Significance and Benefits of OER
According to West and Jensen, OER is a philosophy and pedagogical shift – a movement that works to improve educational learning materials that aren’t restricted by copyright. They have the potential to:
Save students money on materials
Increasing student achievement, inspiring passion and building better connections between students and the materials they use
Provide an extraordinary opportunity for everyone to share, use, and reuse knowledge.
If the world’s knowledge is to be considered a public good then the more materials are shared, the more the world is bettered
The ALA White Paper and Environmental Scan and Assessment of OERs MOOCs and the Library, states that the benefits of OERs include
Use without the need of copyright clearance
The pedagogical benefit of the ability to revise and remix content and make it available in a mashed or alternative format, which allows for subject configuration and accessibility
Possible enhancement of institutional reputation, with the potential to attract endowment
Challenges of OER
Along with their numerous benefits, OERs also have several challenges associated with them. Educause’s educational sheet, 7 Things you Should Know about OERs, points out the following:
The quality of the content of OERs can be uneven
Some ineffective at presenting material properly
Value tends to decrease without periodic updating
May need to be adapted for use by specific departments
Design may not be accessible
In addition to this, the ALA White Paper indicated two main categories of challenges that must be considered when it comes to OER. These are:
The White Paper defines effectiveness of OERs as the ability to provide quality educational materials that effectively convey knowledge to their users. They should be:
Useful across borders, cultures, and regions
Created by experts so that content is credible
Follow instructional design and pedagogical principles that ensure that learning objects include well laid out topics, are interactive, and use appropriate technology to facilitate learning, and
Adhere to agreed upon technological standards (standard formats, discoverability, modularity and granularity, interoperability)
Additionally, the paper outlines that sustainable development of OERs is complex and requires addressing institutional, professional, and student awareness, policy preparedness, supporting creators and users to allow for creation and adaptation of effective resources, making OER visible, and finding means of funding longterm development. In terms of sustainability, OERs should:
Meet their goals of perpetuating the production and sharing
Sustain the use and reuse of OERs by users
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