OERopoly: Collaborative Learning about Open Educational Resources through Game-Playing

OERopoly: Collaborative Learning about Open Educational Resources through Game-Playing

Teresa Connolly (The Open University, UK) and Elpida Makriyannis (The Open University, UK)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0300-4.ch021
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Abstract

The Open Educational Resources (OER) community supports the belief that knowledge is a public good and, combined with technological advancement, can provide an extraordinary opportunity to help equalize the distribution of high-quality knowledge and educational opportunities for everyone in the world. This chapter’s hypothesis centres on the premise that: “The OER ecology does not seem to be widely adopted or understood and that game-playing has the potential to raise awareness and improve understanding of such relationships in an entertaining manner, while engaging in a deep discussion about OER best practices.” To address this hypothesis, the authors present OERopoly, a game that has been designed and developed to raise awareness about OER. They set out to assess game-playing as a means of improving collaborative learning opportunities around OER projects through this OER ecology: the OER projects themselves, the online communities, and the Web 2.0 technologies used by OER projects.
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Introduction

The Open Educational Resources (OER) community is an international movement that supports the belief that knowledge is a public good and, combined with technological advancement, can provide an extraordinary opportunity to help equalize the distribution of high-quality knowledge and educational opportunities for everyone in the world. The digital world is enabling this new culture of learning that can reach out to increased numbers of people in society and bring many more people into education, through widening engagement, increasing social mobility and improving productivity in our rapidly evolving high-tech knowledge-based economy. Over the past decade, individual OER as well as an ever-increasing number of OER projects have grown in importance and recognition as a public good. There are many examples of OER that have demonstrated inspiring accomplishments from cooperation by multiple participants in different countries; from various institutions collaborating across borders as well as from individual champions and small groups who, together with funding organizations, have developed and promoted a wide and diverse OER community across the world.

Despite such ongoing support by a variety of funding bodies and the international acknowledgement of many successful initiatives by institutions within and between countries, OER still do not seem to be more widely adopted and understood. In several cases the wider community does not seem to be even aware of them. There seems to be a need for the OER movement to evolve from the niche to the mainstream and engaging a broader audience including buy-in from different stakeholders such as policy-makers, government, Higher Education institutions (HE) and other significant players. To orchestrate this wider dissemination, it is necessary to increase both uptake and improved visibility of the resources, thus increasing OER awareness. This requires new approaches to be adopted. Similarly, to achieve a suitable scalable impact and the projection of a coherent message also merits new avenues of exploration. Thus to build awareness, understanding and engage the biggest possible segment of the general public around this ‘OER ecology’ or, indeed, an eco-system of: content, technologies and communities of practice invites a new methodology.

Our hypothesis, therefore, centres on the premise that:

“The OER ecology (content, technologies and communities of practice) does not seem to be widely adopted or understood and that game-playing has the potential to raise awareness and improve understanding of such relationships in an entertaining manner, while engaging in a deep discussion about OER best practices.”

To address this hypothesis we present OERopoly, a game that has been designed and developed to raise awareness about OER; can be used to build collective intelligence for the OER movement. We set out to assess game-playing as a means of improving collaborative learning opportunities around OER projects through three perceived worlds: the OER projects themselves, the online communities and the Web 2.0 technologies used by OER projects. This has been achieved via a series of events focused on the playing of the OERopoly game. This on-going research work is reported here. It includes evidence that is being collected from the intensive workshops that contain a mix of OER practitioners and experts in educational technology. This is an interim report preceding a more extensive analysis of the respective case studies with different groups of OER and non-OER experienced practitioners and learners. Nonetheless it is important to express the underlying purpose of the research here - to facilitate a greater degree of dissemination of the three worlds of OER.

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