The creation of the OCW by the MIT in 2001 can be considered a milestone in the recent history of the OER. Since then an increasing number of technologies, repositories and tools that support the creation, reutilization and distribution of open resources have been created on the Internet. However the expansion of major institutionalization initiatives such as the OpenCourseWare Consortium (OCWC) in Europe or OCW Universia in Latin America do not seem to evolve with the same level of enthusiasm and visibility. The adoption of OER principles (philosophy) operates according to a multiplicity of contextual factors that varies depending on each Higher Education institution. For instance, Hattaka has identified a number of barriers that affect a broader adoption of the open contents, which can be summarized as: educational rules and restrictions; language; relevance; access; technical resources; quality; intellectual property; awareness; computer literacy; teaching capacity and traditions.
For the purpose of this study, the adoption of strategies and channels that embraced the principles of openness and reusability within the context of educational institutions is considered as a key innovation. That is basically because the openness of resources can bring new possibilities of learning as well as for the creation of new knowledge (research) grounded in different contexts, disciplines and communities. Based on Rogers’ diffusion of innovation, these practices are considered closer to the ‘innovators’ and ‘early adopters’ communities. In addition, previous works in the field of ‘open innovation’ show that benefits can be obtained from bottom-up and collaborative practices of knowledge transferences. This requires the active participation of lecturers, students or researchers who explore and facilitate the adoption of OER practices in Higher Education institutions.
Grounded in previous experiences and studies, this action research will explore how to stimulate OER capacity building and awareness in Higher Education institutions of Latin America (LA). In order to do that, a bottom-up, open and contextual-based OER induction training will be run within a group of 60 higher education institutions in that region. The backbone of the initiative will be an induction programme that aims the promotion, training and implementation of institutional and regional OER capabilities in LA. This study led by three European universities is supported by the EU ALFA programme (co-operation between Higher Education Institutions of the European Union and LA) and will analyse the conditions required to implement and promote OER practices in Higher Education.