Rekha Bhatia, Munshi Yadav, Aashish Bhardwaj Department of Computer Science & Engineering/Information Technology, Guru Tegh Bahadur Institute of Technology, New Delhi. (,,

Abstract : The Open Educational Resources (OER) Initiatives, which aim to promote the sharing of knowledge worldwide, have shown a rapid growth during recent years & are supported by various foundations & institutions across the world. OER initiatives are considered as a part of a larger trend towards Open-ness in Higher Education, including well-established concepts such as Free & Open Source Software (FOSS) & Open Access (OA). One of the main benefits of OER initiatives is sharing of high quality learning materials. The objective of this paper is to spread the awareness of OER initiatives among the masses and stimulate its use. It provides an overview of the notion of Openness as well as Open Educational Resources. Besides, this paper also focuses on various OER initiatives currently being promoted throughout the world as well as in India. The immediate prospects for continuation and expansion of these initiatives are also highlighted. Keywords : OER, FOSS, Open Access, NPTEL, MIT OCW 1. Introduction: OER initiatives have been inspired not only by the notion that knowledge, information and education are the keys of the modern society but also by the growing success of open source software. A very large number of such initiatives are currently underway around the globe. To understand this growing trend, first of all, we must understand the term ‘open’. The primary aspect of open-ness deals with free availability over the Internet with as few restrictions as possible on the use of the resource. The term Open Educational Resources was first coined in 2002 at a conference hosted by UNESCO. By OER initiatives we understand:  Open Learning Content – including Open Course Ware, Open Content Modules, Learning Objects and Open Access Journals.  Open Software Tools to support the development, use & reuse of Learning Content.  Intellectual Property Licenses to promote open publishing of materials. [1] 2. Why OER? OER aims to provide high quality teaching & learning resources to the teachers and learners everywhere for free. It carries the motive to share knowledge with others worldwide, which is beneficial to scientific progress. By doing so, it will also contribute towards advancement of human knowledge, creativity & social welfare[2]. Some of the benefits of OER are to:

 Increase the reputation of academic institutions as world wide academic leaders. This project is getting funding support from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Various OER initiatives being promoted throughout the world: OER initiatives are still in their infancy and it is not possible to give an accurate estimation of the number of on-going OER projects.  Provide access to high quality free learning materials. Some of the prominent initiatives are briefly described below : a) MIT Open Course Ware: This is a free & open educational resource for educators. Here a question arises that when faculty can make money by writing textbooks then why they would give away their intellectual property for free. everyone is free to join here & take on a leadership role. c) The Sofia Project: This project is an open content initiative launched by Foothill-De Anza Community College California. b) The Rice University’s Connexions: This a rapidly growing collection of free scholarly materials and a powerful set of free tools to help authors collaboratively developing.These initiatives are supported by a number of open content initiatives including projects that offer Open Courseware. 3. but also to make an impact. high quality teaching materials for a variety of subjects. All we can say is that the number of such initiatives are growing at a faster pace. This initiative encourages the publication and free exchange of college level course materials on the World Wide Web. . It is different from various other such initiatives because it has contents from all over the world in a growing variety of languages. The reason behind this is that the vast majority of faculty do not make significant amount of money from writing textbooks and moreover the faculty do not write textbooks for making money only. Increase educational opportunities for those who cannot be in the classroom.  Leave an academic legacy that others can build upon. Secondly. It contains educational materials for children.  Provide Institutions with a logical collection place for sharing the learning objects they produce. thus increasing their potential impact. So it is a win-win situation for both writers & readers. for college students and also for professionals. institutions & foundations. not just materials from one specific school or university. The cost to develop connexions is being paid by generous individuals. It has its focus on the college level education. The ultimate vision of this initiative is to support and advance education by making high quality content freely available on the web for learners & faculty across the nation and the world. students and selflearners around the world. This site contains a lot of free. freely sharing & rapidly publishing scholarly contents on the web. And OER initiative make their work accessible to more people.

. Various OER initiatives being promoted throughout India: India is making a noticeable progress in the field of OER. It has been created in 2001 and it has now rapidly grown into the largest reference web site on the Internet. a) National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL): The main objective NPTEL is to promote engineering education to the masses and to enhance the quality of engineering education in the country by developing curriculum based video & web courses.D. M.. M. [3] The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD). This skewed ratio between graduate and postgraduate engineering students leads to faculty shortage in Engineering colleges. Approximately. correct or improve information throughout the encyclopedia. the NPTEL effort is an absolute necessity to address this near-emergency situation in engineering education of India. This programme gives free access of world-class engineering education to common man of India. which ultimately leads to poor quality education to students. Some of the major such initiatives are : 4.S..Tech. M. IISc-Bangalore & other premier institutions are involved in this project. All the seven IITs. 140 courses are in various stages of preparation and distribution through the Internet. According to Dr. Anyone who has an Internet connection can edit. It provides . There is a large opportunity for OER in the country and a few online research repositories are in various stages of growth and development. and Ph. Government of India. this programme is being seen as a social responsibility and the purpose of this programme is to device a strategy to tackle the great disparity that exists in educational standards in Engineering Colleges across the country today. Every year approximately 4 Lacs engineering graduates pass out from various engineering colleges of India and only about 60 thousands of them pursue postgraduate education. According to Chairman of NPTEL Dr.d) Wikipedia: This is a great example of an OER as it is freely available & everyone is welcome to contribute. M. As people from all around the world write its contents collaboratively. Currently samples from approximately 70 courses offered by faculty in various departments are provided freely on the web to students at all levels including B. This project was launched in 2006 and it is the contribution of Informatics (India) Limited to promote OER initiatives. Ananth.Sc.Tech.Ananth. funds this programme. The IIT-IIS faculty is designing the courses only after detailed consultations with engineering colleges & technical universities and will cover a common syllabus. b) Open J-Gate: This is an electronic gateway to global journal literature in open access domain. so assessing its reliability requires examining its ability to detect and rapidly remove false or misleading information.S.

It is an OER initiative based at the University of Mysore that promotes doctoral thesis and provides higher visibility to Indian research via an online digital library. d) Vidya Nidhi: It is India’s first ‘doctral’ portal. The Ministry of Communication & Information Technology (MCIT) is funding the project at various partner centers of Digital Library of India. lack of visibility of Indian research to outside world and even to rest of India. Bangalore. c) Digital Library of India: The mission of this project is to create a portal for the digital library of India that will foster creativity and free access to all human knowledge. The aim of Vidyanidhi was to do away with all these problems. which offers a multilingual database of research papers. In order to promote and enhance these OER initiatives. Funding for the Digital Library of India is coming from multiple sources. A language independent open access digital library can improve the global society in ways beyond measurement. indexed from 3000+ open access journals with links to full text at publisher sites. Carnegie Mellon University. but in future the country expects to see growing use & synergy between open strategies.seamless access to millions of journal articles available online.D.USA and many academic institutions of China. According to Dr. As more & more individuals. This library has books from Rashtrapati Bhavan. India was not having a central repository of Ph. . A.g. Besides. Government & Research Agencies of our country. religious & cultural institutions. Partners of this projects include various academic institutions. Government of India and the Ford Foundation Concluding Remarks: Although there is not much awareness of OER initiatives in India at this moment. repetition even plagiarism was also being done in some cases. It is the first such online initiative in India which contains bibliographic descriptions and provides full text theses on the web. “Digital Library is where the past meets the present and creates the future…” Digital technology can make the works of man permanently accessible to the billions of people all over the world. duplication. The principal benefit will be to supplement the formal education system by making knowledge available to anyone – who can read & has Internet access.J Abdul Kalam. Salarjung Museum. Before this project. Indian Institute of Science. Osmania University and various other libraries. universities and institutions are becoming a part of this project Vidya Nidhi is becoming closer to achieving its goal and emerging as a national repository of Indian-e-theses. various 5.P. The Office of Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India is funding the project in Indian Institute of Science. theses and Indian research used to face various problems e. Open J-Gate is also a database of journal literature. the need of the hour is to generate awareness among individuals. One of the main objectives of this initiative is to put the widely scattered information available freely on Internet at a common place so as to provide easier access to the researchers. Vidya Nidhi is funded by National Information System for Science & Technology (NISSAT).

6th July. OECD’s Centre for Educational Research and Innovation. A key component in stimulating use of OER is the understanding of the nature of demand for free and high quality academic content. user evaluation of the already posted content should be taken into concentration also. to stimulate use of OER in the country where a diversity of various cultures is found. France. Paris. References: [1] Open Educational Resources: Opportunities & Challenges by Dr. Finally. 2005. Calcutta. Article – Succour on the Web. www.Mudur . Irvine [3] The Telegraph. Mandatory deposits of research papers in open institutional repositories can be a step towards enhancement & expansion of these initiatives. For this. some methods must be adopted for the language translation and localization of [2] The Open Educational Resourses Movement: Current Status & Prospects by Gary W. Matkin. Jan Hylen. Reporter – G.oecd. Besides training opportunities among staff should also be increased by holding workshops and providing education about benefits of open courseware and other OERs. University of California.universities and other academic institutions.

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