OU joining OERu

Posted by The Open University on 16 February 2015

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The Open University is increasing access to Open University (OU) Open Educational Resources (OER) by joining the OERu (OER universitas). This is to coincide with the launch of The OU’s first Badged Open Courses (BOCs) on OpenLearn, the OU’s home of free online learning. The OERu provides members with options to host their open courses on the OERu platform or point to free courses on institution-hosted channels. The OERu platform, which reports access to 217,000 unique monthly visitors from around the world, will now link to the new Open University (OU) BOCs and open courses on OpenLearn over the coming months.

Linking BOCs through the OERu builds on the OU’s mission to be open to everyone, allowing all learners access to free learning content regardless of their previous learning or educational experiences. Both the OERu and The OU through OpenLearn, release content under a Creative Commons licence, recognising that for some users, the content could be more effective on platforms other than the ones we chose for initial distribution. Therefore The OU supports users or organisations who want to republish the material to other locations.

The OU continues to forge relationships and partnerships in OER and open educational practices to improve access to academic study and research as part of its widening participation mission. Development and distribution of OER, plus researching how learners use OU free online courses, enables the OU to understand and be responsive to informal and formal learner needs and ways of learning.

While some of the other channels which The OU uses to distribute open course content have large volumes of traffic, such as YouTube and iTunes U, learning-focussed channels such as OERu and OpenLearn attract visitors who have a specific interest in learning and personal development. This means they are more likely to engage, enquire and register for formal learning after using free OU material or go on to study more free courses.

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