OERu Founding Anchor Partner Statements -- An inspiration for OER adoption
Nov 16, 2011
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I had a look at the Founding partner Statements referenced during this discussion. And while I don't want to be the one who throws cold water over everything, I cannot be the only one experiencing a sense of disappointment in these statements. Each statement has a section titled "Planned contribution to the OERu logic model" and the content of these planned contributions is for the most part minimal. Indeed, most of the contributions amount to nothing! Yes, Athabasca University is "allowing students to gain a Bachelor's degree in General Studies through the OERu using challenge examinations." But the majority of proposed contributions promise nothing more than offering a few OERs, helping coordinate, and maybe publicizing the initiative. Yes, I know you need to start somewhere, but I don't think you should be starting in the 1990s. Total: 229
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Re: OERu Founding Anchor Partner Statements -- An inspiration for OER adoption

Hi Stephen

I agree that there are a lot of warm fuzzy sentiments here, and very little by way of concrete commitments from the 13 OERten partners. But I think things will unfold as the institutions begin preparing for the OERu pilot (to start in Sept 2012) - and I did get the feeling, from watching last week's inaugural meeting remotely, that there was a genuine commitment to making the pilot work.

Perhaps the real test will come after the pilot, when the institutions start preparing for the official launch of the OERu a year later, as the demands and risks of the pilot will probably be quite minimal in comparison to the real thing. I'm keeping an open mind in the meantime.

Gabi Witthaus
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Re: OERu Founding Anchor Partner Statements -- An inspiration for OER adoption

Your blog no longer recognizes my name and password, but here is a comment below on your OERu piece.
All the best.

Rory McGreal
Associate VP Research
Athabasca University

Actually bringing universities into the 1990s would be a
significant step forward for the vast majority of our post-war initiated or medieval institutions. So, I wouldn't
apologise for that although I don't know of many OER in the 1990s - the term was first coined in 2002, so perhaps we are leading them into the 2000s.
Institutions need to avoid the bleeding edge while taking practical
initiatives. This may be a small step for the OERu, but I believe this could represent a giant step forward for formal post-secondary education.

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