1.6 If you want to know more ...

Each If you want to know more … section of the course thematically presents additional material and resources on the topics included in that section of the course.

Understanding open practices and open educational resources

Explore different perspectives on openness in this playlist [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] created by the OER Research Hub or take a look at the ‘Understanding OER in 10 videos’ playlist. 

For a more detailed and systematic exploration of ‘openness’ Chapter Two, ‘What sort of open?’ of Martin Weller’s book The Battle for Open is highly recommended. You can download the book for free


For an in-depth review of the open access movement, its motivations and impact, read this post from opensource.com. The article also highlights a 2012 book about open access by long-time advocate Peter Suber, and you can download a copy and find out more on the MIT press website. See also Peter Suber’s more recent reflections from 2013 in ‘Peter Suber on the state of open access: where are we, what still needs to be done?’

Read through the section on open access publishing and the selected resources in P2PU’s Open Research course or the Public Library of Science (PLOS) on open access. The Jisc is in the process of developing best practice advice for open access. Read ‘Unpicking the open access lock’  for suggestions focused on the HE sector. Creative Commons collates different examples of the impact of open licensing. See in particular examples of social justice


Since 2011, the Open Government Partnership has co-ordinated the international effort to help ‘governments [be] more open, accountable and responsive to citizens’. As of April 2016, there were 69 members of the partnership, including the United Kingdom. 

Since 2005, UK Research Councils have required recipients of funding to publish open access, stating that ‘Free and open access to the outputs of publicly funded research offers significant social and economic benefits as well as aiding the development of new research.’

In some countries, greater transparency has had a massive impact on reducing corruption (see ‘Why conduct research in the open?’). This has also helped in disaster situations, see ‘How open map data is helping save lives in Nepal’.


Open textbooks are the type of OER that have gained most traction in the United States due to the high cost of proprietary materials and the potential cost savings for students. Read more about the impact these are having across the USA in this opensource.com blog post: ‘How does your state use open educational resources?’.

In October 2015 it was announced that the Affordable College Textbook Act had been reintroduced for consideration by the United States Congress. 


Katy Jordan blogged the results of her research on MOOC completion ratesFind out what happened next

The OER Research Hub is an open research project examining the impact of OER on learning and teaching that shared its methodologies, data and tools in the open. This has enabled others, such as the ROER4D project, which investigates the impact of OER in the Global South, to review and reuse their approach (see ‘Question harmonisation process’); and other researchers to reuse their data (see Robert Schwer’s post ‘Data reports OER research hub’).

Open education

For a quick overview of open education and its benefits, read this overview from the Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC). You can also see how open education developed on the Open Knowledge Foundation’s (OKF’s) crowdsourced timeline of important events. The OKF has also produced the Open Education Handbook, an invaluable resource that covers many of the topics contained in this course. 

For a comprehensive look at recent developments in open education, read John Casey’s article ‘Taking care of business? The political economy of MOOCs and open education. If you’re interested in finding out more about the history of The Open University (UK), browse the History of the OU project blog.

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

An opensource.com article charts MOOCs, and their development from being openly licensed and open enrolment to being increasingly non-open in terms of course material.

Another exploration of this dual meaning of ‘open’ comes from Timothy Vollmer on the Creative Commons blog.

Using open educational resources (OER)

The Right to Research Coalition produced a series of ‘Open Access 101’ webcasts for conference participants to introduce people to the concepts of open access, open data and open education. Watch them here.

OER Policy for Europe has produced an OER Mythbusting! resource which helps answer common questions about OER and addresses some of the misconceptions about this type of resource. University College London’s (UCL’s) Why Use OER? also provides a more HE-orientated list of reasons to use OER. You could also look at Commonwealth of Learning’s ‘A basic guide to open educational resources (OER)’ or explore different definitions of OER in this Creative Commons wiki entry: ‘What is OER?’

A number of courses on using and reusing OER are available. These include Commonwealth of Learning’s short course called Understanding Open Educational Resources, the ExplOERer project’s facilitated course Learning to (Re)Use Open Educational Resources and Open Washington’s How to use Open Educational Resources.

Explore the relations between different facets of open knowledge by reading the Open Education Working Group’s Open Data as Open Educational Resources: Case Studies of Emerging Practice (eds. Javiera Atenas and Leo Havermann) or take a closer look at the development of open knowledge by exploring this joint Open Knowledge Foundation and Finnish Institute in London crowdsourced map.

Delve deeper into issues around the term ‘open’ within the context of OER by reading Vivien Rolfe’s blog post for ALT: ‘OER: a languishing teenager?’. Review JISC’s ‘Case studies of OER use’ in Higher Education or read the UKOER/SCORE Review Report – Journeys to Open Educational Practice.  

Open licensing

For a concise introduction to Creative Commons licences read Jane Park’s overview: ‘What is Creative Commons and why does it matter?’ or watch Paul Stacey present an overview of Creative Commons licences (recorded as part of the BC campus course Adopting Open Textbooks).

If you’re interested in how to look for images that will meet the filter requirements of school PCs, or in devising activities with colleagues to encourage children to explore Creative Commons licensing, find out more in Open Knowledge Foundation’s post by educator Jo Badge.

The DigiLit Leicester project, in partnership with Leicester City Council, has produced a series of resources, including Understanding Open Licensing. Find out more about the project and the project’s other resources.

If you’d like to find out more about how to utilise open licences, check out examples of Creative Commons licence use.

Now go to Section 2 of the course.