The Practical Use of OERs in Distance Educatiion: Two Examples

For this assignment I decided to build upon the learning design exercise of a previous subject, a putative introductory module for a management course that can be found here. This first unit of the module Management 101 delved on the the concept of management on its multiple dimensions, and so I had to follow the same logic to be coherent with the job already done.

The requirement this time was to use OERs and plan activities and tasks with them, so I had to find something related to business and management at an introductory level that complied to some criteria inherent to their nature and defined inherently by the previous work.

I chose, then, a set of 4 different OERs which are built in a similar way, guided by the same topic and displaying the same title, An Introduction to Business Cultures hosted on the OpenLearn LabSpace for the first activity (the unit 2.1 of the Management 101 module) and adapted an OER built by the University of Bath (UK) named Leadership and the Organization for the unit 2.2 of the Management 101 module.



What criteria, then, did I follow to chose those specific OERs instead of others?

Apart from the obvious time constraints (the internet is too vast to check all the relevant resources) and coherence (I wanted to build upon the previous work, so I had to find something that would follow the same general guidelines), the criteria were:


Source: The sources for the two OERs are different. The first one is stored on the LabSpace, a public repository for both OU and the general public, and was build by individuals in what seems like an assignment for a course. The second one is stored on the University of Bath’s OER repository and was built internally by their department for lifelong learning. The criteria here was to diversify the sources to see what added value they could provide for the course;


Validity and Verifiability: In both cases the content appears to be valid and correct, and bibliographic references are provided to support and verify their validity;


Time: The length of the activities was considered due to the nature of the intended activity and its target audience. The units had a length of 2 weeks or 14 hours each, therefore the OERs should not exceed 5 hours to comply with the other proposed tasks;


Licensing: It was important that, more than having a CC license, that license allowed derivative work, and that is the case with both OERs;


Adaptability and accessibility: Both OERs are easily adaptable, although in different ways. In the first case there are images and text that can easily be used with text processing software and images, but on the second case there are learning objects built with Xerte, an open source learning objects authoring tool based in Adobe Flash framework, for which the authors provide the source to be adapted. This way both OERs comply with the adaptability criteria.
On the accessibility side, despite being built using a somewhat tricky technology for that, the second OER offers options such as different color themes (including high contrast) and changeable font sizes. The first OER has all the typical accessibility options dependent on web browsers.


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