Widely available learning content, and informational content, is fundamentally changing the relationship between students and their institutions as sources of expertise. This presents a challenge to existing models of the production of academic knowledge and the role of the institution in supporting student learning. Coupled to this, HE funding models are changing in response economic pressures, many institutions are re-examining their own business models in response to this.
Between 2009 and 2012 HEFCE invested in this area through the JISC and the Academy to promote the sharing and reuse of learning resources, and to provide a reputational benefit to UK higher education through the promotion of high quality learning resources worldwide.
During the UKOER Programme more than 80 projects benefited from funding, many with multiple partners across a wide range of sectors. The institutions involved experienced significant benefits and the UK HE sector as a whole has experienced increased academic reputation as a result of the work undertaken by this programme.
The Programme built on previous work in the areas of digital content, repositories and sharing of learning materials and involved three phases of activity as illustrated by the following diagram: