OER Vision versus Reality

OER Vision versus Reality

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  • Jennifer


    In 2002, representatives from higher education and non-governmental organizations participated in a global educational forum hosted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and coined the term open educational resources (OER). The defining elements of OER that came from that forum 15 years ago included:

    • The purpose: To provide an educational, non-commercial resource.
    • The vision for the service: Open access to the resource, with provision for adaptation.
    • The method of provision: Enabled by information/communication technologies.
    • The target group: A diverse community of users.

    From your perspective, to what extent has this OER vision been realized in the 15 years since it was established? In what ways have we (as educators) excelled in achieving these defining elements? Where have we fallen short?

    Source: UNESCO 2002 Final Report at http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0012/001285/128515e.pdf

    • This topic was modified 6 years, 7 months ago by Jennifer.



    Thanks Jennifer, I think that large parts of this vision have been realised in particular the way that the discoverability, dissemination and reuse of OER assumes the availability of a wide range of digital technologies which are becoming more available across the world. For me the real challenges are reuse across context and making the shift from consumers of OER to producers of OER.



    For me as a practitioner, I have learnt that PDFs are the most closed format even if the document is appropriately licensed. I think in academia we are so tied to the idea of things looking professional with nice layout etc and it’s hard to let go of that. I think we need to think about enabling other reusers more than just users so that we can grow creators around our OERs rather than just consumers. Open is open is open? I think attribution is still very comfortable, like citation. In university culture that’s probably an easier shift than remix and reuse. What do other folks think?



    To Tony’s point, reuse across context jumps out as one of the biggest challenge. We originally thought we could seek our K12 resources for the basic math and language arts subjects we are teaching, and simply “tweak” them for our learner audience. However, it was naive to think that process as a “simple” tweak. The current iteration of our course spends a substantial amount of time focused on contextualized instruction to adapt the resource for our learner audience and context.

    Thinking about Nicola’s point re: PDF, along with putting the best face on the resource you are putting out, for some people this issue is tied to the desire (correctly or incorrectly) to limit the resource to non-commercial use. I’ve had some argue that if they lock down the resource (i.e. in a PDF), it is harder for someone to “steal” it (cut and paste the contents without attribution).

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