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Cathy Casserly

P1010987 by Karen Cropper, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License  by  Karen Cropper 


Cathy Casserly

Project Title

Mapping the OER Eco-system

Project Summary

Cathy Casserly’s goal as an OLnet Expert Fellow was to conceptualize and build version 1.0 of a Program Improvement Map for the field of Open Educational Resources (OER). She was aiming to build on and apply lessons learned from the field of healthcare improvement.  The Program Improvement Map is an analytic tool developed by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement to share the most up-to-date knowledge about the science of performance improvement for healthcare. In addition to creating the map, she was seeking to develop the proposed processes for continued iteration of the map by the OER community.

Dates visited OU UK

29 November to 3 December 2010


At the time of Fellowship, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
At the time of writing, CEO of Creative Commons.

Biographic information

Cathy’s career is dedicated to openness, and particularly to leveraging possibilities at the boundaries of formal and informal learning to equalize educational opportunity. She has been a long-time advocate of open educational resources (OER). As the Director of the OER Initiative at The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation she managed investments totalling more than $100 million to harness the efficiency and effectiveness of knowledge sharing worldwide.

At the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Cathy spearheaded work in the areas of transparency and technology as a Senior Partner and the Vice President of Innovation and Open Networks. With the extended Carnegie team she launched a continuous performance improvement system to create alternative mathematics pathways for community college students.

Cathy has been instrumental in supporting many young organizations and currently sits on the Startl board, the Peer-2-Peer University board and serves on the advisory committee for MIT OpenCourseWare and the University of the People. She earned her Ph.D. in the economics of education from Stanford University and a B.A. in mathematics from Boston College.

Main Output

Cathy explored options to “map” OER in ways that would help get the community behind a joint mission. Setting out the principles for such a map during the Fellowship she identified as an important intention is to form the right seeds for a map to emerge where everyone can locate find their "place in the ecosystem". These ideas were presented at OCWC Global 2011: Celebrating 10 years of OpenCourseWare conference in May 2011 and are reflected in the development of the OLnet Evidence Hub and the work of Susan D'Antoni.


  • Joint paper presented at the OCWC Global 2011 Conference


McAndrew, Patrick; Makriyanni, Elpida; Casserly, Cathy and Vollmer, Timothy (2011). Planning the OER landscape. In: OCWC Global 2011: Celebrating 10 years of OpenCourseWare, 04–06 May 2011, Cambridge, MA, USA.