To OER or not to OER. Is that the question?

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Choice Paralysis by Lauren Macdonald

From the 2015 international Horizon Report that is now available, Open Educational Resources  (OER) has hit the “Key Trends Accelerating Technology Adoption in Higher Education” list under the mid-term trends that has a three to five year adoption rate category.

The fact that OERs are on the list is a big step in (what I consider) the right direction. For those of us who aren’t sure what an OER is, here is Wikipedia’s explanation.  By the by, did you know that Wikipedia is also an OER?

According to the Horizon Report, OERs came more into focus since 2001 when MIT opened up its instructional materials via their OpenCourseWare (OC) initiative. The initiative allowed over 2,200 of its courses free, and available online.  Not to be left behind, Carnegie Mellon University and Harvard University also moved strongly into the OER space.

Interestingly, the University of South Africa (Unisa) has a 2014-16 Open Education Resource Strategy that focuses on the provision of open educational resources into the curriculum. The move is not just focusing on content for courses, its also providing the tool to improve academic and administrative services. And, there are regional communities of practice popping up around the world including one in the north-west of England known as the North-West OER Network, which provides collaboration between 13 higher education institutions in the north-west of England. The network was kicked off with a 5-day open online course aptly titled “Openness in Education”.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Keep track of what is going on out in the OER space by taking a look at the US PIRG Report, where 2000 students where surveyed and 65% refused to buy a college text book.

Also look at whats going on in Europe by perusing the European Open Edu Policy Project here.

This is definitely a space to watch, learn and question.

Photo 29/52 choice paralysis by Lauren Macdonald licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 on flickr

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