My thoughts on Open Education and OER

What Is Open Education and OER?

Teaching, learning and research materials in any medium – digital or otherwise – that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions. 

  1. People must be able to reuse all or part of the work.
  2. People must be able to re-distribute the work.
  3. People must be able to revise the work (translate, modify etc.).
  4. People must be able to re-mix the work (combine 2 or more pieces of work).
  5. People must be able to retain the work without restrictions.

Lastly, Alec had shared this video link in class which gives a good overview of the topic.

Why Is Open Education Necessary?

Figure 10.2.1 © Giulia Forsyth, 2012, https://opentextbc.ca/teachinginadigitalage/chapter/oer/ Accessed November 11, 2021.

Final Thoughts

In summary, I think that the idea of OER is amazing. It is incredible to think that we might one day get to a place where educational resources are widely available for free. As someone who struggles daily to find resources, I know how challenging it can be to try and cover content with nothing to use. Or to have to spend countless hours (or $$$) creating (or purchasing) resources in order to simply get by. It is disappointing that our education system with provincially assigned outcomes does not provide enough up to date resources to accurately cover what is expected of us.

I have always been one who is open to sharing whatever I can with others to help. I have also been blessed to have met some great educators who shared with me when I was first starting out. I hope that this Open Education movement continues to grow and that we can be able to create databases which offer resources for all grades and subjects, in multiple languages. For now, I believe that all educators must commit to sharing as much as they can with as many people as they can to get the ball rolling.

7 thoughts on “My thoughts on Open Education and OER

  1. I think your comments are right on the money, Brittney. The financial implications of open education are huge for all involved – school divisions, teachers, students. Having taken two bachelor degrees, and now coming towards the end of my graduate studies, textbooks for university classes has always been a huge pet peeve of mine. I paid for many texts that I did not need for the course at all. This is the first graduate class I have taken that has not had an assigned text…props to Alec for that!

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  2. I really liked the infographic you included in your post. I too think that sometimes there are too many textbooks that are required for courses. Do some help? Of course. Are some a good asset to have in the collection? Yup. But I do think that there are a lot of texts that are required and are never used, or are no longer current. A friend of mine is taking a course from another university, and one of the feedback notes she got was to use older references. I was surprised by this, as in my literature review in my first Master’s, I was told to use the most current information as possible. So I wonder what that means for each institution. Do financial kickbacks from publishers drive professors and school divisions to make those decisions? I wonder what kind of planning goes into purchasing large scale resources.

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    1. Hmm, that is a weird comment. As far as I know we were always encouraged to try and use more recent literature. I would not be surprised if institutions are using certain textbooks due to discounts or agreements for large scale purchases with specific companies.

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  3. Great post, Brittney! Your comment about how it is “disappointing that our education system with provincially assigned outcomes does not provide enough up to date resources to accurately cover what is expected of us” really resonated with me. I felt that during the initial months of the pandemic teachers from across the province were sharing and posting lots of resources online. However, we seemed to have snapped back to old habits and much of our work and resource development seems to be confined to the school divisions that we work in. We definitely need to do more in this province to share education resources. When I have attended provincial conferences, people always seem to reference or mention North East School Division’s curriculum corner and their resources. How could we improve resource sharing in Saskatchewan? We need more government and school division officials to watch these videos and read the articles to better understand the value in Open Education Resources.

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    1. Yes, it would be great if more school boards worked together to develop resources for teachers across the province to use. It seems like many school boards develop resources for their own boards, why can’t we have something provincial like that? Even Manitoba’s curriculum has “Annexe” (not sure the English word haha) where they have all this information and worksheets that go with each grade of their curriculum.

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    2. Very good thoughts from everyone, and thanks for your post Brittney. I echo James’ comments about doing more in this province to share, because we HAVE NO MONEY. The government continually cuts back, resources continue to be outdated, and they are already relying on us to use OER within our own school communities and divisions. But then what about this – our school division has a policy that if you use their resources in any form to create a learning resource then it belongs to the school division and you cannot profit from it. Teachers are sharing all the time because we have no time, money, or energy. Do divisions share and collaborate now as much as teachers do? Covid has forced us to rely on our neighbours and become collaborative in ways we did not even think about.

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