OER Toolkit – Collaborating

Why Collaborate on OER?

Quality of Instructional Materials 
Sapire and Reed’s (2001) study showed that faculty collaboration on the redesign of open course materials improved the quality of instructional materials–specifically in terms of the materials’ ability to scaffold student learning across knowledge domains and to offer enhanced, inquiry-based learning experiences.


Student Learning  Azzam’s (2017) study showed that medical students’ collaborative contribution to Wikipedia articles cultivated core medical competencies, while helping students to build their identities as digital contributors and socially responsible physicians. The study also revealed how students’ engagement with the content led to improvements in the quality of health-related knowledge disseminated in the global public domain.


Faculty Learning  Petrides et al. (2011) found that collaboration with peers around the integration of an open textbook into a statistics course led faculty participants to increase their collaborative practices in subsequent course planning efforts.


Sustainability Petrides et al. (2008) found that when faculty collaborated in the creation of OER, they were more likely to continue creating and sharing content online on a consistent and ongoing basis–suggesting that communities and collaboration play a role in sustaining OER.


Research Cited:

Azzam, A. (2017). Why medical schools should embrace Wikipedia: Final-year medical student contributions to Wikipedia articles for academic credit at one school. Academic Medicine, Vol. 92, No. 2.

Petrides, L., Jimes, C., Middleton-Detzner, C., Walling, J. and Weiss, S. (2011). Open textbook adoption and use: Implications for teachers and learners. Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning, Vol. 26, Issue 1: 39.

Petrides, L., Nguyen, L., Jimes, C., and Karaglani, A. (2008). Open educational resources: Inquiring into author use and reuse. International Journal of Technology Enhanced Education, Vol. 1, No. 1-2: 98-117.

Sapire, I. and Reed, Y. (2011). Collaborative design and use of open educational resources: A case study of a mathematics teacher education project in South Africa. Distance Learning, Vol 32, No. 2: 195-211.

  • Preferences for the types and formats of course materials that work best for them
  • Preferences for how they would like to access course materials
  • Opinions and feedback on the quality or effectiveness of learning materials for their own learning
  • Knowledge of how to contribute to web-based instructional materials with their own content or aggregated information
  • Knowledge of course objectives
  • Understanding of student needs and learning styles
  • Expertise in evaluating resources for use and application in a course
  • Experience in constructing and authoring instructional materials
  • Expertise in various pedagogical approaches and curriculum implementation
  • Expertise in accessibility
  • Understanding of copyright and its pitfalls, and of how to select and apply open licenses
  • Knowledge of how to find things and to make things discoverable by others
  • Understanding of the best way to share resources for future audiences
  • Expertise in technology for online authoring and publishing
  • Overall information literacy expertise
  • Experience with the content of coursework

Here is an example of an OER development process. The groups (student, library staff, or faculty) that are involved in each step are identified with a label at the top of the step. In some cases, they overlap across roles to support the OER process, as depicted in the diagram. Although not listed, other collaborators may also play a role in any OER process, such as instructional designers, accessibility services, and the school library.

An example of an OER development process
Updated June 13, 2019 1:16pm