- OER active – this group is ‘OER aware’, in that the term itself will have resonance for them, they are engaged with issues around open education, are aware of open licences and are often advocates for OERs. This group has often been the focus of OER funding, conferences and research, with the focus on growing the size of this audience. An example of this type of user might be the Community college teacher who adopts, and contributes to open textbooks.
- OER as facilitator – this group may have some awareness of OERs (or open licences), but they have a pragmatic approach toward them. OERs are of secondary interest to their primary task (typically teaching). OERs (and openness in general) can be seen as the substratum, which allows some of their practices to flourish, but they are not aware of, or necessarily interested in open education itself. Their interest is in innovation in their own area, and therefore OERs are only of interest to the extent that they facilitate innovation or efficiency in this. An example would be a teacher who uses Khan academy, YouTube, TED talks and some OERs in their teaching.
- OER consumer – this group will use OERs amongst a mix of other media and often not differentiate between them. Awareness of licences is low and not a priority for them. OERs are a ‘nice to have’ option but not essential, and users are often largely consuming rather than creating and sharing. An example might be a student studying at university who uses iTunes U materials to supplement their taught material.
These groups have different requirements of OER and thus varying strategies would be required to meet their needs if mainstream adoption was to be realized. The first group have been well served by strategies thus far, but it is penetration into the second two categories that are required if the ambition of mainstream adoption is to be realized. Some strategies to realize this – such as improved OER branding and supporting technologies – will be explored in the session.