Promoting global collaboration in academic development though OERs: challenges and opportunities

Keith Smyth, Panos Vlachopoulos, David Walker, Anne Wheeler

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review


Three UK institutions have been collaborating over a period of one academic year to design and develop a jointly produced Open Educational Resource module on 'Global Dimensions in Higher Education', for use within and beyond their own Postgraduate and Continuing Professional Development provision for academic staff. The project team have documented, and also reflected online, upon the process of the development of the OER and the challenges they have faced in simultaneously getting the module ready for delivery in their home institutions while also ensuring a wider relevance and potential for reuse within the sector. The team has also visited a number of possible international partners to promote the module and explore the extent to which such an OER could be repurposed and used for local deliveries in contexts and settings other than the UK one within which it was produced. Semi-structured interviews are being conducted and expert narratives in the form of 'Global Stories' have been collected to capture the views of potential international partners, and to inform the further development of the Global Dimensions in Higher Education module. This short paper provides an overview of progress to date, and in the context of the module being developed asks the following three questions: can OERs be harnessed and integrated in systems and cultures that were not directly involved in the design and the development process?; what factors appear to influence the decision of potential international partners about whether they could use OERs produced in countries and cultures other than their own?; and can we meaningfully internationalise academic development provision through a postgraduate open online module? Our experiences thus far suggest that an OER of the type we are developing can only have a wider value if appropriate attention is focussed on international issues of content, user access, and skills as well as the form of the OER, the purpose of it and the underlying pedagogy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of OER13
Subtitle of host publicationcreating a virtuous circle
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
PublisherOpen University
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes
EventOER13 : creating a virtuous circle - Nottingham, England
Duration: 26 Mar 201327 Mar 2013


ConferenceOER13 : creating a virtuous circle
CityNottingham, England


  • online academic development
  • institutional collaboration
  • higher education
  • globalisation
  • internationalisation
  • continuing professional development
  • OER


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