In a recent review of OER literature, Wiley, Bliss, and McEwen (2014) suggest 5 significant challenges associated with OER adoption and use, including:
- Localization: How can OER be used, designed, adapted, and shared to be useful in a wide range of contexts?
- Remix: How can OER be remixed and reused for different pedagogical purposes, contexts, and learner audiences?
- Discovery: How can OER be easier to find?
- Sustainability: How can OER programs be financially self-sustaining?
- Quality: How can we evaluate, rank, and document OER quality?
From your perspective, which of these five challenges are most significant in your context? What steps are you taking to overcome these challenges?
Source: Open Educational Resources: A Review of the Literature by Wiley, D., Bliss, T. J., & McEwen, M. (2014) at https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-3185-5_63
I think remix is probably the main challenge in SA universities because it involves instructional/learning design – like you mentioned in the webinar, thinking about personas. For example, people may want to take a guide developed for lecturers and want to use it for school teachers and the content doesn’t transfer because the context is different. Perhaps this is the hardest challenge to overcome because it has to do with skills?
Quality is also a concern – people sometimes think that because something is expensive and in a published form, that the quality is good. I guess if you have an OER in a live google doc adding dates each time a person makes a revision shows it’s more up to date than printed materials. But it depends if this is part of the person who is evaluating your OER’s criteria – is this something they consider as indicative of quality for example.
I guess localisation is an issue especially with regards to language. There are some basic translation tools, but they are not perfect. I think this should be the responsibility of the person who wants to reuse that materials though? Translation is expensive and most people creating OERs are not doing it for money. Keen to hear what others perceive as the main challenges:)
While institutional repositories help with discovery and sustainability, sometimes these are not maintained and links can be broken. Or even if the file that was uploaded was too big in the first place.
Am I imagining it or are all these challenges very interlinked?
You hit on a point that I rely on in our work re: localization. As you note, “I think this should be the responsibility of the person who wants to reuse that materials though?” I feel the best I can do as a good “OER citizen” is produce a quality resource that works for my context, and rely on those who find it downstream to modify for their context. This approach then makes the other issues vital (i.e. remix and and discoverability). If people can’t find it or edit it, it doesn’t matter. Therefore, as you note, the issues are interlinked.
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