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The OER university: From vision to reality
Witthaus, Gabi

SeriesOpen Educational Resources and Social Networks: Co-Learning and Professional Development
Chapter 8
PublisherScholio Educational Research & Publishing
EditorOkada, Alexandra

In this chapter, findings from the first phase of the TOUCANS (Testing the OER university Concept: a National Study) project are shared. TOUCANS is a research project based at the University of Leicester, in which SCORE fellow, Gabi Witthaus, investigated the OER university (OERu) and its potential future take-up in the UK higher education (HE) sector. The project ran from September 2011 to June 2012. In
this chapter, the first phase of the research, involving interviews with individuals from the anchor partner institutions, is reported on. Respondents commented on the anticipated target audience for the OERu pilot, the institutional processes for making curriculum decisions, options under consideration for approaches to assessment, ideas about how accreditation and credit transfer might be handled, and the nature of support that will be provided for OERu students. Business models for participating in the OERu were also discussed, as were the various institutional and personal motivations for participating in the OERu. Findings from this phase of the research suggest that the OERu might well provide a range of useful models for collaboration around OERs to enable access to higher education on a significant scale in the future.

It is hoped that the chapter will spark discussion within the open education community about ways to build on the OER work that has been done in previous years, in order to meet the global demand for higher education accreditation on a mass scale.


This chapter can be reused by anyone leading discussions with others who are interested in the issues, for example as a stimulus for an institutional strategy meeting about internationalisation, as background reading for a staff development workshop on OERs, or as suggested reading for Education students looking at current issues in open education.

Keywords OER University · OERu · open accreditation · University of Leicester

Published atLondon
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