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The OERu’s open model supports multiple reasons and motivations for individuals to engage in networked online learning. The OERu also provides two delivery options to suit individual needs.

In this section we review:

Reasons to engage in OERu

There are many reasons why individuals choose to engage in OERu courses, for example:

  • Self-interest – participants who are learning for learning’s sake. Informal learners choose topics they find interesting and “sip and dip” into learning pathways they choose. We encourage informal learners to join the learning conversation in the course forums and WENotes comments.
  • Try-before-you buy – learners, who are not sure if university-level education is for them, can trial what learning at the higher education level is like.
  • Professional development – updating and expanding skills. Many OERu courses offer micro-credentials and learners interested in digital certification for assessed learning complete and submit the designated assessments.
  • Pursuing academic credit – learners who register for courses to gain formal academic credit. We recommend that these learners participate in the activities and learning challenges which are designed to prepare learners for the course assessments for academic credit. Note that learners, who first start studying out of self-interest, can decide at a later stage to submit assessments for formal credit or micro-credentials.
  • Academic volunteers – individuals with an interest in the topic or subject area who volunteer time to support OERu learners in the forums; for example, retired academics or senior learners who want to support the OERu learning community.

OERu delivery options

OERu courses are offered in two formats:

  1. Cohort-based online course: Cohort-based courses have fixed start and finish dates, during which time you study with a group of learners from around the world. OERu micro-courses are typically offered over two or three weeks. Learners can choose to receive email instructions for the learning sessions by registering on the course site. Please use the future filter on the course page of the OERu.org site to find which courses will be offered as cohort-based options in the near future.
  2. Independent self-study course: The self-study option enables learners to start at anytime and progress at their own pace. Learners do not receive course announcements via email, but copies of all the course announcements are published in advance on the course site.

At the OERu, the first instance of a new course is normally offered as a cohort-based course; thereafter, the course materials remain open for the independent study option. Learners who commence study with a cohort-based course are able to continue to access the course materials after the finish date. So if you need more time to prepare for assessments, you still retain access to the OERu learning materials.