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OERs across sectors

Page history last edited by Lou McGill 12 years, 6 months ago


In April 2011 the UKOER phase 2 programme held an online meeting using Elluminate to start discussing issues around OERs across sectors. Whilst the pilot phase highlighted many issues for the HE (Higher Education) sector, phase 2 projects include partners from the FE (Further Education) sector and some projects are focussing on FE provision or work-based resources.


The meeting was presented as an oppotunity to start a dialogue across the programme. Although the focus was on FE, the session was well attended and identifed synergies with the HE sector as well as differences.


Projects were invited to identify and present on the following three areas in relation to an OER context.

1.       three challenges that are specific to FE

2.       three things that seem to work in FE

3.       take-home message for other projects working with FE


Four projects offered slides (see bottom of this page) which identified some common issues, challenges and strengths, and stimulated some lively discussion.  Several of the challenges and issues highlighted for FE staff were seen as also relevant in the HE sector. The following blog posts highlight some of the discussion and offer reflections on the issues raised.


Summary of issues discussed:

Strengths we can draw upon (FE sector)

  • Culture of reuse
  • Standardised curricula
  • Existing networks and resource collections/services such as the LSIS Excellence Gateway (Learning and Skills Improvement Service) - though these may not be known to HE
  • Link between teaching and research
  • Emphasis on teaching and student satisfaction
  • Management culture in FE (was identified as a possible challenge or strength)
  • Involvement of employers as an academic imperative


Issues and challenges for FE sector

Cultural/ academic practice

  • High teaching workloads & limited staff time to repurpose OERs
  • Limited staff skillset to repurpose OERs
  • Limited knowledge of IPR issues
  • Professionalism and dual identity – FE lecturers trying to develop HE academic practice
  • Staff autonomy in FE different from HE
  • FE teachers anxiety around being ‘replaced’ by OERs
  • OER literacy for teachers (and students)


Organisational/ management

  • Limited longterm thinking in FE (with respect to HE delivery)
  • Management culture in FE
  • Inflexible curricula  - not much space for experimenting
  • Link between HE and FE can be ‘bolt on’ rather than properly integrated


Learner issues

  • Accessibility needs of FE students
  • Students not ready to use OERs
  • OER literacy for students (and teachers)


Several opportunities were also highlighted: 

  • Exploring ‘uncertainty’ as a signature of HE
  • Link with HE through disciplines or design for HE and FE curricula
  • Explore HE-FE synergies
  • Explore opportunities for publishing via OERs (moving away from print media)
  • CPD for staff – can we share CPD ideas or opportunities across institutions
  • Involve learners within OER creation / OER projects
  • Market research on learners’ needs in terms of OERs
  • FE more responsive to local needs than HE

The presentations are available below:


Image CC BY-NC-SA Max xx

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