The report provides a good evidence-based overview of the main issues that are involved with the OER movement. I don’t work with the drivers/inhibitors for developing OERs at the institution level. My interests are more on the drivers and barriers for grassroots faculty adoption at the university level. In this context, (see also my workshop materials in the previous post) the key barriers are lack of awareness of these resources, lack of trust in their quality, lack of knowledge of availability of copyleft resources, as well as the CC licensing system.
My interests are less on efforts to create more “walled gardens” and more to herald and support faculty efforts toward making it easier to search/find, access, manage, remix, reuse, and contribute OERS. I want to improve faculty adoption/contribution but know this issue requires a strong institutional commitment which is not in place at my univeristy (per Ch4 of this week’s reading) or at least I think this is necessary for the big push. Faculty at my university lack a reward system for promotion/tenure for teaching related innovations of any kind let alone to contribute to OER movement, though some of course do just that. Other motivations that might spur faculty involvement if properly supported is that reuse improves quality of an OER, or stimulate the speed up of innovations of new ones in their discipline. Still, as David comments on my Wk1 post, quoting Margaret Mead — “why not start everywhere”, so I will persist in my efforts to make faculty aware of all this.
D’Arcy’s post was a useful perspective on the differences in OER vs. LO approaches and together with readings, stimulated some thoughts for me. I agree that the beauty of the current OER trend is open content creation first, and reusability second, particularly for those of us who don’t have institutional repositories at our colleges/schools to drive or channel our efforts. Right now, overcoming copyright restrictions are more important than format or standards for interoperability as the driver for the average faculty who needs access to simple , just-in-time teaching/learning materials (such as, assignments, tutorials, user guides, rubrics etc.) and often prefer to reformat and revise to suit their own needs. The hope in this bottom-up model is that each new user can provide added-value to the OER, and that at some point some one will add the interoperability piece.
My own motivation was that in the face of copyright restrictions, I was finding a tremendous amount of useful, good quality resources for my own purposes. I was seeing that Web 2.0 was creating a profusion of rich, new sources of copyright-free and CC-licensed materials, and then tied in some new services for open license searching, and saw that there was a new method for finding teaching/learning resources that just needed someone to point out, show how easy to do, prove their credibility, and then train people to take advantage of it.
Back to D’Arcy’s post — he goes on to mentions CC-search of WWW vs. closed collections and I do both. Is it true that a WWW search is just as good at finding high quality resources? Repositories like Merlot, similar to any Web 2.0 service, do provide a variety of value-added services for its members. So I guess for some people this could be valuable and I’m pretty sure that there are fee-based premium services, but this is fairly similar to the way commercial social software tools vendors work. It certainly seems to have sustained Merlot and provides a cost recovery model. Still, for my purposes, I seem to be able to get most of my OERs from my social network.
I will continue to make faculty aware of search/access to OERs via workshops and conferences. More important next steps emerge from what I see others involved saying/doing, and that is, working with my unit to create ways to improve OERs. This means methods and tools for adding-value to them, such as, to make them easier to share/remix/convert or import into other systems, or to assign copyleft licensing notices.
1. join/form organizations involved with this
2. sponsor events and conduct workshops
3. promote social software tools and formation of personal learning environments
4. collaborative filtering of OERs
5. collaborate with our library to foster digital fluency and assist with data archiving