In the last few years, Open Educational Resources (OER) have gained much attention. From January 2006 to December 2007 the Open e-Learning Content Observatory Services (OLCOS), a project co-funded by the European Commission under the eLearning Programme, explored how OER can make a difference in teaching and learning. The project aimed at promoting OER through different activities and products such as a European OER roadmap and OER tutorials. In this paper we present some results of the roadmap which provides an overview of the OER landscape and describes possible pathways towards a higher level of production, sharing and usage of OER. Moreover, the roadmap provides recommendations on required measures and actions to support decision making at the level of educational policy and institutions.
The roadmap emphasises that the knowledge society demands competencies and skills that require innovative educational practices based on open sharing and the evaluation of ideas, fostering creativity and teamwork among the learners. Collaborative creation and sharing among learning communities of OER is regarded as an important catalyst of such educational innovations.
The OLCOS project also developed free online tutorials for practitioners. The objective of these tutorials is supporting students and teachers in the creation, re-use and sharing of OER. To promote hands-on work, the tutorials advise on questions such as the following: How to search for OER? Which materials may be re-used and modified? How to produce and license own OER? The tutorials will be accessible and, potentially, will evolve beyond the end of the OLCOS project, because they are published on an open and successful Wiki based platform (Wikieducator.org) and can be updated by anybody.
Originally published in eLearning Papers, No 7. ISSN 1887-1542. www.elearningpapers.eu.