This is an excellent posts looking at five key questions regarding the sustainability of open educational resources (OERs), backed with examples and references. Here they are
"Is the production of OERs sustainable?" After the end of the UKOER funding stream, there was "a dramatic decline in the number of resources added to JORUM." But a "huge amount" of content is being produced on other platforms. "I see this not as a petering out of OER production, but a shift in its context."
"Are OER platforms sustainable?" We don't know yet. "Entire platforms can disappear. In the non-open world, the closing of a platform means the loss of its content. We don’t have that problem in the OER world."
"Are communities of open practice sustainable?" There are examples both ways, but "the continuation of the OER conference itself suggests a positive answer to the question about communities."
"Are the OERs themselves sustainable: are they being updated so as not to lose relevance?" A tiny number of resources get remixed, but is that bad? Most academic publications aren't cited, but a small number get a huge number of citations. "To decide whether too much or too little adaptation is happening, we need to know the distribution that “'should' exist, and it’s not clear how to do this."
"Do OERs promote an awareness of sustainability across all subjects?" We don't know.
Beware journalists, academicians, and book publishers: an intelligent Wikipedia is coming for you.
That might not be the exact warning Kyle Bowen, director of educational technology services at Penn State, would offer to the media. But it isn’t too far from the capabilities he’s been working on as part of a research team on machine learning and open educational resources (OER). Bowen is part of a team that has developed algorithms for computers to learn how to write textbooks by extracting factual information. He notes that in smaller ways, this technology is currently in play.
Claude Laflamme is not afraid to try out new ideas. Over the last 15 years, the professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics has been combining his passion for teaching with entrepreneurship. The result of his work is innovative teaching and learning tools now available to universities and colleges across Canada.
In 2000, Laflamme and fellow mathematics professor Keith Nicholson founded Lyryx Learning Inc., along with postdoctoral fellow Bruce Bauslaugh and undergraduate student Richard Cannings.
Lyryx works with authors to develop and adapt open texts, which are then provided to students at no cost. The open licences mean there are no copyright and cost issues, as material can be downloaded for free by anyone and posted on any website. The material can also be adapted as desired, as long as the material is attributed to the original creators.
After collaborating with a large publisher for several years, Lyryx is now its own publisher, and entirely committed to supporting Open Educational Resources (OER).
The UNESCO/COL OER Knowledge Cloud will greatly enhance research opportunities and access to knowledge and research on Open Educational Resources and related information by removing barriers, opening up scholarship and making research universally accessible.
The OER Knowledge Cloud has been established to identify, collect, preserve and disseminate available documents of enduring value to researchers, industry, government, scholars, writers, historians, journalists and informal learners.
The promise was of a future where Open Educational Resources would sweep the globe and those pesky publishers would be washed away by a tsunami of high quality, free stuff. It happened to a degree with Wikipedia, Khan, YouTube, MOOCs and Duolingo but almost in spite of the OER movement. In fact, there seems to have been a bifurcation in OER between lots of publically funded projects, that tended to atrophy even die, and a successful crop of global successes. I’d argue that this was due to several strains of scepticism, institutional attitudes and a lack of awareness around marketing and sustainability in the educational community. The successes have been those that weren't held back by these barriers.
STEM literacy is for everyone! STEM literate individuals are able to use concepts from science, technology, engineering and mathematics to understand complex problems and to innovate with others to solve them. A STEM literate person considers how STEM can improve the social, cultural, economic, and environmental conditions of their local and global communities. Building STEM literacy ensures we have both the scientists and global citizens we need to thoughtfully build equitable and sustainable futures.
Below, you'll find resources to help you stay informed about the latest news and research, get connected to other educators working in OER Commons, and start building your own teaching and learning materials.
In light of further data provided by Tim Gowers on unsustainable costs of journal subscriptions for academic libraries and stretched university budgets, Stevan Harnad finds that plans for universities to fund open access alternatives will also be a burden as 80% of journals are still subscription-based. What is needed now is for universities and funders to develop mutually reinforcing self-archiving policies, like HEFCE’s new open access policy for the Research Excellence Framework.
MERLOT is a curated collection of free and open online teaching, learning, and faculty development services contributed and used by an international education community. Search peer reviewed open educational resources (OER), create Course ePortfolios, Bookmark Collections, and Learning Exercises, and build your own learning materials with our Content Builder.
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