Launching the OERu
During Open Access Week 2012, Dr Wayne Mackintosh, a long-serving member of the Creative Commons Aotearoa NZ advisory panel, detailed an ambitious plan: the OERu, a credit-providing university based entirely on open educational resources.
One year later, a slew of tertiary institutions have signed up, including New Zealand’s own Wintec and Lincoln University, as well as institutions from Canada, Ireland, South Africa, UK, among others.
First and foremost, the OERu is truly open: its courses are openly accessible, its resources are openly licensed and its operations and governance are entirely transparent. As a core principle of engagement, anchor partners commit to releasing educational resources under one of the free cultural works approved CC licenses (that’s Creative Commons Attribution or Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike).
Second, the OERu is committed to offering students credit. This is a remarkable innovation, and New Zealand institutions have been the first to try it out. In late 2012, Otago Polytechnic offered the NZQA-approved Graduate Diploma in Tertiary Teaching through the OERu, in order, as Otago Polytechnic’s Chief Executive Phil Ker put it, “to share these opportunities for learning freely with the world using open educational resources.”
As Paul Stacey concluded on the Creative Commons blog back in February, “the OERu is distinctively open.”
An additional point for the Creative Commons community in Aotearoa New Zealand is that New Zealand has the highest number of anchor partners in the world. It’s great to see so many tertiary institutions in New Zealand getting behind Creative Commons licensing.
The good news is that this distinctively open OERu is officially launching this week! The guest of honour for the meeting will be Sir John Daniel, former UNESCO Assistant Director General of Education, who will officially launch the OER university website. If you’re interested, you can (virtually) attend: Just visit the soon-to-be-unveiled homepage, and register.