Playing catch-up: Investigating public and institutional policies for OER practices in Australia


  • Carina Bossu University of New England
  • Mark Brown Massey University
  • David Bull University of Southern Queensland



This article explores some of the most well-known Open Educational Resource (OER) initiatives worldwide and then reports on OER developments in Australia. It also discusses a current research project funded by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC), including its design and methods of data collection and analysis. Although the study reported here is ongoing, a survey of the tertiary sector to establish the current ‘state of play’ of OERs in Australia has been completed. The authors examine a preliminary analysis that focuses mostly on OER policies at governmental and institutional levels. The analysis shows that the OER movement remains relatively immature in Australia. Also, according to the survey’s participants, the government and educational institutions need to give much greater consideration to a regulatory framework in which the use of OER and Open Educational Practices (OEP) can be fostered and encouraged. Isolated OER activities exist, but there appears to be a great deal of catching up required if Australia is to have coordinated initiatives to foster innovation and a culture of more OEPs.

Author Biographies

Carina Bossu, University of New England

Carina Bossu is a research fellow with DEHub at the University of New England, Australia. Her areas of interest and research expertise are distance education, higher education, open educational resources, educational policies and academic staff development. Carina has also taught at higher educational, vocational and TAFE levels.

Mark Brown, Massey University

Mark Brown is Director, Teaching, Learning and Distance Education at Massey University, New Zealand. He has specific responsibility for policy and strategic direction in the areas of blended and distance education. Mark has interest in education across all sectors and supervises postgraduate research from early childhood to higher education.

David Bull, University of Southern Queensland

David Bull is currently the Director of the Open Access College at the University of Southern Queensland. His research interests are primarily related to equity and access policy in higher education and preparatory programme curriculum development. He regularly works with a substantial network of colleagues aligned with the widening participation agenda throughout Europe.