Are MOOCs Open Educational Resources? A literature review on history, definitions and typologies of OER and MOOCs

Christian M. Stracke, Stephen Downes, Grainne Conole, Daniel Burgos, Fabio Nascimbeni


Open Education gained more visibility as a result of the emergence of Open Educational Resources (OER) and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). This article discusses whether MOOCs should be considered as OER. Open Education and OER can be treated as two strands with different historical roots even though, in theory, OER are an aspect of Open Education. Different OER definitions and typologies are analyzed in relation to their dimensions and categorizations. Furthermore, the four conditions and two original categories of MOOCs are discussed, leading to a debate on their quality. It turns out that there are two perspectives on MOOCs: from an OER perspective, MOOCs as a product can be called OER. From an Open Education perspective, MOOCs are going beyond OER as enablers of Open Education and are understood as an innovative way of changing education. These perspectives are reflected by the OpenEd Quality Framework. The short answer to our leading question is: sometimes, and it depends on your perspective.


Open Education; Open Learning; Massive Open Online Courses; Open Educational Resources; Literature review; Learning quality; OpenEd Quality Framework

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