for non-attendance will be charged if a place has been reserved but no notice of cancellation/non-attendance has been given in advance.

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Francois Smit, SRHE Event Manager, Society for Research into Higher Education, 73 Collier Street, LondonN1 9BE, Telephone 0207 427 2350, Fax number 0207 278 1135




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Open Educational Resources (OER) are defined as the ‘… technology-enabled, open provision of educational resources for consultation, use and adaptation by a community of users for non-commercial purposes. They are typically made freely available over the Web or the Internet …’ (UNESCO, 2002).

The idea of providing free access to knowledge of virtually any subject area was taken on by high profile institutions such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with the OpenCourse Ware (OCW) and the Open University UK with OpenLearn. All initiatives have received tremendous attention in higher education and have been inspiring other institutions to follow the OER movement, as evidenced by the growing membership of the OpenCourseWare Consortium.

Along with the increase of OER programmes there has also been an increase of research into the development, circulation and use of these resources. However, such research has so far focused on technical, legal, and political issues to the detriment of the core issue of education.

For example, the meaning of the term ‘educational’ in OER is open to question: ‘Does it mean that only materials produced with the intention of being used within formal educational settings should be included?’ (Hylen, 2006). In addition to that, conceptual work on the question of ‘openness’ in relation to pedagogy is also needed. Pioneering work has been undertaken in the OLCOS Roadmap 2012 (Geser, 2007) and in the UNESCO report quoted above, but it has been argued that we must also move to Open Educational Practices, i.e., that providing free access to content is only half the story. In a similar vein, Sclater (2011) claims that OER can demonstrate new form of course structure and pedagogy as they are able to free learners from traditional requirements (e.g., admission criteria).

With this special double issue of the journal E-Learning and Digital Media ( we seek to investigate these claims and bridge this gap in research.

We are inviting contributions that deal with the following aspects:

* Conceptual work that describes teaching and/or learning with OER
* Which educational constructs or theories are of importance in conceptualizing OER?
* Looking back in the history of education, which events have had similarities with OER and can thus be utilised to conceptualise OER today?
* Empirical work reporting on experiences with the sharing, re-using and repurposing of OER using a specific instructional or pedagogical approach such as case studies or best practices

Geser, G. (2007) Open Educational Practices and Resources. OLCOS Roadmap 2012. Salzburg Research.
Hylen, J. (2006) Open Educational Resources: opportunities and challenges. Paris: OECD.
Sclater, N. (2011) Open Educational Resources: motivations, logistics and sustainability, in Content Management for E-Learning, pp.  179-193. New York: Springer.

This special double issue will also include articles by invitation. 

Please signal intent by May 1 2011 by sending abstracts (300 words) to the editors:

Markus Deimann, FernUniversität in Hagen:
Norm Frisen, Thompson Rivers University:
Michael A. Peters, University of Illinois:



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It starts tomorrow,

When I go to work’

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