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Tuesday, 22nd April 2014

New Technologies and Open Educational Resources

Source: European Parliamentary Research Service

Background:

Open educational resources (OERs) first appeared within the wider 'Openness' movement in the mid 1980s, based on the assumption that knowledge should be disseminated and shared freely through the Internet for the benefit of society as a whole. OERs consist of teaching, learning or research materials that are in the public domain or released with an intellectual property licence that allows for free use, adaptation, and distribution. OERs range from textbooks to curricula, syllabi, lecture notes, assignments, tests, projects, audio, video and animation. UNESCO underlines the importance of OERs for both students and teachers. The former benefit from free or low-cost access to courses and even degree programmes, while the latter can adapt those courses to local languages and build on them. However, while open course material is free, the cost of its creation is very high. Press sources indicate that the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the principal financial backer of the open educational movement, has spent more than €80 million over the past decade. There are also some concerns linked to OERs, including quality assurance, accreditation, and sustainability.

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