Several staff and faculty from PCC attended the first Oregon Open Educational Resource (OER) Summit in Astoria, OR on Friday, May 9th. OERs include any educational material (physical or electronic) that is released with less restrictive rights on their use. The Summit was intended to bring staff, faculty and administrators from Oregon’s seventeen Community Colleges together to discuss the potential that OERs can have in reducing the cost of attending college for students. Cable Green, Director of Global Learning for Creative Commons was the keynote presenter. Cable’s keynote (slides available) highlighted the rising cost of college, the impact of debt on students, the challenges of traditional copyright, and the opportunities available to educators and colleges through Creative Commons licensing.
Rather than try to summarize his keynote in text, which would likely fall flat, I’ve added a recording of a very similar presentation done at Ohio State in 2013.
Fascinating, huh? Is there anything we can or should do?
What about PCC?
PCC was represented by Donna Reed (Library Director), Ken Brown (Bookstores Manager), Dan Dougherty (CIS Dept. Chair & Faculty), Rondi Schei (Econ Instructor & DL Mentor), Rebecca Robinson (MSD Dept. Chair, Faculty, and DL Mentor), and Greg Kaminski, Loraine Schmitt, Steve Beining and Andy Freed from Distance Education. Over lunch, we were able to discuss the benefits and challenges that the use and adoption of OER could face at our institution.
- No identified licensing process for College-produced content
- Lack of awareness of OER and it’s potential
- Difficulty finding and evaluating OER content
- Somewhat limited compliment of activities and dynamic homework sites
- Quality of materials varies greatly
- Significantly reduced costs for students
- Students have access to content on first day (not after disbursement)
- Greater academic freedom – faculty can select content from a variety of sources and create an experience to meet course outcomes
- Content can be updated or adapted (for an accommodation) more quickly
- Supports College’s mission, vision and goals
Obviously, this is an abbreviated list. The challenges and benefits are more complicated than a few bullets, but there is ample room for discussion within our own institution.
OER in your course?
Thus far, we in Distance Education have not had any formal course development requests that have specifically identified the use of OER (either found or self-produced) in the development process. However, it’s certainly something we’d love to explore with you.
If you’re wondering if there are any open resources available for your discipline, you can start by looking at some of the resources identified in the video, or try sites like OpenStax or OPEN’s FindOER. And if you know of any even better options for your discipline, please share!