The benefits and drawbacks of big and small OER project models

Since the inception of the OER movement in the year, 2000 institutions and individuals have developed different means of tackling the development of OERs. These models can be identified by their development size and or funding. Wiley (2007) looked at some of the popular models in a paper commissioned by the OECD’s Center for Education Research and Innovation (CERI). These majorly focused on institutional development and nothing much was discussed on individual initiatives to OERs development. Let us look at some of the big institutional models, the befits and drawbacks in each discussed model.

The MIT Model: In this model, MIT took it up themselves to develop 1 800 course content to be provided as OER to learners and educators. The institute invests heavily to a tune of USD 4.3M per annum to develop 540 courses. MIT scouts for funds to facilitate educators and developers to produce the content. This model achieves a lot for the course content development in a defined period of time. In spite of what is mentioned, the cost is exorbitant and we cannot be sure about the course context elasticity. Nonetheless, the MIT model brings us to the benefit of sharing OERs to avoid duplication.

The USU Model: the USU model is cost-effective and managed with is an organized setting. Development of the course content is hinged on volunteers including students and educators. The cost per annum for 25 courses is put at USD 127,000. In terms of cost, this model is ideal for academic institutions to orient into OERs development. From a variety of volunteers, the question of context is considered. Notably, this model does not achieve quantity in a long period of time. Using the USU model at 25 courses per year, it will take two (2) decades to achieve what the MIT model achieves in one year.

The Rice Model: In this model, the goal is to activate collaborations in course content development with a global perspective. Course development is achieved from contributions around the world. There is no regular budget for content development identified with this model.

Wiley, D. (2007) ‘On the Sustainability of Open Educational ResourceInitiatives in Higher Education’ [Online]. (Accessed 05 April 2020).

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