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What is the OER Tertiary Education Network (OERTen) and how do I join?

The OER Foundation and existing anchor partners extend an open invitation to all post-secondary institutions that care about sharing knowledge as a core value of education to join the OER Tertiary Education Network (OERTen).

The OERTen is leading the implementation of the OER university (OERu). All accredited post-secondary institutions are eligible to join the OERTen. The status of founding anchor partner was awarded to those institutions who joined the OERTen innovation network on or before the inaugural meeting of founding anchor partners held 9-10 November 2011. Institutions who join the OERTen prior to the launch of the OERu 2012 prototype courses will qualify as anchor partners of the network.

What are the requirements for a university, college or polytechnic to become an anchor partner and member of OERTen?

We are serious about realising the vision of the OER university in supporting OER learners to achieve credible qualifications and helping education institutions achieve their strategic objectives through open education approaches. We welcome all institutions who are committed to creating a parallel learning universe to augment and add value to their existing provision to join us. OERTen anchor partners must:

  • be formally accredited institutions (sorry, no degree mill or diploma mill organisations allowed)
  • subscribe to the core principles of engagement for the OERu
  • be a silver or gold member of the OER Foundation
  • Agree to assemble two courses based solely on OER and open access materials.

If you are interested in joining the OER university as an OERTen anchor partner, email Wayne Mackintosh, Director of the OER Foundation.

Please consult the following resources for more information on the OERu network:

What tasks do you envisage being an anchor partner will entail?

Anchor partners are expected to:

  • Participate in the transparent decision-making process which is based on the principles of rough consensus aimed at reflecting the sense of the anchor partners
  • Provide credential services for agreed courses and programs
  • Assist the network with the assembly of a minimum of two courses using existing OERs.

What is the estimated time commitment for anchor partners?

Most anchor partners contribute approximately a 0.2 full time equivalent staff member(s) to the project. The more time institutions invest -- the greater their likely return will be. Open transparent systems function and prosper under the principles of meritocracy. The more individual institutions contribute, the greater their merit, seniority and influence in the international OER universe. This builds trust among prospective learners when they take decisions about their preferred anchor partner for credentialisation.

What is the business model -- how will anchor partners fund their credentialisation services?

Learning will be free utilising high quality OERs and volunteer student support services to be provided by "Academic Volunteers International". Students will need to pay for assessment and credential services, or national governments may provide grant support to anchor partners for these services. The business model is based on cost recovery for the assessment and credentialisation services an anchor partner may provide. These costs will vary for each institution and the OER university will not determine the costing for these services.

Apart from supporting the “social justice” mission of the university, the main benefit from an institutional perspective will be to have a significant presence in the OER space, with students likely to transfer into mainstream programs. The OER university concept is also clearly associated with access, equity, affordability and sustainable education practice.

Who awards academic credit for courses or papers offered through the OER university network?

The participating organisations as accredited institutions in their local jurisdictions will award credit in accordance with their local policies. The OER university network will provide mechanisms for articulation and credit transfer among participating institutions.

Project planning and management

How are planning decisions made for the OER university?

The OER university is an open project which subscribes to the principles of Open Philanthropy. We welcome all genuine contributions and collaborations for planning the realisation of the vision for free learning for all students worldwide. Decision-making is based on the principles of rough consensus aimed at reflecting the "sense" of the anchor partners.

The OERTen anchor partners will have final authority on all decisions as these organisations are responsible for awarding academic credit and ensuring that OER learners can achieve credible qualifications. The OERTen network has established a Management Committee comprising senior leaders appointed by participating institutions.

How can I help?

There are many tasks and activities required for building the OER university.