OER infoKit wiki Open Educational Resources infoKit / Cultural considerations
  • If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Dokkio Sidebar (from the makers of PBworks) is a Chrome extension that eliminates the need for endless browser tabs. You can search all your online stuff without any extra effort. And Sidebar was #1 on Product Hunt! Check out what people are saying by clicking here.


Cultural considerations

This version was saved 11 years, 7 months ago View current version     Page history
Saved by Lou McGill
on January 17, 2011 at 5:30:14 pm


"Many staff felt that it would be good to incorporate resource creation into Learning and Teaching in Higher Education practice (LTHE โ€“ HEA accredited postgraduate programme designed to meet the needs of those new to teaching). This would make OER sustainable in the long term. The costs of producing OER would then just be a part of training with getting staff to think about copyright and IPR from the very beginning: "a basic educational need which has now been highlighted as necessary anyway"."

Open Exeter Project final report, University of Exeter

Cultural issues have been identified as significant in relation to if and how people share learning and teaching resources. Different institutions, sectors and subject communities may all have their own 'established practices' around sharing teaching practice and learning materials. Academics may feel more connected to the culture of their subject discipline or professional Community of Practice than to the institutional culture. It could be argued that there is no such thing as an institutional culture as many sub-cultures exist, often related to different institutional roles, with traditions and approaches that can be more persuasive than strategy and policy documents.  Some of these traditions or practices can result in slow take up of new approaches or ideas.


The Open movement in particular challenges people and groups  to change their existing practice, and patchy development is quite likely in large institutions with many sub-cultures. An institution-wide approach to staff development and support can help to address some of these cultural barriers and encourage OER release and use but some institutions may choose to mandate such activities to move forward.


The following studies discuss cultural issues around sharing learning materials in more detail:


JISC/HE Academy Pilot Programme: OER release

The JISC/HE Academy Pilot programme: OER release provided funding and support to enable individuals, subject communities and institutions to openly release existing materials. The lessons learned, approaches adopted and barriers overcome are informing the wider community and offer models and guidance to support wider release in the UK. As anticipated, cultural issues emerged as significant factors affecting both release and use.


The questions that the programme addressed included:

  • What are the current norms for sharing educational content in different communities? What global or local trends are in evidence?
  • What motivates and supports/enables individuals to make their content open? What are effective mechanisms of reward and recognition?
  • What are the institutional, legal, cultural barriers to open content?
  • Who benefits from release of content? How do they perceive and understand those benefits?
  • How does the opening of learning resources affect the roles of individuals?
  • Within what kinds of communitites does open sharing take place readily and effectively?
  • What are these communities actually sharing? What can we learn from them?


Pilot programme outcomes and discussion of issues around pedagogy and end-use are available on the OER Synthesis and Evaluation Team wiki in the Pilot Phase: synthesis and evaluation report and in the accompanying Pilot Phase: Synthesis of Strands pages

See also the following pages which include links to project outputs relevant to this issues:

Image CC BY nerdegutt 


Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.