Category: Week 7

Week 7 – Activity 4: Identifying priorities for research

Timing: 3–4 hours

Imagine you are advising a funding organisation that wishes to promote activity and research in the area of open education.

  • Set out the three main priorities they should address, explaining each one and providing a justification for your list. Share this in the discussion forum and compare with priorities of others.

In this activity you are just expected to start thinking about these issues, and to use your own experience and intuition; you are not expected to research them in depth. You will build on this work during next week, and also for the assignment (TMA02).

After sharing your list of priorities and examining (and hopefully commenting upon) those of two or three others, consider the following questions, which will give you some ideas as we move into the second week of the block:

  1. Was there consensus about what were the key priorities?
  2. Do you feel some issues would be more easily solved than others?
  3. What would be effective ways to address some of the priorities listed?


1. Indexing/Search engines: 

Explanation: Currently there are numerous search engines/indexes of OER materials. A new solution to categorising and locating said resources would be beneficial not only to the OER community, but also in the expansion and marketing of OER as useful and easy materials to adopt into the mainstream.

Justification: The difficulty of finding quality resources, including the abilities to remix them and be aware of their licensing.

2. Quality:

Explanation: The development of materials on par or exceeding that of the for-profit sector. This should take into account changing trends in technology, such as standardised format, sharing abilities, and licensing. A method of standardisation/certification could be developed.

Justification: Along with the difficulty in finding OER materials to fit your needs, the quality of said resources can vary widely due to a lack of profit motivation and checks/balances.

3. Funding:

Explanation: Organisations are using various funding models, but often donations or alternative support, such as from a university are needed. An alternative funding model, potentially through advertising or very light subscription services delivered from the learner’s institutional side could provide solutions.

Justification: This will increase the motivation for the adoption of OER, and the financial security for firms wishing to invest/develop OER. If OER are seen to be profitable, even if not financially in any way (personal development), this could help spur further OER popularity in the formal sector.

Week 7 – Activity 3: Representing open education

Timing: 4–6 hours

The two resources you’ve just looked at provide views on different aspects of what openness means in higher education.

  • Create a visual representation that defines openness in education by drawing on some of the concepts listed in your two chosen resources (although it is not necessary to include all of them). You can use PowerPoint, an online tool such as Prezi or any other tool of your choice. You may like to share your tool of choice through the forum so that others can decide what tool to use.The key is to provide a representation that draws together the key concepts of openness as you perceive them. Save it in a form that is shareable, e.g. an image or an embeddable file from elsewhere (such as Flickr, Prezi, etc.).
  • Put your representation in a blog post, with a brief description of it.


If you have difficulty with visual representations, then you can alternatively create a representation in another medium, including text, lists or audio.



(open in image in new tab to enlarge)

Week 7 Act 3 Mind Map

Mindmap is also available here: on 



Week 7 – Activity 2: Open education reading

Timing: 2 hours

Choose two of the following resources on open education to read or view:

Chosen in bold.

Week 7 – Activity 1: Set up technology

Instructions here.


I have had a few experiences with OER, and looked into them further for a previous OU project where I created a website looking into OER’s in South Africa. This was on top of having completed previous activities designed by Martin Weller and completing TMA’s on OER during the H818 course.

I haven’t completed a typical MOOC (i.e. Coursera), though I have been learning Java programming through other open means by using a site where anyone can create a course and share it for others. In general I have an interest in using OER’s in developing countries over digital means such as mobile phones, and have thus followed developments in South Africa (projects such as TESSA and Siyavula).

I have found the ‘world of OER’ to often be quite chaotic, with a lack of overall structure in the sharing of such resources. One interesting development of late to try and provide some order is the Amazon Inspire project aiming at school-level material sharing. However, contrary to this, I do wonder if the whole concept that OER’s need to be tied into a structure is actually missing the point, as being ‘open’ represents a movement where creators have the ability to create and share materials as they please.


My Credly account has been set up here: