OER are More than Just $Free
Open Educational Resources (OER) are expert-authored and freely-shared learning materials available in various formats. They are not just textbooks and they enable much more than resources which are “low” or zero cost. OER are licensed to be customized, can be used in-part or as a whole, and can be adapted, combined and re-shared (with proper attribution) to create something new that fits a particular purpose. This transformation affordance significantly sets them apart from resources that are temporary (rented), or described as low-cost, zero-cost, or affordable.
Open Educational Resources (OER) are freely and publicly available teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others. They include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge. – adapted from the Hewett Foundation
By using, curating, and sharing OER, course-material selectors can reduce cost-related barriers faced by their students and beyond. Course materials cost far now than more than even 20 years ago. College textbooks have among the highest rates of price increases among U.S. goods and services according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. These costs are real for students and have significant personal, ethical, and academic impacts.
Used with Permission. © 2018 Mark Perry, American Enterprise Institute https://www.aei.org/publication/chart-of-the-day-or-century
Affordances of OER, beyond financial savings
Open educational resources afford control to institutions and course-material selectors in making course materials permanently available to ALL learners, even after they leave school.
By virtue of their open license or Public Domain status, OER allow adaptation and customization. (While there are many open licenses, including open source software licenses, Creative Commons licenses are the most-well-known open licenses.)
Imagine being able to update course materials on the spot to enhance relevance to current events, or to clarify a concept. Imagine giving learners the freedom and responsibility to exercise higher-order level thinking skills and demonstrate their knowledge by evaluating, adapting, or creating new materials. In order to drive these points home, the University Libraries at Virginia Tech hosted the recent 2018 & 2019 Open Education Symposiums. Hosted in the spring, each symposium feature leaders, practitioners, explorers, students, and champions selected in part of the basis of their ability to illuminate affordances of open educational resources. The following recordings document major events held during the 2018 and 2019 symposiums.
Open Education Symposium 2019: Expanding Open Education in Colleges & Universities
2019 Keynote: Improving Access, Affordability, & Achievement with OER
MJ Bishop, Associate Vice Chancellor and inaugural director of the University System of Maryland’s Center for Academic Innovation
Despite the transformative power that technology has had in a whole range of businesses, the history of technology use in education over the last 100 years paints a rather bleak picture of the extent to which digital tools, in and of themselves, can lead to sustainable academic change. The issue is that we often miss the key affordances of the tools that can be employed to help solve learning problems. This presentation traces the lessons we can learn from the history of educational technology in order to explore the true promise — the true affordances — of openly licensed educational resources and the future they may hold for teaching, learning, and student success.
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2019 Lightning Round Talks and Poster Presentations
Presenters: Garnett Kinniburgh, Sue Erickson, Christine H. Terry, Robert Browder, Matthew DeCarlo, Lisa Becksford, Jason Lachniet, and Britton Hipple. Moderators: Alex Kinnaman and Kayla McNabb
Faculty, instructional designers, graduate students, and librarians from six institutions of higher education introduce their peer-reviewed posters with lightning-round style talks. Topics including: Creating open educational resources, linking open education and the career center, #openlearning19 a cMOOC for exploring open education, class book projects, introduction to Odyssey an open learning object repository, open software for graphic, and campus responses to the use of open educational resources.
View poster proceedings and event video.
2019 Panel Discussion: Facilitating Openness at the University: Connecting the Opens + Making Change Happen
Panelists: MJ Bishop, Benjamin Corl, Karen DePauw, Diana Franco Duran, Ellen Plummer, Nathaniel Porter, Peter Potter. Moderator: Anita Walz
This panel discussion begins with brief presentations of several “core open practices”: Open Access, Open Education/Open Educational Resources, and Open Data by experts from the University Libraries at Virginia Tech. Faculty, administration, and student panelists from diverse disciplines discuss their rationale for exploring and in some cases adopting and championing open practices, their perception of overlaps in philosophy and values between different types of open practices, perceptions of the value of open practices for individuals, disciplines, and institutions, and barriers, opportunities, and processes to adopting open educational practices on an institutional level.
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Open Education Symposium 2018: Open Pedagogy
2018 Keynote: Open Educational Practices: Equity, Achievement, and Pedagogical Innovation
Rajiv Jhangiani, Special Advisor to the Provost, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, British Columbia
This presentation draws on a diverse set of examples to make a case for why the shift away from traditional (closed) practices is not only desirable but also inevitable, and how open educational practices (OEP) support the modern university’s mission by serving academic achievement, faculty and student engagement, diversity & inclusion, pedagogical innovation, and the university’s Land-grant mission.
OEP support teaching, learning, and publication in an increasingly diverse faculty and student body. OEP encompass the creation, adaptation, and adoption of open educational resources, open course development, and even the design of renewable, real-world assignments where students are empowered as co-creators of knowledge. These practices leverage learning beyond socio-economic disparities and put engaged, active student (and faculty) learning at the center. These practices champion academic freedom, pedagogical innovation, applied approaches, and innovation. OEP represents learner-centered and learning-together approaches to education that radically enhance both agency and access.
2018 Panel Discussion: Getting Comfortable Working in the Open
Panelists: Matthew DeCarlo, Susan Erickson, James Harder, Jennifer Kidd, Kathryn Murphy-Judy, Carrie Hamilton, Savannah Aigner, Amy Nelson. Moderator: Anita Walz
Taking a transparent, public or open approach to one’s work as an instructor or academic can be daunting for even the most competent and skilled faculty. Faculty, students, and a librarian from five different Virginia institutions of higher education are involved in working in the open — in their teaching, publishing, creating with students, and/or building or leveraging learning experiences. Panelists discuss their motivations, opportunities leveraged, and challenges they encounter in taking non-traditional and open approaches to teaching, learning, and publishing.
Virginia Tech’s Open education event recordings from 2014 forward are hosted in VTechWorks. Further details about past open education week events at Virginia Tech are also available.
Open Education Week is an annual celebration of the global Open Education Movement designed to raise awareness about the movement and its impact on teaching and learning worldwide. Open Education Week is organized by the Open Education Consortium. For further details see: https://www.openeducationweek.org #oeweek