Sometimes I feel that the OER movement has become like a religion. Although there are only a few fundamentalists, the bulk of the adherents seem deeply connected to a set of idealistic principles that guide their work and discussions. Having once subscribed to the ideals and accepted the principles, I now believe that they are not as useful as I once thought they were. Some may even be not true. These principles cover many aspects of OER; attribution, reusability, quality assurance, intellectual property rights, distribution, granularity, technical standards and even the encouragement of their use. This presentation will cover how I have found these issues to be problematic in my work in online learning over the last 20 years. But more importantly, I have come to the conclusion that the issue of learning “resources” and the associated costs is a minor one and not the main issue we should be addressing. OER does not address the biggest costs in higher education, namely; tuition, accommodation, living and opportunity costs. To address these we need to be much more radical. However, I do believe that there are solutions to some of the problems of OER and more importantly I still have faith that the concept of open and free access to learning content will eventually lead to widespread access to free and low-cost education for large numbers of people but not necessarily in the way many of us would have expected or even like.
This will be a simple 6-minute opinion piece expressing some scepticism (based on experience) of the OER movement and hopefully followed by discussions at coffee, dinner and into the night. Because this is a “lightening” 6-7 minute presentation, there will be limited opportunity for interaction. However, some level of interaction will be encouraged by posing specific questions that will elicit a show of hands to gain opinions from the audience.
Gurung, R. (2018). “Open Educational Resources: What We Don’t Know”, Inside Higher Ed, Nov 14, 2018, Available at: https://www.insidehighered.com/digital-learning/views/2018/11/14/what-we-dont-yet-know-about-open-educational-resources-opinion (Accessed 27.11.2018)