An open educational resource could be anything from an open website, video channel, market report to curriculum and much more. They are freely accessible, openly licensed text, media, and other digital assets that are useful for teaching, learning, and assessing as well as for research purposes. It’s all about ensuring that learners and educators get the best out of their learning and practise through the free web.
One of the interesting areas of OER trends seems to be that big giant companies are taking over the game from previously highly-funded institutions such as universities, think tanks and research centres. Previously, most universities were the main generators of OERs, as they had content readily available through research and internal networks shared within their campuses. However, as research became more expensive, so did the cost of making their research freely available. Today, it is the companies that have taken action in this respect because they are more interested in the data collected than the cost of disseminating this information. Take for instance Google who has a massive platform for OER services from the Google Cultural Institute, Open Online Education to Google Scholar and many more. These are unbelievable, free to access resources at your fingertips if you just spend the time to look for things.
Coming up from behind is Amazon, which is launching its own version of the Amazon Inspire OER. This is an open collaboration service that helps teachers easily discover, gather and share quality educational content with their communities. The focus for Amazon is to take advantage of the best case practises and curriculum that educators share, which, in turn, they hope to use to find out what educators use. Overall, big data will change the way education works, and companies will be more than happy to invest in it as it helps them sort out talent for their growth plans.
So how do OER support us as educators and learners to enhance our learning?
Simple, this is the organization of information. Many times, we’re so caught up in finding specific information, we tend to forget that what matters is how the information is organized. Writing an academic paper can take weeks, if not months if the knowledge you have comes in your physical textbooks. However, with the advancement of technology (especially search engines), you are now able to tame OERs with information more easily and easily. The frameworks of the OERs allow us as teachers to find the best books, videos, journals, etc. to improve the learning experience, as they can help someone trying to read through loads of documents.
So this concludes the OERs section, hoping that this will encourage you to find more information on the free internet.
Please check out the following list of college related OERs here.
Another great resource that you should look into is the OER commons