OER – Once again, the challenge is too much, not too little

While I had not heard the term “Open Educational Resources (OER), I am familiar with using publicly or open-licensed content. We have actually been having a lot of conversations at work about how to distribute learning both to students and staff in a manner which is consumable. There is so much valuable content available, both in terms of scholarly open-journals, as well as lectures, quick-videos, etc… Our challenge right now is actually to cull through the content and find the content type which best suites the audience and context.

Searching through some of the databases I found a number of useful sources which would make a nice companion for some of the context I already have (e.g. http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/sloan-school-of-management/15-317-organizational-leadership-and-change-summer-2009/part-i/readings/). I was quite impressed with the sheer volume of content and found it a bit overwhelming. I know I only scratched the surface with a few searches.

I can see a lot of value in have relatively easy (and free or cheap) access to content, especially from highly regarded sources. Certainly having content which has been deemed appropriate at a peer-institution helps a lot with having confidence in the source material. However, one possible downside of this is instructors becoming over reliant on others to do their research and themselves losing touch with the source content. Another challenge I see with the copyright rules is making sure the rules are maintained as they are borrowed from one source to another. For instance, those who deliver content to both public (university) and private (professional workshops) need to make sure they are following the rules of the content.


Joseph Drasin

30 thoughts on “OER – Once again, the challenge is too much, not too little

  1. I think there is a lot to be said about instructors not creating their own material and just relying on OERs. Part of the instructional process is the learning, and simply using an OER can skip a few steps.

  2. Absolutely! Thank you for bringing up these important points, Joseph. OERs shouldn’t be used just for the sake of using OERs. As effective teachers, we all know that every instructional choice we makes should tie back to our outcomes and goals. If it doesn’t support what we’re trying to teach, why are we using them? As with most things tech-based, we should make deliberate choices as to what to include and what not to include in our instruction so that the learner experience is enhanced and not hindered by “too much” as you said. If you want to dig a little deeper, check out some resources on cognitive load theory focusing on multimedia resources.

  3. I like your point, Joseph, about not relying on OERs too much. There is a balance in not re-creating the wheel, but also not just conveniently using other productions. It makes teaching more about the planning and less about the actual performance. The amount of material IS overwhelming. I just keep trying to breathe deeply.

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