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A comparison of production processes for OER

Robert Schuwer, Andy Lane, Anda Counotte-Potman, Martina Wilson

Last modified: 2011-04-03


In most cases the initial production and publication of OER is funded through a special project with grants from external bodies. In this phase, OER are developed both from scratch and derived from regular courses. After this project phase, the ongoing development and publication of OER continues and the question of the management and upgrading of the OER comes into focus. Therefore, it is necessary to develop an efficient routine for the continuing production and maintenance of OER.

In Schuwer et al (2010) the major characteristics for such production and publication processes were identified. The characteristics with the highest influence on production costs for OER in three cases (OpenLearn from Open University United Kingdom (OU-UK), OpenER from Open Universiteit Netherlands (OU-NL) and Delft OpenER from Unversity of Technology Delft) were the parts of the process that were automated, the size of the production team and the type of OER content created.


In this paper we will build upon the results of the previous paper. We will narrow down to open universities only. This is because open universities have specific characteristics compared to regular "brick-and-mortar"universities that have a great influence on the production of OER:


  • Open universities mainly produce self study learning materials rather than support materials for classroom based study.
  • Most content is already digitally available and in many cases already contains interactive elements and rich media. A question is how to decide which of these elements should be openly available.


We will describe and compare the production processes of two institutions, the OU-UK and the OU-NL, both in the initial project phase (OpenLearn for OU-UK and OpenER for OU-NL) and post this initial phase. We aim to identify the differences and commonalities and the influence of these on the efficiency of the production processes. Furthermore, we will investigate if the list of characteristics from the previous paper is also valid for the post-project phase of producing and maintaining OER.


Schuwer, Robert; Wilson, Tina; Van Valkenburg, Willem et al. (2010). Production of OER, a Quest for Efficiency. In Open Ed 2010. Barcelona: UOC, OU, BYU. [Accessed: 11/12/2010]. <>



OER; production; efficiency; sustainability

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