The open education movement in North America has gone from a peripheral idea to a central strategy for addressing higher education cost and access issues. With this growth, we have seen new players enter the open education space from commercial publishers to learning platform companies. Vendors are increasingly adopting language that muddies the water about the meaning of open, and reshaping digital products to appear similar to OER while carrying traditional restrictions.
Meanwhile, a larger market shift is at play as large traditional publishers transitioning from mere content providers to technology companies with the potential to build vast empires on top of teaching and learning data. This shift is accelerated by aggressive marketing for “low cost” digital options or “inclusive access” to full catalogs of materials, which are embedding data collection opportunities in every classroom. While data and analytics can be used for good, there is too little conversation about the potential harms and strategic risks. This evolving landscape sets the stage for complex future debates over privacy, algorithms, and control of the infrastructure at the core of higher education institutions.
This short talk will reflect on the state of the courseware landscape in North America and its implications for the future of higher education. How do we continue to hold the line on the meaning and vision of “open”? How do we ensure that infrastructure decisions being made now do not cut short the potential to achieve a truly open system? What steps the open movement can take to make sure we are always putting students first? Reflections will draw on SPARC’s work to map the education and research publishing landscape and some of our thinking on how to advance toward community-controlled infrastructure. Participants will walk away with some answers, but also many new questions.
This session will be talk meant to evoke questions and critical thinking about the future of the open movement as it enters the mainstream, and how we
 Douglas-Gabriel, D. (2018, April 14). Battle over college course material is a textbook example of technological change. The Washington Post. Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/battle-over-college-course-material-is-a-textbook-example-of-technological-change/2018/04/14/fb3d0394-0db5-11e8-95a5-c396801049ef_story.html
 Joseph, H. (2018) Securing community-controlled infrastructure. College & Research Libraries News. Vol 79, No 8. Available at: https://crln.acrl.org/index.php/crlnews/article/view/17246/18986
 SPARC. (2019) 2019 SPARC Program Plan. Available at: https://sparcopen.org/who-we-are/program-plan/