[Open-education] Is there still an OER movement? and what should it be called?

Paul Bacsich (Sero) paul.bacsich at sero.co.uk
Fri Aug 22 14:27:29 UTC 2014

Hi Lorna

I think you and I are singing from the same song sheet – but I find in my travels that the phrase “open education movement” tends to give problems when people try to check what is in – and, more importantly, what is not in -  the concept.

We had the same kind of difficulty with “open educational practices” a couple of years ago. One person got rather irritated in a workshop and in desperation said “it’s about using Moodle”.

Actually I prefer the EU phrase “opening up education” which EU DG Education & Culture proposed in 2013 - as it is deliberately vague, suggests a process not an end-point, and is designed to have no rigid boundary. However, it has not got much traction, even in Europe, and even among those “in receipt of the EU’s euro”.

It’s also worth reminding people that in some countries there has been for years a strong “flexible learning” movement with a different set of antecedents – they can be rather critical of open education, at least as delivered by open universities. (Historians should note that three entities were started in the UK by the “movement” that set up the UKOU – including the National Extension College (even earlier than the UKOU) and the Open College of the Arts – both more open, many would say, than the UKOU was, then at least.)

I think the flexible learning movement needs to be in the timeline at http://timemapper.okfnlabs.org/okfnedu/open-education-timeline -  the disconnect continues to this day. I certainly include them in “opening up education”.

From: Lorna M Campbell 
Sent: Friday, August 22, 2014 1:10 PM
To: open-education at lists.okfn.org 
Subject: Re: [Open-education] Is there still an OER movement?

My response to this thread, cross posted from oer-disucss.... 

I kind of agree with Joe.  I am guilty of using the term "OER movement" but I'd be hard pressed to explain what it actually means.      Actually now I come to think of it, I suspect I'd be more inclined to use the term "open education movement".  

Mick asked:

  Is the movement moving a bit less nowadays? If so, why?
  What makes it a movement compared to, say, a favoured funding track of certain Foundations?
  Are members of the movement moving else? If so, where? To other movements?

If there is such a thing as a movement I think it has changed.  I don't know if people are moving less but I think they are moving in different ways.  I think we're starting to see open education research and development funding being increasingly concentrated on a small  number of large open education providers and research units.  There's undoubtedly creative innovation still going on at the grass roots level, but I wonder if these kinds of initiatives are tailing off as funding is reduced and pressure increased?   I can't help thinking back to the heady days of the UKOER programme where there was (funded) OER and open education development going on in many different institutions.  

Also I'm not going to mention the dreaded "M" word but I think commercial "open" online courses did rather take the wind out of the OER movement's sails and changed the discourse around openness.  

Having said all that, as Joe pointed out there's all kinds of open education  practice going on outwith the formal education sector, so perhaps that's where the open education movement has moved to now! 


On 22 Aug 2014, at 12:34, Mick FM wrote:

  Forwarding this from oer-discuss - apologies if you are on both lists.  

  -------- Forwarded Message -------- Subject:  Re: FW: [Open-education] Is there still an OER movement? 
        Date:  Fri, 22 Aug 2014 12:07:40 +0100 
        From:  Joe Wilson mailto:Joe.Wilson at SQA.ORG.UK 
        Reply-To:  Open Educational Resources mailto:OER-DISCUSS at JISCMAIL.AC.UK 

  yup we are still moving but not sure that makes a movement.

  Open source , open data , open educational resources  all part of this and folks and even corporations get involved for very different ideological reasons 

  I think look for parallels in other forms of open practice and I think open education and open educational resources are pretty much thriving 

  Know why my organisation is interested - all about opening up access and improving the quality of opportunities for learning 
  On a personal note it is about empowering teachers and learners .
  Learning is essentially all about sharing knowledge and developing skills and competences around this 
  Have a look at what dishwasher repair men now share on youtube . They are doing OER but would not know term .

  Joe Wilson
  Head of New Ventures
  Scottish Qualifications Authority
  Tel 0845 213  5389
  Mobile 07834 843011

  Twitter  www.twitter.com/joecar
  #OER14  http://oer14.org/

  The Optima Building ,
  58 Robertson Street , Glasgow ,G2 8DQ

  From:        David Kernohan mailto:d.kernohan at JISC.AC.UK
  Date:        22/08/2014 09:33
  Subject:        FW: [Open-education] Is there still an OER movement?
  Sent by:        Open Educational Resources mailto:OER-DISCUSS at JISCMAIL.AC.UK


  Cross posted this question from the OKF list - would be interested in responses from you lot :-)

  David Kernohan

  open-education mailing list
  open-education at lists.okfn.org

-- Lorna M Campbell --
Assistant Director, Cetis
Web: www.cetis.ac.uk
Blog: lornamcampbell.wordpress.com
Mail: lorna.m.campbell at icloud.com
Twitter: LornaMCampbell
Skype: lorna120768

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