OU blog

Personal Blogs

Maria Leonidou

New blog post

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Maria Leonidou, Sunday, 31 Mar 2013, 15:32

Even though there are some open content initiatives originating from developing countries (Wiley 2006, Johnstone 2005) the vast majority are produced by individuals, organizations or institutions from developed countries (Unwin 2005) and this is problematic. Some suggest that if open content should reach its full potential a global balance needs to be found where developing countries are not confined to being consumers of learning material but also producers (Albright 2005, Unwin 2005).


Language style relates to problems with e.g. slang, choice of words etc. The inhibiting factor for reuse here is not that the content is in a language not used in the education but rather that the style of language used makes the content hard to understand for the learner.

The factor translation means that the content is in a language not used in education and the content has to be translated before it can be used. Most of the open content is only available in English and the language problem is one of the greatest barriers to open content use in developing countries (Larson and Murray 2008).


Open content created for a specific context might be inappropriate or useless in another context. The relevance of the content concerns several layers, e.g. examples from developed countries may not be relevant for students originating from other cultures, the pedagogy used may not be appropriate, the level of the content may not be appropriate etc. (Mason 1999, Albright 2005, Unwin 2005, Selinger 2004).

Another issue is that open content do not fit the scope of the course. This does not only relate to the actual information of the content but also to how universities deliver the courses in term of sequence of lectures, technical platform used, graphical layout of the material etc. This is seen as problematic when the informants try to use open content that consists of a full lecture in their course. Part of the lecture may fit within the scope of the course but it does not fit as a whole.


Access problems concern issues with the availability of open content. Problems with open content are not the lack of available resources on Internet the problem is in finding suitable resources (Albright 2005, Unwin 2005, Larson and Murray 2008).

Technical Resources

Technical resources refers to infrastructural problems and lack of access to needed technology and is seen as a major hinder for reuse of open content (Larson and Murray 2008, Unwin 2005, Albright 2005). Just having access to Internet is often not enough though if you have poor bandwidth. This factor has two dimensions. First it is a problem for content developers to download content, resulting in content developers disregarding some resources. Secondly it is a problem when they create content to be used by students.

Quality can mean different things, the most obvious quality issue has to do with the actual content, is the information and knowledge distributed in the object correct? That content is “correct” does not necessarily mean that it is appropriate to use in every context. Poor information quality means the actual quality of the information provided in the content. This can however mean many things, e.g. the information is incorrect, the information is not coherent etc.


“Sustainability will be defined as an open educational resource project’s ongoing ability to meet its goals.” (Wiley 2007,p.5)Open educational resource projects must find two unique types of sustainability. First, they must find a way to sustain the production and sharing of open educational resources. Second, and of equal importance, they must find a way to sustain the use and reuse of their open educational resources by end users (whether teachers or learners).


Wiley, D., A (2006) The Current State of Open Educational Resources. 2008-09-04 http://opencontent.org/blog/archives/247

Johnstone, S. M. (2005) Open Educational Resources Serve the World. Educause Quarterly, 28, 3, 15-18.

Unwin, T. (2005) Towards a Framework for the Use of ICT in Teacher Training in Africa. Open Learning, 20, 113-130.

Albright, P. (2005) UNESCO (iiep): Final forum report. 2008-09-01 http://learn.creativecommons.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/03/oerforumfinalreport.pdf

Larson, R. C. & Murray, E. (2008) Open Educational Resources for Blended Learning in High Schools: Overcoming Impediments in Developing Countries. Journal for Asynchronous Learning Networks, 12, 85-103.

Mason, R. (1999) Global Education Fact or Fad? Keynote at The Digital Millenium Collaboration, Integration, Education. National University Telecommunication Network Conference Washinton.

Selinger, M. (2004) Cultural and Pedagogical Implications of a Global E-learning Programme. Cambridge Journal of Education, 34, 223-239.

Wiley David, 2007, “ On the Sustainability of Open Educational Resource Initiatives in Higher Education”

Hatakka Mathias, 2009, “ Build it and They will come?- Inhibiting factors for reuse of Open content in Developing countries”



Share post