Friday, 28 October 2011

OERu will legitimise open educational resources and practices

The Friday session of the #change11 MOOC on Open Educational Resources (OER) and Practices (OEP) was useful to learn about the OERu, its logic model and its plans. 
Its aims are: OERu
(Directed by the core principles of engagement the OER university collaboration:)
  • Will design and implement a parallel learning universe to provide free learning opportunities for all students worldwide with pathways to earn credible post-secondary credentials.
  • Offer courses and programs based solely on OER and open textbooks.
  • Design and implement scalable pedagogies appropriate for the OER university concept.
  • Will implement scalable systems of volunteer student support through community service learning approaches.
  • Coordinate assessment and credentialising services on a cost recovery basis for participating education institutions to ensure credible qualifications and corresponding course articulation among anchor partners.
Rory McGreal posed the question - which course is better? One of say, 20 students with an 80% pass-rate or one with 2 million students with a 50% pass-rate (he spoke of different figures but these came from his slide). The implication was that all the talk of completion rates was not the full picture and that such an open approach will lead to much greater educational good. In the chat the point was made that even the drop-outs were probably learning as well. So the emphasis was - let's go from elite to open.
He also spoke about someone NOT having a modern education UNLESS s/he engaged with the internet. Good point.
He asked - why OER? and went to describe some restrictions regarding DRM protected material (Digital Restriction Management, as he put it). Included in the list was really some things to make one think: DRM owners not having liability even if product does not work, users have the "privilege" of using the product and do not own it and you are prohibited to show content to others. In other words, they have sewn up intellectual rights for their total benefit.
Wayne Mackintosh gave a detailed presentation of the OERu, starting with the University of London's External System as being a pioneer of this idea. He balanced an equation which showed an increase of OER plus an increase in OEP giving better quality, better access and reduced cost.
The logic model had learners as an input through a system with OERs and then through educational institutions providing assessment, credential and community services, going from free to fee.
One sure consequence of this has to be the legitimising of OER and OEPs. This must be good so that it can counter the publisher lobby comments about theirs being the only approach.

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