OER1010 Oral Presentation

Using a Structured Approach to Authoring OER Content: An Evaluation of Two Cases.

Frank Banks, The Open University, UK.

Conference Theme: Open educational content

Abstract: The Teacher Education in Sub Saharan Africa (TESSA) OER materials are a response to the teacher crisis in many developing countries, with millions of unqualified teachers entering the classroom (see www.tessafrica.net ). The TESSA teacher professional development materials were developed by a collaboration of eighteen institutions and are currently being used by 300 000 teachers across nine African countries. To ensure that the resources were appropriate and relevant, these OERs followed an agreed common template for construction with the intention to facilitate versioning for the different school contexts, in four languages. OpenLearn (see www.open.ac.uk/openlearn ) is an OER site containing over 10 000 hours of learning materials from the UK Open University. With well over five million unique visitors, its purpose was to showcase the Universities materials, to attract new students and to investigate new possibilities in the creation of new course content. It too was created around a template as shown by the OpenLearn module ‘Creating Open Educational Resources’ (http://openlearn.open.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=3636. The Open University took a leading role in the development of both TESSA and OpenLearn. Using these as case studies, this paper analyses the systemic organisational benefits and constraints of a structured template approach to OER content production. It seems that such an approach is successful – both the TESSA and OpenLearn OER sites have won prestigious awards. However, this structured template methodology for OER content production is here critically investigated, particularly in relation to:

Keywords: Teacher Development; Structured authoring; Evaluative Case Study

Banks, F., Leach, J. and Moon, B. (1999) ‘New Understandings of Teacher's Pedagogic Knowledge’ in Leach, J. and Moon, B. (eds) Learners and Pedagogy, Paul Chapman publications, London. ISBN 1 85396 428 X.
Bereiter, C. and Scardamalia, M. (1996) ‘Re-thinking learning’ in D.R. Olson and N. Torrance (eds) The handbook of education and human development: new models of learning, teaching and schooling, New York, Blackwells.
Caswell, T, Henson, S, Jensen, M. and Wiley, D (2008) ‘Open Educational Resources: Enabling universal education’, The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, Vol. 9, No. 1, 11 pp.
Moon, B. (2007) ‘Building the research and development agenda around school based teacher education programmes: a new imperative in sub-Saharan Africa’, The Curriculum Journal, 17:3.