The CITE, a blog published by the National Association of College Stores, takes a look at the intersection of education and technology, highlighting issues that range from course materials to learning delivery to the student experience. Comments, discussion, feedback, and ideas are welcome.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Some Obstacles in Using OERs

There’s a lot of hype and plenty of expectations in higher education surrounding open educational resources (OER). Those expectations are one of the hurdles that OERs must overcome.

“OER should be a source of inspiration for innovation and creativity in the world of college course materials,” Brian Jacobs, president of the virtual bookstore Akadémos, wrote in an article in Campus Technology. “When that happens, the sky will be the limit for the OER movement.”

Jacobs said OERs must become “as good or better” than content now being commercially produced in order to gain acceptance. But first, faculty must learn how to develop open course materials and get past doubts about the quality of free resources.

He also said institutional processes and a lack of tools to help faculty find and assess the materials must be changed or developed from scratch.

“It’s not enough for institutions, foundations, and even the federal government to produce these open resources,” Jacobs said. “There has to be a way for the OERs to be discovered, evaluated, and used effectively in the classroom.”

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