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Open
Educational
Resources:
Benefits and
Challenges
Angel Steadman, PhD
English Language, Career, and Academic Prep
Highline College
What is OER?
Open Educational Resources (OER) are:
“teaching, learning, and research materials
that are either (a) in the public domain or (b)
licensed in a manner that provides everyone
with free and perpetual permission to [use].”
“What is OER?” by Creative Commons Wiki is
licensed under CC-BY 4.0.
5 Benefits of
Using OER
Cost-effective (free!) materials
Greater instructor autonomy (i.e., less
obligation to a textbook)
Added flexibility and adaptability of materials
Increased opportunity for networking and idea
sharing
Encouragement to continually rethink the
curriculum
Cost-Effective
Materials
Textbooks are EXPENSIVE,
typically ranging from $200-
600 per semester
Costs can be prohibitive,
particularly for low-income
students
Students may opt not to
purchase traditional textbooks
to allocate funds elsewhere
Greater
Instructor
Autonomy
• Instructors may feel obligated to use expensive
textbooks, even when they don’t like them or feel
that the textbooks aren’t appropriate for their
needs
• OER allows instructors to draw upon their own
expertise to provide materials for their own
students—and then share those materials with
other instructors
Added
Flexibility and
Adaptability
• Instructors can select, adopt, and adapt
materials that best suit the needs of their specific
classes and students
• Materials can easily be updated to provide just-
in-time learning opportunities that address
current issues or rapidly changing fields
Increased
Opportunity
for
Networking
and Sharing
Finding, creating, and sharing OER
materials takes the teaching out of the
confines of the classroom and into the
larger educational community
Authoring OER materials is a great
way for educators to increase visibility
in their fields as experts and excellent
teachers
Encouragement to
Rethink the Curriculum
• Teaching the same subject repeatedly can become static
and less responsive to students’ needs
• Being in charge of one’s own teaching materials forces
faculty members to continually rethink what they want
students to learn, why they want them to learn it, and
how they want to teach it
But there are
challenges too…
5 Challenges
While Using
OER
• More time-intensive than using a textbook
• Requires excellent digital and media literacy
skills and knowledge of copyright law
• Requires a critical eye to determine quality
materials
• Accessibility issues may arise
• Limited resources in languages other than
English
Time-
Intensive
For all their flaws, textbooks are
ready-made, which can save a lot
of time
Finding, adopting, and adapting
OER materials can be time
consuming
Some faculty members may not
be able to bring together quality
OER materials for all their classes
Requires
Additional
Skills and
Knowledge
• Digital and media literacy: How will the materials
be accessed and used by students, and what will
their experience be?
• Knowledge of copyright law: What licenses do
selected OER materials have, and what does
that mean for how they can be used or shared?
Requires a
Critical Eye
OER materials can be
created by anyone—
regardless of expertise
Instructors must critically
evaluate the content as
well as the delivery
method to ensure that it is
accurate and appropriate
for their learners
Accessibility
Issues May
Arise
OER materials
may not be fully
accessible to
students or
adhere to
principles of
Universal Design
Instructors may
need to take
additional time to
investigate and
mitigate potential
accessibility
issues
Limited Non-
English
Resources
• The majority of OER materials are currently in
English only
• Instructors working in non-English contexts or
looking for materials in languages other than
English have fewer options
Looking ahead…
OER Is the
Future
OER materials are likely to
continue growing in the future
This growth may help mitigate
some of the current challenges
The more people create and
share OER materials, the
stronger they will be!

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OER benefits and challenges

  • 1. Open Educational Resources: Benefits and Challenges Angel Steadman, PhD English Language, Career, and Academic Prep Highline College
  • 2. What is OER? Open Educational Resources (OER) are: “teaching, learning, and research materials that are either (a) in the public domain or (b) licensed in a manner that provides everyone with free and perpetual permission to [use].” “What is OER?” by Creative Commons Wiki is licensed under CC-BY 4.0.
  • 3. 5 Benefits of Using OER Cost-effective (free!) materials Greater instructor autonomy (i.e., less obligation to a textbook) Added flexibility and adaptability of materials Increased opportunity for networking and idea sharing Encouragement to continually rethink the curriculum
  • 4. Cost-Effective Materials Textbooks are EXPENSIVE, typically ranging from $200- 600 per semester Costs can be prohibitive, particularly for low-income students Students may opt not to purchase traditional textbooks to allocate funds elsewhere
  • 5. Greater Instructor Autonomy • Instructors may feel obligated to use expensive textbooks, even when they don’t like them or feel that the textbooks aren’t appropriate for their needs • OER allows instructors to draw upon their own expertise to provide materials for their own students—and then share those materials with other instructors
  • 6. Added Flexibility and Adaptability • Instructors can select, adopt, and adapt materials that best suit the needs of their specific classes and students • Materials can easily be updated to provide just- in-time learning opportunities that address current issues or rapidly changing fields
  • 7. Increased Opportunity for Networking and Sharing Finding, creating, and sharing OER materials takes the teaching out of the confines of the classroom and into the larger educational community Authoring OER materials is a great way for educators to increase visibility in their fields as experts and excellent teachers
  • 8. Encouragement to Rethink the Curriculum • Teaching the same subject repeatedly can become static and less responsive to students’ needs • Being in charge of one’s own teaching materials forces faculty members to continually rethink what they want students to learn, why they want them to learn it, and how they want to teach it
  • 10. 5 Challenges While Using OER • More time-intensive than using a textbook • Requires excellent digital and media literacy skills and knowledge of copyright law • Requires a critical eye to determine quality materials • Accessibility issues may arise • Limited resources in languages other than English
  • 11. Time- Intensive For all their flaws, textbooks are ready-made, which can save a lot of time Finding, adopting, and adapting OER materials can be time consuming Some faculty members may not be able to bring together quality OER materials for all their classes
  • 12. Requires Additional Skills and Knowledge • Digital and media literacy: How will the materials be accessed and used by students, and what will their experience be? • Knowledge of copyright law: What licenses do selected OER materials have, and what does that mean for how they can be used or shared?
  • 13. Requires a Critical Eye OER materials can be created by anyone— regardless of expertise Instructors must critically evaluate the content as well as the delivery method to ensure that it is accurate and appropriate for their learners
  • 14. Accessibility Issues May Arise OER materials may not be fully accessible to students or adhere to principles of Universal Design Instructors may need to take additional time to investigate and mitigate potential accessibility issues
  • 15. Limited Non- English Resources • The majority of OER materials are currently in English only • Instructors working in non-English contexts or looking for materials in languages other than English have fewer options
  • 17. OER Is the Future OER materials are likely to continue growing in the future This growth may help mitigate some of the current challenges The more people create and share OER materials, the stronger they will be!