Some Thoughts about OER Research

Iterating Toward Openness

Student: I’ll study whether students learn better with OER than with traditional course materials! ”, see this article where researchers from OpenStax “demonstrate that even if there is a learning benefit of [increasing access to] OER, standard research methods are unlikely to detect it.” You’ve likely crossed over into the realm of OER-enabled pedagogy.).

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When is an OER an OER?

Iterating Toward Openness

tl ;dr – If a resource is licensed in a way that grants you permission to engage in the 5R activities, and grants you those permissions for free, it’s an open educational resource (OER) – no matter where you find it or how it’s being used. I have an obsession with definitions. I’m writing about definitions again today. But on to the stuff about definitions. Consider the following scenarios: A person downloads an OER to their laptop.

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Some Thoughts on the UNESCO OER Recommendation

Iterating Toward Openness

There’s great news out of the recent UNESCO meeting in Paris, where member states unanimously adopted the draft Recommendation on Open Educational Resources (OER). First, and it will surprise no one that this is the first item on my list, is the definition. UNESCO’s canonical definition of OER does not require “free public access” to a resource for that resource to be an OER, as some have tried to argue it should.

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Schrodinger’s OER

Iterating Toward Openness

” Stephen’s fears of conversion are possible in part because his definition of OER begins with access: Access is most frequently left off the definition of OERs, and yet is the most important. It appears that he means that any copy of an OER placed outside your reach ceases to be OER (constituting the “change in the conditions related to the resource” mentioned above). When someone asks “is such and such resource an OER?”

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Some Very Bad News about the UNESCO OER Recommendation

Iterating Toward Openness

I recently wrote a brief essay about the wonderful new UNESCO OER Recommendation. For those of you who don’t want to read the full analysis below, here’s the key takeaway: Imagine what would happen if making copies of OER was illegal. And yes, definitions matter. The tl;dr.

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Actually, the UNESCO Recommendation Makes Most OER Impossible

Iterating Toward Openness

In this first bite-sized installment I’m going to address the major flaw in the OER definition provided as part of the recent UNESCO OER Recommendation. The definition in the recommendation as set forth in Section I. Definition and Scope reads: 1.

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OER-Enabled Pedagogy

Iterating Toward Openness

At the Hewlett OER Meeting last week over a dozen people spent another hour talking about the issue during the unconference time. Some definitions are centered on OER. There have even been arguments made that a clear definition would somehow be antithetical to the ideal of open. What teaching and learning practices are possible (or practical) in the context of OER that aren’t possible when you don’t have permission to engage in the 5R activities?

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The Real Threat of OER

Iterating Toward Openness

He writes, “While to an OER advocate faculty are mere pawns to their agenda, to publishers, faculty are critical partners in academic success.” ” The overwhelming majority of OER advocates are faculty, and they have become OER advocates for two reasons. However, the second reason faculty have become OER advocates – and more of them are becoming OER advocates each day – has less to do with price and more to do with empowerment.

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Lumen Learning, a Proponent of OER, Makes First Acquisition to Offer Faculty Coaching

Edsurge

Lumen Learning, a company that sells low-cost OER textbooks and courseware, plans to start offering professional development services for faculty that can be bundled with its titles. In other words, some of its textbooks are now sold with coaching on how to teach with OER more effectively.

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OER: Some Questions and Answers

Iterating Toward Openness

Earlier this week I read an op-ed – sponsored by Pearson – titled “If OER is the answer, what is the question?” OER often shine in their variety and ability to deepen resources for niche topics. While it’s possible to build a complete course from OER, the finished product often lacks the scaffolding found in courseware authored by single author/editorial/product teams. What does the Drake Equation have to do with OER production and enhancement?

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“ZTC Thinking” and the Hybrid OER Sustainability Model

Iterating Toward Openness

In the first installment on Monday, I explained how a fundamental failure to understand copyright makes the definition of OER in the new UNESCO recommendation nonsensical. There have been a number of important theoretical contributions to the topic of OER sustainability over the years.

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Self as OER

ProfHacker

When we look at common definitions of Open Educational Resources or OERs (e.g., OER Commons , The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation ) it is clear that there is tendency to equate open educational resources to open educational materials and tools , such as course materials in text, audio, or video format, open textbooks, and educational software. However, we go beyond these definitions of open scholarship – beyond open access and public scholarship.

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Pearson, Efficacy, Credibility, and OER

Iterating Toward Openness

For some reason, Pearson have found it necessary to create new definitions of the terms efficacy and effectiveness. This is extraordinarily unfortunate because there are already perfectly good definitions established in the broader research community. I believe we’re seeing this same effect across OER adoptions, and have labeled it the Remix Hypothesis. That’s a fight I know OER can win.

Thoughts on OER and Cost Savings

Iterating Toward Openness

Yesterday, Phil Hill wrote about OpenStax’s new method for calculating the savings students see when their faculty adopt OER. What strikes me as odd about OpenStax’s new way of calculating the savings associated with OER is that it ignores some fairly important and well-understood things about student spending when faculty adopt OER – things OpenStax has a made a pillar of their long-term sustainability plan.

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SETDA publishes OER case studies from 3 states

eSchool News

Online case studies highlight OER implementation in schools. SETDA has published a series of case studies focused on the implementation of Open Educational Resources (OER) at the school level. The online resource, OER in Action: Implementation Highlights , examines the definitions and parameters of OER, includes a variety of resources, and provides an in-depth look at the implementation of OER in New York, Utah and Washington.

The RISE Package for R: Reducing Time Through the OER Continuous Improvement Cycle

Iterating Toward Openness

By definition, open educational resources (OER) are licensed in a manner that gives you permission to change, update, and improve them. Learning analytics, on the other hand, can provide great insight into where course materials – including OER – are not effectively supporting student learning. In this open access article we outlined a method for automating the identification of the OER in a course that are most in need of improvement.

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An Obstacle to the Ubiquitous Adoption of OER in US Higher Education

Iterating Toward Openness

I now have no doubt that the overwhelming majority of general education courses and some specific degree programs will transition entirely to OER in US higher ed. I spent most of my thinking time last week wondering about obstacles in the way of the ubiquitous adoption of OER in US higher education and how we might overcome them. Observation 1: We Need Dramatically More OER, and Current Approaches Won’t Get Us There.

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Beyond Textbooks and OER: reflecting on #OpenEd15

ProfHacker

So if free textbooks or OER offer learners free access to good quality knowledge (even if it’s static), it can make a difference. Of course OERs are imperfect and may not transfer well across borders because of language and context, but maybe OER material on organic chemistry with images and equations transfers OK. The end result is that on any given topic, instead of one definitive dominant perspective (like even Wikipedia), you have choices where to go.

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How to sort the good from the bad in OER

The Hechinger Report

These OER – open educational resources – may be good, bad or indifferent. There’s more bad OER out there than good; that’s a fact,” said Rebecca Kockler, assistant superintendent of academic instruction for the state of Louisiana, at the annual SXSWedu conference last week in Austin, Texas. “We There’s more bad OER out there than good; that’s a fact. Using OER wasn’t our goal,” Kockler said.

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CommonLit: OER Curation and Creation

NeverEndingSearch

” But what is the definition of “fair”? Select a reading and you will find the text itself with numbered paragraphs; the themes to which it is connected; a contextual note with suggestions for engaging with the text; notes containing definitions and footnotes; standards-aligned text-dependent questions; questions to spark discussion; related media; and suggestions for pairing. CommonLit literacy literature OER reading technology commonlit

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As OER Grows Up, Advocates Stress More Than Just Low Cost

Edsurge

But fans of OER are increasingly facing a problem. While OER started off as free online textbooks, it still costs money to produce these materials, and professors often need guidance finding which ones are high quality. So OER advocates are realizing they need to change their pitch. This week on the EdSurge On Air podcast, we're diving into how the OER movement is changing, and we'll check in with a couple of people on the front lines of the movement to hear from them.

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From here to there: Musings about the path to having good OER for every course on campus

Iterating Toward Openness

I spend most of my time doing fairly tactical thinking and working focused on moving OER adoption forward in the US higher education space. I made what was probably the clearest statement of my vision for the future of learning materials in my Shuttleworth Fellowship application several years ago: My long-term goal is to create a world where OER are used pervasively throughout primary, secondary, and post-secondary schools. Now, make no mistake – OER is a means, not an end.

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OER: Free Like a Beer, or Free Like a Puppy?

Edsurge

Those in the puppy camp argued, with good reason, that free curricula and OER content were hardly free once the related costs and risks were factored in. So the discovery, vetting, and alignment costs inflicted upon the teachers and districts that would try to embrace free and OER content would remain high. And it turns out that a great deal of free and OER content is actually free like a free beer—in fact, like a really good craft beer.

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Confused about what ‘Open’ Means in Education? Inconceivable!

Doug Levin

I’ve established that I am a fan of open educational resources (OER) and think that K-12 educators and policymakers would benefit from thinking more deeply about the ownership of instructional materials. I’ve even offered up ideas on issues the K-12 OER movement needs to confront and work through in the coming years as it struggles with the success of greater adoption. ” It’s almost as if they are confused about the definition of the term.

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OERwashing: Beyond the Elephant Test

Doug Levin

My reaction to a news story about an education company acquisition seems to have set off a debate in my twitter feed about the intersection of open educational resources (OER) and the role of the private, for-profit sector in the K-12 content/curriculum market: For the love of all things good and holy, can we not keep confounding ‘open’ with ‘free’? The Pro-OER Elephant Test. Like greenwashing, I think openwashing is a problem in the burgeoning OER movement.

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Granularity

K12 Open Ed

Photos and definitions are not only very granular but they are relatively generic and can be used in a wide variety of contexts without a lot of rework. So is the quest to allow customization through OERs for naught? Or does it make more sense to look at customizing OERs in terms of larger “full course” materials? Uncategorized creative commons OER open remixCredit: gurmit singh.

Clarifying and Strengthening the 5Rs

Iterating Toward Openness

Despite my best efforts, I spent much of the recent holiday break thinking about the eviscerated definition of OER in the final version of the UNESCO OER Recommendation.

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The Dance of the Not Commons

Iterating Toward Openness

the internet, knowledge, OER) is a commons. The problems the open education community faces with regard to OER are not the problems of common pool resources – problems of overuse and depletion that we solve through shared governance and accountability.

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Taking Our Eye Off the Ball

Iterating Toward Openness

I posted the first installment yesterday, explaining how a fundamental failure to understand copyright makes the definition of OER in the new UNESCO recommendation nonsensical. It seems like much of the OER community has all but forgotten about student learning.

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What Difference Does It Make?

Iterating Toward Openness

Last week I shared a little of my thinking about the problems inherent in the way people in the field talk about OER. These permissions are a critical part of the definition of what it means for a learning resource to be open. Second among the problems I discussed is our seeming inability to be clear about OER being free (the other critical part of the definition of what it means for a learning resource to be open), while services provided in conjunction with OER might cost money.

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Coda on The Content Paradox (or Why We Should Celebrate Open Access to Art)

Improving Education Environments

The end of my #opened15 presentation used an example about OER from the perspective of art museums to solidify my thesis. I challenged the audience to recognize the history of the groups we sometimes chastise as guilty of openwashing, to consider their histories and spaces, to approach advocacy by encouraging these groups to further stretch their definitions of open rather than demanding they adhere to ours. million resources as OER for use and repurpose.

Coda on The Content Paradox (or Why We Should Celebrate Open Access to Art)

Improving Education Environments

The end of my #opened15 presentation used an example about OER from the perspective of art museums to solidify my thesis. I challenged the audience to recognize the history of the groups we sometimes chastise as guilty of openwashing, to consider their histories and spaces, to approach advocacy by encouraging these groups to further stretch their definitions of open rather than demanding they adhere to ours. million resources as OER for use and repurpose.

The Sleight of Hand of “Free” vs “Affordable”

Iterating Toward Openness

In a recent webinar about OER, organized by one of the major textbook publishers, there was a lot of conversation about whether OER are “free” or “affordable.” Before I begin though, just to be clear, allow me to reaffirm that OER are free, plain and simple, full stop, period. That is literally part of the definition of OER. OER = free + permissions.

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The Revisability Paradox

Iterating Toward Openness

OER and the Revisability Paradox. That bit of history prepares us to discuss open educational resources (OER) and the revisability paradox. I don’t believe readers of this blog need much additional context about OER.

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Ask the experts: Crowdsourced solutions to 4 problems of blended-learning practice

The Christensen Institute

Curating open educational resources (OER). How do we encourage and support educators to curate OER, since the biggest deterrent for educators using OER is often the issue of curation? Other issues hindering widespread adoption include both the tech platforms needed for OER, and incentives to use and improve (incentives differ from classrooms to districts to states) OER. Create OER innovation spaces.