The Open University UK launched OpenLearn, an Open Educational Resources Website, which allows the user to browse through a selection of units of learning material, covering all subject areas. OpenLearn offers tools to enable social learning, such as a videoconference system (Flashmeeting), discussion forums, learning journals, an instant message system (MSG), and a software for the creation of knowledge maps (Compendium). The primary learning content from OpenLearn is placed in the ‘LearningSpace’, an open learning environment, built automatically from content described in XML, and running within the Moodle open source learning environment. The initiative is also producing an equally large collection of material that is in a less processed state: this is placed in a ‘LabSpace’ to emphasise its more experimental nature. LabSpace content is intended as more suitable for educators, but there is no particular barrier to learner use of the content and, in some cases, LabSpace content provides the largest collections of material from a single subject.OER initiatives must have some sort of funding model. Three of the most common ones are highlighted: external funding, institutional funding, and government funding. OpenLearn is currently located in a mixed-mode approach, because it counts on funds from its sponsor (William and Flora Hewlett Foundation), and from the Open University UK itself. Though other models are being analyzed, such a kind of approach is likely to be maintained.
Article originally presented at ICDE 2007, Toluca, Mexico. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 UK, England and Wales Licence. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/uk