Open Education Resources – Key Issues
A Personal View
There are many important and interesting points to draw from the two articles, such that to limit it to three key issues that resonate across institutions is a challenge in itself. One approach is however to consider the key issues that are at present foremost in the personal sphere.
So as a practitioner engaged in the first stages of introducing OER into the world of English language training for adults, where much of the work and cost will be borne by the practitioner and carried out ad hoc and on a low level. I am going to take this personal viewpoint as the views are based on real life experiences and issues with the belief that this will also be of interest to others in a similar position.
Why use OER in the first place?
Much of the literature focuses on a number of issues relating to potential benefits of OER, including efficiency savings, as a reputation enhancing tool and broadening the clientele base. These are all valid points with differing levels of evidence to support their claims; with for example little evidence of financial savings (JISC 2013). In my own experience OER is at the moment worthy of consideration when used as a tool that can be used to complement existing training methods by extending the classroom out into the cyber-world.
OER encourages new relationships to form
There is evidence that points to change in relationships between students and practitioners, as traditional hierarchy have flattened and there have been changes in the balance of power in learner/teacher relationships (JISC 2013) and more concretely there exists dialogue, through the development of student voice, over what should be included and how it best suits the needs of participants. In certain circumstances, Input is no longer the realm of the practitioner but can also be shared, which has pedagogical benefits (Biddulph, 2011, Cartwright, 2013). Furthermore, there is evidence that also indicates that engaging OER has also led to institutional change especially in processes and practice. As certain projects have taken on an institutional–wide approach they have influenced the structures and activities and looking at higher education institutions where departments are often self-contained units spread out from each other with little contact and sharing of ideas and practices. Hence OER as a tool used sensitively can aid in forging new relationships within and outside of the institution.
Senior management support key to success
Senior management support is one of the key issues when talking about introducing change, since they are often the gate keepers to many of the doors that will need to be opened and kept opened to ensure a successful introduction (Robinson et al, 2008) of OER. Senior managers will thus need to be brought on board with clear explanations of the two issues previously mentioned to enable them to understand the implications of OER and also to be able to steer projects forward to towards successful implantation.
- Biddulph, M. (2011): ‘Articulating student voice and facilitating curriculum agency, Curriculum Journal, 22:3, 381-399
- Cartwright, M (2013) ‘Myriad Professional Identities: The Challenge for Leading Professional Development in the Further Education Context?` published in Wise, Bradshaw & Cartwright Leading Professional Practice in Education ( 2013), pp 274-287, Open University, Sage Publishing
- McGill, L., Falconer, I., Dempster, J.A., Littlejohn, A. and Beetham, H. (2013) Journeys to Open Educational Practice: UKOER/SCORE Review Final Report, London, JISC. Also available online at https://oersynth.pbworks.com/w/page/60338879/HEFCE-OER-Review-Final-Report ( accessed on 28.03.2014)
- Robinson, V.M.J., Lloyd, C.A. and Rowe, K.J. ( 2008) ‘The Impact of Leadership on student outcomes: An analysis of the differential effects of leadership types, published in Wise, Bradshaw & Cartwright Leading Professional Practice in Education ( 2013) pp 47-61, The Open University, Sage Publishing