Big vs. Little OER - Block 2, Activity 11

Big OER, when you have significant resources that normally larger organisations can submit towards offering Open Educational Resources (OER). Even though they are thougth of as not normally being ‘as good’ (but can still be ‘good’) as live paid for, instruction, OER and Big OER can deliver what could be a comprehensive education for the price fo access to the internet if you are not worried about getting ‘credit’ or ‘acknowledged’ for the learning you are doing.

The downside is that ‘Big OER’ still takes time and resources to develop, even if they are ‘hand me downs’ from the paid resources.

Little OER are the more ‘incidental’ or ‘I might as well think aloud on the internet’ type of activities that people can use as educational resources. People can ‘instruct’ of give insight into all manner of subjects on social media sights, particularly YouTube and now increasingly Facebook. 

Weller (2011) feels that Little OER requires ‘Big OER’ or rather the ‘Big’ institution that is paying for activities that related to Little OER. As an example he cites that he has to often write a ‘conference’ report to a committee at the University for which it has funded his attendance. Previously that report would be read by small numbers of people and presumably no-one else. As a blog entry though, it has the potential to reach many people and for a sustained period of time. 

This ‘long tail’ niche kind of educational content is sustainable whilst the cost to the internet world is relatively cheap and relatively easy to publish on. 

I think Little OER has it’s place, mainly (I admit it) because of YouTube and does NOT require the central funding of larger organisations. I think people will generate the content regardless of funding to allow them to ‘waste’ their time generating ‘Little OER’ content, mainly because sites such as YouTube require increasinly little or cheap technological gear (a modern smart phone will do) and small costs to actually publish. The downside of all of this potential Little OER content is simply to have an effetive filter. In other words how does one effectively find this content and know whether to pay attention to a particular site or not.


Weller, M. (2011), Public engagement as collateral damage, in ‘The Digital Scholar’. Available online, last accessed 20th April, 2016.

Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.  -Will Durant