Report of the discussions on developing a research agenda for Open Educational Resources
Type of work: Report
This report summarises an online discussion conducted in March and April 2006 to brainstorm a research agenda for Open Educational Resources (OER). The agenda was expected to consist of key research questions categorized into areas on which to focus the attention of research activities. Over 500 participants from around the world provided a rich diversity of perspectives. Topics discussed included existing OER initiatives, current levels of use, collaborative authoring, technology, learning from other “open” initiatives, quality assurance, dissemination and access (in the broadest sense, covering searching and location, connectivity, cost, reusability, licensing, equality, socio-cultural factors, etc.). Participants put forward over 100 questions. The initial categorization was quite closely aligned with the aforementioned topics.
In addition, a number of activities were suggested during the discussion and the OER community will discuss some of them in the future. One key activity is explored in more detail – the proposed development of an online “Do-It-Yourself” (DIY) OER Portal.
In the end, a definitive research agenda was not produced. However, the depth and breadth of knowledge shared clearly indicated “strength in diversity” within the community.
The elaboration of a research agenda was redefined as an ongoing process of communication among those interested, to harness the diverse knowledge and experience of the community for effective collaborative research. Proposed actions have been split into two groups. Formal activities are defined as specific follow-up actions suggested in the discussions, while ongoing informal activities, powered by the enthusiasm and changing needs of the community, will ensure that we realise our shared vision of improved OER practice through global interaction.