About the OERRH Project

OER Research Hub gathers research on the impact of open educational resources (OER) on learning and teaching practices. Our intention is to respond to a need from the OER world for more research on which they can base their decisions. We share evidence that we gather through mixed methods research including interviews, surveys, focus groups, critical incidence analysis, activity theory and analysis of learning design.  Our findings are likely to be of interest to a wide range of stakeholders in the education sector.  In addition to producing a range of traditional research outputs, we are in the processing of releasing our data and our research openly (CC-BY).  OER Research Hub is supported by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation . The project is based at The Open University’s (OU) Institute of Educational Technology and is the OU’s flagship project for research into open education and OER.

IET (CC-BY, Bea de los Arcos)

The Institute of Educational Technology (CC-BY, Bea de los Arcos)

OERRH works openly and we have pursued an agile approach to project management. This has allowed us to create a reactive and flexible context for achieving the project’s objectives.

Our project combines:

1. A hub for research data:

We provide the world community with cutting edge research into OER impact to improve understanding of the particular influence of openness.  Our research consists of a range of linked studies at different levels of granularity.  As a whole, the project is orientated around 11 hypotheses that represent common beliefs and issues around OER. Our overarching ‘key’ research hypotheses are:

  • Use of OER leads to improvement in student performance and satisfaction
  • The open aspect of OER creates different usage and adoption patterns than other online resources.

Our research methods include:

  • Surveys of attitudes and behaviours of formal students, informal learners and educators towards OER
  • Structured interviews with students, teachers, OER creators, policymakers, librarians, formal and informal learners
  • Analysis of student performance
  • Descriptions of pilot activities and their impact
  • Case studies of OER policy implementation
  • Testing tools and technologies for OER research
  • Synthesizing research into OER
  • Metaresearch into openness in education

2. A targeted collaboration program with existing OER projects:

We work in collaboration with various international projects across four education ‘sectors’ (K12, college (including Community Colleges), higher education and informal), with each collaboration addressing one or more of the above research hypotheses. These collaborations are designed to enable joint work across key contextual issues in OER implementation, contributing to the project’s evidence base.

  • Identifying the issues and barriers to use of OER
  • Identifying possible solutions, routes forward that might be needed
  • Curation and mapping of evidence against the research hypotheses

3. An international fellowship program:

The work of the OER Research Hub aims to strengthen and create networks between practitioners, educators and OER experts. Central to achieving this networking objective is the project’s international fellowship program, which has provided opportunities for fellows to collaborate directly with the project, share data relating to OERRH hypotheses, network and participate in OERRH dissemination activities such as conferences and webinars.

Through our Linked Fellowship programme we have endeavoured to support and provide a space for our OERRH collaborations OER practitioners and researchers to gain deeper insight into and contribute towards OERRH’s research methodology, while through our Open fellows we have been able to extend the range  (beyond our collaborations) of those involved in our research.

What will the project deliver?

  • OER Impact Map – a dissemination tool which uses data visualization and mapping to help users make sense of curated data about OER impact, policies, and projects
  • OERRH ‘Researcher Pack’ comprising research instruments used in the project which are now available on an open licence
  • From Summer 2014 we will be running a an open course on open research for the School of Open (facilitated and non-facilitated)
  • An open archive of data from research collaborations
  • Dissemination, networking and data gathering at key OER events across the globe and through fellowship
  • Publication of peer-reviewed academic papers in open access journals
  • A range of media outputs including slidecasts; videos and blog posts
  • Dissemination of research findings though conference presentation
  • A series of project reports

 All of the research instruments developed through the project will be released under an open licence so that others can make use of them or adapt them to a different context.

You can watch a short presentation about the project (dated Summer 2013) here:


One thought on “About

  1. Pingback: First week with the OERRH in the IET at the OU in the UK | Megan Beckett

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