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Thursday, April 4, 2013

New SIIA Report Focuses on OER

With more and more educators using open educational resources (OER), the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) created its Guide on the Use of Open Educational Resources in K-12 and Postsecondary Education. The 34-page manual provides information on various copyright and licensing issues involved in using open educational resources.

“SIIA expects that educational needs will be addressed moving forward by a mix of instructional materials, including OERs,” the authors of the guide wrote. “SIIA and this guide are focused on helping public officials, instructors, and content providers better understand the various OER models, as well as the total costs to consider in determining the appropriate strategy for developing and implementing a particular educational resource.”

The report details some of the pitfalls of OER, including the resources necessary to scale their use and concerns over cost shifting instead of cost savings. At the same time, it presents some of the highlights of OER, such as their long-term value and having teachers more involved in developing curriculum and resources.

“It appears that OER and the related educational, business, and intellectual property license models are here to stay,” the authors wrote. “In the end, the greatest value of OER may not be in cost savings, but in changing the relationship of educators and students to their learning resources by empowering them to help author, customize, and share them. Either way, all stakeholders will need to carefully consider and appropriately adjust to OER as an important educational element.” 

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