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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Unlocking the Potential of OER

Convincing faculty that open educational resource (OER) content is of high quality continues to be a stumbling block for proponents of the alternative course-material model. Providing better tools to find quality material is the next big challenge.

Products are being created to locate independent quality evaluations. More faculty members are using products such as FacultyEnlight from Barnes & Noble College and Hero from Sidewalk and helping to make them better.

“Being able to think about, from a cost perspective, how one textbook compares to another, to be able to see what peers are using the materials, what their reviews are of the materials, and then being able to take those materials and adopt them,” Rich Hershman, NACS vice president of government relations, said in a report on EducationDive, “that’s where I’m really excited about where things are starting to develop in the future.”

The fact that OER content is flexible and can be tailored to fit the needs of individual students should encourage greater acceptance and growth, according to Tom Caswell, director of learning engineering who served as the open education policy associate for the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges during the development of its Open Course Library.

“The next step for OER is to get away from flat resources and put OER in personalized spaces that allow students to really benefit individually from those resources,” he said.

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