OER Going Mainstream? Highlights from Panel Discussion at the ICDE World Conference in Toronto


At the ICDE World Conference in Toronto, a panel discussion on the mainstreaming of OER was facilitated by the ICDE Secretary General for ICDE and Sophie Touzé, President of Open Education Consortium (OEC).

Four engaged panellists sparked the discussion: Mandla Makhanya, President of ICDE, Allyn J. Radford from the Board of Directors of OEC, Jane-Frances Obiageli Agbu, ICDE Chair in OER and Stavros Xanthopoylos, member of the Board of Directors of OEC and the ICDE Board of Trustees.

Mandla Makhanya spoke about the values of humanity, and how OER can function as an equalizer for the mainstreaming of open education. Allyn Radford chose a concrete and practical approach on how to integrate OER holistically into society and how to measure the outcomes. Stavros Xanthopoylos emphasized the importance of a robust IT infrastructure to ensure equal access to education, and how collaboration should be a stronger part of the OER movement. And Jane-Frances Agbu finally took the perspective from the OER Chairs, and called for better organizing of the chair community.

After the panel introductions, the participants in the audience formed groups of three to discuss the received input and address their expectations for actions. Some of the suggestions were:

  • OER Chairs could help with mobilization for OER in different countries and for example guide the start-up process for universities

  • The students’ perspective including the potential for more interactive and personalized learning should be a visible part of the movement

  • Develop faculty expectations, give up intellectual property rights

  • Adaptability across cultures and language barriers as a focus area, the cultural dimensions are important

  • Universities must establish peer review process (double blind) as a part of the development process of OER to obtain acknowledgement of quality

  • To turn education from competition to collaboration

  • Bottom up approach, start with the level below faculty who are protecting their intellectual property rights


From left: Allyn J. Radford, Board of Directors of OEC; Mandla Makhanya, President of ICDE; Sophie Touze, Présidente Open Education Consortium; Jane-Frances Obiageli Agbu, Nigeria Open University; ICDE Secretary General;  Stavros Xanthopoylos, member of the Board of Directors of OEC and the ICDE Board of Trustees