Digital literacy is Key to Unlocking the Value of Online Resources says the HEA and JISC

A new report ‘The value of reuse of open educational resources’ produced by the HEA and JISC‘, highlights the need to support learners and academic staff alike in the referencing and the reuse of online resources.

Read the report at:

Listen to a podcast interview with the report’s author David White and see David’s latest video blog post at

Open educational resources (OER) are materials which educators make the content available online to learners and also to other educators, to share, re-use and remix.  The report claims, that their use in teaching offers new and better ways to engage with learning anytime anywhere and raising the richness the course.

Given the huge volume and diversity of content on the Internet, the report suggests that ‘students are often nervous about their ability to critically evaluate …becoming lost in the web and risk wasting significant amounts of time engaging with resources which prove later to be off topic or unreliable.’

David White, senior manager development technology-assisted lifelong learning at the University of Oxford author of the Value of Reuse report says, “The report advises staff to help develop students’ digital literacy skills especially in the area of critical analysis of resources – for example by making them aware of citation standards that exist for online videos and podcasts.

“There is a challenge for providers of open content because the resources are out there on the web and open to all, it can be difficult to know how they are actually being used. We’ve used the analogy of an iceberg to show the extent of hidden use. It emphasises how many openly licensed and non-licensed resources may actually be being re-used in the classroom but invisible to the original resource authors.”

Amber Thomas, programme manager at JISC explains why these reports were commissioned, “OER has a range of benefits, and we wanted to better understand its benefits to users as well as releasers, so the study on ‘the Value of Reuse’ was designed to analyse the relationship between use and impact.

Sean Mackney, HEA senior deputy chief executive, said, “OER is a fantastic example of how technology can be used to share innovation and excellence in teaching practice, not just here in the UK but right across the world.  This report gives those involved in higher education teaching, particularly those who may not have considered the potential value of OER before, ideas around how they can make the most of the opportunities OER can provide.”

JISC will be enhancing the knowledge of UK universities and colleges in how to approach open educational resources and technology-enhanced learning through its digital literacies programme and OER work