About OERu

The OERu makes higher education accessible to everyone. Coordinated by the OER Foundation, an independent,  not-for-profit organisation, the OERu network of institutions offers free online courses for students worldwide. The OERu partners also provide affordable ways for learners to gain academic credit towards qualifications from recognised institutions.

+ Our goals

Through the OER Foundation, the OERu network continually works towards:

  • widening access and reducing the cost of tertiary study for learners everywhere, and especially for those who are excluded from the formal education sector

  • covering the operational cost of institution-based OERu services on a cost-recovery basis (or alternative revenue sources)

  • providing pathways for students to achieve credible credentials for approved courses based solely on open education resources (OER). OER means learning materials that have been released under an intellectual property license, permitting their free use or re-purposing by others

  • optimising the visibility and impact of the community service mission required of tertiary education institutions.

+ Our values

OERu has the following core values:

  • Free learning opportunities for all students worldwide

  • Affordable assessment services towards credible credentials

  • Open source (planning, processes, technology and learning materials)

  • Strategic philanthropy

  • Sustainable education futures.

+ Our story

The OER Foundation was established in 2009 – with the goal of using open education as a means to provide leadership and international networking, as well as supporting educational institutions to achieve their strategic objectives.

The OER Foundation hosts WikiEducator, a flagship community of +80,000 educators, which focuses on being able to share knowledge freely.

In February 2011, with funding support from UNESCO, an open meeting was convened to explore the establishment of the OERu. The meeting’s aim was to build a parallel learning universe, in order to widen access to more affordable education for learners excluded from the traditional tertiary education system. In November of the same year, the founding OERu anchor partners commenced planning for the implementation of the OERu network.

Today, the OERu network includes recognised universities, polytechnics and community colleges from five continents. We are collaborating to widen access to more affordable education through social inclusion. The implementation of the OERu is also a formal project of the UNESCO-COL OER Chair network.

+ Case studies

+ Leadership

Wayne Mackintosh (PhD)

Director of the OER Foundation and UNESCO-ICDE Chair in OER at Otago Polytechnic.

OER Foundation Board of Directors

  • Mary Burgess, Executive Director, BCcampus, Canada
  • Robin Day (PhD), Independent Chair of the Board of Directors, New Zealand
  • Wayne Mackintosh (PhD), UNESCO-ICDE Chair in OER, Otago Polytechnic, New Zealand.
  • Jim Taylor (PhD), Emeritus Professor, University of Southern Queensland, Australia
  • Rory McGreal (PhD), UNESCO-COL-ICDE Chair in OER, Athabasca University, Canada
  • David Porter (Ed.D.), Chief Executive Officer, eCampusOntario, Canada
  • Sandra Wills, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Learning and Teaching, Charles Sturt University, Canada
  • Philip Cullen, Chief Operating Officer, Otago Polytechnic, New Zealand
  • Peter Coolbear, Director Coolbear Limited, New Zealand  

 OERu Council of Chief Executive Officers

The OERu Council of Chief Executive Officers advises the OERu. The Council is an assembly of senior leaders called together for consultation on strategic higher education futures.