Toward a Critical Approach for OER: A Case Study in Removing the ‘Big Five’ from OER Creation

Authors : Kris Joseph, Julia Guy, Michael B McNally

This paper examines the role of proprietary software in the production of open educational resources (OER). Using a single case study, the paper explores the implications of removing proprietary software from an OER project, with the aim of examining how complicated such a process is and whether removing such software meaningfully advances a critical approach to OER.

The analysis reveals that software from the Big Five technology companies (Apple, Alphabet/Google, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft) are deeply embedded in OER production and distribution, and that complete elimination of software or services from these companies is not feasible.

The paper concludes by positing that simply rejecting Big Five technology introduces too many challenges to be justified on a pragmatic basis; however, it encourages OER creators to remain critical in their use of technology and continue to try to advance a critical approach to OER.

URL : Toward a Critical Approach for OER: A Case Study in Removing the ‘Big Five’ from OER Creation

Alternative location : https://openpraxis.org/index.php/OpenPraxis/article/view/1020

Adoption and Diffusion of Open Educational Resources (OER) in Education : A Meta-Analysis of 25 OER-Projects

Author : Daniel Otto

The concept of open educational resources (OER) is becoming increasingly prominent in education. However, research circles around defining OER, content and forms of OER, technological features of OER, and the importance of the issue or lack thereof.

Vital aspects such as the notion of the adoption of OER by educational practitioners remain underdeveloped. In order to shed light on the question of how to adopt OER in education, the article presents findings of a meta-study which critically reviewed 25 state-funded OER projects located in Germany. All projects aimed to anchor OER across educational areas, such as school, higher, continuing, and vocational education.

The meta-analysis disclosed a mixed bag of results. Although interest and willingness to deal with OER can be confirmed, reservation is rooted in the complexity of the topic and especially the legal concerns. However, the findings demonstrate that OER can by no means be ignored in the context of teaching and learning in a digital world.

Integrating OER as an aspect of existing educational training should, therefore, be encouraged. Concerning future design recommendations, to conflate OER with other pressing issues and to simultaneously emphasise its added value explicitly is a promising approach.

Moreover, establishing central contact points in educational institutions to accompany and monitor actors on their path to OER appears to be necessary. Notwithstanding the concrete measures, any strategy must operate persistently at both levels, institutional and practical, embracing all relevant stakeholders.

URL : Adoption and Diffusion of Open Educational Resources (OER) in Education : A Meta-Analysis of 25 OER-Projects

DOI : https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v20i5.4472

Avoiding the “Axe”: Advancing Affordable and Open Education Resources at a Midsize University

Authors: Jennifer Bazeley, Carolyn Haynes, Carla S. Myers, Eric Resnis

INTRODUCTION

To address the soaring cost of textbooks, higher education institutions have launched a number of strategies to promote the adoption of affordable and open educational resources (AOER).

Although a few models for promoting and sustaining alternative and open educational resources (AOER) at higher education institutions can be found in the professional literature, additional examples are needed to assist the wide of range of universities and colleges in meeting this critical need.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

In this article, the authors describe Miami University’s ongoing efforts to reduce college textbook costs for students. These initiatives were instigated in some ways by the state legislature, but were also fueled by factual evidence regarding the impact textbook costs have on the student learning experience.

The authors (university librarians and associate provost) provide a description of the institutional context and the challenges they faced in implementing AOER initiatives and chronicle the steps that their university has taken to address the challenge of rising costs of course materials.

NEXT STEPS

Next steps for growing the programs and recommendations for other institutions looking to develop similar initiatives are also explored.

URL : Avoiding the “Axe”: Advancing Affordable and Open Education Resources at a Midsize University

DOI: https://doi.org/10.7710/2162-3309.2259

Open enough? Eight factors to consider when transitioning from closed to open resources and courses: A conceptual framework

Authors : Michael B. McNally, Erik G. Christiansen

Transitioning from closed courses and educational resources to open educational resources (OER) and open courseware (OCW) requires considerations of many factors beyond simply the use of an open licence.

This paper examines the pedagogical choices and trade-offs involved in creating OER and OCW. Eight factors are identified that influence openness (open licensing, accessibility and usability standards, language, cultural considerations, support costs, digital distribution, and file formats).

These factors are examined under closed, mixed and most open scenarios to relatively compare the amount of effort, willingness, skill and knowledge required.

The paper concludes by suggesting that maximizing openness is not practical and argues that open educators should strive for ‘open enough’ rather than maximal openness.

DOI : https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v24i6.9180

OER: Lessons from the Field

Authors : Roy Kaufman, Andrew Campana

As open educational resources (OER) expand in the US and elsewhere, attention should be paid to the challenges of implementing OER and solutions to those challenges. OER currently hold great promise for instructing students in K-12 (secondary) and primary school classrooms, because – unlike traditional curriculum materials – OER content can legally and freely be copied, used, adapted and reshared by anyone.

Notwithstanding the benefits, OER developers have not yet worked out certain structural issues that can make it difficult for teachers and students to use OER, impeding the adoption and broader acceptance of even the best designed OER curricula.

Links which disappear over time, device management, data and privacy concerns, quality, scope, sequence and alignment challenges, copyright issues and sustainability of OER curricula are all challenges that advocates of OER and curriculum designers often miss, ignore or avoid.

These challenges, however, can be overcome through thoughtful planning and partnerships, as has been done in the US with the successful Louisiana Guidebooks and other OER course materials.

URL : OER: Lessons from the Field

DOI : http://doi.org/10.1629/uksg.464

Determining Textbook Cost, Formats, and Licensing with Google Books API: A Case Study from an Open Textbook Project

Authors : Eamon Costello, Richard Bolger, Tiziana Soverino, Mark Brown

The rising cost of textbooks for students has been highlighted as a major concern in higher education, particularly in the US and Canada. Less has been reported, however, about the costs of textbooks outside of North America, including in Europe.

We address this gap in the knowledge through a case study of one Irish higher education institution, focusing on the cost, accessibility, and licensing of textbooks. We report here on an investigation of textbook prices drawing from an official college course catalog containing several thousand books.

We detail how we sought to determine metadata of these books including: the formats they are available in, whether they are in the public domain, and the retail prices.

We explain how we used methods to automatically determine textbook costs using Google Books API and make our code and dataset publicly available.

URL : Determining Textbook Cost, Formats, and Licensing with Google Books API: A Case Study from an Open Textbook Project

DOI: https://doi.org/10.6017/ital.v38i1.10738

Do open educational resources improve student learning? Implications of the access hypothesis

Authors : Phillip J. Grimaldi, Debshila Basu Mallick, Andrew E. Waters, Richard G. Baraniuk

Open Educational Resources (OER) have been lauded for their ability to reduce student costs and improve equity in higher education. Research examining whether OER provides learning benefits have produced mixed results, with most studies showing null effects.

We argue that the common methods used to examine OER efficacy are unlikely to detect positive effects based on predictions of the access hypothesis. The access hypothesis states that OER benefits learning by providing access to critical course materials, and therefore predicts that OER should only benefit students who would not otherwise have access to the materials.

Through the use of simulation analysis, we demonstrate that even if there is a learning benefit of OER, standard research methods are unlikely to detect it.

URL : Do open educational resources improve student learning? Implications of the access hypothesis

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0212508