Sustaining and Embedding Innovations - wiki JISC Sustaining and Embedding Innovations / Sustaining projects via open approaches
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Sustaining projects via open approaches

“‘Sustainability' is not about money, it's about the way we wish to love, live, eat, work, play and learn together. If OER is 'unsustainable', it is a symptom of wider social practices which are unsustainable.”

Joss Winn, University of Lincoln, Centre for Educational Research and Development.


“The movement toward open content reflects a growing shift in the way academics ... are conceptualizing education to a view that is more about the process of learning than the information conveyed in their courses.”

Tom Browne, University of Exeter, Education Enhancement, Academic Services


“Information is everywhere; the challenge is to make effective use of it. As customizable educational content is made increasingly available for free over the Internet, students are learning not only the material, but also skills related to finding, evaluating, interpreting, and repurposing the resources they are studying in partnership with their teachers.”

Educause Horizon Report 2010.


“Sustainability = embedding institutionally AND communally”

Helen Beetham


“Openness” is a general concept around which individuals, institutions and the education sector as a whole can operate and which can encourage:


  • Sharing, re-use and re-purposing of resources by individuals, institutions and the sector as a whole.
  • Access for free.
  • Changing practice, roles and responsibilities in terms of development and use.
  • Communal development and transparency.
  • Common approaches to IPR that support rather than hinder the core objectives of openness.
  • Sector approaches/standards to support identification, management, promotion, categorising, tagging, re-use and re-purposing of resources.
  • Greater accessibility and usability of resources.


In the education sector, the openness concept is typically encountered within:


  • Open source software
  • Open educational resources (OER)
  • Open standards


Further resources and guidance on open approaches

JISC and the Higher Education Academy are collaborating in this area through the Open Education Resources programme.  The OER infoKit is a core resource which provides access to guidance and outputs from the programme and aims to both inform and explain OERs and the issues surrounding them for managers, academics and those in learning support. It is aimed at senior managers, learning technologists, technical staff and educators with an interest in releasing OERs to the educational community.  There is a section of the infoKit which focused on sustainability. Other related resources include the OER Pilot Phase Synthesis and Evaluation Report and Open Educational Resources International Symposium  It is recommended that these resources are referred to for further discussions around the benefits and challenges of open approaches and the future of OERs.