OER14 homeApplication › Ms Esther Snelson

OpenLearn Works, the building of a platform for OER spaces and OER capabilities

Tuesday 14:30-15:00 (1), Marlborough Suite

Type: Lightning talk

Theme: Building and linking communities of open practice

http://www.open.edu/openlearnworks #oer14 #abs61


Ms Esther Snelson, Senior Content Producer, Open Content, The Open University, [email protected]
Mrs Sarah Bridgman, Online Project Producer (OpenLearn), The Open University, [email protected]
Mr Tim Seal, TESS-India Technical Director, The Open University, [email protected]
Mr Guy Barrett, Leading Technical Developer, The Open University, [email protected]



When LabSpace launched in 2006 it provided a place for the academic community to experiment with reusing and remixing open educational resources (OER). In 2013, The Open University re-launched LabSpace as OpenLearn Works - a platform where not only OER projects and individuals can publish their open content, courses (including MOOCs) and resources, but also provides tools for collaboration, reuse and remixing. With a focus on these two groups (individuals and projects), we kept the best elements of LabSpace and enhanced the offering to its users. We aim to build the capabilities of those using OpenLearn Works and those working with open content by developing world class guidance on how to create and reuse OER. For OER projects and MOOCs, we now provide a platform that can host and deliver large-scale projects, allowing collaboration, badging, social learning and robust data reporting.


This ‘lightning talk’ will give an overview of the project to launch OpenLearn Works, and how the TESS India project worked with us during the Beta stage. It will cover the approach taken, the considerations for the new look and feel, how we decided what should be migrated to the new platform, and what led to the clarification of the purpose of the site.

We will also discuss the work (started by the SCORE project) to create a hub within OpenLearn Works that provides training on how to create OER and open content and how we are developing tools to enable individuals/groups/projects to use the site without support. We will also explain why we are focusing on working with OER projects and MOOC teams.

The TESS India project was one of the first large-scale projects to use OpenLearn Works, and has pushed the platform to respond to the developing needs of international OER projects. The TESS India team will give an overview of why and how they use OpenLearn Works, including working with our team of experts to deliver the outcomes of their project.


As OpenLearn Works is currently in Beta, we are yet to see if our re-launch strategy has been effective. The TESS India project has just delivered its first phase. By May 2014 other individuals and groups will have delivered their projects too, so we will be able to report on whether the site has performed as expected.


We believe OpenLearn Works can offer not only a place for individuals and OER projects, but also meet the needs of industries and communities that require access to open content specific to their needs, by offering a flexible platform that is powerful enough to provide the right solution. However, in order for it to succeed we must ensure we understand the needs of our users and the OER community at large. We need to conduct further research and evaluation, working with the wider OER community to understand project teams and end users’ expectations and needs, to ensure that we can continue to develop and improve platforms and services for the users and the community.

Funding acknowledgements

OpenLearn and LabSpace were original funded by the The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and are now part of The Open University core business.


Recap recording


Further details

Keywords: OER, OpenLearn Works,capabilities, MOOCs, Badging, TESS India, community, Open Content

Website: http://www.open.edu/openlearnworks

Ms Esther Snelson, Senior Content Producer, Open Content, The Open University

Twitter: @eesnelson

Twitter abstract: OpenLearn Works: providing individuals and projects space to host OERs & tools to build capability for the OER community