I can imagine a whole array of OERu credentials. However, I think its worth considering two main things:
1. What academic fields of study have a lot of OER already been developed for?
2. What academic level have those OER been developed for?
I did some quick exploration and thought I'd share back some observations/findings related to each of these questions.
Q1: What academic fields of study have a lot of OER already been developed for?
A1: It seems to me the best place to start is in an academic field of study which already has a lot of OER. I've not done an exhaustive survey but looking at a few collections reveals some common trends.
If you go to OER Commons
and look at Subject Areas you'll see (as of today Sept 2, 2011) the following number of OER by field of study:
Mathematics and Statistics (3033)
Science and Technology (16562)
Social Sciences (4861)
If you go to Connexions
and browse by subject the Refine Subject view shows the following:
Arts - Modules 1278, Collections 75
Business - Modules 574, Collections 51
Humanities - Modules 1955, Collections 170
Mathematics and Statistics - Modules 4242, Collections 147
Science and Technology - Modules 6629, Collections 435
Social Sciences - Modules 2151, Collections 156
When I analysed
the BCcampus OER fund outcomes by field of study I found that 20% of the OER development had been done in health, 17% in Sciences, and 15% in Liberal Arts and Humanities.
Even this cursory review of OER collections reveals that large collections of OER have been developed for the field of Science. Based on that alone I'd suggest that the first credential be for a Science field of study.
Q2: What academic level have those OER been developed for?
A2: Answering this second question is actually much harder. Very few OER collections, with the exception of the BCcampus one, identify what credential the OER was originally developed for. The absence of this information makes ascertaining the relevance and use of an OER for a particular certificate, diploma, undergraduate degree or graduate degree more difficult. OER Commons lets you search for resources based on Primary, Secondary, or Post-secondary but at the post-secondary level there is no further refinement. Connexions doesn't even provide this level of granularity. I think this is a major oversight for OER collections as the more information provided about academic context the better.
All that said, and given what others are saying, it makes sense to start at an introductory level I'd say as that will likely maximize the potential pool of students. So how about an Associate of Science