The third annual Open Education Week takes place from March 10-15, both online and offline around the world. Through the events and resources, we hope to reach out to more people to demonstrate what kind of opportunities open education has created and what we have to look forward to.
Some FAQs about OER
What are OER? The concept of Open Educational Resources (OER) describes any educational resources (including curriculum maps, course materials, textbooks, streaming videos, multimedia applications, podcasts, and any other materials that have been designed for use in teaching and learning) that are openly available for use by educators and students, without an accompanying need to pay royalties or license fees.
Importantly, there is only one key differentiator between an OER and any other educational resource: its license. Thus, an OER is simply an educational resource that incorporates a license that facilitates reuse, and potentially adaptation, without first requesting permission from the copyright holder.
How can education benefit by harnessing OER? The most important reason for harnessing OER is that openly licensed educational materials have tremendous potential to contribute to improving the quality and effectiveness of education.The transformative educational potential of OER revolves around three linked possibilities:
1. The principle of allowing adaptation of materials provides one mechanism amongst many for constructing roles for students as active participants in educational processes, who learn best by doing and creating, not by passively reading and absorbing. Content licenses that encourage activity and creation by students through re-use and adaptation of that content can make a significant contribution to creating more effective learning environments.
2. OER has potential to build capacity by providing institutions and educators access, at low or no cost, to the means of production to develop their competence in producing educational materials and carrying out the necessary instructional design to integrate such materials into high quality programs of learning.
3. Deliberate openness thus acknowledges that:
· Investment in designing effective educational environments is critically important to good education.
· A key to productive systems is to build on common intellectual capital, rather than duplicating similar efforts.
· All things being equal, collaboration will improve quality.
· As education is a contextualized practice, it is important to make it easy to adapt materials imported from different settings where this is required, and this should be encouraged rather than restricted.Watch for more information on OER as we move closer to OER Week 2014.
If you have questions about OER, feel free to contact me at your convenience.
Kelley L. Meeusen
Kelley L. Meeusen, eLearning Coordinator