Exploring Open Educational Resources

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This site argues that the cost of textbooks and other resources can be an obstacle for students, and Open Educational Resources (OER) provide a means of addressing this. It refers to the Open Educational Resources LibGuide. This includes suggestions on where to look for resources, the difference between adopting and adapting OER, and information on copyright and licensing. Downes describes models for sustainable OER, in terms of: funding, technical and content. It references the Open Courseware concept which argues that knowledge is a collective social product and so it is also desirable to make it a social property. Terry Foote from Wikipedia says imagine a world in which every single person is given free access to the sum of all human knowledge. That’s what we’re doing. Only a small percentage of published research papers are read. The Open Citation Project reports that articles from open publications are cited more frequently. OER initiatives include: open courseware and content, open software tools, open materials for e-learning capacity building of academics, repositories of learning objects and free educational courses. Funding models include the following: endowment model, membership model, donations model, conversion model, contributor-pay model, sponsorship model, institutional model, governmental model, and partnerships and exchanges. As cited in a JISC report OER developers have concentrated on reusability.  Hylén argues that the two most important aspects of openness are that they are freely available over the Internet and have few restrictions for reuse. Some of the barriers to creating and using OER are lack of time and lack or reward. Caswell et al. (2008) suggest that technologies have made universal education more possible. It provides a useful overview of the OpenCourseWare movement. Many institutions now have staff dedicated to helping with converting course content into OCW content. The article references Wiley who states that free and open acess to educational opportunity is a basic human right. Many students are aware of an institution’s OER prior to enrolling suggesting that it is a factor in them choosing that institution. Students are using OER in the studies, complementing teacher directed resources and many state that OER have had a positive impact on their student experience. For academics OER enable them to share and discuss their work with their peers. JISC states that open education enables free and open access to learning and teaching resources licensed in ways that permit reuse and repurposing. It has developed a guide on OER. OER (and now MOOCs) are now an established part of the educational system, offer students access to rich, open access resources and courses.

 

References

Caswell, T., Henson, S., Jensen, M. and Wiley, D. (2008), Open Educational Resources: enabling universal education, International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, Volume 9, Number 1.

Open Citation Project (2005). The effect of open access and downloads (’hits’) on citation impact: A bibliography of studies. http://opcit.eprints.org/oacitation-biblio.html

 

 

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