Friday, June 25, 2010

Attended a OER day at UI Springfield yesterday. Good stuff! Met Cable Green and talked with others from across Illinois toward the goal of increasing the use of open educational resources. The idea: high quality learning materials /circumstances that are very affordable. That's what I've been saying for years - we should be giving this stuff away.

Interestingly, the discussion raised several related, but separate issues:
  1. Open - is about explicitly sharing but not necessarily giving away ones intellectual property rights (see creative commons (
  2. Attitude - Willingness to share, and apply the leverage of shared materials is foundational to the success of this effort.
  3. Quality - sharing does not even overlap with the discussion of quality. It's not the same conversation. Quoting Green 'There are shared resources that are excellent, and there are proprietary resources that are crap'. Let's not let anyone fool us into believing otherwise.
  4. Appropriateness - just because it's free and available doesn't mean it's usable the way it arrives. MIT's Open Courseware project stands as an illustration of this for me.
  5. Diversity - Pt.4 leads to another good part: When I take that resource (not wanting to reinvent the wheel) and adjust it to serve my needs then share THAT, we've increased the body of sharable work, and increased the diversity of the pool as well.
  6. Profit? - when a resource is shared, have we just negated all opportunities for capitalistic incentive? No. We've changed some, and rearranged a few. The folks in the publishing world may still have the most to lose here, but maybe that's the way it should be for teaching and learning. There are Billions of dollars needlessly being spent, every year to feed a system that has evolved to capitalize on wasted spending. I want to check the view when the tide lifts all the ships. I suspect the opportunities will emerge.
If I am just plain wrong about a point I've made, feel free to comment. If you are a colleague in the effort, drop a comment of support. If you want to hear more, leave your question here.

No comments:

Post a Comment