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

How to Fight Fair Use Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt : The Experience of One Open Educational Resource

Author : Lindsey Weeramuni

At the launch of one of the early online open educational resources (OER) in 2002, the approach to addressing copyright was uncertain. Did the university or the faculty own their material? How would the third-party material be handled? Was all of its use considered fair use under Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act (Title 17, United States Code) because of its educational purpose?

Or was permission-seeking necessary for this project to succeed and protect the integrity of faculty and university? For many years, this OER was conservative in its approach to third-party material, avoiding making fair use claims on the theory that it was too risky and difficult to prove in the face of an infringement claim.

Additionally, being one of the early projects of its kind, there was fear of becoming a target for ambitious copyright holders wanting to make headlines (and perhaps win lawsuits). It was not until 2009 that the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for OpenCourseWare was written by a community of practitioners who believed that if fair use worked for documentary film makers, video creators, and others (including big media), it worked in open education as well.

Once this Code was adopted, universities and institutions were able to offer more rich and complete course content to their users than before. This paper explains how it happened at this early open educational resource offering.

URL : How to Fight Fair Use Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt : The Experience of One Open Educational Resource

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17161/jcel.v3i1.9751

Open Practices in Public Higher Education in Portugal: faculty perspectives

Authors : Paula Cardoso, Lina Morgado, António Teixeira

In recent years, the Open Educational Resources (OER) and Open Access (OA) movements have been essential in creating opportunities in all scholarly activities, within the context of higher education.

The main purpose of this research was to understand how perceptions and practices of faculty towards OER are related to their perceptions and practices towards OA. It is an exploratory and descriptive study, with a mixed methods approach, undertaken in Portugal.

Results indicate that, although faculty already show some degree of knowledge and use of OER and OA in their teaching and research practices, there is still a general lack of knowledge in both fields.

However, the convergence of perceptions regarding both fields provide evidence on the possibility of a common approach to both fields in faculty’s educational practices, with the purpose of opening up their educational and scientific resources, thus reinforcing the principles of transparency, collaboration and openness to knowledge.

URL : Open Practices in Public Higher Education in Portugal: faculty perspectives

Alternative location : https://openpraxis.org/index.php/OpenPraxis/article/view/823

Strategies for Supporting OER Adoption through Faculty and Instructor Use of a Federated Search Tool

Authors: Talea Anderson, Chelsea Leachman

INTRODUCTION

Open educational resources (OER) are gaining traction in higher education and becoming accepted by academics as a viable means for delivering course content. However, these resources can be difficult to find and use, both due to low visibility and confusion about licensing.

This article describes one university’s work with faculty members to identify barriers in their search process when they are looking to adopt OER.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

A scholarly communication librarian and science librarian partnered to collect faculty and instructor reactions to a particular OER search tool, with the intention of better understanding the difficulties encountered during the search process.

Eight interviews were conducted as participants were asked about their preferences when it comes to locating OER, understanding licensing information, and adopting materials for class.

NEXT STEPS

From these interviews, the librarians identified practical recommendations for instruction/liaison librarians and technical services/systems librarians as they continue working to support faculty and instructors through the OER discovery and selection process.

These recommendations relate to four themes uncovered in interviews with faculty and instructors: the need for increased transparency in search tools, the importance of intuitive narrowing and broadening features in search tools, the need for detailed and consistent metadata in OER records, and the need for clarity in intellectual property statements.

The librarians note that these recommendations might best be pursued through wide-scale collaboration across library units and, more generally, between libraries, consortia, and institutions.

URL : Strategies for Supporting OER Adoption through Faculty and Instructor Use of a Federated Search Tool

DOI : https://doi.org/10.7710/2162-3309.2279