Essay about The Open University - OpenLearn

993 Words 4 Pages
In this article, Santos, McAndrew, and Godwin discusses about OpenLearn, an Open Educational Resources (OER) website that provides free learning materials to people around the world. The Open University (OU) UK, which is one of the members of the OpenCourseWare Consortium, launched OpenLearn in 2006 as part of its initiative to provide free educational materials for learners worldwide. OpenLearn runs under the Moodle open-source learning management system. Similar to a real online course from a university, people can access OpenLearn on their personal computer and/or laptop. A wide range of subject areas are available for the visitors to choose and study on their own time. Some available topics include Arts and Humanities,
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The authors say while access to the website is free there are costs that must be met in maintaining and operating the website. Santos, McAndrew, and Godwin (2008) discuss three funding models they see are vital to the success and ongoing future of OpenLearn. These funding models are external funding, institutional funding, and government funding.
External funding means sponsors such as the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation would be financially running OpenLearn without the assistant of OU. The authors suggest the main advantage of external funding is lifting the costs and financial burden away from the institution. One disadvantage is trying to meet the needs of the sponsors. Since the sponsors are funding the project, they would want something out of their contributions. These needs might not be on the same interest level as what the institution is seeking. Thus, the institution funding model might be more suitable because it gives the institution full control of the project. The downside to this option is the university must take over the financial task, which could be high in the long run as OpenLearn becomes more popular. The final option is going with the government funding model where OpenLearn is funded through national bodies. Since OU is a public institution and is already receiving federal assistances, this option would only require additional grants to fund

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