The OER university becomes OER universitas

Posted by OER Foundation Board of Directors on 18 December 2013

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OERu Logo acronym bottom green

To better reflect the developing nature of the OERu collaboration, The Open Education Resource (OER) Foundation Board of Directors has amended the name of the OERu network to operate as the OER universitas (OERu). This change applies to all current and previous references that relate to the OERu.

The OERu was launched as the Open Education Resource university – the lower case "u" invoking the broader definition of university as a community of scholars sharing information freely, rather than denoting the title of a formal teaching institution.

However, the ambiguity of the term in some jurisdictions, along with the increasingly broad base of participating members, has prompted the OER Foundation to make a change to the name.

200px Robin Day  
Dr Robin Day  

The amended term draws on the original etymology of "universitas magistrorum et scholarium", reflecting the spirit of OERu as a global network of accredited universities, polytechnics, community colleges and educational agencies cooperating on open education approaches.

“The new name better encompasses the growing OERu family, which now includes provincial and national education agencies that are not teaching institutions, and partnerships with international governmental organisations,” says Dr Wayne Mackintosh, UNESCO-COL Chair in OER and Director of the OER Foundation.

Jim Taylor USQ
 Prof Jim Taylor

“As a Foundation, we wanted to ensure our name would be broad, inclusive and inspiring enough to carry the initiative into the future, and we did not want to risk becoming distracted from our aims through potential misinterpretations,” says Dr Robin Day, Chair of the OER Foundation Board.

“The OERu's core mission is to widen access to more affordable education with pathways to achieve credible credentials especially for learners currently excluded from the privilege of a tertiary education,” says Emeritus Professor Jim Taylor, member of the Board and Honorary Fellow of the Commonwealth of Learning (COL).

“Many educators believe in expanding affordable access to higher education, but what may be difficult for institutions to deliver individually becomes possible through active participation in the OER universitas (OERu) international innovation partnership."