#H817open Activity 7 Martell Linsdell

Activity 7

3 key issues of OER and how they are addressed

My 3 priorities for OERS were Quality, Accessibility and Sustainability.

My key issues have shifted attention to

  • Expectation of the OER Movement to combat societal obstacles
  • Validation and recognition of participation
  • Verification (of participant identity and of academic publication)

The International Institute for Education Planning Report on OER Open Content for Higher Education states in its introduction;

‘Without the constraints of time or geography, the power of education is released to combat economic, social and cultural obstacles.

Through independent, self-determined learning and open academic content, the individual is able to grow intellectually beyond previous personal, institutional or local boundaries. Other benefits range from developing valuable work skills to engaging in life-enriching lifelong learning.’ (Albright Commission 2005) (1)


The degree of expectation of how OER are expected to create a means to combat to ‘economic, social and cultural obstacles’  versus  the struggle of educational institutions to establish an element of maintaining control of quality, accessibility and how to sustain the OER phenomenon.

This ties into issues of validation and verification of OER publication and OE participation.

The statement implies the responsibility of the individual as a self reliant learner to put right the obstacles created on a society through their learning. The expectation requires that the OER participation and learning gained requires validation for the individuals development to be recognised by the ‘institution’ (whether organisation, governmental or educational.

‘Exploring an open badge ecosystem to support skill development

and lifelong learning for real results such as jobs and advancement’ (1)

Verification of the quality of the learning and establishing who the participant is may be an issue.

 This may be counter to the openness of OER, where a learner can participate as and when they wish, at a level that they desire and possibly under an assumed identity or have someone participate in their guise as an element of fraud, to gain evidence of a skill.

The institution would be required to construct  systems to govern and police their courses  in order to administer the ‘value’ of the accreditation/award of the learning.

Not only is it the verification of the participant – as to who they say they are (which may not be so important in ‘just’ self development and independent learning but would be important in gaining roles of responsibility through employment gained by demonstrating an acquired level of accredited/ verified knowledge).


The badge system by Mozilla (that I am also submitting this article to, for recognition) is an example of a system that awards developing work skills through understanding OER.

The working paper opening statement is

‘Exploring an open badge ecosystem to support skill development

and lifelong learning for real results such as jobs and advancement’


later it states;


‘For certification badges meant for audiences such as hiring managers or admission boards, more rigorous assessments may be required to demonstrate critical competencies   ’(2)



Also an issue is the verification of the research published and available through OER to confirm the academic credibility of contributors and establishing ‘truth’ within research publication. This becomes essential to avoid corruption of the validity of the system.

I  may be seen as speaking against the grain of openness and connectivity but as an example; in the situation of important research in medical science / pharmaceuticals; truth and verification of findings is of paramount importance for safety of society and consumers.

Existing educational institutions will modify in response to the issues or new Validation Boards will be created. In order to embed an approach that maintains control of quality, maintains accessibility as an ethos and sustains the OER as a valued learning provider.

The expectation is that the branding of the product conveys a promise to the learner and it will be a strong enough message to attract participation.

To conclude; in my current  knowledge and reading of OER. I question  whether the merit of a badge; a system that gives award and recognition, will deliver the ‘real results’  such as jobs and advancement that it claims, unless there is a robust structure of validation that is respected and recognised by employers and admissions tutors.

This may have to be tested through significant research and evaluation to establish impact of such a system.


  1. International Institute for Educational Planning, INTERNET DISCUSSION FORUM



  1. Open Badges for Lifelong Learning .Exploring an open badge ecosystem to support skill development and lifelong learning for real results such as jobs and advancement Authors: The Mozilla Foundation and Peer 2 Peer University, in collaboration with The MacArthur Foundation .Working Document, Updated: 1/23/12 9:23

About martell2013

Progression Manager, widening participation. MA , FHEA. SEDA SLT .
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