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The original OERWIKI seems to be offline (December 2012). The Access2OER discussion pages are preserved here for reference! The final report in pdf is available here: Access2OER_Report,

The report:
Introduction to the report
Part 1 - Issues
What is access?
Issues and classification
Part 2 - Solutions
Solutions criteria
Stories and solutions
Case studies
Part 3 - Proposals
Conclusion and next steps
Additional sections:
Stories 1
Stories 2
Stories 3
Case studies v1
Access initiatives v1
OER Training proposal
Open Educational Resource Centres
OER exchange infrastructure
OER exchange infrastructure diagrams
Additional materials
Access2OER:Additional Considerations
Wiki only
Some technical notes
Discussion Log and Quotes:
Discussion Week 1
Comments on SuperOER
Overview of week 1 activities
Discussion Week 2
Discussion related to solutions put forward
Snippets from the general discussion
Overview of week 2 activities
Discussion Week 3
general discussion
OER training discussion
resource centre discussion
oer exchange discussion
stories discussion
All discussion on one page.
Additional pages
For authors:




1 Purpose of classification

Quote image The first step in any classification process is to identify and understand the purpose of the classification. What is the purpose in this case? Are there multiple purposes calling for multiple classifications? (we need to be explicit). K 22:35, 12 February 2009 (CET)

1.1 Classifying Access Issues and Classifying OER

Quote image I sometimes get the impression that participants are thinking of "OER" as on-line university courses. The definitions are generally much broader (e.g. Wikipedia) spanning individual images, text sections, video clips, modules, courses, entire curricula, FLOSS for education, etc. When classifying access issues, some issues may be less applicable to certain types of OER.

So, it might be useful to classify OER and issues associated with each kind of OER. Again, clarify the purpose.

Any ideas of what the purpose(s) might be? K 22:35, 12 February 2009 (CET)

  • To help identify which access to OER issues this OER community can address and which should be left to others
  • To help decide which issues to address in what order wrt importance and feasibility of solution(s)
  • To gain a broad understanding of the issues/barriers at various levels
  • To design multi-tiered strategic approaches to addressing the issues/ overcoming barriers
  • To help identify which issues/barriers apply in what contexts/scenarios

2 Social vs. technical

Quote image

I classify them into two: social barriers and technical barriers which are mostly due economical reasons. For social barriers, ... cultural obstacles ... fear of the unknown ... lack of awareness ... no institutional or national champion to drive the initiative. For technical barriers (which I think is mostly due to economical reasons), I consider the following ... infrastructure requirements / bandwidth ... skills to use or innovate or to localize the contents.

A 2nd quote: nature of content ('technical') vs. culture:

Quote image

This of course does not speak to the many challenges that have been cited in this discussion related to the nature of content (open formatting, granularity, bandwidth, use of 3rd party/proprietary content, etc.), institutional incentives and culture (tenure and promotion, lack of trust, etc.), understanding of OER, and skills needed to effectively modify and reuse content for local contexts, but it does at least point us to the potential importance of focused and thoughtful faculty development, mindful learning design and content creation (tagging, consistent use of open licences, ease of accommodation for disabilities and language, etc.).

(bold added, Bjoern 22:52, 10 February 2009 (CET)).

3 Type / medium / target

Though I subscribe to the above, we can also picture it in terms of:

  • Content Type (for what)
  • Delivery Medium (how)
  • Target Environment (for whom)


4 "Hard to fix"

One could classify the issues according to whether they are "hard to fix" or "easy to fix", i.e. "this issue has a clear, easy to implement, acceptable solution" compared to "this issues doesn't have a clear solution, or would be very long winded to fix".

One could rate the issues in terms of importance.

5 Classification based on the issues that were posted

We have now organised the [[../Issues]] around these headings:

  • Awareness, policy, attitude, cultural:
    • Access in terms of awareness. (Lack of awareness is a barrier to OER.)
    • Access in terms of local policy / attitude. (Do attitudes or policies pose barriers to using OER?)
    • Access in terms of languages. (How well does the user speak the language of the OER?)
  • Legal
    • Access in terms of licensing. (Is the licensing suitable / CC?)
  • Technical: Provision of OER
    • Access in terms of file formats. (Are the file formats accessible?)
    • Access in terms of disability. (Does the OER meet WAI accessibility criteria?)
  • Technical: Receiving OER
    • Access in terms of infrastructure (Lack of power/computers makes access hard.)
    • Access in terms of internet connectivity / bandwidth (Slow connections pose a barrier to access.)
    • Access in terms of discovery. (If the OER is hidden, not searchable, not indexed, it's hard to find.)
    • Access in terms of ability and skills. (Does the end user have the right skills to access?)

6 A classification of OER

The following post offers a classification of OER that is informative with regard to access:

Quote image

OER can be solutions to very different problems, depending on regional goals and infrastructures:

  • 1) in the case of big Anglo-Saxon universities (MIT, Open University London) can be a way to raise prestige and international visibility
  • 2) in the case of continental European universities (like a in Austria) OER can enhance regional visibility or improve internal coordination within the institution
  • 3) in some other countries, e.g. with smaller language communities (I visited Kazakhstan, for example) the sharing of nationally funded translations of textbooks or other materials for national curricula between institutions might be fostered by OER

The organisational/logistical/technical infrastructures are very different as well

  • 1) Anglo-Saxon universities tend to have specialised publishing units and experts
  • 2) European universities tend to have neglectable (=very small) support units; they often have good internet connection, but rely on the individual scholar as producer of OERs
  • 3) other countries tend to have institutional internet access only, if any; however, here the sharing among institutions might be more efficient than the sharing among individual teachers. Institutions might locally produce hardcopies of materials, which are shared via the Web.

My point is that neglectance of these differences might become a barrier for OER Access. To create access to OER, we have to consider the differences in the means of production, but also the differences in the motives of both producers and consumers.

7 Skills set

Not a classification of the access issues as a whole, but a classification of the needed skills. The ‘skills set’ prerequisite to plan and execute OER projects are:

  • 1. ICT skills
    • a. Technology fluency
    • b. Information fluency (IT fluency and Information fluency = Information Literacy)
  • 2. Course-design skills
    • a. Instructional design (needs analysis, deciding learning objectives and instructional strategy, developing context-driven learning materials, implement and evaluate the effectiveness of the OER)
    • b. Pedagogy and Andragogy
  • 3. Facilitating skills
    • a. Interface between learning system and learners
    • b. Virtual presence (through interactive learning activities) to engage learners

8 Access to content vs. access to production facilities (and the ability to remix)

Quote image

I ... want to paraphrase them as the difference between the access to products (OER, OCW) and the access to the means of production (e.g. production and publication facilities, editorial support units, etc.) Means of production go far beyond mere internet connection and bandwidth.

With respect to accessibility to the means of production, the infrastructure e.g of institutional repositories differs strongly from infrastructure e.g. for wikieducator. One limits access to facilities for members of the institution only, while the other provides equal access to more participants (if they have internet connection). However, sometimes it can be necessary to restrict access to some elements of production facilities (e.g. to secure the integrity/stability of a product.)

9 Barriers

Quote image

there's another classification here: Which barriers cut both ways, which also apply to participation/collaboration?

10 OER readiness

It was also suggested that typical barriers to access, that affect an institution at a particular moment in time follow from a classificaiton of 'OER readiness':

Quote image I would like to suggest that access issues can only be addressed properly

when organized around a framework that differentiates between the level of development of the country or the institution that we are specificaly dealing with. We therefore need to identify various classifications of (for lack of better nomenclature) OER readiness and capability. The important outcome of this approach is that it also results not only in identifying a level of readiness but at the same time also identifies a typical set or category of bottlenecks as well as a series or a catagory of solutions (linked to each designated catagory ).

Importantly, while there may be some fairly general solutions, there isn't a "one size fits all": Template:Qoute The levels within this scale of 'OER readiness' may be characterised as follows:

Quote image

LEVEL 1 or, the highest classification could denote the situation facing thge most developed countries. Access to high speed internet is available to most of the country and to most individuals in the country. Other factors like language, level of knowledge on using the Internet, and a culture of Open and Free access are not a problem THIS SHOULD NOT however imply that there are no roadbloacks to the full use of OER for educational purposes - seeing for example, most developed countries still lack recognician and mutual acceptance of credits for courses available as OER.

LEVEL 5 or, the lowest classification could denote the situation facing the least developed countries or the situation facing the rural and remote areas of a limited number of developed and middle income countries. Access to high speed internet is available to most of the country and to most individuals in the country. Other factors like language, level of knowledge on using the Internet, and a culture of Open and Free access are not a problem THIS SHOULD NOT however imply that there are no roadbloacks to the full use of OER for educational purposes - seeing for example, most developed countries still lack recognician and mutual acceptance of credits for courses available as OER. (add LACK OF AWARENESS )