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Image courtesy of Andreas Helke

The need to adopt stringent peer review for OER[s] in quality assurance is very crucial. This should be integrated throughout the processes from creation, development, dissemination and utilization. The Quality of OER[s] is still questionable and this still ties up with the question of in country policies in education (Rasugu, 2008).

I fear that some existing OER efforts are driven by some other motivations than learner need. As we read early on and I discussed in Week 2, some of those "other" reasons include:

  • Altruism,
  • Public relations,
  • Publicity,
  • Collaboration on shared interest projects, and
  • Survival (don't miss the OER train).

While likely valid drivers, these are supply side only drivers. While it is hard to criticize altruism, altruism for the sake of altruism does not guarantee need by the recipient. Further, availability does not guarantee need by the recipient. Some OER models are comparable to all you can eat food buffets. The supply is plentiful, but there is only so much one can consume, only certain things that you want to consume, and much of the time you would prefer to order what you actually want a la carte. Do we really know if learners want to consume large quantities of content (an entire course)? Is it possible that the learner really only wants certain items when s/he wants them? If so, are learners more likely to want the "special order" items such as specific research reports vs. the plentiful belly-buster items that make you full, but a little queasy (like 90 minutes of audio captured from a lecture hall) (Maddrell, 2007)?

When Professor [McCabe of Saint Michael's College] initially sent us the tutorial assignment on Wiki I felt completely overwhelmed and nervous about the upcoming semester. I was very unsure if I was going to be able to keep up with the curriculum and worried. But as I got more familiar with the program and worked on developing our own Wiki's, the web page because more of comfortable and inviting for me. I became very excited about using the resource for teaching ideas and I love contributing to our own educational science work page. I am very excited about my future classrooms where I will be able to use some of the many excellent ideas of my classmates and I hope that teachers today have the chance to experience some of our ideas with their students (Martin, 2008).

In terms of rural learners, in addition to geographical isolation making getting to classroom based courses difficult, our rural learners have less access to many of the things that support learning, such as the ability to discuss their ideas and issues with others with the same interests, lack of libraries, and even good quality Internet access. Many of our rural learners haven’t learnt how to utilise online information resources, such as the Internet, and see the Internet as really only useful for transactions such as purchasing and banking. Often their learning skills can be poorly developed in that they depend on a teacher to fill them with knowledge, rather than taking the initiative and responsibility for their own learning (this is usually a function of their age and/or lack of educational success), and it means that they rely more heavily on teacher led learning (Mahler, n.d.).


Maddrell, J. (2007, October 23). Open Ed - Week 8: Economic Models of Open Education. Designed to Inspire. Retrieved May 21, 2008, from
Mahler, T., Tilleyshort, J., Frielick, S. and Granger M. (n.d.). Supporting rural learners - now and in the future: a conversation. Retrieved May 22, 2008, from
Martin, L. (2008, April 20). Wiki Reflections. WikiEducator. Retrieved May 21, 2008, from
Rasugu, P. (2008, April 25). OER stories: African Virtual University. OER Wiki. Retrieved May 14, 2008, from