Five Critiques of the Open Educational Resources Movement

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This paper will review existing literature on Open Educational Resources (OER). It is intended to examine and critique the theories which underpin the promotion of OER in higher education, not provide guidance on their implementation. (1) I will introduce the concepts of positive and negative liberty to suggest an under-theorisation of the term ‘open’. (2) OER literature will be shown to endorse a two-tiered system, in which the institution is both maintained and disaggregated. (3) I will highlight a diminishing of the role of pedagogy within the OER vision and the promotion of a learner-centred model for education. (4) This stance will be aligned with humanistic assumptions of unproblematic selfdirection and autonomy. (5) I will discuss the extent to which the OER movement aligns itself with economically orientated models of the university. I offer these critiques as a framework for the OER movement to develop as a theoretically
rigorous area of scholarship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)821
Number of pages832
JournalTeaching in Higher Education
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2013


  • OER
  • open education
  • self-direction
  • autonomy
  • Foucault


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