OER-based Online Micro-courses

Supporting UNESCO Strategic Development Goal 4: Education for All





OER, FOSS, learning environment


The OER Universitas (OERu) is a consortium of more than 30 higher education institutions on five continents. It was founded in 2011 to provide learners everywhere with learning opportunities and pathways to official recognition or credit. The OERu maintains a very economical base with very low expenses. It supports a sustainable learning environment with incremental increases in infrastructural capacity as and when it is needed. The OERu’s global digital infrastructure has been created to facilitate learner access to micro-courses on the internet from any geographical location. This Next Generation Digital Learning Environment (NGDLE) is based entirely on free and open source software (FOSS). The OERu has established a working model for transnational micro-credentialling for approved university qualifications. To date it has supported more than 200,000 learners in over 100 countries. The OERu is based on a scalable, FOSS NGDLE which has dramatically reduced the cost of providing learning opportunities to anyone, anywhere, on the web.

Author Biographies

Rory McGreal, Athabasca University

Prof. Rory McGreal is the UNESCO/International Council for Open and Distance Education Chair in Open
Educational Resources (OER), and Director of the Technology Enhanced Knowledge Research Institute 0(TEKRI) at Athabasca University. He is also Editor-in-Chief of IRRODL (International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning). He is the founder of the OER Knowledge Cloud, a repository of research articles on OER. Previous positions include Assoc. VP Research, Executive Director of TeleEducation New Brunswick (a Canadian province-wide elearning network) and Supervisor at Contact North/Contact Nord in Ontario. He has received several national and international awards for open and distance learning.

Wayne Mackintosh, OER Foundation

Wayne Mackintosh is the founding director of the OER Foundation, which is headquartered at Te Pūkenga: The New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology. Wayne holds the UNESCO Chair in OER and is the Director of the OER Foundation. He has extensive international experience in educational technology, learning design, and the theory and practice of open and distance learning (ODL). Previously, he was Education Specialist, eLearning and ICT policy at the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and was founding director of the Centre for Flexible and Distance Learning (CFDL) at the University of Auckland. Before moving to New Zealand Wayne spent 11 years working at the University of South Africa (UNISA).

Dave Lane, OER Foundation

Dave Lane is the OER Foundation’s open source technologist. His role is to build and maintain the computing systems used to make OERu courses available to learners everywhere, using exclusively free and open source software (FOSS). He is a passionate advocate for the use of FOSS in education and by educators. Dave joined the OER Foundation in 2015 after a few years working with Catalyst IT, the company that in 2012 acquired Egressive, the FOSS software development and IT services company he founded in 1998.

Collage of three authors