A Basic Guide for OER/Appendix 9: Skills Requirements for Work in Open Educational Resources

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Appendix Nine: Skills Requirements for Work in Open Educational Resources

Below is a list of the core skills that institutions will need to develop in order to make most effective use of Open Educational Resources to improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of OER:

Expertise in advocacy and promotion of OER as a vehicle for improving the quality of learning and teaching in education (having a good grasp of both conceptual and practical issues, policy implications, and so on). This requires:

  • Passion about the concept of openness, without which any attempts at advocacy are unlikely to succeed;
  • Ability to engage audiences effectively during presentations;
  • Understanding of the pros and cons of different open licensing arrangements, combined with insight into how most current policy environments constrain use of OER and open licensing of intellectual capital (with a particular focus on the challenges of persuading educational decision-makers in environments where Intellectual Property policies make no provision for open licensing);
  • Clarity on the economic benefits of OER, both in terms of marketing institutions, programmes, and individuals and in cost-effectiveness of materials production;
  • Sound knowledge of practical examples of use of OER to illustrate key points;
  • Up-to-date knowledge of the arguments for and against use of OER;
  • Capacity to engage in argument and respond to the questions that people will inevitably pose given the extent to which OER challenges many entrenched conceptual frameworks.

Legal expertise to be able to:

  • Advise people on licensing of materials;
  • Review current copyright and intellectual property rights (IPR) regimes;
  • Develop and adapt copyright and IPR policies;
  • Determine requirements for copyright clearance to release materials under Creative Commons licences;
  • Negotiate rights to use materials under Creative Commons licences;
  • Reflect copyright statements accurately in materials of different kinds and multiple media.

Expertise in developing and explaining business models that justify, to institutions, individual educators, and other creators of educational content (including publishers), the use of open licensing and that illustrate the benefits.

Programme, course, and materials design and development expertise, with a particular focus on helping educators to harness the full potential of resource-based learning in their programmes and courses. This requires a thorough understanding of education (pedagogy; being able to differentiate between open, distance, electronic and blended learning – and their respective merits, etc), as well as the context of education, tailored to the specific sector in which work is taking place. In addition, it requires skills in:

  • Conducting educational needs assessments;
  • anaging curriculum development processes;
  • Effective identification of target audiences;
  • Definition of effective and relevant learning outcomes;
  • Identification of relevant content areas for programmes, courses, and modules;
  • Selection of appropriate combinations of teaching and learning strategies to achieve identified learning outcomes;
  • Financial planning to ensure affordability and long-term sustainability of teaching and learning strategies selected;
  • Developing effective and engaging teaching and learning materials;
  • Integrating meaningful student support into materials during design;
  • Designing appropriate effective assessment strategies;
  • Applying the most appropriate media and technologies to support learning outcomes;
  • Using media and technologies to support educational delivery, interaction, and student support;
  • Sourcing OERs, including a knowledge of the strengths and features of the main repositories, specialized repositories, and OER search engines;
  • Adapting and integrating OER coherently into contextualized programme and course curricula;
  • Negotiating with external individuals /organizations to issue or re-issue resources under open licences;
  • Re-versioning existing resources using optical character recognition where they do not exist in digital form;
  • Implementing the necessary processes for producing print-on-demand texts.

Technical expertise. This set of skills is tightly connected to the skills of materials design and development. Increasingly, resource-based learning strategies are harnessing a wide range of media and deployed in e-learning environments, facilitated by the ready availability of digitized, openly licensed educational content. This requires skills in:

  • Advising institutions on the pros and cons of establishing their own repositories, as well as advice on other possible ways of sharing their OER;
  • Creating stable, operational Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) and content repositories;
  • Supporting educators to develop courses within already operational or newly deployed VLEs;
  • Developing computer-based multimedia and video materials.

Expertise in managing networks/consortia of people and institutions to work cooperatively on various teaching and learning improvement projects (including an ability to adapt to challenging environments – for example, power outages, physical discomfort, difficult personalities, institutional politics – and remain focused on the task at hand).

Monitoring and evaluation expertise to design and conduct formative evaluation processes, as well as longer-term summative evaluation and/or impact assessment activities that determine the extent to which use of open licensing has led to improvements in quality of teaching and learning, greater productivity, enhanced cost-effectiveness, and so on.

Expertise in curating and sharing OER effectively. This includes:

  • Technical skills to develop and maintain web platforms to host OER online, as well as to share the content and meta-data with other web platforms;
  • Ability to generate relevant and meaningful meta-data for OER;
  • Knowledge of and the skills to deploy standardized global taxonomies for describing resources in different disciplines and domains;
  • Website design and management skills to create online environments in which content can be easily discovered and downloaded.

Communication and research skills to be able to share information about OER, in the form of web updates, newsletters, brochures, case studies, research reports, and so on. This will include the full spectrum of skills required for such communication activities, from researching and documenting best practices, core concepts to graphic design and layout expertise.