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  1. 1. OpenER: A Dutch Initiative on OER Fred Mulder Robert Schuwer
  2. 2. Agenda <ul><li>Goal </li></ul><ul><li>Approach </li></ul><ul><li>Results </li></ul><ul><li>Lessons learned </li></ul><ul><li>Future </li></ul>
  3. 3. Goal <ul><li>Lower treshold to participate in formal Higher Education by offering free courses </li></ul>
  4. 4. Approach (1) <ul><li>courses of 25 study hours each (= 1 EC ) </li></ul><ul><li>a user-friendly on-line delivery system </li></ul><ul><li>substantial marketing and PR to create awareness with the Dutch population about OpenER and the OUNL </li></ul><ul><li>opportunities for formal assessment and certification as a starting point for a Higher Education study </li></ul>
  5. 5. Financials <ul><li>The OpenER-experiment received grants from </li></ul><ul><li>The Directorate Learning and Working, established by the Dutch Ministery of Education, Culture and Science and the Ministery of Social Affairs </li></ul><ul><li>The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation </li></ul><ul><li>To a total of approx. €660,000. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Measurements <ul><li>Main question: </li></ul><ul><li>Did OpenER had any effect on participation in formal Higher Education? </li></ul>
  7. 7. Some figures <ul><li>Launch on December 5, 2006 generated a lot of publicity </li></ul><ul><li>Several 100,000’s unique visitors </li></ul><ul><li>12% returning </li></ul><ul><li>24 courses online (4 – 45 hours / course) </li></ul><ul><li>5700 users registered voluntarily </li></ul><ul><li>Costs for creation €3000 - €30,000 </li></ul><ul><li>Formally ended June 2008 </li></ul>
  8. 8. Examination <ul><li>Five courses offered the possibility to do a formal examination, earning a certificate. </li></ul><ul><li>This service costs €50 for a user. </li></ul><ul><li>85 learners applied for a formal examination. </li></ul><ul><li>32 actually took the test, 29 of them passed (as of end 2008) </li></ul>
  9. 9. Examination (2) <ul><li>Reasons for the low number of applicants </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Courses were offered free, without any guidance, support or intervention </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reported by users: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Certificate not important for me </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>I am retired </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The course I studied did not have this possibility </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Employer did not find that important </li></ul></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Proof of the pudding <ul><li>Question on electronic order form for regular OUNL courses: </li></ul><ul><li>Was taking a free OpenER course a cause to order this course? </li></ul><ul><li>During period of 13/2/2008 to 30/6/2008: 9,3% of about 1600 buyers answered yes. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Reasons for not starting <ul><li>Financially (‘training is expensive’) </li></ul><ul><li>Time (‘study takes too much time with my fulltime job’) </li></ul><ul><li>Type of knowledge (‘other interests, more on skills than cognitive’) </li></ul><ul><li>No goal (‘I consider this supplementary’) </li></ul><ul><li>Age (‘No ambitions anymore. I am 79 years old.’) </li></ul>
  12. 12. Lessons learned (1) <ul><li>For some users another language than the Dutch language is a barrier. </li></ul><ul><li>Courses of 4 hours were considered too short to get a good idea of what it means to study a subject on this level of education. </li></ul><ul><li>For courses that were fully webbased and did not offer the possibility to print out the course text, users asked for a printed version. </li></ul><ul><li>Errors in the courses were reported by the learners. </li></ul><ul><li>Read aloud versions were hardly used. Main cause reported was the automatic generation of a read aloud version of a webpage (using Readspeaker) with errors in pronunciation. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Lessons learned (2) <ul><li>Change of attitude to open courses within OUNL </li></ul><ul><li>Objectives for publishing open courses for faculties </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The courses should give a good picture of the main subject areas in our faculty. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The courses should show how entertaining learning can be </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The courses should also be attractive for our own students. </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Three greatest challenges <ul><li>Rely on quality awareness of authors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Authors are already used to making self study material </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Support of top management is crucial </li></ul><ul><li>Producing open courses should be a regular task at faculties </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Higher delivery reliability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Not dependant on few enthusiastic people </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Main question remaining <ul><li>Sustainability: business model for offering free courses </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Can it ever be without grants? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Someone has to pay for it (the tax payer?) </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Future (1) <ul><li>Continuation with modest extension </li></ul><ul><li>Taskforce OER OUNL </li></ul>
  17. 17. Future (2) <ul><li>Extra: Spinoza series: Hall-of-Fame of Dutch scientists (Spinoza Prize Winners) </li></ul><ul><li>Goal: make the work of eminent scientists more well-known for non-scientists </li></ul><ul><li>Give a signal that these scientists find OER important </li></ul><ul><li>Currently: 2 courses online </li></ul>
  18. 18. Questions? <ul><li>Now or later: </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>