Future of open education resources

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I’ve been presenting CORE’s ten trends at breakfast meetings in Christchurch and Wellington this week. One of the trends we have been discussing is the emergence of open education resources (OER), so it was with interest this morning that I watched the video above by Stephen Downes where he shares his thoughts on the future of OERs. Stephen refers to a recent Educause report on the computing habits of new students arriving at universities in the US. A major finding is that many of these young people are coming into universities with a virtual presence already well established, and that in one way or another, they are creating content – and this content isn’t stored on their computer, but on the net. As such it is available for others to access and use. This represents quite a challenge for universities (or any educational institution for that matter) where traditional view of content as something that is ‘owned’ and ‘controlled’ exist.

A couple of key ideas that Downes introduces are (a) that these students are increasingly using more than one device to establish and maintain their online presence, and (b) that they are increasing using web-based apps for things they used to have dedicated desktop applications for. The former draws attention to the importance of considering the place of mobile devices in our planning within schools and universities etc, while the later draws attention to the face that it’s not only the content itself that is ‘open’, but the tools being used to create the content. Stephen quotes the development of Mozilla’s open web apps as an example of this – apps built using HTML/CSS/JavaScript that work both on computers and mobile phones.

Still on the topic of OERs, I also enjoyed watching the video clip below of Jim Tittlser from the Open Education Resource Foundation (and before that from CORE) talking about Wiki Educator, a global community of educators who believe that learning materials should be free and open, and who work together to make this belief a reality.


One of the points I’ve been emphasising in my talks is how schools might make better use of OERs, and consider adopting the creative commons licensing approach for resources developed by teachers and students. If you’d like to check your understanding of copyright and the use of OERs try taking the Wikieducator Copyright Quiz.

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