Postgraduate students as OER capacitators

Thomas William King


A comprehensive theoretical, legal and practical basis for OER has been developed over the past fifteen years, supported by the expansion of open source curation platforms and the work of advocacy groups and international bodies. OER’s potential has been sufficiently documented; the question remains how best to support, integrate and normalise OER activity within the academic community in a sustainable fashion. This paper draws on the experiences of the Vice Chancellor’s Open Educational Resources Adaptation project in the University of Cape Town, which explored whether postgraduate students, with their blend of developing subject knowledge, greater time resources, and experience of teaching artefacts from both a learner’s and educator’s perspective, may be a valuable resource for lecturers or institutions eager to engage in OER but lacking the requisite support structures. It was found that postgraduates were best employed as capacitating agents, focusing on the non-pedagogical elements of OER adaptation.


open educational resources; postgraduate students; sustainability; intellectual property management; openness; OER

Full Text:



Alaniska, H., Arboix Codina, E., Bohrer, J., Dearlove, R., Eriksson, S., Helle, E. & Wiberg, L. K. (2006). Student involvement in the processes of quality assurance agencies. Helsinki: European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education. Retrieved from

Atkins, D., Brown, J. & Hammond, A. (2007). A Review of the Open Educational Resources (OER) Movement: achievements, challenges, and new opportunities. Retrieved from

Baraniuk, R. G. (2008). Challenge and opportunities for the open education movement: A Connexions case study. In T. Iiyoshi & M.S.V. Kumar, Opening up education: The collective advancement of education through open technology, open content and open knowledge (pp. 230–246). Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press.

Bovill, C., Bulley, C. J. & Morss, K. (2011). Engaging and empowering first-year students through curriculum design: perspectives from the literature. Teaching in Higher Education, 16(2), 197–209.

Camilleri, A. F. & Ehlers, D. E. (2011). Mainstreaming Open Educational Practice: Recommendations for policy. Maastricht: Opal Consortium. Retrieved from

Carson, S., Kanchanaraksa, S, Gooding, I., Mulder, F. & Schuwer, R. (2012). Impact of OpenCourseWare publication in higher education participation and student recruitment. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 13(4).

Caswell, T., Henson S., Jensen M. & Wiley D.A. (2008) Open Educational Resources: enabling universal education. International Review of Researching Open and Distance Learning, 9(1).

Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI). (2007). Giving Knowledge for Free. Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. Retrieved from

Cook-Sather, A. (2014). Student-faculty partnership in explorations of pedagogical practice: a threshold concept in academic development. International Journal for Academic Development, 19(3), 186–198.

D’Antoni, S. (2009). Open Educational Resources: reviewing initiatives and issues. Open Learning: The Journal of Open and Distance Learning, 24(1), 3–10. Retrieved from

Denzin, N. (2006). Sociological Methods: A Sourcebook (5th ed). Piscataway, New Jersey: Aldine Transaction.

Engeström, Y. (2001). Expansive Learning at Work: toward an activity theoretical reconceptualization. Journal of Education and Work, 14(1), 133–156.

Gourley, B. & Lane, A. (2009). Re‐invigorating openness at The Open University: the role of Open Educational Resources. Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning, 24(1), 57–65.

Hodgkinson-Williams, C. & Paskevicius, M. (2011). Framework to understand postgraduate students’ adaption of lecturers’ teaching materials as OER. In A. Okada. (2012). Open Educational Resources and Social Networks: Co-Learning and Professional Development. London: Scholio Educational Research & Publishing. Retrieved from

Hodgkinson-Williams, C. A. & Paskevicius, M. (2013). It’s Not Their Job to Share Content’: a case study of the role of senior students in adapting teaching materials as open educational resources at the University of Cape Town. E-Learning and Digital Media, 10(2), 135–147.

Kanwar, A., Kodhandaraman, B & Umar, A. (2010). Towards Sustainable Open Educational Resources: A Perspective from the Global South. American Journal of Distance Learning, 24(2), 65–80.

Kawachi, P. (2013). Quality Assurance Guidelines for Open Educational Resources: TIPS framework. New Delhi: Commonwealth Media Centre for Asia.

King, T. (2016). A case study of student adaptation of Open Educational Resources at the University of Cape Town: A Diffusion of Innovations approach. Masters dissertation. Cape Town: University of Cape Town.

Kleymeer, P., Kleinman, M. & Hanss, T. (2010). Reaching the Heart of the University: Libraries and the Future of OER. In Open ED 2010 Proceedings. Barcelona: UOC, OU, BYU. Retrieved from

Kursun, E., Cagiltay, K. & Can, G. (2014). An investigation of faculty perspectives on barriers, incentives, and benefits of the OER movement in Turkey. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 15(6), 13–32.

Lane, A. (2008). Am I good enough? The mediated use of open educational resources to empower learners in excluded communities. In 5th Pan Commonwealth Forum on Open and Distance Learning, 13–17 July 2008. London: Commonwealth of Learning. Retrieved from

Lee, M. J. W., & McLoughlin, C. (2007). Teaching and learning in the Web 2.0 era: Empowering students through learner-generated content. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, 4(10), 21–34. Retrieved from

Masterman, E. (2015). Bringing Open Educational Practice to a Research-Intensive University: Prospects and Challenges. The Electronic Journal of e-Learning, 14(1), 31–42. Retrieved from

McGill, L. (2010). Open Educational Resources (OERs). Retrieved from

McGill, L. (2013, January 26). Sustainability. Retrieved from

Miao, F., Mishra, S. & McGreal, R. (Eds.) (2016). Open Educational Resources: Policy, Costs and Transformation. Paris: UNESCO and Commonwealth of Learning.

Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development/Eurostat (2005). Oslo Manual: Guidelines for Collecting and Interpreting Innovation Data, 3rd Edition. Paris: OECD Publishing.

Patton, MQ. (1999). Enhancing the quality and credibility of qualitative analysis. HSR: Health Services Research, 34(5) Part II, 1189–1208.

Rodgers, E. (2011). Measuring Our Impact: the Open.Michigan Initiative. Proceedings of OpenCourseWare Consortium Global 2011: Celebrating 10 Years of OpenCourseWare.

Spilovoy, T. M. & Seaman, J. (2015). Opening Public Institutions: OER in North Dakota and the Nation, 2015. Babson College: Babson Survey Research Group. Retrieved from

Tucker, K. & Bateman, P. (2009). A Research agenda for OER: discussion highlights. In UNESCO (2009). Open Educational Resources: conversations in cyberspace. Paris: UNESCO (pp. 85–96). Retrieved from

Wiley, D. A. (2007). On the Sustainability of Open Educational Resource Initiatives in Higher Education. Paris: OECD/CERI. Retrieved from



  • There are currently no refbacks.